In recruitment honesty really is the best policy

In the second of a series of articles designed to help small businesses with their recruitment strategies and processes, Keeping HR Simple’s Katherine Connolly encourages business owners to tell it like it is.

High Hopes

We’ve probably all started a new job with high hopes and even higher expectations.  We thought we knew what was involved and what was expected of us in return.  We just knew it was going to be the job we’d always dreamed of.  Mostly we knew this because of the way the role was described to us, either in the job description, during the interview, or both.  Our nice new employers wouldn’t lie to us.  Would they?

Unfortunately, it is quite often the case that companies do lie to their prospective employees.  They probably don’t do it on purpose and they certainly don’t mean to mislead.  So why is it that so many people leave their “dream” job within the first six months?  Sometimes it can be due to performance issues or personality clashes but more often than not, it’s down to the fact that the job or the company just isn’t what they thought it was going to be.

Little white lies

I cannot stress enough how important it is to tell it like it is as far as prospective employees are concerned.  If you feel that person you’ve interviewed is just perfect for the position, make sure they think the position is perfect for them too.  Don’t be tempted to tell a little white lie because you think it will encourage them to come and work for you.  Not only will it get found out in the long run but you risk losing the perfect employee because you weren’t honest with them.  It’s far better to be honest and tell it like it is.  If this person really is the perfect candidate then chances are they will be prepared to compromise.

Analyse the job

As we saw last week, you need to be asking lots of questions before you start to recruit.  The first place to start is a job analysis.  This needn’t be a very complicated document but you do need to start by asking what tasks you want to be carried out by the person doing this role.  Rather than do this on your own, maybe you could do this as a brainstorming session?  Other people in the business may have different views on what this role needs to be responsible for and if you don’t ask, you’ll never know!

Be as detailed as you can when you’re listing all the tasks involved.  Once you’ve come up with the list, next you need to say why each one of these tasks is important to your business.  Why does it matter to your business that this task gets done, or what would happen within your business if it didn’t get done?  Next, you list the working relationships involved in each task – does the employee deal with customers for one particular task and also deal with a particular department within your company for another?  Finally, for each task you need to list the measures of success.  How do you know that employee is doing their job properly?  For example, if the role involves customer service and the task is to answer customer queries promptly and courteously, the measure of success might be that more customers give positive feedback on the service they received.

Changing views

Once you’ve done the job analysis, you may find that your view of the role has changed somewhat.  Perhaps it now involves tasks you hadn’t previously considered or perhaps you’ve realised that certain tasks just don’t fit within the role.  How much better is it for you and for the new employee that you’ve realised these things at this stage instead of discovering it half way through their probation period?

Job analysis

After the job analysis, you need to start writing the job description and the person specification.  The job description should cover all the details about the role, the key responsibilities and deliverables, the challenges, the progression opportunities, etc etc.  The person specification goes into details on the kind of person you need to do the role; their qualifications and experience, their personality traits.. that kind of thing.  It’s important to separate the requirements of the role itself from the qualifications and personality needed to do the role.

About the Author: Together with Katherine’s partner Jason, Katherine set up Keeping HR Simple which is both their company name and mission statement. Katherine is passionate about helping businesses to get policies and procedures in place which protect them and their employees. Katherine is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) with a particular area of interest and experience in recruitment.

Next week: taking the job analysis and turning it into a usable job description and person specification.

Can’t wait until next week and need some help now?  Contact us via our website – www.keepinghrsimple.co.uk .

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