A Personal Note from Allison:

During a recent planning session to determine this year’s newsletter topics, I decided to spend the entire year writing about the lifecycle of an employee. Some of the items are a bit dry, but are still very important – particularly for small business owners who don’t have a dedicated Human Resources Professional on staff. As always, I encourage feedback or questions about what I am writing, and I am happy to provide advice on specific situations going on in your workplace.

Someone has just handed in their resignation. They will be gone to another employer in two weeks. Or, your business is booming (congratulations!), and you need to hire more staff to keep up with the work. Where do you start?

The first thing you want to do is determine your needs. If you are dealing with a newly vacant position, pull out the job description and review what is still relevant about the role. How do you want that role to evolve over time? (think 1 – 3 years down the road) With this in mind, what skill set will be required to be successful in this role? Talk to your current employees about the vacancy. What opportunities do they see for this role? What additions or changes in the skillset would be beneficial to the team?

Once you have determined what you would like in the role, if you have made significant changes to the job duties or required skillset, you will need to look at the market to see where this position falls in terms of salary. Once you have this, you are good to advertise the opportunity.

If the role is highly specialized, there are some niche sites that are suitable. You want to research different sites and determine what is available within your budget. With some sites, the term “you get what you pay for” is very applicable. Food for thought.

You have advertised your vacancy, and have been flooded with resumes. I always recommend you screen applicants by “must haves” and “nice to haves”. If a candidate has none of your “must haves”, don’t even consider them. As soon as you do, you are saying you will settle for less.

Once you have screened your candidates, you will want to meet them in person. There are some times when telephone screening is suitable, but eventually you are going to want to meet the candidate in person. To make this experience the best it can be, keep these tips in mind:

  • Clean up your office. Clear off your desk. This will make you look more professional.
  • Prepare your questions in advance, and ensure they are all tailored to the job. This helps ensure you ask all the candidates the same questions.
  • Make the candidate feel comfortable (they will be more open if you do)
  • Be prepared to answer questions from the candidate.
  • Let the candidate know the next steps in the process and when they can expect to hear from you.

After you have interviewed all the candidates, compare them to each other, to determine which one is the best fit for your team, and for the business.

I cannot emphasize this next step enough: check references on your selected candidate! Too many times I have seen employers fall back on the probation period, and terminate ill-suited employees within their first 90 days, with no explanation, other than “they didn’t work out”. This is not only unfair to the candidate, but it is a waste of money. Think of what it cost to advertise, interview all the candidates, and train the new hire. This is money you are throwing away. Plus, when you re-advertise the same position, people will start to wonder what is wrong with your organization that you are going through people so fast. This will water down the responses you get the second time around.

Check references. Work-related references – not friends. During the interview, as you are going through the candidates’ work history, for each employer, ask them who they reported to and if you can contact them for a reference. If the candidate says yes, ask for a phone number. If the candidate says no – ask why? This is not always a red flag, but it is good to know why they don’t want you contacting someone.

Your references are done, you have made the offer and your top candidate accepted.  Congratulations! You are not done yet. Before you close the file on this hire, you need to advise all the candidates you met with that you have offered the position to someone else. Once this is complete, put the file away, but plan on hanging on to it for one full year (as required by law).

For more details on the recruitment process, I encourage you to download my Free Recruitment Kit, and in case you missed my newsletter on “Treat Job Candidates Well”, find it here.

Remember – the more effort you put into the recruitment process, the better the outcome.

I invite you to connect with me, to learn more on this topic, and how I can help you with the Recruitment Process in your workplace.


We would be pleased to assist you with this, in any way we can. Feel free to contact me directly at allison@bensonhr.com.