Recruitment Steps
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10 Steps to Your Next Hire

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: Do you have a quick checklist of steps that employers should take when recruiting to fill a vacant position?

A: Every recruitment is different, depending on the job role you’re filling. Executive recruitment, for example, usually involves your board and would be quite different. But, yes, there’s a process that works well for most positions below the CEO level. Here are the 10 steps I recommend you start with, making adjustments as necessary along the way:

Determine what success will look like for the person who takes the job. Define what metrics you will use to measure performance.


  1. Review the job description and update it if needed. If you don’t have job descriptions, get started right now to develop them for all positions, including yours. (You can find resources, including samples, here on Association CareerHQ.)
  2. Determine what success will look like for the person who takes the job. Define what metrics you will use to measure performance.
  3. Write a job posting that sells the organization and the position. If you are not clear about what makes a good job posting, scan the listings on this site for well-written posts and use those as templates. Give as much information as you think it will take to get people interested. Include details about the job responsibilities, your culture, and your benefits package. Don’t miss the opportunity to showcase your mission, vision, and values to attract candidates.
  4. In most cases, you should post the position internally before you go outside. In some instances, it might not be appropriate to advertise the opening internally. Your HR team can help you determine whether this is the case. 
  5. Select appropriate sites to post the opening, including sites specific to the job’s field (finance, media, technology, and so on) and sites where candidates from underrepresented groups would be likely to see it. 
  6. Select who will conduct the interviews. Prepare questions together and divide them up so the candidate doesn’t have to answer the same questions in every interview.
  7. Phone-screen the best-qualified applicants (20-30 minutes, using prepared questions).
  8. From the phone screens, select applicants to interview face to face or via Skype. Develop a rating form so you can compare impressions following the interviews.  (Interview internal candidates using the same screening and interview questions.)
  9. Make your final selection, check references, and do a background check.
  10. Make an offer. Let other candidates know that they were not selected, and thank them for their interest. If you interviewed internal candidates, explain why they were not chosen and put a plan together to help them gain the necessary skills for promotion.

If you follow these steps, you should succeed in bringing a potential superstar into your organization or promoting a talented current employee who will excel in the new role.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].

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