5 Steps Recruitment Plan for Small Businesses

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When you have a job opening, you want to make sure you find the right candidate for the job, and the one whose skills and knowledge will help your business grow.

While the interview may seem like the defining moment in choosing the right person, making the right choice actually starts long before the interview.

Successful recruitment depends on how you prepare and advertise your job opening, as well as how you select candidates. This way, at the time of the interview, you will only meet the best candidates who best match what you are looking for.

Here is a 5-step recruiting plan you can follow to improve your chances of finding the right candidate:

Step 1: Prepare an effective job description

Writing an effective job description is the first step to attracting the right candidates to your company. The more clearly you describe the requirements, duties, working conditions and benefits of the position, the less time you will waste reviewing and rejecting unsuitable candidates.

An effective job description should include the following elements:

Job title - Avoid using a title specific to your company and make sure it can be understood by everyone in your industry.
Information about your company - A few lines to explain your company and why a candidate might be interested in working for it (e.g., its mission, values, recent awards, etc.).
Job Description - Tell candidates what they will contribute by summarizing the most important tasks the successful candidate will be expected to perform. Be sure to highlight what makes the position unique and exciting.
Qualifications - Before writing this section, ask yourself and other key people in your company, "What type of person would be ideal for this position?" List the most important attributes and qualifications in order of priority.
How to apply - Clearly state what you would like to receive (e.g., resume, references, other relevant materials) and whether you would like candidates to apply in person or by mail, fax or email. If you do not want phone calls, make that clear. Include a closing date and time.

Step 2: Use the right recruitment tools

Once you have written your ad, you need to find the right way to promote it. Two factors will determine the best choice: your company's budget and the type of candidate you are looking for. Remember that using more than one tool increases your exposure.

It's important to track the results. (This can be as simple as asking people how they heard about your company). Over time, this will help you determine which recruitment tools work best for your business.

Here's a list of tools you can use to get the word out about your position and attract candidates:

Online Job Boards - Job boards are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reach job seekers. However, due to the sheer number of jobs available on these sites, it is important that you make your ad stand out from the crowd. General online job boards include sites such as Craigslist, Job Bank (Government of Canada), Indeed, Jobboom, Kijiji, Monster Canada and Workopolis.
Social Media - Social media sites like LinkedIn have become powerful tools for recruiters. Not only do these sites allow you to post jobs on your accounts, but they can also be used to identify and recruit candidates with specific skills.
Advertising - Advertising in traditional media can be effective if you choose a publication that targets the type of candidate you are looking for. Advertising in industry publications or trade group newsletters, for example, can pay off handsomely.
Placement agencies - Placement agencies can be expensive, but they can save you a lot of time by doing the advertising, screening, and reference checking, and sending you only those applications that meet your requirements. They can even handle the interviews.
Your website - If you receive enough traffic, your website can serve as a permanent recruitment tool. You can create a career section or post job openings on your homepage.
Word of mouth - Word of mouth, or simply telling your employees, friends and colleagues about a job opening, is a proven and often effective recruitment strategy. Some companies offer employees a finder's fee (usually less than the cost of an outside agency) if they recruit someone.

Step 3: Make an initial selection of candidates

Once you have received the resumes and made an initial selection of interesting candidates, the next step is to make an initial selection of candidates. The more careful you are at this stage, the less time you will waste at the interview stage.

Here are some ways to screen candidates before the interview:

Email or phone - Ask people for additional information to help you decide if you really want to interview them. You can also make sure they are actually interested in the position.
Standardized tests - Tests can help you find candidates whose skills, talents or values most closely match your ideal. Tests can assess cognitive skills, emotional intelligence, character, work preferences, etc. Tests must be administered and interpreted by external or internal certified specialists, and can be provided by specialized companies (who can also provide online testing). Service Canada offers an informative look at worker assessment tools.
Ask to see their portfolio - A preliminary review of candidates' previous work can be an excellent way to assess their abilities and fit with your company. Ask candidates to send you their portfolios to get an idea of what they can do.

Step 4: Interview the best candidates

The interview is an opportunity to confirm candidates' qualifications, determine if the position is a good fit, and see if they fit into your company's culture.

There are two types of interview questions commonly used:

Behavioral questions
This type of question predicts future behavior by asking about past behavior. They can help you assess a person's self-confidence, creativity and problem-solving skills.

Situational questions
These types of questions present the candidate with potential situations they may face on the job. This can help you assess the person's knowledge, skills and work methods. These questions usually begin with "What would you do if...? ?" or "How would you do X... ?".

Beware of questions about personal interests. They can sidetrack the interview or annoy people who want to keep their work life separate from their personal life.

To help you make your decision, you can create a point system or rubric to compare and rank interviewees' strengths and weaknesses.

Step 5: Offer the position

Once you have selected the most promising candidate, call him or her and offer the position. If necessary, give the candidate a few days to decide. Once they have confirmed, it is common to send an offer letter that reiterates in writing what was discussed on the phone.

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