Recruitment and the Hire stage of HR

Recruitment is one of the oldest roles in business since the dawn of time.  So how does modern technology and tools help optimise and enhance the process?

Looking at each of the separate steps within just the Hire stage alone, this article suggests some tools which could help refine your business approach to recruitment.

Business solutions should change to fit your needs, not you having to change your business to fit the software’s needs.

Big business with many staff will be very comfortable and familiar with these concepts but for the rest of industry a quick reminder checklist doesn’t hurt.


By discussing how technology can help in every aspect of the HR process, it highlights what might be out there to help you now.

  • The stages of the process
  • Boxing clever
  • Making the most of outside help


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The stages of the HR process

The big picture

Employee Life CycleSo if HR is a cyclical process which can be described as Hire > Require > Inspire > Admire > Retire it becomes important to review the segments individually.

Looking specifically at the Hire (recruitment) segment of the process we can refine this into specific stages and segments.

In doing this it is possible to look at specific tools and approaches to optimise just that aspect of the process.

  1. Need
  2. Plan
  3. Search
  4. Select / Screen
  5. Interview
  6. Offer
  7. Hire
  8. Onboard / Hand off


1. Need in recruitment

If a staff member retires then understanding a need is very simple.  However during expansion and growth being able to define what’s needed becomes harder.

The expression “I know it when I see it” never helps recruiters yet having a defined need is an essential starting point.

Again reviewing an individual as needing skills, information and knowledge there are a number of headings against which to review any candidate:

  1. Firstly there are basic general skills e.g. the ability to read and write in a specific language, numeracy, computer literacy
  2. Next up is Industry jargon. e.g. knowing that stat in Medical terms makes it urgent as opposed to a statistic in math
  3. Most importantly is Business specific knowledge.  Trade secrets and operational knowledge tends to be after you sign a contract.
  4. Finally and crucially Aptitude for the role, which tends to be inherent rather than taught and is vital to personal motivation.

Very often when defining a role, standard business people don’t think in terms of headings.  They know it when they see it.

These four headings as part of a questionnaire to the business looking for new staff are useful headings to check against.


Recruitment of new staff can be stressful to internal managers and HR is there to help.

So instead of an internal department doing a flowing description of what’s needed, try to use bullet points.

Statements of needs and statements of wants.

If this is a totally new role, sometimes, acting can help you identify what’s needed.


2. Plan

For how long

The biggest bill on most service providers outgoing costs for the month will be a salaries bill.

So taking a moment to step back and figure out the how and the where’s is what planning in recruitment is all about.

Often “the big picture” is needed not just the tactical requirements of a specific department.


Working out if shuffling bodies from other teams is better than hiring new teams requires a review of the requests for new staff.

The primary question of planning is around time i.e. forecasting.  For how long do we need this person and what happens when we hit the end of this time?

This is part guess work, part experience, part understanding the situations of people involved and is always worth the management discussion to review.

However strong management personalities might seem to win over discussions so objective modelling can help a lot.


Reducing people to numbers

Every person is unique but for some recruitment management tasks numbers are more effective.

Equivalent Full Time (EFT) is a concept that a full time person working a full shift is 1.0.

If you have two people working part time that is 2 people times 0.5 shifts, i.e. the equivalent of 1 full time person.


A collective approach for the business is to use a Target Operating Model (TOM).

TOMs allow management to review a department and set numeric limits on what is / isn’t needed to operate a department / area effectively.

So the sales team needs 20 full time staff (20 EFT).  So you put 20 against the Sales department.

If someone leaves or retires, the number falls below 20, so filling that space becomes an automatic task for HR to fill the TOM.

Also if more people are transferred into an area, this can also flag over staffing.  The TOM says 20 but we have 22 in there.


Specifically for strategy reasons, a TOM allows you to print out and review the entire company to project

  • how many people you have
  • how many people you need
  • where in the business are the highest staffing bills and objectively why


3. Search

A quick hunt around the house

The recruitment search process needs to be bidirectional.  Introspective and outward-looking.

To look within your organisation for resources to shuffle you need a skills matrix. Also sometimes called a competency matrix.

This is not a complicated tool, it just needs to be kept up to date.


A skills matrix lists all the skills people have and allows you to search that list to find resources from around the business.

Over time you’ll do interviews with potential candidates, being able to keep their skills on record to potentially draw on.

However keeping information like this does fall under GDPR for Europeans and national employment and data laws, so being careful about whats stored is important.

Again to reiterate, it’s not complicated, it just needs to be kept up to date and really helps the recruitment process.


So where is your company notice board to post the new role?


Going out to the shops

You wouldn’t think twice of heading to the shops to buy milk for the office, but bringing in new staff is a far more complicated and expensive business.

Having a dedicated section of your public website for you to announce new jobs can save a lot of time and hassle, especially if you do a lot of recruiting.

Being able to hook the website into your systems can save a ton of data re-entry.


More commonly recruitment websites are like job markets.  You post the job there and receive emails when someone is interested in applying for the role.

When that email comes in, you will often have to retype the data into your system.  There are solutions that will just read the email, take the data out and data enter it for you.

So whether it’s a website integration using APIs, or a system that can do email integration (reading the contents of emails) or both, you can streamline data entry.


Being fair to everyone

A system to centrally manage applications from inside and outside the business is required.

When you start searching for bodies for a new or expanding role, it’s often considered good practice to perform recruitment from within, i.e. offer the role internally first.

So where is your job noticeboard to let staff know a role is available.  This often forms part of an ESS or Employee Self Service suite of tools.

This internal advertising of the role can be far more cost saving than going external.

If you fail to identify a suitable candidate internally then advertise publicly.

Modern systems can help integrate data from all stages and aspects of this internal / external review process.


4. Select / Screen

Doing a bit of background

Not everyone is good at producing a CV and selling themselves.  Interviews often reveal more about personalities and skills that don’t translate to paper well.

Being able to understand if a person has empathy requires a conversation.

However an interview is a costly exercise.  So who are you going to spend your money and time on interviewing?


Depending on the role there may also be further screening requirements

  • Criminal record
  • Eligibility to work
  • Child related employment screening
  • Licences to drive specific vehicle types
  • Appropriate insurances
  • Appropriate memberships

Being able to integrate with APIs and automating look ups with various systems can save many person hours.


Furthermore this part of the recruitment process involves taking all the applications and ranking them for suitability.

Being able to work through a “worklist of these people applied for this role” should on a specified agreed cut off date for applications vastly improve the screening process.

In a quick meeting, you decide how many interviews and with whom you are going to meet.


Not this time around, time for a clean up.

Systems can provide template responses to send to candidates who applied.  Along with this automation you can build in house data tidying.

“Can we keep your data on record for future applications?”

If they hit yes, you have data protection consent, if they say no, then you can delete the data automatically from the database.

This approach helps to keeps things tidy without taking up your staffs time.


For a successful candidate, more templates can save time.  When suits? Any issues with coming in on specific dates and times?

Again, for data protection you are now listed in our system and if we don’t hear from you that information will automatically be removed by this date.

At the end of a screen meeting all emails and contacts will be sent out, saving many person hours.


There is also the ability within recruitment to offer pretraining.  If you want to interview for this role, please complete this training.

A learning management system (LMS) can help here and there are other options available.


5. Interview

You arrange a date and time to interview either through digital responses or a conversation on the phone.

A secure internal diary system to record the agreed dates and times helps internal organisation.

With integrated communications out to the applicant, interviewers and HR support staff, this adds to the professionalism of your approach and the impression you set.


When the person arrives at your building for the interview, you hand them a computer tablet and ask them to fill out a form.

Basic checking of computer skills, literacy, numeracy and also data protection processes.

Whilst the person fills the data out, you’re saving on staff time having to transcribe data into existing systems.

You also don’t have paperwork to store and manage.


During the interview stage of recruitment attach notes, audio recordings and video recordings to the application in real time meaning no after interview write ups.

Again no paperwork is better for digital management and data protection.


6. Offer

Like a talent show breaking good and bad news for the judges can be good and bad.

Timing management and windows are important.  What if the person you offer the role to, says “no thanks”.

You need to go to a second, third or further down option.

Timing reports and “timely reminders” are important to help ensure you’re hitting your targets on time.

Often good HR staff are just personally disciplined to call and remember when to call.

How can you help them?  Technology!  Simple timely reminders.


7. Hire

The contract, the signature and the start of a new adventure not just for recruitment.

Start by considering adherence to current laws, taxes and data protection requirements.  Are there any applicable security laws which form part of the contract?

Templating and systems employing “checkbox inclusion” elements provide a great way of writing strong contracts.

Being able to store a digital copy of the signed contract removes more paperwork and storage requirements.

Having the ability to give the new hire access to a secure ESS enables you to set impressions from before even their first day.


8. Onboard / Hand off

Going back to the basic Need for this role, being able to use your eLearning solutions reduces the amount of time, busy staff have to “train in” new staff.

Automate security checklists and basic training saving valuable hours and ensure a quality complete process.

Centralise integration of work items from multiple departments including documentation gathering.  Recruitment includes a lot of departments input:

  • Security: Access to systems with appropriate permissions.
  • Maintenance and Security:  Door swipes and security access permissions.
  • Marketing: Branding and materials supplies
  • IT: Equipment allocation and resourcing
  • HR:  Policies reviews and appropriate usage clarifications.
  • HR: Basic mandatory training (Health and Safety, Manual Handling, GDPR, Secure operations such as ISO 27001)
  • Marketing: Corporate message and brand delivery (from the CEO, etc.)

Who in your organisation goes around the house to make sure all the separate parts are done?


Boxing clever

Boxing clever means means to use one’s resources beyond conventional ways.

Some think it represents “thinking outside the box”, but this is inaccurate.

Boxing clever means not only thinking outside the box, but re-defining the common thought process itself .


HR departments have worked for years and yours works now or it wouldn’t be in business.

However getting time back, allowing staff to work on complex HR refinement and improvement all comes with seeing operations slightly differently than they are today.

There are tools to help and augment every part of the Hire process and all the other stages of the HR cycle of employment.

The question is can you box clever and use technology to your advantage?


Making the most of outside help

Asking for help, insight or “how could we improve this” is the hardest step in any HR refinement journey.

You’re already busy enough with trying to recruit let alone downing tools to see what might be.

Finding teams and suppliers who can integrate with your existing operations and customise their tool set to your operation is key.


Too often software solutions require you to change your business to fit their software instead of the software fitting your needs.

There are solutions available which can adapt to you, you just have to ask.

If there’s anything in this article you’d like to chat to me about you can contact me here or on social media.


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