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Grace Hughes
Apr 9, 2024

Finding the right candidate can sometimes seem like a mammoth task especially if it is an important role or if you have received hundreds, if not thousands of applications, but there are a few key concepts which can help make things a bit easier. It is up to you as an employer, or recruiter, to also do your due diligence and prepare. There is always the great expectation that candidates and job seekers must put countless hours in to ensure that they are up to the task and impress you, but what isn’t spoken about as much is the need for hiring managers to polish up on their skills too. Whether it is writing a detailed job description, outlining questions that allow for STAR method, or brushing up on their interview techniques there are certainly things that can be done to make the job of finding the right candidate a bit easier. 

The first port of call is, before you do anything, make sure the job description (JD) is perfect. There is an art to doing this, it has to be detailed enough to apply to the correct jobseekers, but concise enough that it isn’t rivalling War and Peace for the longest piece of literature ever written. It has to cover all bases of what will be required in the role but leave enough room for jobseekers with great potential to want to apply. Often, there isn’t a one-size fits all approach and even if the role you are advertising is the same, each company will have unique circumstances in which they need fulfilling. Obviously, there are some important pieces of information in which, as a blanket rule, should be included such as:

  • Job title
  • Reporting to
  • Place of work
  • Working hours
  • Starting salary
  • Perks and benefits of working for the company
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Day-to-day duties
  • Relevant hard and soft skills

Anything you wish to add will be optional extras that should be there to help entice jobseekers to apply. 

Once you have nailed the job description and ensured it is watertight, the next step is to do some pre-screening, which can consist of: 

  • Reading through cover letters
  • Reading through CVs
  • Setting skill-based competency tests
  • Background checks dependent on the needs of the business (DBS etc.)
  • Telephone interviews

Cracking the telephone interview is a sure-fire way of eliminating some candidates that are not suitable in a time-efficient manner, but also provides opportunities for clarifying matters that may not have been explicitly mentioned in the job description – no matter how watertight it is! Telephone interviews also allow you to get an idea of which candidates are likely to be better than others, from all those that are suitable based on things like telephone manner, clarity and understanding, as well as active listening and engagement. 

From the telephone interviews, you should have a list of eligible candidates and a relative understanding of who everybody is and what skills they possess that fit the bill. It is then logical to host face-to-face interviews, whether you are planning on doing one or multiple rounds. Interviews are really the time in which you find out who is the right candidate and who isn’t. They are great to talk in-depth about their accomplishments, but also any challenges or hardships they have faced. A good way to extract as much information as possible is to phrase questions in such a way that they can be answered by the STAR method:

  • Situation: Describe an accomplishment or challenge you faced
  • Task: Describe what occurred for you to achieve the accomplishment or how the challenge arose.
  • Action: What action did you take in order to gain the achievement or in the face of the challenge
  • Result: What was the outcome of said action

It’s also the perfect time to get to know the person behind the skills, who they are outside of work, what they enjoy, their hobbies and interests, all of which help to seeing how good of a culture fit the potential candidate would be. 

Don’t forget that interviews are an excellent chance for candidates to ask questions for themselves, after all, the right candidate is one that the business is right for the candidate and the candidate is right for the business, it’s a two-way street! 

After concluding the interview stage, when you are reviewing the candidates it’s important to ask yourself questions about how they came across and performed:

  • Did they demonstrate a strong work ethic and desire to get started?
  • How well would they fit in with the wider team and company ethos?
  • Do they seem as though they will be a long-term member of staff?
  • Do their skills and qualities match up with the requirements for the job role?

Answering the above in detail will give you the best chance to find the right candidate for the opportunity that you are hiring for. There is so much more to recruiting than simply finding somebody with skills that match up, culture fit is an attribute that is often overlooked and can be critical in retaining new employees and, as always, an excellent work ethic paired with desire to learn can be more valuable than somebody who feels as though they already know all there is to know. 

Apprenticeships are perfect for those who are looking to add more strings to their bow, specific to the job role all whilst on the job. Candidates looking for apprenticeships tend to be eager to add value to the businesses the work at and prove their worth, the talent pool is full of motivated and driven individuals ready to get stuck into both on and off-the-job training and become an imperative cog in the wheel of a commendable business.  

Interested in taking a dip in our talent pool filled with amazing candidates? Contact us to make the most of your Apprenticeship Levy and speak to us about the right candidate for you!