There are many sources for finding prospective applicants. Some
sources produce large numbers of applicants who may or may not be
qualified while others lend themselves to specific levels.
Newspaper and Internet advertising is inexpensive
and produces large numbers of applicants in a very short time.
However, it produces many unqualified applicants and it is time
consuming to screen the potentially large number of applications.
Companies often require internal postings before
positions can be advertised externally. There is both an upside and
downside to this form of recruitment. The upside is that the applicant
is already familiar with the company and its politics. In addition the
company knows the applicant’s performance record. Thus, there are no
surprises for either party. The downside is that employee applicants
who are not chosen may become disgruntled and the company still has an
opening to fill. However, if handled properly, the advantages far
weigh out the disadvantages as this demonstrates the company’s
position to provide opportunity from within the organization.
The most common source today is temporary
employment agencies where the employer has the opportunity to assess
the habits and skills of the potential employee without commitment.
Utilizing these outside can save a considerable amount of time but
they can be costly if applicants are not properly screened. Therefore,
the agency chosen to provide these applicants should take the time to
learn the staffing specifications and carefully screen applicants so
that they refer only the most qualified candidates. Because these
firms vary in quality, they should be screened as carefully as any
customer applying for a line of credit.
Professional associations such as NACM are an
excellent source for recruiting new talent. People in professional
careers usually belong to associations affiliated with their
specialty. These associations usually provide job-placement services
and publish job advertisements in their newsletters and magazines.
One of the most often overlooked sources for
recruiting is government agencies. State employment agencies can
provide, at no cost to the organization, a pool of applicants who they
will train at a reduced cost to the employer. In many cases, hiring
through state agencies can also result in tax incentives resulting in
additional savings or benefits to the employer.
Once the criteria for finding applicants has been
established the time will come to review the application materials.
Generally, the applicant will provide a resume. The first step is to
eliminate those applicants who do not meet the criteria established in
the job description. This will reduce the applicant pool substantially
allowing more time to be spent with qualified applicants.
It is important that the line manager take the
time to review carefully the materials provided by qualified
applicants. While this may appear to be time consuming, time spent in
the careful evaluation of written materials prevents unnecessary
interviews and reduces the possibility of an inappropriate selection
decision. Screening written materials provides for a limited number of
candidates to be interviewed.
Naturally, the requirements of the particular
position will dictate the criteria to be used in screening applicants.
However, there are some standard considerations to use as in the
review of these materials:
The resume should be complete, legible, and neat
and look professional. If they did not take the time to make certain
that the document is free from grammatical or spelling errors then
what does that say about the quality of work that they are accustomed
Look for inconsistencies in the information
presented. For example, are the dates of previously held jobs
sequential and without interruption? Are the previous held jobs
consistent with the position the applicant is applying for? Applicants
need not be disqualified due to perceived inconsistencies in written
information, however inconsistencies should be clarified before an
offer of interview is extended.
Are there an excessive number of job changes in a
short period of time? This may identify a problem employee. This may
be confirmed if the applicant is evasive about the reason for the job
changes. There are legitimate reasons for making frequent job changes;
mergers, relocations, downsizing are the most popular today. Again,
this information should be clarified if not provided in the resume.
The role of the manager in screening applicants
is to objectively review materials to determine the applicants’
strengths and weaknesses and decide whether the applicant should be
interviewed. Therefore, one of the most important things to look for
is that the applicant is well suited to the job and the organization.
Have they performed similar duties, worked in the same or related
industry or have the skills necessary to fill the position?
In our next column we will conclude this topic
with interviewing and evaluation.
I wish you well.