Hiring / Recruiting Best Practices

The best recruiting and hiring processes are effective, efficient and get good hires. How would you rank yours?

1. DISCOVER WORK NEED. The purpose of hiring should be to gain a resource to get work done. The best hiring starts with a full understanding of the work that needs to be done. If you don’t understand the work then how can you do a good job at hiring the right candidate?

Every position can be defined by the sum of tasks that it is responsible for, the environment it has to be performed in, and the availability of resources available to do the work. If the manager understands these variables, she or he will have a full understanding of the work to be done and will have a good framework for finding, recruiting and hiring good candidates.

Create a list of tasks needed to do the job. A good way to do this is to ask an incumbent to create the list and then add or subtract to that task list depending on the new work to be done. If you are managing a group of employees why not ask them to keep an updated running task and responsibility list. Such a list can be the basis for employee reviews and helpful when you need to re-task and manage your group.

Creating a task list and using it to understand the job will help you make better hires by providing a framework for evaluating every candidate you consider. By focusing on a candidate’s ability to do the work rather than on a candidate’s ability to win the job is an important step in making good hires. Find candidates they can do the work, will do the work, and it will be good employees.

2. CONTACT YOUR RECRUITER.  The first step for every hiring manager should be to contact a good recruiter. Most managers do not have the time or resources to perform the sourcing, screening, and recruiting activities required for making hires in key positions yet the results of the process is very important to them. Get with your recruiter and make sure they understand your needs and expectations.  A good recruiter should be able to present a short list of qualified and interested candidates within a reasonable period of time and guide you through the interviewing and hiring process to help make a good hire possible.

3. JOB POSTING AND CANDIDATE EVALUATION. Job posting is an important part of the recruitment process but not the only part. Ongoing professional networking, referral follow-ups, and direct recruiting efforts often result in better hires and should also contribute to the body of recruitment work. To build a positive employer brand in the marketplace, every candidate should be evaluated quickly, accurately, and with a professional touch. Doing so will make a long term recruitment process most effective.

The process of candidates applying for positions is a business transaction whether or not the candidate is ultimately hired. To build a positive employer brand these transactions have to be positive. As candidates apply they should be evaluated as a fit for the specific position plus as a fit for the organization as a whole.

Candidates should receive receipt of their application, some initial feedback including possible next steps. Possible fit candidates should be invited to an initial 15 minute interview with the recruiter who can evaluate them more fully. Early positive professional contact with candidates sets a positive professional tone to be amplified throughout the recruitment process.

4. INTERVIEW WITH MANAGERS.  The recruiter decides how to best distribute the talent across the organization. The candidate is distributed to the managers who may have interest in the talent but especially the manager who is seeking talent.

The managers should always communicate feedback to the recruiter to insure a constantly improving recruiting process. At the very least the manager should indicate his or her interest in interviewing and when that might take place. Some of the best candidates I’ve ever presented to managers had been passed over without much feedback. Fortunately I’d re-present the candidate to the same manager several times with my strong recommendations until an interview took place. The end result was often a good hire. Many candidates do as poor a job in writing resumes as managers do in reading them.  The recruiter’s ability to get to the heart of the candidate to understand their worth is often crucial for good hires.



20 minute initial phone interview.Time is of the essence when recruiting top candidates. An initial interview with a busy manager can be short and efficient and is valuable before a manager and department decide to invest in recruiting the candidate. OVERVIEW: Start by introducing yourself and talk about the work to be done and then asked the candidate how their background, experience and abilities could help them accomplish this work. Probe the answers to gauge depth of experience and capabilities. If mutual interest exists invite the candidate to a more detailed phone interview with the team or in for of face-to-face visit.

Face to face interview. The candidate has already had a good first impression of the organization through the initial interviews with the recruiter and the manager. The face-to-face interview should be coordinated to obtain the best information on the candidate’s ability to do the job and be a good employee. To make a good hire you must identify candidates that can do the work, will do the work and be a good employee.

5. DECIDE TO PURSUE OR NOT TO PURSUE.  Meet with others on the interview team to decide what to do next.

KEY POINTS: Do you think the candidate can do the job and add value to the organization? Having a list of the tasks for the job and notes about the ability and interest of the candidate will make this decision making more accurate. By focusing on a candidate’s  ability to do the work rather than on a candidate’s ability to win the job is an important step in making good hires. Your recruiter can help with the decision making process and should be contacted if you are on the fence.

If you decide the candidate is a good fit at this point, reference and background checks need to be done.

6. HIRING AND ONBOARDING.  Onboarding is an extension of recruiting. The candidate may need additional touches to help them work through their resignation process with their old job and a good start with the new job.  A good start to a new hire can set the tone for high performance and satisfied expectations from both the candidate and the manager.

Author: Rick Zabor

Engineer / Scientist / Researcher turned Recruiter in 1987. Interested in the best way to do things and mixing with people who have passions for life. Writes on topics important to building winning teams and personal growth and accomplishment. Connect with me on Linkedin. Lives in Atlanta, GA.