Recruiting is childs play


It was reported this month, that children were involved in shortlisting, interviewing and taking part in role-plays during the recruitment and selection process for Ireland's Ombudsman for Children.

The children, aged 8 to 17 worked alongside adult assessors and were integral to the process. The initiative was a first for the Public Appointments Service, the centralised provider of recruitment for the Irish Civil Service. It selected a group of 16 children and trained them to ensure they had the necessary skills for recruiting.

So what are the necessary skills for recruiting the right staff, for the right job, at the right time? Unfortunately this is one of those million dollar questions and as yet no one has won the prize. Yet there are definite key skills and processes that recruiters can learn.

The starting point

Recruiters should plan carefully their recruitment drive from Job Description through to a Staff Induction. By planning the process before they begin, all recruiters can agree and define; the key hiring criteria, what selection methods they will use such as interviews, presentations, selection centres or psychometrics and how they can measure the results.


Recruiters must be able to prepare an advert which gets results. A good advert is eye catching, sells the job, promotes the company and attracts the right candidates. Often recruiters get confused between a high response being the right response and yet all too often the best adverts are those that reduce the number of CVs that have to be thrown in the bin. Applications can be requested via CV, application form, e-mail or even a telephone query. All applications should be treated confidentially and circulated only to those involved in the recruitment process.

The application

Once the applications have been received then they need to be screened against the selection criteria to know who to invite through to the next stage. Application forms can be benefical at this point as they direct the candidates to provide specific information, making it easier to mark. However CVs do give selectors a more rounded picture of the individual and allow the applicant an opportunity to sell themselves.

The Interview

Although they remain the most commonly used selection technique according to surveys, interviews have very poor predictive ability or suitability if conducted by untrained individuals in an unstructured way. To have any value interviews should be set up to mirror and obtain information against the key selection criteria but not restrict free flow of information where necessary. The best recruiters are those that are skilled at providing and drawing out information from the candidates through effective questioning techniques. Recruiters should also be proficient in listening skills and allow candidates the opportunity to ask questions.

Follow up

Upon the completion of the interview and any other selection tools used, recruiters need to review and decide upon a suitable candidate, they may need to conduct reference checks alongside. Underlying all of this process, recruiters must have the knowledge of all necessary legislation such as discrimination, equal opportunities, data protection and illegal workers to ensure that all candidates are treated professionally and fairly to prevent claims.

Having the right person, in the right place, at the right time, is crucial to organisational performance. Recruitment is a critical activity for the business and therfore it is important to use the right skills and techniques to execute it successfully.

If you are interested in learning more about Performance Appraisals, any element of Performance Management or any other aspects of employment then please call ABHR on 0115 9743519 for your free no-obligation consultation or visit our website for further details.