Sourcing the right talent for your business is always challenging, but particularly so if you choose to handle recruitment in-house. Far better results can be achieved through working with a technical recruitment consultant, but for many organisations, taking that step is sometimes seen as a leap into the unknown, so they continue to struggle along in-house. In this article, we aim to demystify the recruitment and selection process, in order to show that working with a recruitment consultancy may well be one of the best decisions you make for your business in the long term.

Steps in the recruitment process

The very first steps are perhaps the most important part of the entire recruitment process. A hastily-prepared or poorly thought-out job specification will never produce the right results, and a scattergun approach to marketing the vacancy will lead to a lot of wasted time sifting through CVs from candidates who are either unqualified for the role or unlikely to be truly interested in the position.

Step 1: Job descriptions and person specifications

It pays dividends to spend time thoroughly understanding exactly what each vacancy is for. This means carrying out a rigorous job analysis to identify exactly where the recruit will fit in the organisation, what roles and responsibilities they will have, who they will report to and work alongside, and so on. From this analysis, a detailed job description and person specification can be put together and approved by key stakeholders within the organisation. As recruitment consultants, we often talk to potential candidates about why they are seeking a new position, and all too often they tell us that their current role wasn’t what they were expecting. That’s why this initial step is so crucial.

It’s important to prepare both a job description and a person specification at this stage, and to understand the difference between the two. A job description provides full details of the new role, including all responsibilities for the role, along with an explanation of the purpose of the role and a description of how the role fits into the wider organisation. In contrast, a person specification outlines in detail what the ideal candidate looks like, in terms of experience, professional qualifications and skills, including soft skills such as communication and team skills.

At Cartisian, our consultants all have years of experience in helping clients draft clear and effective job descriptions and person specifications. We know that this is the foundation on which successful recruitment is built, so we work hard to make sure we get it right. Over the years, we’ve worked with clients of all sizes and in industries as diverse as automotive, aerospace, general engineering, defence and software and electronics engineering. We understand the roles, the requirements and the career paths within our specialist sectors, and we produce some of the most engaging and attractive job descriptions and person specifications in the marketplace.

Step 2: Advertising vacancies

Once the job description and person specification are complete, it’s time to move onto the process of attracting candidates to apply for the vacancy. We list vacancies on all of the industry job boards, and we also make use of our extensive networks to connect directly with potential candidates. We keep in close contact with the candidates we meet, so we remain in tune with their individual career goals and aspirations. When a suitable vacancy comes along, our strong relationships with those candidates means that we can often generate a good number of leads directly.

At this stage, we will typically have preliminary conversations with candidates, often by phone, to explain the role in question and to learn a little about the candidates themselves. At this point, it’s not a pre-qualification exercise, but simply a way of getting to know the people behind the CVs, so that we can build the most informed picture possible.

If the role or the organisation requires an application form to be completed by candidates, we can also handle this. From despatching the application forms and fielding any candidate enquiries to receiving and collating the completed application forms, we can take it all on, freeing you, our client, to get on with running your business.

Steps in the selection process

Once the vacancy has been advertised and a good response has been received, it’s time to move to the next phase of the process – selection.

Step 1: Collation and review of application forms and CVs

Every application is now collated and reviewed, including both application forms and detailed CVs. We read all of them carefully, checking details, matching qualifications and experience against the job description, and looking beyond the surface to establish both credibility and suitability.

Where appropriate, we will contact candidates to discuss their application in more detail. There might be an unexplained gap in employment that needs to be justified, or perhaps the candidate has moved through a number of posts more quickly than you would typically expect. Maybe their length of service and professional qualifications suggest they should be in a more senior position than they currently are. All of these questions can be quickly and easily resolved at this stage by a simple phone chat. By taking time to pre-qualify and iron out any issues at this stage, we ensure that the next steps involve only the most suitable candidates, and that time isn’t wasted gleaning basic information from candidates further down the line.

Step 2: Creating a shortlist

From all of the many applications received, it’s now time to produce a shortlist of candidates for interview. A single vacancy can sometimes generate dozens, if not hundreds, of applications, and it’s inevitable that these applications need to be thinned out to a manageable number to take through to the interview stage. We take time and care to evaluate every single application carefully, putting through only the very strongest and most suitable candidates, in our professional opinion. By spending time on the shortlist process, we make sure that the interview process is as fast and smooth as possible.

Step 3: The Interview

Once the shortlist is produced, we move on to the interview stage, along with any tests that might need to be undertaken by candidates. Tests might be aptitude tests, psychometric evaluations, personality tests, or medical and physical ability tests. We can handle every part of the test process on behalf of our clients, including venue booking, test supervision, scoring, candidate feedback and results processing. We also arrange interviews, and can even be part of the interview team, if required. We make sure that every candidate is as well-prepared as possible for the interview, so that they can represent themselves effectively and get the most out of the interview process themselves.

We can also offer guidance to clients about how to interview candidates for the best results. When we talk to candidates about their job-hunting experiences, one of the things that comes up time and again is poor interviewing techniques. This works against both the candidate and the employer, so we work with our clients to ensure that anyone carrying out interviews for their organisation is clear on how to conduct a successful interview and how to get the most from the process. This is just one more way that we differentiate ourselves from our competitors. By ensuring a professional end-to-end process for recruitment and selection, we make sure we deliver the very best outcomes – it’s as simple as that, and our results speak for themselves.

If you are considering a new recruitment campaign, whether for permanent or interim staff, contact Cartisian Technical Recruitment today, to see how this campaign could be the start of a new and far more productive way of recruiting for your organisation. From single vacancies to entire teams, Cartisian can make a real difference, with benefits that stretch way behind the initial hire.