Canvassing for candidates

Scherri Olivella
Tuesday December 09, 2014
Written by Scherri Olivella
It’s a war out there; a war for talent. In order to make sure you are best equipped to find the best talent, take a moment to assess your organization’s practices with a Recruitment Scorecard.

The recruitment process
Recruitment can be a reactionary task. Ideally you want to be as proactive as possible. The first matter to assess is speed. Does it take six months from start to finish? It’s level-dependent, but on average the ideal is four weeks. Is there a lengthy approval process to hire? Are interviews scheduled quickly? Do reference and background checks take less than 48 hours?

Recruitment is a public relations exercise. How does your process take this into account? What will candidates say to their friends and peers? Is it easy to apply to your organization? How many interviews does a candidate have to go through in your process? A candidate will most likely be taking time off work to attend these meetings and it will greatly improve their experience if the process moves swiftly and with regard for their current situation.

Lastly, assess the legality of your process. At all stages in your recruitment process, are you asking for information that is legal and within your rights to obtain? Ensure that all staff involved in recruitment are trained. A best practice is to have interview guide templates to allow for a consistent and legal process.

Sourcing candidates
Your first step should be to let your current employees know of the opening and ask them to refer qualified candidates through an employee referral program. You could award a certificate for a successful hire, offer a monetary reward to the employee or even give the money to charity — anything to ensure that the referral and the employee are recognized.

You may need to advertise for your opening. Be prepared and know as much as you can about your target audience. Ask recent hires where they found out about the job. Was it an online job board? Some examples of the larger ones are Workopolis or Indeed. There are also smaller niche-market job boards to consider like engineering or accounting associations.

Would your target candidate look for a job on social media? Do the research to determine which source of hire has been successful in the past, fits your budget, and best targets your audience. A multi-pronged approach is key.

Employment branding
If the opening is deemed “hard to fill,” you may need to source passive candidates. Passive candidates are in such high demand in their industry that they don’t seek out jobs — employers seek them out. This is where your employment brand is crucial. Your message must be compelling and credible. Assess why your organization is unique or appealing. Having a strong brand will result in attracting high quality and high volume applicants.

Scherri Olivella is Practice Leader - Recruitment Solutions with HirePower (

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