Hiring staff is often viewed in the same light as teaching in a school - because everyone has been to school they believe they know exactly how teachers should teach. And of course once you yourself have been through the interview process, you know exactly how to interview and hire staff - don't you?
So why bother to outsource the activity? Certainly provided you have the time, hiring your own staff can save you cash and give you a good opportunity to fine-tune your recruitment skills. But if you would prefer to be concentrating on other, revenue-generating opportunities, then perhaps you should hand over the activity to a professional agency (with the emphasis being on the professional)! Chances are that it's because you're so busy that you need to hire additional staff anyway.
How do you decide which way to go? Put simply the hiring process is as follows:
1. Identify the potential candidates through: a) word-of-mouth/search b) advertising c) "walk-ins" (unsolicited resumes that may have been sent to you by individuals interested in joining your company) 2. Review the resumes 3. Interview the selected candidates 4. Finalise the shortlist 5. Second interview the shortlisted candidates 6. Reference check the preferred choice(s) 7. Negotiate the package and issue the letter of offer At first glance this may be a daunting activity list, but bear in mind that you have to undergo some of these activities whether or not you use an outside agency. Only you can interview the candidates, but the number and quality you have to interview is the important issue.
To interview them you have to find them. Walk-ins are easy, because they have already identified themselves. Their quality, of course, may be a separate issue.
Compiling an advertisement may be more time consuming than you think. You have to size it, design it, write it, place it, proof it, sign-off on it and then pay for it. Not all ads generate responses, especially if your company is not that well known, or you lack the expertise to highlight the exciting role you have to offer. Lastly, "headhunting" is a very time-consuming exercise, and it could upset some of your partners if you directly approach their staff.
Given that you have a good bunch of rsums to review, the next step is to isolate the ones that are relevant. Review these carefully - sometimes you need to dig behind what is written to assess whether the applicant is relevant.
Next you need to set up the interviews, which is a task you can delegate, though great discretion needs to be exercised if you contact candidates at their office.
Deciding how many to interview can be the tricky part - an interview can take between one and two hours, so too many interviews can eat up valuable time - too few and you restrict your choice.
OK, you're down to your shortlist. Get them second interviewed by another member of your staff whose judgment you trust (and who will disagree with you if they feel it's necessary), and then make your decision. But before you put the letter in front of the candidate, get at least four references from previous associates/employers/customers. This is also where a great deal of discretion needs to be exercised - under no circumstances can you jeopardise the candidate's existing employment by accidentally revealing their plans to, say, one of their customers who then immediately calls the other company's MD to ask how they plan to replace that employee!
Finally, the letter of offer is written and the candidate signs it - but beware, this does not always happen. Counter offers, last minute "jitters" or feelings of loyalty to the existing employer - these can all strike just as you're at the end of the long exhaustive process. Then you're back at the beginning again. And now the pressure is really on - all that time wasted and still no new employee!
The above list of activities is not exhaustive, but may certainly exhaust you if you are already flat out busy. Outsourcing the recruitment process can save you substantial time, leaving you to interview only shortlisted candidates, second interview the best of these and then issue the letter of offer - all other activities can be handled externally.
Of course if you outsource you need a reliable and professional recruitment consultancy, and another article will examine how to go about finding one of these!
The bottom line is that it's your time (and money) at stake - and only you should decide how to use it.
Graham Young is the managing director and co-owner of recruit- ment agency Anagram International, which specialises in the IT industry. Graham has 20 years of experience in various sales and management roles in the IT industry.
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