Is the HR Outsourcing value effective for recruiting?


So, you are performing the HR function of searching for the right person to fill the vacant position in your business. You are feeling the competing pressures of getting it right, and getting someone quick enough. You want to get it right so you can avoid the pain of termination, the pain of investing hours of training only to have the new employee depart, and the pain of non performance in a crucial role for your business. You are a small business which means no extra padding and this means you are currently working insane hours filling the gap created by your departing employee. You are hoping that you will get a great applicant list and find the right one to work for the right price, for the right hours, that wants to stay long term, is really interested in the role and thinks the business is great. Familiar scenario?

With so many recruitment companies out there sprooking for your business wouldn't it be great to know what they do to get such great results. Well, they don't always get the best results, but they do have some strategies that they follow to maximise their chance of success. With a structured approach to HR you are more likely to identify the right people quickly. If you end up with a poor quality pool, there are tricks and tips for that as well.

Attracting the right applicant
You can't attract the exact right person for the role unless you have a really well defined role in mind. That doesn't mean that the position won't change according to the skills of the people you interview, but it does mean that you get a visual on what this person would be doing if they were performing well in the role and contributing to business success. We always start with a position description (PD). If the client doesn't have one, we create it for them and together we get something really solid.

Once you have a PD, you need to advertise as a marketer. Think about why people would want to work for you. What do your current staff say about working there? What type of personality do they need? What is the selection criteria ? What hours of work, location and environment they will be working in? Think of selling your business to the people before they make it to interview. Write some values about your business.

Poor grammar, spelling mistakes, not sending in a cover letter when you have asked for one, are all taboos. We don't even look past page one if we encounter any of these and especially if 'attention to detail' is listed in the selection criteria. If applicants don't value your precious time at application time and put in that extra bit of work to give you what you have asked for, then why would they after employment?

You need to work out what your key criteria are for selection and then call those that match.

When you call, ask if they have a spare 10 minutes, as you want to ask them some questions. Ask about 5 key questions that will give you some idea of the person, just remember they may have applied for many jobs so you should start by reminding them about the position on offer. If they are out and it's noisy, arrange to call them back at a more suitable time. This will save you time in the long run as you will only formally interview those that are a great match and you've established a connection in the shortlist phone call.

While conducting the call, make notes. At the end of the call tell them "we are just shortlisting at the moment and will be back in touch if we are going to organise a formal interview". This means you don't have to get back to them if you don't want to interview them and you won't receive endless calls from eager applicants wanting an update. If you find a great applicant, arrange an interview for as soon as possible. Waiting to get three fabulous applicants can mean risking loosing one great one. Afterall you are employing one person for one role and interviewing just one is ok. If you don't think they are super great at interview then make sure you get the rest in. If they are fabulous then you should offer them the job.

Formal Interview
Your interview questions should be behavioural ie. 'Tell us about a time when....'. I have commonly been told by clients that they would hate to have to answer some of the questions on my list. They are really thought provoking and provide insight into the person's personality, values and style of working. You don't need to apologise for this. After all it is in the best interest of both parties that there is a good fit between employer and employee.


Usually at interview you will get the intuitive feeling that they are right for the job or not. Don't try and convince yourself that the person is right - if you are doing this, then they are definitely not right. Someone better will come along. The time you need to invest in training to get them up to speed is enormous, try not to make a square peg fit a round hole out of desperation to stop working those insane hours. Don’t ask the forbidden questions about pregnancy, children, marital status, disabilities etc as you might be taken for discrimination. Try to ask the same set of questions of all applicants and keep them on record so you can prove that you didn't discriminate in case this does happen.

Do check references and ask the referee three key questions 1) would they reemploy the person? 2) Everyone has weaknesses, what would they say it was for this person? 3) What was their relationship to the employee? (in case they are related or they were a colleague and not a manager). Not that this matters but it might provide some more information for you or help you better understand their responses. One or two referees should be sufficient.

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Is HR outsourcing for recruitment a viable solution for small business?
You will need to invest to get recruitment right and will need to invest a significant amount of time to get it right even with a HR department. Outsourcing your recruitment can make a lot of financial sense. The above steps take time and they are improved each time you undertake the task. Recruitment people do this every day and become very proficient at it.


You would need to do a lot of employing to really hone your skills. From an HR perspective, we are always looking for employees that will deliver the best result for our clients. We often manage their complete HR department and if the new employee is going to create performance issues, it will come back to bite us. We have a vested interest on many levels on getting it right.

The time it takes to get the right person is an investment in your company's future. If people are your business then you need to make sure that every new recruit is going to add value to your organisation, deliver on objectives and keep your internal and external clients satisfied.


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