Top Tips for successful recruitment part two

My aim in this the second of a three part series of articles is to give some bullet points and some practical guidance to help make your recruitment more successful.

In the first top tips for successful recruitment I looked at the advertisement itself and then how you shortlist. The next stage is the interview and offer stage. There is no point taking such care and attention getting the advertisement correct only to blow it when you meet with the candidates and attempt to make them an offer they can’t refuse.


  1. Give the candidate a chance – The interview should be a forum for the applicant to show you what they are capable of and their potential. Trying to trip people up and see how they “think on their feet” or deal with a ridiculous question like “if you were a fruit what fruit would you be” will only play into the hands of those either natural performers or seasoned interviewees (neither of which you necessarily want). I can recall a sales colleague of mine being given a pencil and asked how she would sell more; she snapped it in two and said ‘you need another pencil’. Clever and quick but what did that actually show about her ability to charm clients, the number of times she achieved sales person of the month or her ability to achieve targets? Exactly!
  2. Keep it uniform and consistent – Manage the interviewees expectations, let them know what to expect, have a structure and stick to it. How can you compare applicants if you have completely different conversations with each applicant?
  3. Don’t rely on gut instinct – Whilst your gut reaction will always play a part in recruiting don’t let it take over. Sure the old adage of ‘you make your mind up in the first 60 seconds and spend the rest of the interview justifying it’ has some truth to it; but you need to make sure you assess skills against the requirements of the job. It’s the halo and horns effect; don’t just recruit people you like, who went to the same university as you or have the same interests/sense of humour/taste in shoes.
  4. Sense check your questions & keep it legal – There will be lots of things you want to know about your prospective employee however you need to be careful as you don’t want to fall foul of asking anything that refers to any legally protected characteristics (Age, Nationality/Race, Martial/Civil status, Sexual orientation, Sex discrimination, Religious belief, Disability, Political affiliation, Trade union membership) No matter how much you want to! Your questions must be relevant to the job not someone’s personal circumstances. Use the questioning technique of ‘tell me a time when…’, or ‘how would you…’ to tease out the information you want. Often in the examples given, the interviewee will share some personal information anyway. That’s fine – it was their choice to share it, not you asking directly for it.
  5. Let them talk – We have all experienced an interview which has gone along the lines of the interviewer telling the applicant all about the job and the company then asking if they have any questions. How about “tell me what you know about the company” or “what is your understanding of the job” These are questions to ask to find out if they have researched the role and company and truly understand what they have applied for. You can then fill in the gaps. Likewise resist the temptation to just read out the applicants CV to them, “talk me through your experience so far” is a much better way to find out about them.

Job Offer

  1. Move fast – You’ve made up your mind so tell them as soon as possible. But if you haven’t don’t wait too long as in this more buoyant market the good ones get several offers and get snapped up very quickly. Make contact within a day or two maximum or risk losing them.
  2. Always call first – Make that call, share how excited you are they are joining your team and you can gauge how excited they are too.
  3. Follow it up in writing – Drop them the full details of the offer in an email or letter. This should include all elements of the offer: job title, base salary, benefits, holidays, potential start date, and who they will report to etc. Ask for evidence of their right to work too. I personally also make the offer subject to suitable references being received and a medical questionnaire being completed in a satisfactory manner. Then give them a deadline by which to reply and confirm acceptance. Three days to a week is normal.
  4. Don’t be a wall flower if you sense hesitancy – If you sense any reluctance don’t be shy. This isn’t being asked out on a date, this is a serious job offer. Find out what their concerns/worries are, ask questions (without being pushy). ‘I completely understand you want some time to consider it, but can I ask your initial reaction?’ is a good place to start. See if you can overcome any objections or provide additional information that will help them make up their mind and make acceptance more likely.


Easy isn’t it when you know how? So do you use agencies? Let me help you in my next article on whether to choose to use one, and if you do help with that decision making process.

For more help and advice about recruitment contact us at   or follow us on twitter @3domSolutions

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