Finding the Right Staff

By Ian Wakefield - ISRM Business Development Manager

Though I am not a human resources (HR) professional, I have put together this guidance based on personal experience and through talking to others in the industry. Also in my role as business development manager, I have received a lot of feedback from advertisers with the ISRM appointments service. It should be said, however, that if you have any detailed or specific recruitment-related issue, you should always seek the advice of an HR professional.

Job analysis

Before you advertise your job, be sure you know exactly what you require of this position. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What is the overall purpose of the job?
  • What accountabilities does the role have?
  • What will be the performance criteria for the role? How will the person know if they have done well or not? Make sure these criteria are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) and
  • What responsibilities will the role carry?

Also consider organisational, motivating, developmental and environmental factors.

Job description

When you have completed a job analysis you will be in a position to put together a job description.

The key components of a job are as follows:

  • Job Title
  • Overall Purpose
  • Reporting relationships
  • Principal accountabilities
  • Tasks or duties

Personnel specification

Now you have decided exactly what you want from the position you are ready to decide what qualities the person you want to carry out this role should have.  The following table shows a simplified way in which this could be done:

Qualities Essential Desirable
Qualifications Eg. PPO ISRM certificate (RMC) + PPO
Knowledge  Some experience in Plant Rooms Confident in Plant Rooms
Experience 3 years Supervisory 1 year Duty Management
Personal Qualities Committed Ambitious and committed
Special Requirements Happy to work shifts Happy to work shifts Is flexible with working patterns

Market comparison

You know exactly who and what you are looking for, but how do you make sure you attract the right people? You should consider the the following:

  • Did you complete an exit interview with the previous position holder?
  • What were the reasons for this person leaving?
  • Were the reasons genuine?
  • Could these reasons affect your ability to attract the next candidate?
  • Make a comparison between other organisations and their pay structures (HR managers are usually keen to participate in these type of surveys)
  • Are the benefits of working for your organisation comparable to other organisations?
  • Why should they work for you?
  • What are your USP's?

The advertisement

Advertising is like an investment - you want a return on your advert. Where should you advertise? When should you advertise? (eg Christmas is a very bad time for recruiting). Compare carefully the type of person you want to attract with the profile of the readers of the advertising medium you are considering. Which mediums worked well for you in the past? Where are other organisations advertising? Keep a careful track of responses for future reference.

You have now decided where and when to advertise. It is now important you get the details of the advert right. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Positioning of the ad: best places are, front or back pages, central, facing page eg page three
  • Try to advertise with someone that has a web-link too. This is now becoming the most popular medium for job searching
  • Ensure your organisational logo is prominent
  • Include a good eye-catching reason why someone would want to work for you
  • Include details of the position, i.e. job title, nature and responsibilities of the job, qualifications needed, experience required, salary, benefits and promotional opportunities and the closing date (this is important but can be flexible if necessary)
  • Include how you would like them to apply, to whom and by when

Application form or CV?

This is as much down to personal preference as anything else, and each method has its advantages and disadvantages.

Application forms are much easier to compare, ensure you get correct and sufficient information, allow you to ask legal questions and statements, may inhibit style of candidate, allow less room for embellishment, and can be time consuming for the candidate.

A CV allows more freedom and the candidate can display more style, and is much quicker for the candidate to complete (higher take-up), but is more difficult to compare and may allow for embellishment.

Sorting applications

The first stage of the selection process is to sort the applications, usually into three groups (with the assistance of your person specification): those who appear to be clearly suitable; those who could possibly be suitable; and those who are clearly unsuitable.

The shortlist

All interview candidates must meet the essential criteria of the personnel specification. All candidates should demonstrate from their application form that they have the potential to perform the tasks, as written in the job description. References can be taken up at any stage of the process with the candidate's approval. This is a highly underrated process. Learn to read between the lines for references, but remember, at one time or another we have all had a personality clash.

The interview

I would recommend asking candidates to undertake a work-related task or ask them to prepare a presentation prior to the interview.

  • See them in situ " if it's a lifeguard, see them swim; if it's a gym instructor, see them instruct
  • Prepare interview questions relevant to the position
  • Interview with a colleague where possible, particularly on second interviews
  • Take notes
  • Use a scoring sheet for answers, ensuring you cover all key areas and qualities. If done correctly, the highest scoring candidate should get the job
  • Try and be consistent by asking all interviewees the same questions. This allows for easier comparison, also avoids discrimination claims
  • Probe candidates
  • Use 'silence' if appropriate. This can often force a candidate to open up
  • Get them to relax. This will often be much more productive
  • Ask behavioural questions such as 'give me an example of when you last took the initiative and introduced yourself to someone'. This ensures they meet your criteria. Quite often, when asking 'what if' questions, you will find that candidates candidates have pre-rehearsed answers, they think you want to hear. By asking them for examples from their life, they are much more likely to give an answer that allows you to judge if they have the qualities you are looking for
  • Always begin the interview by explaining about your organisation and the position. Finish by asking them if they have any questions or feedback.

Complying with legislation

When recruiting you should ensure you comply with the following legislation:

  • Equal Pay Act 1970
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975
  • Race Relations Act 1976
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Race Relations Amendment Act 2000
  • Employment Act 2002
  • Race Relations Amendment Act 2003
  • Religion or Belief Regulations 2003
  • Sexual Orientation Regulations 2003
  • Age Discrimination Legislation 2006

Finally, do not make assumptions about people and their eligibility to work. Ask all candidates about this. Before appointing a person to the job, you will need to check their eligibility to work in this country under the Asylum and Immigration Act (1996).

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