I need someone in that chair tomorrow! That’s every hiring manager’s demand, but it’s a dangerous one. Rushed recruiting brings bad hires, lost productivity, bad morale, and expensive lawsuits.
Here’s what you must do before you jump into active recruiting:
1. Learn federal and state laws and regulations.
The hiring process is rife with lawsuit traps. If you don’t know the tricky antidiscrimination laws that apply to the hiring process, your most innocent comments—even if intended to put an applicant at ease—could form the basis for an expensive lawsuit. Particularly important are guidelines for what types of questions are appropriate and what types must be avoided, and protocols for recruiting people with disabilities.
2. Study your organization’s rules and policies.
If you act without reviewing company rules and policies, it’s easy to be inconsistent (which is always dangerous) or to overstep your bounds by making commitments that you can’t live up to (for example, by flying a person 2,000 miles for an interview, only to learn that relocation isn’t authorized).
Familiarize yourself with the following areas:
- Job posting and internal search requirements
- Union agreements and rules
- Application form and résumé management policies
- Equal opportunity obligations and policies
- Relocation policies
- Salary, compensation, and benefits policies
- Recruiting budget
- Reference and background checks policy
3. Clarify your role.
Each employer has its own way of running the recruiting process. Some are highly centralized, with the HR department doing most of the work. Others, especially in this era of leaner management, have decentralized recruiting, putting the burden on the shoulders of the hiring manager.
Ask these questions:
- Whose budget pays recruiting costs?
- Who contacts job boards, search firms, and employment agencies?
- Who posts job availability?
- Who does résumé screening, phone screening, and testing?
- Who arranges for and conducts interviews?
- Who extends formal offers of employment?
- Who makes and maintains records?
4. Verify the job opening.
Before investing time and money in interviews, make sure that the job opening is “real.” If your organization has a formal process for approving an opening for hire, make sure that all appropriate forms are signed and that authorizations are obtained.
If your organization is less formal, at least send a confirming memo to involved parties, outlining your plan.
5. Identify controls or constraints.
There can be any number of constraints on your hiring. You’ll just waste time if you set off without knowing what they are. Ask these questions:
- Who else needs to interview or meet with final candidates?
- What authority do you have to set salary?
- Who needs to approve your final choice for hire?
- How much of a hurry are you in?
- Do you have authority to relocate?
- What is the budget for job board, search firm, or employment agency fees?
6. Picture the perfect candidate.
It sounds silly, but the biggest mistake in hiring is starting the recruiting process before you know what you are looking for. When there’s no clear picture of the ideal candidate, you don’t know what questions to ask, what answers to listen for, and how to evaluate candidates.
You’re also not going to attract the best candidates because they’ll sense your fuzzy thinking, and that’s a turn-off. Furthermore, vague requirements mean you won’t get poor candidates to self-select out of the process.
Don’t rely on a job description; do a little digging:
- What characteristics have helped others excel at this job?
- What aspects of this job have caused others to fail?
- What aspects have caused the manager the most heartache?
- What failure in performance would get the person in this job fired?
- In what areas did past jobholders need the most improvement?
In tomorrow’s Advisor, four more steps before you begin recruiting.