Peruse the job section on any regional newspaper and you will notice an abundance of recruitment companies offering their services to local employers.
In fact, over the past decade the recruitment industry seems to have leapt into hyperdrive because employers find the process of recruiting the right staff onerous, fraught with risks and costly.
Has the role changed?
This is also vital. You have an opportunity now to review this role — has it or should it evolve to include new tasks and skills? An amicable "exit interview" can help establish these details.
What do you want from this role as your organisation changes, and what skills and training do you require? These might differ greatly from those of the last person in the post so do not automatically employ like for like.
Create a solid, detailed job description
Assuming the vacant role is vital to the success of your organisation and there is no suitable internal candidate, you will of course need to recruit.
Even if you use an agency, you will need a detailed and accurate job description, and the very act of doing this will help you clarify who you are looking for.
Create a profile of your ideal person
A "personnel specification" is a document that lists the essential skills, attributes and experience that you ideally require to fit into the role. The key word here is "ideal" because rarely do you get the full Monty arriving at your door.
All about you
Having produced a job description and personnel specification, you should also produce a brief biography of your company.
This helps you to take stock of where you are, but also allows applicants to decide whether they might want to work for you. Do not make it too detailed, however — give links encouraging applicants to research your company.
Advertising can be costly and if you are not using an agency it is crucial to get it right. To attract quality candidates you have to sell the idea of them working for you, and clearly portray the benefits and opportunities.
But do not exaggerate or over-promise. Disillusioned staff are demotivated and destructive.
Filter the wheat from the chaff
So, hopefully you are getting enough responses. Suggesting that people can phone for a chat if interested is a good first step because many candidates self-select themselves out of the process.
You then need to cross reference remaining applications against the personnel specification and disregard any who do not meet your key criteria.
Interview your chosen few
It is wise to inform those not selected for interview as well as those who are. It shows respect and as a PR exercise alone it is good practice for your company. The same applies for those interviewed but not appointed.
The interview itself needs to be well thought out. Who will be on the interview panel? What questions will you ask? Will you ask the candidates to give a short presentation, with or without advance notice?
Appoint, contract, induct
Having chosen the most suitable candidate, offer them the post subject to references, and then start filling in those forms.
Agree their remuneration package, formalise the employment contract and then plan the induction process — more about this the next feature.
All of this may look like a rather convoluted process, but remember that your staff are your greatest asset. A robust selection and recruitment process will ensure that you get the best people for the job and avoid every employer’s worst nightmare — getting rid of the wrong ones.