Taking the time to plan before getting the recruitment exercise underway will make the whole process more efficient for both the recruiter and the candidates. It's important to establish realistic timeframes and plan each stage of the recruitment process.
If this is the first time you will fill this position, take some time to identify what your department requires from the role. If you are replacing a departing staff member, consider the present arrangements to ensure they are still meeting the needs of the department.
A few things to consider:
- Why was the position established?
- What need does the position fulfil?
- Are the same skills required to meet future needs?
- What are the key responsibilities?
- What are the key knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be successful?
- How will the person be supervised?
- Are there responsibilities for supervising others?
- Who will the person interact with and what are their expectations of this position?
- What are the hours of work - are there options for flexibility?
- Is this a permanent or fixed-term position?
- Are there any legal requirements relevant to this position?
Writing a job description
The next step of your planning is to develop a job description/information statement which describes the position, the hours of employment, and the profile of the ideal candidate. A job description is an extension of your job advertisement, and a candidate will use it to decide whether they are suitable for the role, and whether they are interested in working in that role.
For general staff, new or significantly changed job descriptions will be required to go through the job evaluation process.
You are more likely to find the best candidate if you, the selection panel, and the candidates have a clear understanding of the role, and the personal attributes, skills and knowledge required for success.
Once you have defined the role, you have a framework for robust recruiting. It can help you:
- Clearly identify the profile of the type of candidate you want to hire. Understanding the profile of your ideal candidate will help you determine how best to find and attract them.
- Identify appropriate members for the selection panel.
- Determine the selection criteria.
- Plan how to assess whether candidates meet each of the selection criteria.
The recruitment team can help you identify the best way of finding candidates for your vacancy. During the planning stage, the things to think about in regard to sourcing and advertising are:
- Where are your ideal candidates likely to be? If you are seeking to attract international candidates, the process will take longer.
- What is your availability to deal with candidate enquiries?
- What publications and websites are your ideal candidates likely to read? What professional bodies and networks do they belong to? (The mechanisms you use to publicise your vacancy will affect the timeframes. For example, if the vacancy is to be advertised in a printed professional journal, the publication date will need to be factored into your planning).
- What is your budget for advertising?
- Who needs to approve your advertisement and what is their availability?
- What are the advertising deadlines?
- Would a recruitment agency add value?
The selection panel are the people with the knowledge to assess the suitability of candidates. The manager will identify people with the appropriate skills mix to ensure a thorough selection process.
Typically the selection panel will be involved in short listing, interviewing and deciding which candidates are suitable for appointment.
There are a variety of factors which influence the timeframe of the interview process. It is likely to run more smoothly if anticipated short listing and interview dates are confirmed during the planning phase.
- Will you simply be interviewing candidates or is a more comprehensive programme appropriate?
- When are you aiming to brief the panel and short list?
- When are you aiming to hold interviews?
- Do you know the availability of the selection panel?
- How much notice will candidates require?
- Do you have an appropriate interview venue?
- Have you organised administrative support?
- Who needs to approve your recommendations and what is their availability?
If timeframes are tight, consider using video conferencing for interviewing.
Is there any additional information that would be useful to short listed candidates, for example the department’s strategic plan, or information from a research contract?
Your preferred candidate’s availability to commence employment will also affect timeframes. This can be affected by their current notice period, whether they have to relocate or apply for permission to work in New Zealand.
You will also need to consider budget and costs for the position and the recruitment process.