Recruitment process checklist: General overview!

recruitment process checklist

Remember when you were a child, playing in the school yard with other children? You would play soccer or any other sport and picking friends with the best skills was the most important thing before you actually started playing. You knew that the ones with the most talent would bring your team to the goal with their performance. Your goal was to win. Now try and use that same principle and analogy on today’s companies and businesses. Each company or a business has an organizational goal which they naturally want to meet. In order for them to meet those goals, they want to attract the best talent into their team, or well, their organization. How can they do that? They have to have a strategic recruitment process in place which will secure the best candidates to their company.

This article will highlight how a basic recruitment process checklist looks like. We will talk about the very first step in which the stakeholders come to a decision to hire a new person all the way to the last step which would be signing the letter of intent and contract. 

We will break down the recruitment process checklist into five categories, discuss how they operate and what the end goal is. Most of the companies with developed human resource management have more or less the same system in place. Depending on the complexity of the organization and the number of stakeholders, the numbers on that checklist can be higher or lower. For now, we will break them like this:

  • Recruitment business plan
  • Talent sourcing strategies
  • Screening and shortlisting candidates
  • Interview phase
  • Employment offer and evaluation
Candidate Selection

Recruitment business plan

Before a company can dive into the search for their new employee, the stakeholders (usually HR Managers or Business Partners) have to decide whether hiring a new employee is in line with the organizational goals. They have to see if that action will be of any benefit to the company in the long run (the new agile HR trend is being the strategic partner to other stakeholders/C-level management). For that, they need a good recruitment business plan. Along with the organizational goals, they have to see if the remuneration and benefits, that would be offered, are in or within the budget. The hiring manager for the department in question also has to justify why there is a new vacancy in their team and what the new employee’s responsibilities would be on that vacancy. Once the decision is made and all parties are in agreement of taking such action, sourcing the talent can commence.

Talent sourcing strategies

One step closer to getting a new employee after the management has made a decision is a talent sourcing strategy. Before the hunt can begin, a Recruiter (HR department) has to thoroughly get to know the position and the hiring manager. It is a crucial element that the Recruiter can acquire all the knowledge he/she can in order to find the best fit, not only for the company, but the department itself. Once the Recruiter has all the information on the position and the department, the job description phase comes in place. Think of a job description as an ad you see on TV or a billboard. It will either attract you or not. But how do we make a functioning job description?

The job description is one of the core elements in talent sourcing strategies. The generic job description usually has couple of paragraphs which normally include the company’s info, main responsibilities and benefits. However, if we really want to attract specific profile for specific job vacancy, we have to adapt and edit it in the image they would find attractive and applicable to themselves (this is something we call Employer Branding and Candidate Experience but more on that in another article). When we have a good job description in place, we have to decide what sourcing channels we will use. Usually, those are job boards, social media, job fairs, career events etc. Much like the job description, a good Recruiter will pay attention to what kind of job vacancy is popular for any sourcing channel. For example, you will rarely find a salesperson on LinkedIn because the demographic on that particular social media channel is more in higher graded positions.

Speaking of LinkedIn, some organizations have specialized Recruiters called “headhunters” who source difficult potential candidates (think STEM positions, developers, programmers etc.). They sort of act like sales account managers and are more aggressive in terms of making an offer because of the candidate’s rarity on the market.

Screening and shortlisting candidates

Great, so we published a job ad to a channel which is good enough for our position. How long the job ad is active also depends on the difficulty of finding candidates for said position. Usually, if a company has a good reputation, a week is good enough. After the job ad ends, it’s time to screen the applicants’ resumes. Shortlisting a candidate depends on the criterion which was discussed with the hiring manager in the talent sourcing phase. Some hiring managers want the Recruiter to make the shortlist without their opinion while some want to shortlist them completely on their own. It all depends on the hiring manager’s character/managerial style. Once the Recruiter and hiring manager are in agreement on whom to invite for the initial interview, the first contact is made.

Screening and interview phase

Interview phase

We shortlisted the best candidates and now it’s time to set up the interview with them. Before the interview taking place, a good Recruiter will sit in a brief meeting with the hiring manager to review and identify the best interview strategy for the best possible candidate screen. Each hiring manager is different, some of them will want the Recruiter to take the lead, some of them will ask questions themselves right from the start and some like to work in conjunction with the Recruiter. Usually, it’s the last one that’s taking place and the most effective one. Recruiter usually asks typical HR questions such diving into their motivation, experience in general and identifying their character to see if they will be a cultural fit (yet another term we will speak about in a different article) while the hiring manager focuses on the technical, more specific questions about their experience. First round of interviews usually last between half an hour – hour, depending on the complexity and level of the position itself. 

The second round of interviews will feature only the best candidates deemed by both Recruiter and the hiring manager from the first round. The second round usually consists of some kind of assignment or presentation they have to work on in order to prove they’re the best. In very rare cases, there is a 3rd round as well, but only if there are too many candidates or the management can’t make up their mind on whom to hire.

Employment offer and evaluation

Sometimes this process can take weeks, if not months, but when we finally reach the decision on whom to hire, the hiring manager has to notify the HR Manager or the Business Partner (usually by email, stating operational data, such as contract type and salary). Either Business Partner or Recruiter contacts the candidate to provide them with the letter of intent. Letter of intent is a document which contains basic info such as the position name and the details on remuneration and benefits. The candidate has a short time to decide if he’s willing to accept the offer by signing the letter of intent. When the candidate accepts the offer and signs the contract, HR operations take over and the onboarding steps are taken (something we will discuss some other time).

Accepted offer

In layman’s terms, a company has to be very good at selling themselves to candidates and competition alike. It’s a never-ending battle in trying to make recruitment processes as effective as possible through variety of techniques and it’s only going to get worse with the new generations. Attracting talent remains one of the most difficult tasks for companies and it’s bound to stay that way for quite some time.

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