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What Are The Steps In The Hiring Process?

Published March 2, 2021 (last updated on April 17, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator


What Is A Hiring Process?

A hiring process involves, as you might expect, the process of finding, selecting and employing new staff in your business.

A hiring process that is efficient and effective can help propel a business to greater heights. Why? If you know what you are looking for, and can attract the best candidates for that role, then you are setting yourself up to get ahead of your competitors.

10 Steps Of The Hiring Process

The key is in the planning. Before you start the recruitment process, you should have a clear idea of the requirements of the role you are recruiting for as well as the costs involved with putting on a new employee in terms of pay, training and recruitment. Make sure you observe the good faith requirements in the Employment Relations Act 2000 during the hiring process to avoid misunderstandings, as well as any other applicable legislation in respect of health and safety, discrimination, and privacy, for example.

1. Identify Your Need

Put together a detailed description of the job, including duties, objectives, the type of employment, hours you would like the employee to work, remuneration and performance measures.

If this is a newly created role, ensure that you know exactly what you are looking for and what your goal is in hiring for this position. What exactly does the role involve and what are the job requirements and essential skills for this role?

If you are recruiting a replacement, then consider what skill gaps there might have been that you are looking to fill. Ensure everyone involved in the hiring process is aligned in terms of the ideal candidate.

2. Who Is The Ideal Candidate For This Vacancy?

Understand what type of individual you need for the role and the essential experience, skills and qualifications required to perform it. You should also identify the ideal ‘soft skills’ or personal attributes for this role – for example, communication skills or resilience. What skills should the candidate have from the outset compared to what you or your business can teach the successful applicant?

3.  Create A Job Advertisement

Acquiring the right talent usually requires you to post job advertisements on relevant (online) job boards. Make sure your advertisement catches the eye and is interesting,  clearly outlines the key points of the role, and is not misleading.

Choose an advertising method to suit the role you are advertising and the type of role you are trying to attract. There are specific job boards out there that you may not be aware of – an industry specific body may have a careers page.

If you are finding your talent search challenging, think outside of the box. Consider using social media; for instance, if you are looking for someone with a niche skillset, there may be an online media platform or journal for people with shared interests in that field where you might be able to find qualified candidates.

4. Alternative Sourcing Methods

Depending on the kind of role you are looking to fill, a lot of qualified candidates are not actively in the market. You may need to tap into a more passive network. Here are some ideas:

  • Referrals. If possible, speak with other employees in your organisation with a similar skillset to see if they can recommend someone for the role;

  • Database search. Ensure you leave no stone unturned and conduct a database search to see if a suitable candidate might have applied for a similar role in the past. They might have been too junior back then, but have now developed just the right level of skills you need;

  • Networking. Attend specific networking events to connect with talent in a specific area that you are hiring for;

  • Recruitment Companies. They might have candidates on their books who are well suited to the role you are recruiting for.

5. Applications And Screening Process

When assessing potential candidates for a job opening, it’s important to not only review their CV or job application but also to ask them behavioural interview questions that can help you gain insights into their character and potential fit within your organisation. You can ask for job applications in a specific format or get the candidates to forward a Curriculum Vitae (CV). This should be well-structured, concise, and easy to read. Of course, when assessing candidates, ensure their CV is relevant to your job description and selection criteria. Keep an eye out for keywords that you have previously identified as being essential.

Look out for “achievements” – responsibilities can be quite similar for certain roles, and these achievements may set an applicant apart from their others. You want to see what they can bring to the table and where they can add value to your team and organisation.

Things to look out for:

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes. Shows a lack of attention to detail and is an indicator of their future performance in the role.

  • “Jumpy” CVs. Short tenure can be a sign of the candidate not having passed the 90-day trial period or the probationary period. If there is a pattern, it might result in the candidate leaving your organisation quickly after spending time and energy on training them.

  • Variances in CV and profiles (for example, on an online networking or recruitment platform). Have a quick look at a candidate’s CV and profile to see if they match. Hopefully there are no significant discrepancies.

  • Highly overqualified candidates. These candidates are most likely not committed to the role and might not stay in your organisation for long if you can’t offer them a challenge or career development.

  • Lack of professionalism. A sloppy CV is a good indicator of their work ethic and how they will present themselves in the organisation and perform in their role.

6. Identify The Interview Panel

Interviewing candidates with appropriate skill-sets to help you identify the right person for the job is a vital step when hiring new employees. How many applicants you should interview will depend on the amount of people applied for the job but consider narrowing it down to single numbers. Ideally you would have more than one interviewer so you can compare notes, and a process that enables you to successfully retrieve the information you need from the candidate.

It is recommended not to overcrowd the interview. That is, to have more than three interviewers per one interviewee.

Make sure that you are creating a panel of both the hiring manager, as well as a Human Resources (HR) representative – if you have an inhouse HR team – and that the panel knows the ins and outs of this role, so they are able to answer any questions the interviewee might have.

Do not forget that an interview works two ways. The candidate is interviewing and vetting you and your business to see if you are the right fit for them, just as much as you are assessing them. When inviting a candidate to an interview, discuss the interview process, who will be involved in it and timeframes where possible.

7. Interviewing Relevant Candidates

Depending on the role and your needs, the interview process can vary. It may be appropriate to have one or more interviews or give the candidates an assessment to determine their skill-level. It is important to establish a process and follow the same structure for each candidate for a particular role, e.g. asking each candidate the same interview questions to ensure you can objectively compare your candidates to find the best fit for the role and your team.

You may undertake an initial phone screen to go through “non-negotiables” such as salary expectations, qualifications required for the role (i.e. drivers’ licence, degrees, etc), visa restrictions, notice period, working hours and location. Also check if the candidate has any holidays booked in the next 6 months or so as this might impact your hiring decision.

You should also find out if they are actively looking for roles elsewhere. You want to avoid any surprises at offer stage with the candidate rejecting your offer of employment to take another job. This might also impact how quickly you need to move through your hiring process.

Suggested Interview Process

Ensure that you are in a quiet place in the office, especially if you are conducting a face-to-face interview. Remember that an interview can be quite stressful for the candidate, so set them up for success by allowing them to fully concentrate on the interview without distractions.

Ease them into the interview with a little small talk and start out with a general question, e.g. ask them what they know about the organisation so far.

Ask open-ended questions as specific to the person in front of you as the interview process allows for. Consider asking a secondary line of questions, like behavioural-based questions. Dig deeper into their experience; pick-up on relevant information in their previous answer and ask them further probing questions around that topic.

Then, ask the hard questions. For example:

  • “Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback. How did you react?”

  • “Tell me about a time when you had to have a difficult conversation with a colleague. What was the result?”

Find out why the candidate wants to work for your organisation – what drives and motivates them?

Be wary of practical interviews. Although these may be useful in assessing a candidates ability to perform in the role that is been recruited, there are specific characteristics that are considered when determining if the work performed during the practical interview would actually deem the candidate an employee.

Always end the interview by setting expectations with candidates regarding the next steps and provide them with a time frame within which they can expect to hear back. You can keep track of candidate details and progress with our BrightHR software which allows you to store candidate and employee profiles and associated documents.

8. Reference Checks

Conducting reference checks is another key step in the recruitment process to ensure you are bringing reliable and capable employees into your organisation. Referees are usually contacted towards the end of the process when you are trying to decide between the final candidates. You should get the candidate’s permission to contact their referees which ideally would be two or three of their former direct managers spanning a period of the last one to five years.

Once you have the candidate’s permission, you should give the referees a call and then consider contacting them via email if you can’t reach them. You should ask specific questions around the candidate’s previous work performance and skill-set, strengths and weaknesses, concerns regarding unauthorised absences, what their reason for leaving was and if their former employer would re-employ them. Also, ensure that you confirm that the dates of employment on the CV match with those the referee has on file.

Depending on the nature of the role you might need to also conduct further background checks on the prospective employee.

9. Offer

Once you have identified the top candidate for the job, it is time to let them know. 

Give the candidate a call and have a conversation with them regarding their thoughts on the process so far. Answer any questions and find out where they are at with other potential job interviews to gauge their interest in the role with your organisation.

Once any questions are answered, if you still feel comfortable they are the right person for the job, extend a verbal offer to the candidate. Provide them with a start date as well as confirming the salary – remember to ask for their verbal acceptance.

Explain the process moving forward and set the expectation as to when the written Letter of Offer together with a copy of the employment agreement will be in their hands. Follow up with an email, detailing everything you have verbally discussed.

Once the offer of employment has been formally accepted, let all the other candidates know that they have been unsuccessful. If you are giving them feedback, be careful it is not discriminatory in any way.

10. Post-Offer Care

Depending on the length of the notice period or the agreed start date it might be a month or even longer until the successful candidate starts with your organisation. Ensure that you keep them engaged and excited. They are your new colleagues after all.

There are many little things you can do to ensure the candidate is kept engaged:

  • Send them a message welcoming them to the team, ask the hiring managers and any potential new team mates to do the same.

  • Follow up with an email 1-2 weeks after the offer was extended to see if they have any questions and ensure everything is signed.

  • Send them any social media links to follow your company.

  • You can also arrange an informal catch up over coffee with their direct team or invite them for Friday after work drinks to meet everyone in a more informal setting.

Once they start their new role, make sure you follow up with an appropriate induction process.

This blog has been compiled on the basis of general information current at the time of publication and reflects an opinion only and is not intended to provide anything other than an opinion at any time. Your specific circumstances as well as any changes in circumstances after publication may affect the relevance, completeness or accuracy of this information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, we disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions contained in this information or any failure to update or correct this information. It is your responsibility to assess and verify the accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability of the information on this website, and to seek professional advice where necessary. Nothing contained on this website is to be interpreted as a recommendation to use any product, process or formulation or any information on this website. For clarity, Employsure does not recommend any material, products or services of any third parties.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Selection Methods?

The selection methods depend on your needs, but here are some suggestions:

    • Job Applications forms and CVs
    • Traditional job interviews
    • Personality testing
    • Aptitude and skills testing
    • Group interviews
    • Requesting a presentation
Who Should Interview Candidates?

The prospective employee’s future manager should be interviewing the candidate, at the very least. Also consider including a representative from Human Resources (if applicable), and a member of the team (a potential future colleague of the candidate) to also sit in on the interview.

How Many Candidates Should Be Shortlisted For Interview?

This depends on your needs. When considering how long your shortlist is, here are some aspects you need to consider:

  • How many employees you wish to hire.
  • How specialised the role is.
  • The quality of the pool of candidates.
  • How strict your requirements are for candidates.
What Are the Three Criteria for A Hiring Decision?

There are more than three criteria for a hiring decision. However, perhaps the three most important criteria are:

  • Ability to do the job
  • Company culture fit
  • Salary expectations
How Do You Interview a Disabled Person?

The purpose of a recruitment process is to assess how well candidates can perform the inherent requirements of the role. A person with a disability may be able to meet those requirements just as well as anyone else, however may need certain adjustments to set them up for success.

Disabilities vary widely, so a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be applied to interviewing those with a disability.

If a candidate shares their disability with you in their application or during the recruitment process, it is important to understand whether any reasonable adjustments need to be made to the recruitment process to ensure it is accessible for them. This can be understood by having a conversation with the candidate to discuss what adjustments are required. For example, someone with a visual disability may need a screen reader for completing an online test as part of the interview process, or you may need to consider the location of your interview room if you are interviewing someone who requires a wheelchair.

It is best to have the conversation about any adjustments as soon as you are aware of the situation, so that the candidate can attend the interview with confidence in the process and a clear understanding of how the day will run.

How Do You Assess an Interview Candidate?
  1. See if they match the perception given by their CV
  2. See if they respond well to questioning; how confident they are in speaking, answering and thinking about questions
  3. See if they dress professionally or in a manner suitable for the role
  4. See if their personality will be a cultural fit for the business
What is the Best Recruitment Process?

The best recruitment process may differ depending on the role, but ideally it is one that is adaptable and up-to-date. There are some approaches common to many businesses, such as requesting a CV, interviewing candidates face-to-face, and asking applicants to create a presentation or take a skills-based test.

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