A 6-step guide to better screening

The screening process is essential to any successful recruitment campaign, yet many businesses fail to get it right.

Being able to shortlist your candidates effectively will always put you at an advantage, especially when dealing with large numbers of applications. In fact, without a thorough screening process, you may find that a lot of interest in a vacancy can be just as problematic as none at all.

Our 6-step screening guide will fill you in on how to sift through the volumes of applications most effectively and efficiently, to ensure you find an individual that’s the perfect fit for your role and company.

1) Use your job description

Taking the time to ensure your job description is detailed and accurate won’t just help at the advertising stage, it can play a valuable part in the screening process too. Job descriptions form a crucial checklist to mark all applicants against. By highlighting important criteria right at the start, you can be sure that any candidates making it to the next stage all have the appropriate levels of experience and qualifications, along with the desired abilities and qualities for the job.

2) Communicate the process with your applicants

The screening process can take time, especially if you have a lot of job applications, and particularly when you want to make sure you’re getting it right – recognise this, and keep your candidates informed along the way. If you’ve received an unprecedented number of applications, let each candidate know that they are under consideration but the process may take longer than first expected. Be forthcoming with information and don’t wait for applicants to ask you for more details; the better your communication, the more likely the successful candidate is to accept the job.

3) Look for extra details

Creating a set of criteria and questions to mark each applicant against is important, but so too is looking for additional qualities that can help you decide whether a candidate will be a good fit for your company. With every stage of the screening process, be it over email, telephone or face-to-face interview, make note of the way your applicants behave - consider attitude, communication, and their ability to think on their feet, for example. These elements will often prove to be just as representative, if not more so, than any CV.

4) Ask the right interview questions

The interview offers the perfect opportunity to get to know your shortlisted candidates that much better, but only if the right questions get asked. Before any interview, prepare a list of questions that will help you find out whether someone has the experience, ability and potential to carry out the role well…and don’t be afraid to go off-script if the opportunity arises. Depending on what an individual has to say, you may find a whole raft of new questions are opened up - this can offer an even better insight into the applicant, but only if the conversation remains relevant to the role.

5) Make notes

Sometimes it’s hard to make notes during an interview or telephone conversation, and indeed it can prove off-putting and stem the flow of the conversation. However, if you have a lot of applicants to consider, notes are invaluable. You don’t have to make notes during an interview but if not, make them immediately afterwards – your favourite candidates may differ to those of a colleague, and no doubt some discussion will be required afterwards, particularly when recruiting for a senior role. Notes will help you remember not just which candidates impressed, but why they impressed.

6) Don’t be afraid to be ruthless

Choosing whether to accept or reject an application isn’t always easy, and indeed it gets harder the further you progress in the hiring process. Remember, any rejection isn’t personal and it’s made in the best interests of your company, your staff, and the candidate – if you’re not able to reduce your applicant numbers at every stage, your shortlisting simply isn’t working. Trust in your screening process; the more care you have taken in preparation, the more confidence you will have in the system to find you the right candidate for the job.

Of course, the most efficient way to screen your candidates is to have someone else take care of the initial laborious and time-consuming work for you. If you are under pressure to fill a vacancy quickly, have been inundated with an unprecedented number of applications, or need extra support and guidance with your recruitment, Springboard Recruit can help – just get in touch with us to discuss your requirements, we’d be very happy to help.

Could the election results affect how you recruit?

In business uncertainty is far from welcome.

So, when the surprise results of the election came through, it immediately raised questions as to what disruption it could cause, what changes it could bring about, and how businesses could be affected. 

While a hung parliament no doubt has some impact, it doesn’t have to damage your recruiting process; there are a certain number of hiring strategies you can take to help navigate your way through post-election and Brexit uncertainty, and continue to grow your business.

Engage with employment rights

Across all parties in the election, employment rights played a key part within manifestos, with both Labour and the Conservatives promising to guarantee existing worker’s rights while offering enhancements on top. This, alongside a focus on tackling workplace inequality and the gender pay gap, means further developments to workers’ rights are likely, if not inevitable. Ensure you’re up-to-date with future changes as and when they happen, and assure candidates you’re engaged with the issue - it’s a topic that has gathered momentum in recent months, and one that new applicants will likely have a vested interest in.

Enhance your search to combat talent shortages

Another hot topic of the election and one that is likely to come under review, is that of immigration. Theresa May confirmed in her Conservative pledge that she wanted to cut net migration to tens of thousands, and Brexit negotiations are sure to have some impact on current immigration laws. While new changes could bring greater controls, some argue that a fall in the availability of migrant workers could impact hiring in sectors where supply will no longer meet demand. To combat this issue, it’s crucial you focus on your search. Recruitment specialists can use their specialist knowledge and industry experience to find qualified candidates for your role, even when your talent pool is diminished.

Focus on ‘long-termism’

A recent report found that companies with a long-term approach added nearly 12,000 more jobs on average than those that didn’t between 2001-2015*. Long-termism can pay off – while it’s tempting in uncertain economic situations to take a reactive stance to recruitment, businesses rarely stand to benefit. Short-term hires are costly, and can prove less effective in the long-run. Be pro-active in your hiring, and look to implement long-term employee engagement strategies that result in you sourcing employees you can retain for the future. If anything, a strong, committed and talented workforce will only help you successfully navigate the uncertainties that this election could still bring.

 Be flexible

With Brexit underway, the government is under more pressure than ever before to create an economic environment that’s attractive to both internal and external investors; it’s where flexibility in the workforce is key. According to a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, 11% of employers said that regulations should reflect modern working practices, while a study by Timewise from 2015 found that just 6% of job adverts mentioned flexible working options, despite over 14 million UK workers wanting to work flexibly**. To attract top talent in the current market, flexible working is something to acknowledge, engage with, and consider. Not only can it increase productivity and performance in the workplace, but it can also act as a crucial draw for new candidates; so, disregard it with caution.

At the end of the day, your business is only as good as the people you hire. The best way to approach any period of uncertainty is to arm yourself with the best workforce you can, and to do that you’ll need to adopt a robust and effective recruitment strategy.

If you’re looking to find exceptional talent for your business, talk to us at Springboard Recruit about how we can help – no matter the economic climate, we’re confident we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to find the right employee for you.

10 common recruitment mistakes to avoid

We all know that failing to employ the right candidate can be both costly and damaging to business.

The recruitment process is fundamental in helping you to source, negotiate with, and eventually recruit that exceptional employee you’re looking for – yet it’s not always as straightforward as it sounds.

In fact, there are several mistakes easily made by businesses when recruiting for new staff. The good news? As long as you’ve taken the time to do your research beforehand, these common mistakes can be just as easy to avoid:

1) The candidates you’ve found are skilled, experienced…and identical

Having an open mind and a diverse range of candidates is so valuable when looking for an employee. If you’ve narrowed down your search to a few strong but very similar, indistinct candidates, you’ve ultimately reduced your options for hiring.

2) Being vague about the role

Of course, you’ll want to find out as much relevant and honest information from each candidate as you can, and the same goes for them finding out about you. Be clear and honest about what the job entails, what your company policies are, and what they can expect from working with you. Misleading information will nearly always result in the wrong people applying for the job.

3) Using the same old job descriptions

Active candidates looking for new jobs might be savvier than you think! They’ll be checking jobs boards regularly and they’ll know if your job descriptions and specifications are simply re-hashed from previous adverts – it can be enough to put candidates off applying for the job.

4) Relying on the interview alone

In some cases, one interview is all you need, but in so many others you’ll want to see more from your candidates before deciding on who’s best to do the job. Think of the role you are advertising for, what skills are needed for it, and how best to assess these qualities in your candidates – it’s likely you’ll find new things out at every stage.

5) Dismissing overqualified candidates

Sometimes dismissing overqualified candidates is necessary, but if you like what you see on paper, why not invite those candidates to talk to you about it? They’ll either clarify your initial feeling, or they’ll give a very good reason why they’ve applied for your vacancy and what they can bring to the table that others can’t.

6) Failing to ask the right interview questions

Even the most experienced interviewers can get it wrong which is why it’s so important to plan and discuss your interviews before conducting them (allowing some flexibility for going off-script, of course). The interview process is timely and costly to businesses, so make sure every one counts.

7) Not having time to check references

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 25% of businesses never check references. It’s sometimes viewed as a rather archaic, unnecessary stage of the process, but references can be so valuable when it comes to verifying your candidates, and assessing their ability to do the job.

8) Dragging out the process

If your application process is too long, your candidates will lose interest and move on. When your vacancy requires more application stages than most, consider how you communicate with your applicants – if they’ve not been kept informed at every stage of the process, they’re more likely to opt for a company that has.

9) Underestimating rejected candidates

Just because an impressive candidate doesn’t fit the bill for this vacancy, they might be the perfect match for another. Consider how you handle your rejections and where possible keep hold of contact details of those that really impress – they could well still be your employees of the future.

10) Waiting for the perfect candidate

Your ideal candidate isn’t going to suddenly appear at your doorstep at exactly the time when you’ve got a vacancy to fill – at least not 99.9% of the time. Candidate searches take time, manpower and a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm, not to mention experience in the process and industry contacts.

If you’re looking for help and advice to fill a vacancy within your business, we’d be more than happy to talk through your requirements – just get in touch with us at Springboard Recruit for a friendly, informal chat.

10 top tips for a better candidate search

Finding a new employee is easy, isn’t it? After all, the majority of job vacancies out there will attract a decent amount of interest from good candidates with promising CVs.

But depending on the vacancy you’re looking to fill, sometimes “good” just isn’t…well, good enough. 

If you’re looking to recruit for a role that has the potential to impact on your business success, it’s worth going the extra mile to find an individual that stands out. Easier said than done, when it’s the very best employees who can afford to be more particular about what they want, and who they choose to work for.

To help, we’ve put together our own top 10 list of tips to help you boost your chances of finding that sought-after exceptional candidate: 

1) Know who you’re looking for…
The best way to streamline your search and make it more effective, is to take the time to think about who it is you’re looking to recruit. Once you have a list of skills, experience and qualities you need (the more detailed the better for sifting out underqualified candidates) you’ll find it that much easier to find individuals that tick all the right boxes.

2)…But don’t pigeonhole
Now you’ve considered their attributes, try not to be influenced by a stereotype of who it is you think you should be looking for – it’s often the surprise candidates that turn out to be most valuable for a role. Where you’re having to choose between several candidates of equal experience, it may be that a difference in personality or approach proves the deciding factor between who gets the job and who doesn’t. 

3) Take time with your job listing
Think about how potential candidates will view your job listing – is it doing enough to catch the interest of top talent? Consider every element from the job role title you advertise it under, to the list of attributes you provide. Is your job listing clear, concise and easy to follow?

4) Here’s looking at you
As well as thinking about your hunt for an employee, you should also consider your candidates’ own search too. Before they apply to any job, they’ll want to know who it is they could be working with. As part of your job listing, give some (albeit brief) information on who you are, and what your business is about.

5) What’s in it for them?
While any job application is an opportunity for candidates to sell themselves, a job listing is your opportunity to sell your vacancy. Why should a candidate want to work for you? What can you offer them in terms of benefits, career progression, training and working environment?

6) Get the application process right
For most employers this goes one of two ways; either they over-simplify the process, making it too easy to apply, or they overcomplicate things and ask for too much information. The result? An onslaught of applications from underqualified candidates, or genuine applicants being put off from entering the process at all. Consider the skills you need to see, and ask enough from your applicants to gauge who is worth taking further in the process. You don’t need to know every detail about every candidate right now – that is what the later stages are for.

7) Help candidates find you
Job listings are well and good but they’ll only be seen by candidates that are already actively looking to change roles. To expand your search, make sure you're doing enough to advertise your vacancy beyond jobs boards, social media and print advertisements. This is where finding access to industry contacts in specialist areas can prove invaluable.

8) Is your website up to scratch?
It’s the one thing nearly all candidates will do as soon as they see a tempting job vacancy advertised - head straight to the company website to check them out first. If your website doesn't do your business justice, you'll likely lose a high percentage of candidates at the very first hurdle.

9) Improve your candidate experience
You don’t want applicants to lose interest during the application process, and a good candidate experience can lay the foundations for potential recruitment later down the line. Keep your candidates informed at every stage, ensure your communication is consistent and efficient, and don’t drag the process out; the most desirable candidates won’t wait around forever.

10) Trust in the professionals
The most effective candidate searches take time, effort, valuable contacts and years of experience to make the most of each and every tried and tested strategy. If you’re looking to recruit for a very specific role, or are simply tired of sifting through piles of underqualified, inappropriate applications it can pay to let the professionals take care of it for you.

If you’d like to have a conversation about what can be done to improve your candidate search, we’d be happy to offer our advice – just get in touch with the team here at Springboard Recruit, and we can talk about what approach might work best for your business.



Love to hate recruitment agencies – 6 common misconceptions

Don’t you just hate recruitment agencies?

The way they constantly harass and cold-call you and your HR department, the lack of quality, or inappropriate CVs they send you, not to mention the massive cut they take from your business.

But the reality is, not all recruitment agencies are the same; dismiss them all under one stereotype and you could be missing out on finding some truly outstanding candidates, beyond those you’re able to find on your own.

Read on for 6 common misconceptions about recruitment agencies:

1) You can find the same candidates yourself

Finding the right employee isn’t just about posting a job online and waiting for the CVs to roll in. Online jobs boards are of course useful, but they’re limited to those individuals already looking for a job. Recruitment agencies are able to use their unique networks and relationships built over time, to connect you to a far bigger marketplace. Consider the amount of resources you’ll need to invest in your search if doing it in-house; time spent looking by your workforce is time spent away from other priorities.

2) They don’t know about the jobs they’re recruiting for

Of course, this is crucial – after all, without an understanding of the skills and experience needed to carry out the job, how can you stand to find the right candidates? Most recruitment agencies provide specialist knowledge in certain areas, usually built from years of experience working in particular industries. Look out for recruitment agencies that are honest about their specialisms, take time to understand you in your briefs, and ask for further information to help them in their search – they’re likely to improve your prospects in the long run.

3) They take a big commission for very little work

Despite what you hear, recruitment agencies do far more work than meets the eye – sifting through hundreds of CVs is time-consuming and laborious, and hunting out the right employee takes time, persistence, and ingenuity, not to mention valuable industry contacts. But what really matters is that the cost of failed hires to employers will generally far outweigh the cost of a recruitment agency – in fact, it could cost more than 4 times the salary of the vacancy you are trying to fill. When you think about it, are you really saving yourself money?

4) Tonnes of poor quality, inappropriate CV’s just waste my time

We completely agree. When it comes to recruitment, quantity never wins over quality – the right recruitment agency will invest their time and efforts into tracking down the best possible candidate for your vacancy, rather than throwing hordes of CV’s your way and hoping for the best. Use an agency that does their research right, and you should be provided only with proven and experienced candidates.

5) All recruitment agencies are the same

It’s true of course, that there are agencies more concerned with hitting targets than the quality of their service. But for every one, there’s another agency out there with a focus on building long-lasting valuable and personal relationships to achieve the results they’re looking for. The success of any agency rests largely on how well it engages with its clients – a failure to acknowledge and act upon client needs will only result in the search for the right candidate falling short. Your recruitment agency should be providing you with a unique advantage in the marketplace – if they’re not, then perhaps it’s time to change?

6) Filling a job vacancy is easy – why pay for it?

Yes, it’s easy to fill a vacancy…if, of course, that’s all you’re looking for. But most employers aren’t looking to fill a role with just any old candidate - you want to build the best possible workforce for your business. Good recruitment agencies use a thorough and detailed screening process to get to know every candidate, and match them to the most appropriate roles. It’s what a recruitment agency can offer in terms of time and expertise invested in your search that will prove the most valuable in the long run…and leave you free to take care of business. 

Might the right recruitment agency be able to help you with your next job vacancy? If you’d like to talk to us about your recruitment needs, we’d be happy to offer our advice and answer any questions. Just get in touch with us to discuss your requirements in detail on a strictly no-obligation basis.