A Manager’s Guide To Recruitment

A Manager's Guide To Recruitment

In the current economic climate you might think that finding people to fill vacancies is easy. But whilst you may get hundreds of applicants, ensuring that you get the right people – especially for executive roles – can still be a problem. If you’re looking for new staff then here are some essential tips to help ensure it’s a painless process.

The Job Description

Your recruitment process starts before you even advertise. Writing an accurate job description ensures firstly that you identify what you need from the role and secondly that potential candidates clearly understand what they’re applying for.

You’re unlikely to find a perfect candidate for any job so you need to be realistic. Take some time to decide which aspects of the job are ‘needs’ and which are merely ‘wants’. This will help you identify the core skills such as communication and teamwork that you require in any candidate.

Once you start to receive applications you may be tempted to deviate from your requirements based on what the applicants have to offer. Try not to get away from the skills you’ve defined as essential, but do take some time to review your requirements based on the quality of people who apply.

It may help to have candidates fill in a standardised application form so that they can demonstrate how they’re suited to the role, rather than rely on CV’s. If you do ask for CV’s, check to see if the applicant has taken the time to tailor their document to the job on offer.

Recruitment Specialists

It’s always worth talking to a specialist in executive recruitment who can advise you on the best ways to get well suited candidates applying. Not only will they have an existing pool of candidates looking for work, but they will also have an understanding of the market. A specialist will be able to help you refine your needs in the light of what the market and other companies are doing. They will also be useful in helping you understand what the current salary and benefits expectations are likely to be.

The Interview Process

Use a standardised approach for all candidates. If you’re using a recruitment agency they may be able to do an initial screen for you. Otherwise you can start with short telephone interviews. These will tell you if the applicants are professional and able to express themselves in a clear, concise way.

You can then move on to a first interview. It’s usually best to keep things informal at this stage with just one or two interviewers. Do have a standard list of questions for all the candidates though and ask competency based questions to determine how they’ve performed in their current role and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

A second interview can be more formal and with a larger panel. This will help you to see how well the applicants perform under pressure. You might also want to include a test relevant to the role, such as asking sales people to perform a presentation for example.

Before Appointment

Before you appoint someone to a role you should always perform necessary background checks and take up references. You may want to do this prior to the second interview so that you have the information at hand. Always look for two references, one of which should be the current or most recent employer. In some cases candidates will ask that you don’t contact their existing employer unless they’ve been offered the job and you need to respect this.


Bill Jobs is a writer who understands that recruiting candidates, especially for an executive role, can be tough. If you are looking for advice on how to go about executive recruitment, South Africa experts can guide you through the process of recruitment to ensure that you pick the right candidate.