1. Allow enough time for the recruitment process
The ideal time scale is a week to specify the role, 2-3 weeks to gather candidates, two weeks to set up and conclude interviews, a week to get an offer accepted and notice served and a further minimum of 4 weeks' notice period. That's at least 10 weeks from start to finish if nothing goes wrong. You should allow more time if you are thinking about advertising and if the role is going to need a targeted headhunt approach then you will also need to build in time for research and attracting candidates who are not necessarily looking to move.
2. Don't do too much window shopping.
Once you start the process it is essential to avoid delays. Avoid the temptation to interview too many candidates. It wastes everyone's time and makes your decision harder. More interviews does not equate to better value for money from your recruiter. A long delay between interview and offer stages can cause you to lose your first choice of candidate either because there is now competition from other companies or the candidate has lost interest and settled back into their role. When you decide to recruit, be prepared to act quickly and decisively. Any delay can be fatal.
3. Keep your recruitment partner informed.
When you receive CV's try to give constructive feedback. No one knows your business like you do and, if you give thoughtful feedback, the recruiter can refine the search, ensuring you see the right candidates and avoiding wasting your time.
Try not to come up with too many reasons not to interview a candidate. If you don't think a CV is telling you enough about the person, then rather than instantly rejecting them – ask your recruiter for more information or ask for the candidate to write a covering letter to explain why they are suitable for the position and why they want to work for you.
4 Remember it's a two way process.
Think of an interview like a date – you both need to be impressed so make sure that you give a good account of your company and the opportunity but remember to listen to the candidate as well and give them a chance to promote themselves. A good structure is to start the interview by telling the candidate about your company, your background, the work and importantly the opportunity. This will help to settle them in as well as focus their answers so that you get the most relevant information out of them. If you are new to interviewing or you want a second pair of ears and eyes then ask your recruiter to be with you at the interview.
5. Make sure you know what the candidate can actually do.
It sounds obvious but don't be afraid to ask the candidate what they actually did on a project. So often, you can get side tracked by talking about a project and the various issues, the client and the outcome that you actually forget to find out what the candidate was responsible for. Find out what their role was on it, how much contact did they have with the client and what documents they actually prepare?
6. End the interview well.
This is the time to encourage the candidate to ask questions, giving you a last opportunity to sell your role and organisation. If you feel the interview has gone well and you like the candidate it may be worth reconfirming their pay and notice period and ask the candidate if they have any questions or reservations about the role. However tempting it may be, never offer the candidate a position on the spot – it puts too much pressure on them and doesn't give them or you sufficient time to properly reflect.
7. Make the next stage of the process clear to them.
If you are going to reject them you may decide to leave this to the recruiter but tell the candidate at interview when and what the next decision will be and make sure you can stick to this.
8. Provide detailed feedback.
Put yourself into the candidate's shoes and make sure you give your recruiter feedback that is meaningful to the candidate. If they were not successful then try to think if there is anything the candidate could do to make themselves more attractive to an employer next time, whether they need to work on their interview technique or even if a particular skill set or experience would be beneficial to them. This will always leave the candidate with a positive impression of you and your company. Even if you are offering the candidate a position, don't forget to tell your recruiter why you've chosen this candidate. It will help your recruiter to work with you in the future and will also give the candidate a sense that the position and company is right for them.
9. Put it in writing.
Don't expect a candidate to accept a position without seeing the heads of terms. Again, put yourself in their shoes.
10. It doesn't stop until they start.
After the candidate has accepted a position, you might think it's all done and dusted but there are still things that can go wrong. Particularly if the candidate has a long notice period, after the initial excitement of accepting the position the candidate can start to have niggling doubts. Your recruiter should stay in regular contact with the candidate until they start and support them through the difficult process of handing their notice in. A great way of building on your rapport with the candidate and ensuring they hit the ground running is to organise several meetings before they actually start. Take them out for a celebratory drink or lunch, introduce them to the team and tell them what they're going to be working on when they start. You should both feel excited about the future.