Recruitment, location and planning is essential to every industry, for instance if we consider the huge global success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, it is in part due to the excellent location and collaboration of the people in Northern Ireland. We have world class facilities as well as widespread creative talent and Northern Ireland is rapidly becoming the location of choice for international film companies such as Universal, BBC, C4, UTV and many others. Also Belfast’s Titanic Studios is one of the largest and most modern film and television production studios in Europe.
Northern Ireland presently has a record number of students at its universities and 9 out of 10 students are from Northern Ireland; we are therefore equipped with a wide range of graduates waiting to be recruited to commence their careers and contribute to the region’s economy.
What is Recruitment?
Recruitment is the process of having the right person, in the right place, at the right time. It is crucial to organisational performance. Recruitment is a critical activity, not just for the HR team but also for line managers who are increasingly involved in the selection process. All those involved in recruitment activities should be equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skills.
The importance of diversity should be taken into account at each stage of the recruitment process. Processes and systems should be regularly reviewed to ensure hidden bias is removed and to make certain talent is not being blocked from entering an organisation. Everyone taking part in activities such as short-listing and interviewing should be aware of relevant legislation.
At Premiere People we acknowledge that the recruitment process involves working through a series of stages:
- defining the role
- attracting applications
- managing the application and selection process
- making the appointment
The following sections give an overview of these steps.
Defining the role
At Premiere People we believe that before recruiting for a new or existing position, it is important to invest time in gathering information about the nature of the job. This means thinking not only about the content (such as the tasks) making up the job, but also the job’s purpose, the output required by the job holder and how it fits into an organisation’s structure. This analysis should form the basis of a job description and person specification/job profile.
The job analysis leads to writing a job description. This explains the job to the candidates, and helps the recruitment process by providing a clear guide to all involved about the requirements of the job.
It can also be used to communicate expectations about performance to employees and managers to help ensure effective performance in the job.
Person specification/job profile
A person specification or job profile states the necessary and desirable criteria for selection. Increasingly such specifications are based on a set of competencies identified as necessary for the performance of the job.
Competency frameworks may be substituted for job or person specifications but these should include an indication of roles and responsibilities.
The first stage is to generate interest from candidates and there is a range of ways of doing this.
It is important not to forget the internal talent pool when recruiting. Providing opportunities for development and career progression increases employee engagement and retention and supports succession planning.
Employee referral schemes
Some organisations operate an employee referral scheme. These schemes usually offer an incentive to existing employees to assist in the recruitment of family or friends. But employers should not rely on schemes such as these at the expense of attracting a diverse workforce.
There are many options available for generating interest from individuals outside the organisation. These include placing advertisements in trade press, newspapers, on commercial job boards and on the organisation’s website. Social networking sites are also increasingly being used as a big part of the recruitment process.
Technology is being used more and more to manage the application process; for example storing candidate details and generating responses to applications.
Advertisements, whether online or on paper, should be clear and indicate the:
- requirements of the job
- necessary, and the desirable, criteria for job applicants (to limit the number of inappropriate applications)
- nature of the organisation’s activities
- job location
- reward package
- job tenure (for example, contract length)
- details of how to apply.
External recruitment services – Premiere People Recruitment
Many organisations make use of external providers to assist with their recruitment. Widely known in the industry as recruitment agencies, like ourselves; at Premiere People we offer employers a range of services - attracting candidates, managing candidate responses, screening and short-listing, or running assessment centres on the employer’s behalf.
As a recruitment agency we realise how important it is that a recruitment agency develops a good understanding of an organisation and its requirements because it is the employers and agencies that are committed to a collaborative partnership that are more likely to achieve positive results.
Other ways to attract applications include building links with local colleges/universities, working with the job-centre and holding open days.
Managing the application and selection process
There are two main formats in which applications are likely to be received: the curriculum vitae (CV) or the application form. It is possible that these could be submitted either on paper or electronically.
Application forms allow for information to be presented in a consistent format, and therefore make it easier to collect information from job applicants in a systematic way and assess objectively the candidate’s suitability for the job. They should be appropriate to the level of the job.
Application form design and language is also important - a poorly designed application form can mean applications from some good candidates are overlooked, or that candidates are put off applying. For example, devoting lots of space to present employment disadvantages a candidate who is not currently working. Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, it may be necessary to offer application forms in different formats.
The advantage of CVs is that they give candidates the opportunity to sell themselves in their own way and don’t restrict the fitting of information into boxes which often happens on application forms. However, CVs make it possible for candidates to include lots of additional, irrelevant material which may make them harder to assess consistently.
Dealing with applications
All applications should be treated confidentially and circulated only to those individuals involved in the recruitment process.
All solicited applications (such as responses to advertisements) should also be acknowledged, and where possible, so should all unsolicited applications. Prompt acknowledgment is good practice and presents a positive image of the organisation.
The ‘candidate experience’
At Premiere People we understand that the recruitment process is not just about employers identifying suitable employees for the future, it’s also about candidates finding out more about the business, and considering whether a company is one where they would be suited.
The experience of candidates (both successful and unsuccessful) at each stage of the recruitment process will consequently impact their view of an organisation. This could be both from the perspective of a potential employee and, depending on the nature of the business, as a customer.
Selecting candidates involves two main processes: short-listing and assessing applicants to decide who should be offered a job.
Selection decisions should be made after using a range of tools appropriate to the time and resources available. Care should be taken to use techniques which are relevant to the job and the business objectives of an organisation. All tools used should be validated and constantly reviewed to ensure their fairness and reliability.
Making the offer
Before making an offer of employment, employers have complete responsibility for checking that applicants have the right to work in the UK and are appropriate for the work.
A recruitment policy should state clearly how references will be used, when in the recruitment process they will be taken up and what kind of references will be necessary (for example, from former employers). These rules should be applied consistently. Candidates should always be informed of the procedure for taking up references.
References are most frequently sought after the applicant has been given a ‘provisional offer’.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to ask candidates to complete a medical questionnaire before being offered a job. Only essential medical issues should be discussed at this stage.
However, any particular physical or medical requirement should be made clear in the job advertisement or other recruitment literature.
Employers should also take care before making selection decisions relating to a candidate’s mental or physical health. They need to think creatively and innovatively about where they can make reasonable adjustments, such as flexible working, where someone has a disability.
Offers of employment should always be made in writing. But it is important to be aware that a verbal offer of employment made in an interview is as legally binding as a letter to the candidate. Employers must also be aware of the legal requirements of and what information should be given in the written statement of particulars of employment.
Joining an organisation
Well-planned induction enables new employees to become fully operational quickly and should be integrated into the recruitment process.
The recruitment process should be documented accurately and access limited to recruitment staff. It is good practice to monitor applications and decisions to ensure that equality of opportunity is being allowed. Unsuccessful candidates should be notified promptly in writing and if possible given feedback. As a minimum, feedback on any psychometric test results should be given.