We are doing more consulting with in-house human resources teams around best practice recruitment through our recruitment audit process. Each audit has reinforced the importance of getting seven critical steps in the process right:

  • Taking the brief
  • Developing the person profile
  • Pre-screening
  • Interviewing
  • Using supporting documentation
  • Managing the process
  • Validating the person

Here I’ve shared key advice in each of these areas. If you get these right, they are guaranteed to improve your outcomes. The focus for all of them is to engage people whose values and motivations are aligned with your organisation’s vision and culture to better enable great contributions for your business and great job satisfaction for your people.

Taking the brief

The brief is all about knowing exactly what you want done including:

  • Identifying the four to six functions or outcomes the role uniquely undertakes in your business. If you can’t identify them, the role doesn’t exist.
  • Asking what success will look like in the role, what the specific key performance indicators (KPIs) will determine success, and then how you will determine if the person has been successful.

Developing the person profile

There are two critical elements here – the ‘can-do’ factors and ‘will-do’ factors.

  • Can-do factors comprise a candidate’s skills and experiences, usually determined from their resume, including their:
  • Amount of experience
  • Technical experience and competencies
  • Communication skills
  • Depth of supervisory, management and/or leadership skills
  • Will-do factors go beyond talking about attributes such as self-motivation or innovation to focus on defining their behaviours, for example:
  • ‘Motivation’ (attribute) translates into the behaviour of regularly sitting down and appraising their success against their KPIs, determining gaps and identifying the actions needed to close those gaps
  • ‘Innovation’ (attribute) translates into the behaviour of looking for innovative, new ways to deliver products or services to customers


The right level of pre-screening can really reduce your time in interviews. Key tactics include:

  • Developing a one-page list of the criteria you require, including can-do and will-do factors, defined by the behaviours you seek
  • Arranging time to go through these with each candidate by phone.


I’ve covered interviewing techniques in past blogs. The secret to success is uncovering a repeating pattern of behaviour in candidates. This is the greatest predictor of future behaviour. To do this, work through their previous job roles, looking at:

  • Why they did what they did in each role
  • What they achieved
  • What mistakes they made
  • How they would do things differently
  • What they liked about each role
  • What their bosses thought of them

Using supporting documentation

There are two aspects to recruitment supports:

  • Ensure you have relevant documentation about your company, its vision and its high points – and perhaps mis-steps – from the past 10 years. Present this with passion and you can better share some of the excitement and energy for your future with candidates
  • Pass on your documented reasons as to why a candidate is suitable if another person is undertaking an interview, including your will do factors and the match to their main repeating patterns of behaviour in their background.

A secondary technique to add more depth to your assessment is asking candidates to complete mini case studies around the behavioural areas you require (will do factors). For example, if your desired attribute is innovation, and your behaviour is bringing new ideas to the business, then ask them to put in writing some examples of where they brought new ideas to a business. This is also a great way to test written communication skills.

Managing the process

Ensure you communicate after every contact in relation to the next stage. After the interview, ask for a candidate’s feedback including their expectations and aspirations. This can give great insight into their perceptive abilities and the interviewer’s style, if you were not personally in the interview.

Validating the person

There are two key opportunities here:

  • Reference checks – speak with three to four previous managers to understand and confirm whether the behaviours, skills and attributes you have identified from the interviews were demonstrated in past jobs…and, of course, to ask the golden question about whether they would hire them again
  • Psychological tests – these are another risk reduction tactic and can also give you the ability to gain insight into a candidate’s mental abilities and behavioural traits relevant to the role.

With these key techniques embedded your process, I am confident you will find your recruitment more effective. It helps to create a longer-term engagement that better contributes to the achievement of candidate and business objectives.

Happy recruiting!