I’ve got a vacancy… What do I do now?

How to fill a vacancy

When a vacancy becomes available in a company, it can be difficult for some new recruiters to know what to do next. This feature gives you an overview of the process, and ensures that you have every possible opportunity to see it through to a successful conclusion.

Before we get into a step-by-step process, there are some crucial background details you will need to understand, such as: how is your vacancy being created, who is going to own the process, how does the rest of the team fit in and do you work with an outside recruiter?

There are only two ways a job is created: you’re either replacing an existing employee; or you’re creating a new role. The majority of jobs will be replacements of existing positions, so you’ll have a much better idea of the job description and the type of person you are after. If you’re creating a new role then things might be a bit more tricky and you will need to invest a good amount of time making sure you know exactly what you want.

You need to make sure you have clear lines of responsibility when it comes to the hiring process, so you will need a hiring manager. The smaller the company, the easier this is to allocate, but essentially a good starting point is the manager who the new employee is going to be working closest to. They will then be supported by the other people in their team and other stakeholders including any HR people.

Finally, do you work with an outside recruiter? You may save yourself money by going through the process on your own, but the reality is that it can be a long and complex process and a recruiter will take on a lot of that for you. Furthermore, if you find one who works in your area then they will already have lots of contacts and potentially suitable candidates.

So how do you make sure you get the right person?

Here’s a list of 7 basic step you need to go through to make sure you get it right.


1. Who is your ideal target?

The aim here is to determine precisely the type of person you want to employ; look at their performance levels; experience levels; and skill levels. Do you want to advertise the job or do you want to headhunt someone discretely? The answers to these questions will have a large impact on the process. One of the key reasons for failure in job searching is defining your target but failing to design the approaches used in a way capable of recruiting and hiring that type of target.


2. How will your target decide?

If you want to attract the right person, you need to understand what will motivate them: high salary; good team; great promotion; work environment and ethics? All these could have a serious impact on your potential ideal candidate’s decision. This will also inform the messaging of your recruiting campaign.


3. Where does your target look for jobs?

This will have a huge influence on how you manage your recruitment process. If you’re targeting people that will use recruitment agencies or head hunters, then you will need to follow that path.

If you’re recruiting people that just scour the small ads then that’s the way to go forward. The reality of course is that you will probably always use a mix of everything, but the weighting in terms of importance will be decided by the answer to this question. Whatever you do don’t rely on luck or coincidence, the more bases you cover the more you are likely to succeed.


4. Is your image right?

Make it easy for potential candidates to find positive information about your company.

One of the first places to start is with your own website, and make sure you are giving out the right messages here. The same goes for any of your other online and digital channels. Smart prospects will also look for information about your firm and what it’s like to work there in places you can’t control, including blogs, ratings sites, and via social media. The best firms identify trusted information sources and work proactively to influence information on them.


5. The application process

By the time you get here, potential candidates have been convinced to apply for a position, so your aim now is to get a large percentage of the qualified individuals to complete the application process. If you’re doing this internally, make sure the process is as easy as possible, and include some sort of opportunity for feedback.


6. Sorting applications

Once you are starting to receive applications, you need to prioritise them this can be a time consuming business, so make sure you set time aside for this at the beginning of the process otherwise you may end up missing out on your perfect candidate because you were too rushed.

Today it’s an employers market so you’re likely to get a lot more applications than you think. Again working with a recruiter will mean they will handle the majority of this for you, but obviously they may not see something in a potential candidate that you do. Things to look out for include making sure that you candidates match the minimum qualifications.


7. The interview

So you’ve found some interesting looking candidates, now you need to get them to come and see you. Sometimes it’s worth running a phone interview as a pre-screening technique, but often these can be uncomfortable experiences where you’re unlikely to get the best out of your candidate, but then of course you might want to see how they react under pressure.

The most obvious thing to do though is to set aside a number of days to run the interviews. Always over estimate how long it will take as people will invariably need date options, there’s no point in putting the process sunder more stress than you need to.

We go into more detail with respect to interview technique and actual hiring elsewhere on the site, but for now this process will help you to make the best possible selection for your company.


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