HR & Management

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The three most-repeated HR mistakes made by management

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1. Rushing into recruitment

Getting the right people into the right places in a business is essential, but so many employers rush into recruitment without properly thinking through their requirement and doing the necessary planning.

The starting point is an accurate and up-to-date job description and person specification. Job descriptions are high level documents. They only need to contain three elements. Firstly, there should be a job title. Secondly, have two or three short sentences which summarise the key purpose of the role. The last section sets out the key tasks. It doesn’t have to contain every task the job holder might ever do, just the key tasks. Make sure you include a bullet point that says the job holder must also “Carry out any other reasonable management request”.

The person specification includes the qualities/ attributes/ experience/ skills/ knowledge etc without which the job holder could not do the job. In other words, don’t confuse merely desirable qualities with those which are essential (a very common mistake).

Use the job description and person specification to produce a factual advert and information pack, including details of the selection process.

CVs are the accepted starting point, but they often don’t tell us much, particularly if they come from a recruitment agency that has re-written the CV in its own format. Use pre-interview screening to try and determine whether the candidate is worth seeing. Simply asking for a cover letter covering several specified points can be helpful and is remarkably revealing. Another option is to ask candidates to do some form of testing as part of the initial submission process.

Interviews are still the most frequently used method of recruitment. You can make them more effective by using competence based questioning ie asking very specific questions about relevant competences and asking for detailed examples to evidence competence. Couple this with objective testing to make the selection process really rigorous.

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