7 steps to recruiting the right candidate
Agonising over which candidate is right for you, or not even sure where to start? Recruitment experts Clare Nash, Principal Consultant – Accounting and Finance, at Randstad Australia, and Alison McGrath, Managing Partner at McGrath PR, offer seven steps to  help small businesses find the right talent.

Let your candidates spell it out

Not everyone is a natural writer, but there’s no excuse for a resume littered with spelling mistakes. If you come across the spelling equivalent of a car crash, don’t feel guilty about quickly consigning it to the scrap heap.

“How people represent themselves in their resume is how you can expect them to represent your business,” says Nash. “If they can’t take the time to run a spell check, that’s a big warning sign.”

Don’t be dazzled

It’s not unusual to find yourself feeling impressed, or even overwhelmed with the calibre of resumes that land in your inbox. However, it’s important to keep your business needs front of mind rather than be swayed by resumes that may not demonstrate the specific experience required to successfully fill your role.

“It’s easy to be dazzled by a fantastically written resume,” says McGrath. “I advise clients to use a hiring grid of exact words and phrases to look for. Some resumes read brilliantly, but they need to be brilliant for you.”

Make a personal connection 

A resume shows some things, but it takes an actual conversation to reveal others. Maybe one candidate seemed too good to be true, or another left you feeling that they may have been underselling themselves. If in doubt, it’s time to lift the phone.

“I’ve learnt to trust my gut instinct when reading resumes, and if in doubt, to call and get answers,” says McGrath. “Phone screening is essential.”

Be flexible on timing

Making a shortlist, blocking off time in your diary and telling your candidates when you want to see them is how most businesses set up interviews. But just because meeting times within regular business hours fit into your schedule doesn’t mean they will for candidates. Failing to present flexible interview options for candidates may result in missing out on the best applicants.

“It’s nice to believe that applicants are so keen they’ll take any time you give them, but many won’t be able to interview from 9-5pm, and you don’t want to lose out on their talent,” says Nash. “Always offer interview options outside of normal business hours.”

Research and plan for the interview

While extroverted candidates can overload you with information, introverts may require some coaxing. To get the best out of each candidate, ensure they are familiar with the interview format and make sure you have a set list of relevant questions in mind.

“Review each resume, looking at what they have accomplished, not just role descriptions,” says McGrath. “Take control by telling them how the interview will unfold, ask the same questions of each candidate, and take notes.”

Play it straight

Many recruiters worry about being too direct for fear of upsetting candidates. The reality is most will thank you for honest, diplomatic feedback – even the unsuccessful ones.

“Being direct and honest helps you recruit better employees, and can even lead to unsuccessful candidates recommending you because they’re less likely to have hard feelings,” says Nash. “That’s a win-win.”

Make an offer like you mean it

By the offer stage you should know much more than your favoured candidate’s skills and employment history. In fact, you should have enough information to make an offer that exceeds their expectations, and in doing so gives you the best chance of sealing the deal.

“Your offer should be positive, emotive and do more than tick the basic boxes,” says Nash. “Offer a slightly higher salary, free gym membership, or tickets to an event you know the candidate will enjoy. The more personalised the better.”

Want to know how SEEK can help you find the right candidate? Nicole Brolan, SEEK’s Head of Self Service Channel, explains our new screening tools, launched in August.

“Our new tools use the content from job ads to generate a set of role specific questions that you then choose from to help you shortlist strong candidates,” says Brolan.

“We even go a step further by enabling hirers to select which answers their preferred candidate would give, which we can then use to help speed up the screening process

“Through using structured questions and answers, this enables us to also make things easier for candidates by pre-filling their answers on future applications.”

Learn more about how SEEK’s candidate screening tool can help you find quality candidates quickly and efficiently.