How To Recruit and Select Staff

Recruiting or hiring staff is one of the biggest investment decisions you will make as a manager.  You are likely to be committing your organisation to thousands of pounds every year every time you appoint someone

Defining what you need

The first step in any recruitment process is to specify or define what you need.  It is important to be able to:

  • Clearly define the skills that they need to have to succeed in the job.  This might be IT skills, technical accounting, communication, report writing, etc.
  • Specify the knowledge that they need to have.  For example, if you are hiring someone for payroll, you will want them to have good knowledge of payroll regulations.  If hiring a management accountant to work with a particular area of the business, knowledge of that area might be important.
  • Know that level of education they need to have.  Do they, for example, need to be a qualified accountant or is it okay if they are still studying?
  • Define the experience that they need to have.  In doing this, it is useful to distinguish between experience that is essential and desirable.
  • Know that type of attributes the person will need to have to prosper in the role.  Will they need to be good at problem solving, building relationships, planning or organising, to name just a few?

This definition of need is a key part of the recruitment process so don’t underestimate the importance of spending time on this.

Attracting candidates

There are more and more options open to you when it comes to attracting candidates.  You might:

  • Use a recruitment agency.
  • Advertise in the local press.
  • Ask current employees to introduce a friend.
  • Use the internet.

In determining how to attract candidates for a particular role, consider the following:

Nature of the role

Is it a general or specialised role where a candidate will only be found through a specialist website or publication?

Budget availability

How much budget do you have available to spend on attracting candidates for a vacant post?

Volume of applicants

Carefully consider the volume of applications you want to receive.  Sifting applications takes time and it is sometimes better to get a small volume of highly targeted applications than lots that are irrelevant.

Past successes

Where have you advertised in the past for posts, particularly those that have proven successful in finding the right type of candidates?


What level of expertise is there in the organisation when it comes to writing job adverts, advertising and sifting applications?

Carrying out selection interviews

Selection interviews are often just as challenging for those who are interviewing as they are for those being interviewed.  Remember that when you are interviewing you are representing your organisation.  There are 3 key areas that we are going to explore:

  • What to do before the interview
  • What to do during the interview
  • What to do at the post interview debrief.

Before the interview


  • Provide clear instructions to candidates on the interview date, location and time.
  • Ask candidates to confirm attendance.
  • Book a suitable venue.
  • Block out time an hour before interview to do your final preparation.
  • If interviewing with someone else, be clear on roles.
  • Make sure you are not interrupted.
  • Arrange for someone to meet and greet candidate.
  • Think about room layout.  Try to avoid sitting opposite if at all possible.

During the interview

  • Put candidates at ease, especially in the first few minutes when they are nervous.
  • Ask a range of questions to give the opportunity to candidates to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, experience and attributes.
  • Probe or go deeper when answers are inconsistent.
  • Check any gaps in employment dates.
  • Determine what makes them interested in the role and their career aspirations.
  • Let candidates ask you questions.  You can gain some real insights from these questions.

Post interview

  • Review candidates against your specification of what you want.
  • Determine candidates that are potential hires.
  • Determine who should be offered the post and ideally a second choice.
  • Think about how the candidate will fit into the team.


Importance of induction


Many organisations go to great lengths to select people then fail to properly induct (introduce) the person into the new role.  Recognise that changing jobs is demanding and as a minimum include the following in an induction:

  • An overview of the organisation.
  • An overview of the department in which they will work.
  • The chance to meet as many people as possible.
  • Health and safety and any other mandatory training.
  • Procedures around sickness and holiday requests.
  • Initial objectives for the first 3 – 6 months.
  • Development needs to be at their best as quickly as possible.
  • Regular review meetings with an assigned person to make sure problems, if they arise, are being addressed.

Goals and Achievements help healthcare organisations to develop their leadership and management capability.  Learn more here.