Recruitment – Demystifying a Black Art

– How to recruit in 10 steps



Recruiting is one of the most important activities of any business.

The fact is, recruitment is not so much a black art as an inexact science. No matter how well we match position requirements with key competencies, as well as critical selection criteria, culture, and style with personality traits and intellect, it still is a difficult task. The real art is to use good judgement and appropriate recruitment tools such as personality testing, behavioural-based questioning, and reference checking in combination.  It takes planning and effort to recruit well, but it’s definitely time well invested. 

Here is a brief outline of how to recruit in 10 steps.

1. Business case ­– Ensure a business case has been made for the need for the role. It should be supported by a position description demonstrating accountability and responsibility.

2. Pre-advertising considerations include:

•  Sourcing candidates – Depending on the seniority of the role, consider print and on-line advertising. If the role is particularly specialised, it may be able to be advertised through an industry association.  Other sources of candidates are internal and external referrals.

•  Drafting an advertisement  – Ensure you have drafted an advertisement indicating key selection criteria, along with and the size and culture of the organisation. The clearer this is, the better the result for the organisation and the applicants.

•  Selection criteria and behavioural-based questions – Prepare selection criteria and behavioural-based questions from the position description and objectives. Include technical requirements, experience, and values of the organisation.  Behavioural based interviewing requires candidates to provide relevant examples of past outcomes, thus indicating potential.

3. Advertise the role – Place the advertisement and provide candidates with a contact for queries. Consider extending the reach through social media; however, always remember to respect privacy. Acknowledge all applicants who make the effort to apply to work with your organisation.

4. Screen applicants and shortlist – Assess all applications against the key selection criteria. Prepare a shortlist of up to ten candidates.

5. Conduct interviews – Arrange face-to-face interviews whenever practical.  These can be conducted with the responsible hiring manager. When it comes to second round interviews (a shortlist of up to 4 candidates) involve the hiring manager, a senior manager, and a manager from another functional area. We call this ‘the one up and one across’ method. We recommend that all three must agree prior to candidates being considered.

6. Psychometric testing – A few shortlisted candidates, typically one or two may be required to undertake relevant psychometric tests. However, the results of these should never be the sole criteria for selection.

7. Reference checking – Once a successful candidate has been identified, conduct reference checks.  Referees should be recent or current managers of the candidate.  Questions should reflect the key selection criteria.

8. Pre-Offer – Once the preferred candidate is chosen based on interviews, testing, and reference checking, an offer can be made. If there is any disagreement between ‘the one up and one across’ managers, do not proceed.  Experience tells us that even with the time, effort, and pain associated with recommencing a recruitment, it’s much more desirable than proceeding with the wrong candidate. Over 80% of performance issues can be traced back to poor recruitment.

9. Offer and acceptance The candidate may be asked if they wish to proceed; leave the details for the written offer.

10. On-boarding – Once acceptance is confirmed in writing, the process of on-boarding begins. Remember, first impressions are here to stay.

Design • Implement • Support

Through our blog, we wish to give you a comprehensive insight into the world of Intrepidus HR, where our overall goal is to inspire businesses to improve themselves and their people.

Do you wish to discuss a particular business improvement topic or even contribute a guest Blog article? If yes, please contact Simon Campbell at Intrepidus Human Resource Consulting.

If you or your organisation requires input or assistance in establishing or enhancing your positive organisational culture, please contact Intrepidus Human Resources Consulting for assistance.  Intrepidus can assist with the design, implementation and support of employee surveys, analysis and action plans, employee briefings, and employee communication and engagement initiatives. 

Furthermore, contact Intrepidus for assistance with one on one performance feedback for teams and individuals and all your complex human work issues.


Human Resources – Industrial Relations – Recruitment

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Intrepidus Human Resource Consulting

Intrepidus is a human resources and industrial relations consultancy based out of Melbourne. We help clients with difficult people issues, HR & IR strategy, and more. If you want to find out how we assist with workplace issues, you can contact us at  or give us a ring on +61 401 716 818.