• Someone is leaving the organisation and needs to be replaced
You need to make sure you do an exit interview to find out why they are
leaving. It might be because they need a new challenge, in which case the
insight might help you with other employees. Or it may be that they didn’t
feel the job had enough work, in which case you might not need to
replace them exactly but instead need to create a new role with other
responsibilities too, or can turn the role into a part-time one. Or is there
another member of staff also without enough work who can take on the
responsibilities of this role as well?
• A new project might need a specific skill set but does it need a new
member of staff, or can existing members be trained?
If a new member of staff is brought in, is this permanent or could it be a
short-term contract? Are you certain no-one else in the organisation can
currently do the role? Many people may be willing for an opportunity to
showcase their skills.
• When a colleague is promoted this is a good opportunity to
continue promoting internally if you can
Is there someone who can step up to the new role and learn
more while doing it? If not then you should look at succession
planning for the future too, making sure that when someone
else moves up, there are people able to take the position.
• A member of staff moving to another department is also an
For example, you may not need to advertise externally if
there is another member of the organisation internally who
would like to move teams.
I. Recruitment need analysis
II. Job advert created
III. Internal candidates considered
IV. External ad placement decided
V. Reviewing of applicants (CV reviewing for example)
VI. Invitation to interview
VIII. Review of interviews
IX. Invitation to second interview
X. Feedback to applicants
XI. Second interview
XII. Job offer
XIII. Unsuccessful applicants
XIV. Acceptance of offer
XV. Setting up of first day
XVI. Check-in at end of probation period
Writing a job description
• When you’re looking for the best candidates to join your
organisation it is important that the job description created for the
position is accurate and gives a good description of the role and the
activities it involves.
• Often HR will rely on the manager of a team to give them the
information for the job description, or may ask the manager to
write it themselves in the first case, or perhaps the manager may
ask HR for help, but HR should always check that the description
complies with local employment law legislation and is thorough
enough to help an applicant decide whether they would like to
Top tips for writing a job description
• Keep it simple and avoid being too prescriptive as this might put some
• Seek input from your HR colleagues or other managers and stakeholders
in your company.
• Make sure the job description is clear about accountabilities for the role.
• Be clear on the skills you need.
• Think about how other similar roles are positioned within the company.
Recruiting fairly – avoiding bias
• When recruiting to fill a particular position it can be too easy to have in your
mind a picture of the kind person you think would be best.
• This is one way in which bias can occur during the recruitment process, where a
manager may find they are looking for someone to fit their idea of who the ideal
candidate is, rather than taking each candidate on their own merits.
• This can also lead to a lack of diversity in a workplace, where candidates are not
recruited due to not being thought of as “fitting” with the organisation, rather
than their ability to successfully do the role. This practice is not only an unfair
recruitment process for candidates and in some cases could be illegal, but it also
creates damaging situations for organisations.
• For example, an organisation lacking in age, gender or ethnic diversity is unlikely
to reflect or fully understand its customers. Similarly, there is likely to be a lack of
different viewpoints in decision making and innovation if the majority of
employees come from similar backgrounds with similar life experiences and are
likely to agree with each other. Sometimes this bias is conscious, where the
people responsible for hiring look for a specific candidate profile, or are in some
other way deliberately exclusive. However, these biases need not always be
conscious in order to have an effect on the way in which we recruit people.
• Affinity bias:
This can lead people to prefer someone who is just like themselves or someone that they know.
This is because they immediately feel comfortable with that person, and may rate them as better
by making assumptions about their ability and performance just because of some other
characteristics they have.
• Endowment effect:
This is where someone hiring may value the skills of existing staff so highly they undervalue the
skills someone can bring to an organisation that may be different. For example, if you are hiring a
computer coder and have a team very good at coding one specific language, you may overlook a
candidate who has many other skills of benefit to your organisation but who is weaker in that
specific skill, even though it may be less critical and can be developed.
• Confirmation bias:
This is when someone thinks something about a candidate then looks for information to confirm
what they think rather than looking at everything objectively.
• Halo effect:
This occurs when a recruiter allows one piece of information to affect how they judge everything
else they hear about a person. For example, they may hear that a candidate has one skill they really
need, and this then means they overlook other aspects of their skills, work experience or attitude
which might otherwise rule them out.
Structuring interviews to avoid bias
• The way an interview is structured can go some way to
avoiding bias and to helping ensure that the recruitment
process is fair. A structured interview also makes the process
more likely to help predict the future performance of a
• It is important throughout to remember that the purpose of
the interview isn’t to catch the candidate out or see if they
will fail, but to give them the best opportunity possible to
demonstrate why they are right for the role, so an informed,
fair and balanced decision can be made.
Ways in which this can be achieved
include HR helping the hiring team
• Ensure the interview is structured - Prepare a list of questions in
advance and follow the same format for each person you interview.
This means every candidate is asked the same questions, can be
scored on the same areas and has the same opportunity to
demonstrate their ability
• Make sure questions are relevant, and that there’s the right mix of
questions related to the job, to their experience, to how they might
approach challenges in this particular role, and which allow the
candidate to describe situations where they have applied the skills
or behaviours needed in the past
• Focus on gathering information - The interview is not a decision
making process, but gives the information needed to make the
Writing a Job Advert
How to write an effective and fair job advert:
• When looking for new people to join an organisation HR have
a responsibility to ensure the hiring avoids discriminating
against all employees and potential job applicants.
• Aside from the fact that discriminating is the wrong thing to
do and is bad for people, organisations and societies, each
country will have its own laws governing how employers must
avoid such discrimination, including what can and cannot be
put into a job description or a person specification.
Top tips for advertising a role
• Overselling or underselling: Avoid adverts promoting the best parts of the
role too heavily or alternatively focusing too much on the detail. The
candidate needs to get a clear picture of the role and misinformation
during recruitment can lead to dissatisfaction if the job turns out to be
different from expected.
• Vague terminology: The easier it is to understand the job, the more likely
you are to receive suitable applications. Make sure your description of
duties is clear and avoid terms such as ‘hard working’ or ‘lively’ as these
can be interpreted differently.
• Qualifications: Ensure that the qualifications asked for are relevant and at
an appropriate level for the job.
• Acronyms and jargon: Acronyms and technical terminology can be
confusing and can exclude candidates from outside the organisation or
sector. Avoid using them or make sure you explain what they mean.
• Immeasurable criteria: A manager needs to be able to judge whether
criteria have been met, so they need to be measurable. For example ‘a
good sense of humour’ could seem fine but how will you measure it?
What’s funny to one person may not be to another.
• There are several different reasons why people may leave an
organisation, for example, they may have found employment
elsewhere, they may be retiring, or stopping work for another
reason, or, it might be that they are being asked to leave when they
do not wish to do so, such as dismissal or redundancy.
• Organisations will need to be aware of turnover rates – that is, how
many people leave their organisation and how frequently – and
how these affect the organisation’s performance and ability to
achieve its goals, in addition to the cost of recruitment and
• If the organisation is large, identifying areas with high turnover can
help influence recruitment strategy, and also highlight other
challenges which need to be addressed through tools such as
confidential exit surveys.
Elements to be considered as part of a retention strategy
• Job previews – This is about giving realistic expectations to people joining
and not overselling and minimising parts of the job, just the same as when
writing a job description.
• Career development and progression – Create opportunities for
employees to develop skills and move on in their careers. Understand their
expectations too, and if promotion isn’t possible are there sideways moves
or new skills they can develop to keep their work interesting?
• Consult employees – Ensure that employees have a ‘voice’ through
consultative bodies, regular appraisals, attitude surveys and grievance
• Be flexible – Wherever possible, allow flexibility on working hours and
times. It’s also important to monitor workload and ensure it is manageable
within working hours
• Avoid a culture of ‘presenteeism’ – Where people feel obliged to work
longer hours than are necessary to impress management.
• Treat people fairly – a perception of unfairness, whatever the
management view of the issue, is a major cause of voluntary resignations.
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