The Human Resource: Recruitment guidance

Inclusive or Exclusive – That is the Question

Over the years and during many presentations, workshops, and trainings, I have been surprised to hear business owners speak about the recruitment process in a way that contradicts the core purpose of the activity. The comments often indicate that the goal of the interview process is to find the best candidate and hire them. I completely disagree with this mindset and belief.

My philosophy on the recruitment process is that it is not an inclusive process. It’s more accurately defined as an exclusive process.

Here is why. Certainly, the business goal is to hire the best candidate, but the recruitment process has two purposes. The first is to appropriately identify the target audience to build a diverse and well-qualified applicant pool. The second, and this is where the issue of perception lives, is to eliminate everyone in the applicant pool who fails to meet the minimum qualifications and ultimately elimination of anyone but the one individual you are going to offer the position to.

Therefore, the interview and selection process is one of exclusion, elimination until one remains. Imagine a giant funnel, and all the applicants are being dropped in the top, through your applicant tracking system, website, or other sources, and at each stage of the recruitment and interview process, you narrow down the pool of applicants. This is certainly not a process of inclusion, but exclusion.

Knowing this should help you think about your recruitment and selection practices with a different lens. It should motivate you to implement effective screening, interview, and testing protocols that maximize the effort and produce the greatest results. Identifying how to most effectively eliminate those that are not qualified at the earliest stage possible will save you time and money, and generate an overall improvement in the caliber and quality of hires.

Designing the Interview and Offer Process

Is there a right way to interview people? Is there consensus on the most effective tools or processes to achieve the greatest success? How do you make sure you are hiring great people? On method is to ensure the design of your interview process is aligned with the needs of your business and the specific position you are seeking to fill.

Here are some best practices to consider when designing the interview process. Leverage your subject matter experts only when necessary to determine specific skills and experience of the applicant. Implement stages of the process where a decision is made to reject or approve the applicant for the next stage of the process. Suggested stages are: (1) application review; (2) resume review; (3) phone screen; (4a) first round telephone interview; (4b) technical Interview; (5) second round face to face Interview, (6) hire recommendation; (7) approval and verbal offer; (8) formal offer letter.

The phone screen is about validating interest, availability, candidate expectations, and scheduling an actual first round interview. The telephone interview should be conducted by a human resource professional or a supervisor/manager with the goal of determining general experience, culture fit and workplace behaviors.

The technical interview, if appropriate for the type of role, should be done by a subject matter expert and include specific questions that require specialized knowledge that the subject matter expert can evaluate as meeting the requirements of the position.

The face-to-face interview is about having the hiring manager and potentially panel of internal stakeholders involved in evaluating the overall qualifications, competencies, and value proposition of the applicant to then make a hiring recommendation to the hiring authority of the company. All the steps in the process should be executed in a consistent manner, well documented, and aligned with the vacancy you are hiring for. Happy hiring.

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About Warren Cook

Warren S. Cook is a co-founder of SymbianceHR and leads all client-consulting engagements. He is a human capital strategy management subject matter expert with more than 20 years of experience as a strategic business partner, project manager, and people leader across private and public sectors organizations. Warren is responsible for all client-consulting engagements from initial needs assessment and compliance review through delivery of customized complex human capital strategy solutions that meet the client's business goals. He has a proven track record of providing executive coaching and guidance to business leaders and human resource professionals at all levels including the C-Suite of Fortune 100 companies. Warren combines his human capital, project management, and business management experience with a philosophy of solving business challenges through the strategic implementation of policies, processes, and procedures to deliver sustainable solutions that demonstrate ROI, mitigate and manage risk, and empower organizational success. Warren is the author of “Applicant Interview Preparation – Practical Coaching for Today” and holds a bachelor of science degree in human resource management, a master’s of business administration in project management, and a master’s of science degree in industrial and organizational psychology. He is also a SHRM Certified Professional.

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