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HR Tips
November 2014 
10 Tips for D.I.Y. Recruiting
By Claudia St. John, SPHR
These days, in-house recruiting has never been easier.  Gone are the days when an employer’s only good option was to use expensive professional recruiters in order to access their proprietary lists of candidates. Now, qualified candidates are a key-stroke away.  That said, simply having access to these resources does not mean that businesses are improving their success in finding A-level candidates.  What they are realizing is that sourcing top talent is still quite labor intensive and making the wrong hire is still far too easy to do.
Here are some tangible steps you can take to vastly improve your chances of success: 
  1. Be clear about the position. 
    Before you post a position, take the time up front to understand the position you are recruiting for, including all responsibilities and tasks associated with the job. More often than not, our clients discover that the top task they are focusing on in their hiring efforts is not the one that takes the most time. If you are more clear about the requirements of the position, you will have a much better chance of attracting candidates who are best suited for the job.
  2. Research your job board options
    There are dozens and dozens of job boards out there. Take some time to research the best place to post your position. Before you spend money on Monster.Com or, consider a more targeted approach before you hit the big boards. Ask colleagues in the industry where they have found success. For sales and professional positions, LinkedIn can be a goldmine, and often there are industry-specific LinkedIn groups that have free job boards. Bottom line: research all of your job board options and be strategic about where you post your position.
  3. Consider outsourcing the leg-work. 
    If you have an idea of where you might source your talent but are uncomfortable cold-calling them yourself, consider hiring someone – a friend, an intern, a consultant – to make those calls for you. All your headhunter-for-hire will require is a phone book, a clear understanding of what you’re looking for and a professional manner. 
  4. Structure your screening. 
    We look at every contact with a candidate as part of the screening process including how responsive the candidate was in following up and how well written his or her e-mail was. If it takes a long time for your candidate to respond or if their cover-letter mail is poorly written, take that into consideration when screening your candidate. And remember, when pursuing a job prospect, they should be bringing their A-game to every step of the interview process –  if they  underwhelm you, move on.
  5. Test, test, test!!! 
    From the National Football League to Xerox, organizations of every size and across industries are adding behavioral testing as part of their recruitment process. The reason behind this surge in testing is simple –more often than not, employees fail not because of aptitude but because of attitude. We recommend that behavioral testing account for one-third of your hiring decision, with the other two-thirds being the candidate’s experience and his or her interview performance, respectively
  6. Use behavioral interview questions.  
    When you find yourself face-to-face with your candidate, how you ask your questions can be as impactful as what you ask. We recommend you ask behavioral questions because the best predictor of how the candidate will perform in the future is how they have performed in the past.  Behavioral interview questions focus on what the candidate has done in previous jobs or situations. Start your questions with something like: “tell me about a time when…” or “give me an example of how you…”  Doing so will reveal much more about the candidate than questions that can be answered with simple “yes” and “no” responses.
  7. Use group interviews.
    We are strong proponents of group interviews that include at least two interviewers in each session. By using group interviews, everyone is able to listen, observe, think and talk. And unlike a typical interview process where the candidate is shuttled from one office to another for one-on-one interviews, group sessions give everyone on the interview team the opportunity to observe the same response and reaction, giving you the benefit of witnessing the same phenomena and being able to more effectively compare notes later on.
  8. Structure your questions in advance. 
    When using a group interview format, it’s best to decide in advance who will ask what questions. If one person is going to ask operational questions, someone else can ask about customer service and yet another can focus on sales. Once you decide on the areas of inquiry, ask your questions in a behavioral interview style (Tip #6 above) and try to ask the same question of every candidate so that you can compare apples to apples.
  9. Avoid bias. 
    When evaluating your candidates, it is natural to pick someone because they were likeable or shared many things in common with you. It is also natural to disfavor a candidate because they don’t share your personal preferences or remind you of someone who you dislike. These prejudices are natural but they can be detrimental to finding a qualified candidate.   Our best advice: stick to your job description and evaluate your candidates only on what is contained in the description
  10. If you’re not excited, don’t hire. 
    If you don’t like your pool of candidates, start over. Too often we see hiring managers select the best candidate in a pool of unqualified candidates simply because they are overly anxious to get a warm body to fill a position. As tempting as it is, don’t make that mistake. If you’re not thrilled about your pool of candidates, start over – you’ll save yourself a lot of money and headaches in the long run.

Claudia St. John is president of Affinity HR Group, LLC, IIABNY’s affiliated human resources partner.  Affinity HR Group specializes in providing human resources assistance to associations such as IIABNY and their member companies.  To learn more, visit