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Best Hiring Practices

A quick guide to better interviews and better hires

When I speak with managers across our business, hiring the right person is an absolute priority for them, but it is also a huge pain point. “I’m not getting any good resumes”, “it’s taking too long!” or “I don’t have time to interview” are all common gripes I hear.

There is fierce competition out there for the top talent. Candidates are picky, and companies have to work hard to attract, entice and hire the right people for vacancies.

Recruiting the right person is not a dark art, however! Here are my top 10 tips that will help you find your next rock star.

1. Define the role

This sounds like common sense, right? It’s amazing how frequently I’m asked to recruit a role based on a job title and a couple bullet points of responsibilities. It’s a false economy to not invest time in writing a great job description right at the start of your hiring process, so be clear what you are looking for exactly and outline the skills, knowledge and behaviors required to succeed in this role. This forms the basis of your whole recruitment process.

2. Sell your job!

Take your brilliantly crafted job description and sell it to the market. Speak to your existing teams and find out where your future hires might hang out and find ways to put your jobs in front of them. Harness the power of staff networks! Social media can be a great way of sharing your job opportunities, but some of my best hires have been from employee referrals – your staff knows who is great amongst their friends and colleagues, and will want to work with them!

3. Keep an open mind

When you are reviewing resumes, the simplest way to shortlist is to look at someone’s experience. Just be aware that years of experience aren’t a good predictor of someone’s success in a role. Keep an open mind to what different backgrounds and experiences could bring to the role. I always recommend undertaking phone screenings, as this can be a great way to allow you bring resumes to life. Including a few “curveballs” in your screening might surprise you!

4. Build a robust interview process

Your interview process should be more than just a chat. The most robust, and therefore, successful, interview processes build in a combination of different tools including structured interviews, work sample exercises and tests. You should base your interview process around your job description. This allows you to make objective hiring decisions rather than those based on gut instinct.

5. Remember candidate experience

Candidates will absolutely check you out on Glassdoor, probably before they even apply for the position. Poor candidate experiences are a sure fire way to get you a bad review! Put yourself in your candidate’s shoes and treat them well. Acknowledge their application, provide clear instructions for interviews and provide feedback. There are plenty of tools out there that can make this super easy for you, so there is no excuse!

Don’t forget the basics of interviewing – introduce yourself, offer them a drink and try and put them at ease. Interviewing can be really nerve-wracking – for both candidate and interviewer, and you don’t need to make it worse by rushing into the room late and launching straight into an interrogation. And be classy! If a candidate has taken the time to come into your office for an interview, you should take the time to provide them with feedback.

6. Dig deep

You should ask relevant, yet challenging questions of your candidates. I’m always surprised by how often interviewers don’t ask clear questions, and are happy to accept pretty poor answers! Ask open questions, such as: “Tell me about a time you delivered amazing client service”, or “What’s been the most significant achievement in your career to date?”

You should be looking for candidates to give you specific examples to your questions and be prepared to dig deeper into an example if you aren’t satisfied with their response, or just want to find out more. A great candidate should be able to go beyond stock answers and provide you genuine insight into what they have done, how they operate and what they have achieved.

7. Keep your bias in check

We all have them – biases that shouldn’t (but can!) influence our decision making. Be aware of them and challenge yourself to ensure you are making objective hiring decisions. Including others in your hiring decision can help maintain objectivity, be sure you are measuring every candidate against your job description criteria every step of the way.

8. Hiring can take time…

It can take time to find the right person, and I know it can be really painful to have that gap in your team. But trust me; it’s more painful to hire the wrong person! We are all time-poor, but it’s really important that you invest quality time in your hiring process – treat it as a core element of your job, not just another task on your ever-growing to do list. By investing your time, you will make a stronger hiring decision, and not just put a “bum on a seat”.

9. …but you have to move quickly!

Once you have found your superstar, you have to be prepared to move quickly as great talent gets snapped up. You really don’t want to miss out on someone simply because you took too long to send out the offer paperwork!

10. Set up your new hire to succeed from day one

It’s easy to forget how daunting it is to start in a new company, but a great onboarding program will ensure your new colleague gets off to the best start. Be there on day one to welcome them, show them around and make sure they have all the equipment they need. Build a bit of structure into their first few weeks – think about core training needs, set up meetings with key people and consider arranging a team lunch so they can get to know their new colleagues in a more casual setting.

Claire Fennell has 10 years as a recruiter across multiple industries and currently heads up the Global Talent Acquisition function at Future plc. She leads her team as they promote Future plc to a global candidate market and provide the business with tools to uncover the absolute best talent to join Future plc on the journey of growth and innovation. She can be reached at:

See also: The Importance Of Mentoring