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Step-by-Step Guide to the Recruitment Process


Whether you’re a new company getting ready to hire your first employee, or an established company looking to increase your workforce, the thought of venturing into the recruitment arena can often be daunting. It doesn’t have to be, however; by breaking the recruitment process down into five manageable steps, you can successfully navigate the process while ensuring sustainable growth for your company.

    The five basic steps most successful employers take during the recruitment process are:
  • Compose a winning job description,
  • Select recruitment tools,
  • Screen first applicants,
  • Interview short-listed candidates, and
  • Write the job offer.

Step 1 - Compose a Winning Job Description

The recruitment process starts with composing a job description that should clearly state the role requirements, tasks, working conditions, financial rewards, and employee benefits of working for your company. To attract the best candidate for the role, it’s also beneficial to include the following in your job description:

  • Position title: should be easy to understand and consistent with similar roles within the industry,
  • Information about the company: a brief summary about your company, an overview of its mission and vision, and why it’s enticing for the candidate to work for you,
  • Unique contribution: explain how candidates will make a contribution to your company and highlight what makes the position unique or attractive,
  • Qualifications: list the essential attributes and qualifications of your ideal candidate, and
  • How to apply: provide simple application instructions for the candidate to follow, including which items your company is expecting to receive (resume, cover letter, and other documents) and the application due date.

Step 2 - Select Recruitment Tools

As soon as the job description is ready, it is time to launch the second step of the recruitment process: identify which tools you will use to promote and manage the open position. Your choice of tools will depend on the budget and type of candidates your company is looking for.

The job market has become increasingly competitive lately, and high skilled candidates are in high demand. Companies are challenged to look at new and creative ways of looking for staff.

There are a variety of tools you can take advantage of to help you promote the role, most of which are low-cost or free to use. These include:

  • Online job posting: an open job can be posted online on a public job board and on your company’s website (if it receives enough traffic, a company’s website can act as an ongoing recruitment tool by creating a career section where all employment opportunities are posted and applications can be submitted). The most popular job boards are the Government of Canada’s Job Bank, Indeed, Craigslist, Monster Canada, and Workopolis. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider when posting your open job online, however:

    • Advantages: posting an open job online can help you access a broader market of candidates, and can also save time and money.
    • Disadvantages: online recruiting requires your hiring team to be flexible, creative, and ready to find new methods of interacting with candidates. It’s also a good idea to have someone on your team familiar with use of online recruiting tools.

  • Social media: evolving digital technology allows you to reach candidates no matter where they are based, and using different social media platforms (such as LinkedIn and Facebook) can increase your ability to access highly skilled talent. Some social media platforms also allow you to post job ads and customize job posts to identify and select candidates with specific skills.

  • Advertising: your hiring team can use advertising in traditional (offline) media if they choose a publication that reaches your company's ideal candidates. Good examples of traditional publications include industry newsletters, trade journals, and the business section of the local newspaper.

  • Employment agencies: your company can save time and team resources by enlisting a specialized employment agency who can lead the entire recruitment process, including screening, shortlisting and reference checking suitable candidates. Working with a solo consultant may offer more affordable pricing than working with larger recruiting agencies, however when selecting a recruitment professional your hiring team should look for testimonials, established reputation, success stories, and cost.

  • Networking: an economical way to promte your open position is to leverage the power of your employees to spread the message to their friends and networking groups. Some companies offer a reward for bringing in the successful candidate, a strategy that can be very effective if planned and executed well.

Step 3 - Screen First Applicants

After you’ve created the job description and promoted the open position on the recruitment platforms of your choice, you will start to receive resumes from applicants. To help streamline the process of creating a shortlist of prospective candidates, your hiring team should establish an applicant screening process. This process can start a direct dialogue with the applicant by requesting more information via:

  • Email or phone: you can send additional questions to the applicant with a request to provide detailed answers. Depending on the answers, the process can enable further conversation or weed out the applicants who are not suitable.
  • Skills testing: skills tests are a great tool for you to assess applicants’ cognitive skills and other requirements that can be critical for the role. They also offer your company the opportunity to train your recruitment team in the process or learn from an external provider. Jobbank.gc.ca is a great informational resource for your hiring team to explore testing and evaluation tools. Note: behavioural tests should be administered by certified facilitators.
  • Candidate portfolio: requesting applicants to submit portfolios of sample work can help you quickly understand a candidate's experience and save time when creating a list of questions for the interview stage.

Step 4 - Interview Shortlisted Candidates

So by this point you’ve screened all the applicants for your open role and have created your shortlist of ideal candidates. The next step of the recruitment process– the interview - can be the most crucial for determining the success of your efforts.

Put simply, the interview is a conversation between an employer and a prospective candidate to understand if there is a viable connection from which both can build a professional relationship and mutual commitment.

Recruiters often use many interviewing techniques, but the most note-worthy (and likely the most benfitcial to the employer) is to include behavioral and situational questions in the interview process:

  • Behavioral questions: are designed to predict future behavior by asking about a candidate’s previous experience, as the response – what information is shared and the way in which it is framed - reveals more information about the candidate’s skills, abilities, and personality.
  • Situational questions: are designed to help assess a candidate’s knowledge, skills and possible working behaviors by posing potential situations the candidate may face on the job.

Step 5 - Job Offer

The final step in the recruitment process, after your ideal candidate has been selected, is to make an official job offer. This can be done through any communication channel (phone, text, messaging app, etc.) however it is good practice to provide a written document that outlines all the specific details of the offer.

While the government doesn't require a written offer, it’s always a good policy to have the terms of work recorded in writing; a written job offer clarifies all of the company’s expectations such as job duties, work hours, benefits, salary, and probationary period (if there is one). Note: all job offers have to meet the employment standards of the province or territory where the company is operating.

We hope you have found this step-by-step guide on the recruitment process helpful, however we’re always here for you if you need additional recruitment support! Talk to one of our recruitment professionals today

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