8 Ways to Shake Up Your Recruitment Process in 2020

08 Nov 09:00 by Jamie Silman


“They’re just not a good fit for us.”

How many times have you heard a colleague or a manager say that as they turn down yet another candidate you think is perfect for the job?

If you feel like you’re hearing this more and more frequently, the problem could lie somewhere in your recruitment process.

First of all, let’s get a better idea of what we mean when we refer to the recruitment process.


What are the steps in the recruitment process?

Recruitment processes differ between industries, with some requiring a more hands-on test to determine whether or not a candidate is capable of doing the job they’ve applied for, while entry level positions only need to confirm a handful of basic criteria are met.

Generally, there’s 7 basic steps:

  1. Identify a need
  2. Prepare a job spec
  3. Advertise the job
  4. Screen applications
  5. Hold interviews
  6. Offer the job
  7. Onboard the employee

Let’s take a look at each step of the recruitment process and explore the ways you can shake things up in your business.


Identify A Need

The first step of the process is to determine who it is you’re looking for.

Typically, this will have happened because a manager or department head has decided they need to bring in a new member of staff to do a specific job. (Duh!)

But this goes beyond just deciding you need a new employee and putting an advert out.

First of all, you need to decide what level the employee needs to be. Are they going to be an intern or junior, or do you need someone with a few years of experience?

What skills do they absolutely have to have? Some skills would be nice-to-haves, but which ones can’t you live without?

How is this role going to impact the business? Is this a critical hire that could stop the business if it’s not filled, or is it something with less of a direct impact?

How to shake things up?

Try not to hire someone

It can be tempting to fill a role without questioning whether or not the business still needs someone there to do the work full time.

With the technology we have available, and the “gig economy” we’re experiencing, it may be possible to hire a freelancer to do the work remotely.

Or perhaps this job can be done by splitting the workload amongst existing employees without compromising the quality of their existing work?

Make sure you’ve explored all of the options before going ahead with hiring someone new.


Prepare A Job Spec

Once you know why you’re hiring, you can begin to pin down the details of the role you’re recruiting for, and the type of person you’re looking to do it.

At this stage, many companies make the mistake of handing the hiring over to HR to work on getting the role filled quickly, without first speaking to the person who will be working most closely with the new employee to find out what will be expected of them, and what skills are an absolute must.

How to shake things up?

Take a step back from education or experience

University isn’t for everyone, and with a number of high-quality online training courses now available for many professions, asking for a degree from a prestigious redbrick is becoming more and more dated; especially if you’re trying to recruit younger employees.

Someone with 3 years of junior experience will likely have more practical experience than a recent graduate, so try not to corner yourself with your education requirements; or perhaps consider hiring someone who’s coming from a different industry and is looking for a change in careers.



Now that you know the type of person you’re looking for, it’s time to start advertising your job.

There’s 3 main places businesses typically advertise their jobs - their own website, social media and a job site.

Advertising on your own website works well if your business has a strong brand, and social media has given companies the ability to get in front of more and more candidates, but both typically underperform when compared to job sites.

These platforms have an audience of interested job hunters that are looking for a new role, and because users can filter by salary, location and job title, the people seeing the ad will be some of the most relevant.

How to shake things up?

Revamp your job descriptions

Try making your job descriptions stand out by avoiding the clichés like offering a “competitive salary” or “fantastic benefits.”

Applying for jobs is a laborious process, and expecting candidates to spend precious time applying for your position without knowing whether the job will even cover their bills isn’t a good candidate experience.

Let the experts have a go

If you’re advertising your job but not getting any good quality applications, it could be worth hiring a recruitment agency.

Specialist recruiters will not only have access to a large database of qualified candidates, but they’ll also be able to advise you if your salary offer is too low, or you’re not aiming your advert at the right people.

It may seem like an expensive option in the short term, but it’s much cheaper than making a bad hire.


Screen Applications

Once you’ve received applications, it’s time to start screening the candidates’ CVs.

Make sure to review what the job description and person specification are looking for, and check each application against these criteria to shortlist the applicants.

It’s the candidates’ responsibility to prove to you that they have the relevant skills and qualifications, so if they don’t do a good enough job or getting this across to you quickly, move on to the next.

You’re trying to get the list down to the most qualified candidates, who you can then call to discuss their experience and qualifications, to make your decision about who to interview.

How to shake things up?

Take a look at their old projects or call their references

If candidates give an example of a project they’ve worked on, or mention a particularly interesting point about an old position, it’s worth doing a little digging.

For positions like designers and web developers, there’s always the opportunity to look at old projects they’ve completed. Try to mimic this for your role if that’s possible.

If you can’t look at old projects then you can do the next best thing - speak to their references.

Waiting until you’ve offered the job to check references is, quite frankly, absurd.

Why waste time on scheduling interviews if you don’t know that the person is even suited to the role?

Calling their references is a great way to get an idea of what they’re like as an employee, and can be a good opportunity to confirm they’re at the level they say they are. Just be sure you don’t call their current employer!


Hold Interviews

Now that you’ve screened the candidates, it’s time to schedule the interviews.

By this point, you should have a solid group of candidates who you think would be a great fit for the position, and who have shown that they have the skills and qualifications you’re looking for.

The most important thing with interviews is to evaluate how well each candidate is likely to work with your existing employees.

How to shake things up?

Act like the candidate is interviewing you

I don’t mean setting up some elaborate role-playing scenario; instead, just be conscious of the fact that the candidate is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.

If they’ve made it this far you must already think they’re qualified to do the job, so turn the tables by acting as though you’re trying to pass THEIR interview.

They want to know they’re making the right decision in joining your company, so it’s important to look for both parties that you’re hiring someone who’s the right cultural fit for your team.

Rather than asking them all the questions, open up a dialogue and try to address any concerns or questions they may have about the position and your company. Tell them honestly what it’s like to work for your employer, and the things you enjoy about your job, and it’ll be much more likely that you hire someone who will thrive at your company.


Offer The Job

So, they passed the interview?


All you’ve got to do is let them know they got the job, draft their employment contract, and sit tight until their due date!

Unless you want to send their job offer by carrier pigeon, or skywriting, there’s not really any ways to shake this process up, except for one simple thing many businesses seem to forget…

How to shake things up?

Don’t ghost candidates!

If you’ve interviewed a candidate, but decided to go with someone else, the least you can do is tell them.

Offering some explanation as to why you went with the other candidate, and how they might improve, isn’t always something an applicant will want – but if they do ask for comments from the interview, the least you could do is give them some constructive feedback about why they missed out.



The first day of a new job is a rollercoaster of emotions.

Employees can be excited and nervous in equal measure, so it’s great to keep things simple.

Most people expect a few standard things on their first day - some paperwork to sign, company policies to skim read, directions to the loo, and the logins to their computer.

But there are a few small touches that can make all the difference when it comes to helping someone settle into their new position.

How to shake things up?

Revamp your onboarding process

Onboarding can start before a new employee even arrives at the office.

A week or so before they’re due to start, send them an itinerary for their first few days and let them know what they’ll need to bring. There are some offices where everyone goes out for lunch, and they won’t want to feel left out if everyone else is leaving the office and they’re stuck with leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Consider scheduling a lunch with a few colleagues to help new employees get to know them, or give them a buddy that they can spend the afternoon with.

There’s really no limit here – just try not to overwhelm someone on their first day in a new job!


This article isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list of the ONLY ways you can spice things up in your recruitment process.

It’s a starting point – some suggestions to consider.

The key takeaway should be that sometimes processes become ineffective without us noticing, and oftentimes recruitment is one of those processes that is pushed to the bottom of the pile.

A few changes to your recruitment process could have a huge impact on the type of candidates you hire, your time to hire, and your employee retention levels; so make sure yours aren’t costing your business now!