By Andrew Hobbs - Employment Law Handbook, Friday 1 December, 2017
WE’VE all been on the answering end of a job interview, but when it is our responsibility to hire a new employee, it can be a real challenge to find the right person for the role and the business.
Below we list some of the points you should keep an eye on when preparing to hire a new worker, either to replace a person who has left or because of an increase in business.
It might take a long time
Recruiting often takes longer than you think it will.
It usually takes between 45 and 50 working hours to fill an average position, and about 70 hours to hire someone in middle management – assuming the relevant hiring managers are available to interview and not out of town or simply too busy.
How do you want to source the talent?
Advertising on job boards like Seek or MyCareer can often deliver hundreds of resumes, so be prepared to devote the time to reading all the resumes you will receive. If you prefer not to advertise, you can always approach people directly or via LinkedIn.
LinkedIn tends to be a great resource for senior roles, but proves less effective for more junior roles. This is because for a junior role, it is better to consider a large number of resumes, but to find the right person for a senior position, networking is likely to be much more effective.
When using social media to assess an applicant’s suitability, be sure the information you obtain has direct relevance to the job requirements – such as cultural fit, discretion, maturity and ability to spell correctly.
Do not breach discrimination laws or privacy laws in any conclusions you draw from accessing an applicant’s social media accounts.
Be clear about what you want
To hire effectively you will need a position description drawn from a job analysis – by interviewing the current employee and their peers, conducting focus groups of informed people or documenting the activities of another person doing that job.
A good position description will outline the tasks and responsibilities you expect to be met and the competencies and behaviours you want the person to demonstrate.
Many organisations focus on one or the other, rather than both. This means they tend to hire people who fit in well at the company, but can’t do the job, or people who can do the job, but don’t fit in.
Be clear about what you will offer them
In order to attract the best possible candidate, you need to be clear about what you can offer them – in terms of training, salary, location, hours, parking and any other terms.
You need to be able to deliver anything you promise during the recruitment process, unless you are making a statement about a future matter – in which case you must have reasonable grounds for making the statement.
If you do not do this, you could be liable for misrepresentation and are likely to find yourself managing a very unhappy and unproductive employee.
Use the right interview techniques
The best interviews are relaxed and informal with a core of questions that are asked of every candidate to allow objective comparisons to be made.
If you are going to conduct one interview, make sure you include both technical and behavioural-based interview questions.
If you decide to hold two interviews, ensure the second interview builds on the first or delves into areas not covered in the first interview.
Remember that it is unlawful to ask an applicant of a particular group – that is, age, sex or race – questions that you would not ask of a different group, unless it relates to the inherent requirements of the role or concerns a health and safety matter.
Check their referees
Once you have decided on your shortlist, ask for a minimum of two referees from each candidate.
Ensure the people you are taking a reference from directly managed the candidate, and try to ask them questions relating specifically to the needs of the job once you have confirmed the previously stated facts.
If you have any niggling doubts about any aspect of the person’s ability to perform in the role, explore these with the referee.
Many things to consider
The process of recruiting a worker may differ depending on the role you are trying to fill – a permanent role or a casual one, a contractor, officer or company director?
Even writing a job advertisement can be challenging, let alone knowing what to ask of both applicants and their referees.
Go to our friends at the Employment Law Practical Handbook which covers these topics and more, including a checklist of what to consider if an employee has a criminal record, the role of post-employment restraints and template job analyses, position descriptions and letters for unsuccessful applicants.