Establishing a hiring process

Hiring in an interview

Finding the right people for your organisation is a crucial strategic activity that has a direct impact on the success of your business. Establishing an effective hiring process is the key to attracting and retaining the best staff.

Key points

  • Draft a job description
  • Select the advertising medium
  • Shortlist candidates
  • Decide on the mix of selection tests
  • Check references
  • Make an offer of appointment
  • Induct the new employee

A suggested process for achieving this is as follows:

Decide on the job credentials

Draft a job description detailing title, salary, location and hours, reporting lines, role overview, functional responsibilities, competencies, deliverables, education, experience, skills and the person specification.

Select the advertising medium

Once the job description has been drafted and approved by all those involved in the hiring process, decide on the most appropriate and cost effective advertising medium.

Newspaper advertising continues to be a key method of finding new staff. Other options include:

  • Job centres/employment and careers offices
  • Adverts including regional, specialist and national press
  • Internet sites
  • Social media, such as LinkedIn
  • Employment agencies, recruitment consultants, head hunters
  • Colleges and schools
  • Internal staff notice boards
  • Local radio
  • Recruitment fairs/University milk round
  • Direct approach to employers
  • Personal contacts

Short-listing candidates

Once the applications or CVs have been collected and the closing date has passed a short-list of candidates will need to be compiled based on the applicants who most closely match your needs. The numbers of applications will vary according to the advertising medium chosen.

Make notes recording how the selection decision has been made. Having sound records in place will help if a claim of discrimination is placed. Candidates should also be informed of the decision. As a general rule, any solicited responses should be replied to. Selectors should focus on constructive and positive feedback.

Selection methods

Interviewing still continues to be the most popular method of selection. However, interviewing and testing can give better results.


Competency testing is a style of interviewing used to allow a candidate to demonstrate how they would behave in certain work situations. It is a way of probing a candidate’s key skills.

Interviewers should remember that the organisation requires the most suitable person, which may not always be the most skilled at being interviewed.


There are many types of ‘tests’ that can be used to help employers in the selection process these include:

Type of testingApplication
Attainment testsUsed to ascertain levels of mastery, knowledge and skills at a particular point in time
Aptitude testsMeasures intellectual capabilities for thinking and reasoning, particularly, logical and analytical reasoning abilities
Personality questionnairesDesigned to measure some form of personality characteristics such as emotional adjustment, social relations, attitudes and motivation
Work samplesA realistic work situation is presented and the candidate is tested on the methods they use to tackle the situation and how effectively they can ‘think on their feet’.

In any interview or selection test, employers must ensure that they treat candidates consistently and avoid any discriminatory questions.


Prior to any appointment, references should be sought or at least offers made subject to ‘satisfactory references’. Pre-coded questionnaires sent to referees are a good way of mitigating any discrimination and ascertaining the facts.

At this stage, the prospective employee’s eligibility to work should also be confirmed. It is a criminal offence to employ an individual who is not entitled to work or live in the UK. You can be sent to jail for 5 years and pay an unlimited fine if you’re found guilty of employing someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to work in the UK.


Once the offer has been accepted and the contract signed by both parties, the employee will need to be inducted into the business. An effective induction will assist the employee to settle in quickly, become familiar with business procedures and ensure productivity is more quickly reached.

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