I need to recruit, but have never done it before, what do I need to do?

You may have just started out running your own business, or possibly, you’ve started a new job where your role includes recruiting staff – either way, I hope some of these things below will help you.

So, you’ve got to the point where you need to take on a member of staff, but you’re unsure what you need, or maybe, which role to recruit for? Where do you start and how do you do it?

You more than likely have an idea of why you need to recruit. Maybe someone’s left and you need to replace them? Luckily that’s an easy one! OR, maybe you have a pile of work that needs doing but nobody to do it, and now you need to take someone on to cover that side of the business for you.

It’s not always easy, but hopefully you will have already had a few signs beforehand to help you understand ‘what and who’ you need to recruit. If you haven’t, I find it’s best to do a bit of a brainstorm around which tasks are not getting done etc, and then, take it from there.

Here are my 7 Steps to getting the right candidate(s)

1st Step – write up a job description for the person you are looking to recruit.

You’d be surprised how many people don’t do this bit. They believe that walking around with all this information in their head will do for now – you know what you want – right? But, this way of thinking doesn’t work too often! Instead, if you can, grab an hour away from your desk, or take some time out when you get home with some paper and a pen, start to make a list of the duties you expect this person to do. Think about what salary you are going to offer, the hours of work – write everything down that this job will include.

Another surprise you will come across when you start writing things down is what and how much information you will actually come up with. Writing helps you to see clearly what role you need to recruit for. Don’t be dismayed if it’s not what you thought it would be! You might find you end up recruiting for a completely different role altogether! This does happen!

2nd Step – think about when you need this person to start.

Once you have all of this drafted out, you can then start to think about (realistically) when you’d like this person to start. You want the best person for your business, so consider things like:

Is your ideal candidate in employment already? If they are, they will typically have to give at least a 4 weeks’ notice period. Before you start to advertise, give yourself enough time to find the best candidate out there – don’t just settle for anyone.

For example: If you need this person to start at the beginning of April, start advertising in early February. This leaves you with enough time to attract plenty of candidates during the advertising campaign. It also allows time for first, and if needs be, second interviews. It will take into consideration a person’s notice period, depending on what that notice period is. It is always a good idea to check notice periods, as they can sometimes be longer than 4 weeks.

3rd Step – where to advertise your vacancy?

There are lots of options available to you here. If the role is specialised, I would always recommend you use a recruitment agency. They may cost you more, but if you find a good recruiter, they will do all the leg work for you AND they don’t get paid until they find you a good candidate.

If your position is urgent and specialised, the above is the best route to take.

If you have some time on your hands to recruit and you’re not so rushed to find someone, there are loads of methods you can use. Here are a few options.

  • Using word of mouth. If you employ staff already, ask them if they know anyone. Or, ask family and friends if they know of any suitable candidates.
  • You can pay for an advert to go into your local newspaper. This can however cost anything from £300 to £1000 – sometimes even more, depending on the size of your advert. It’s always a good idea to ask upfront how much the advert is going to cost.
  • You can use social media – Facebook jobs, LinkedIn or Twitter – all free.
  • Of course, I would be a fool if I didn’t mention Recruit123www.recruit-123.co.uk. We write the advert copy for you. We share it on social media and we also share it on a selection of job boards. Pricing on our service starts at just £185. All our packages have a fixed fee.

4th Step – your advert is LIVE, and the responses are coming in. What happens next?

Applications are coming in thick and fast. You’ve never recruited before, and you’re unsure of what to do next. The first and most important thing to do… is not to panic!

The biggest tip I can share with you is this:

Please respond to the CVs/applications asap – don’t leave them sitting in your inbox for days.

Block out some time in your diary OR if you work for yourself, schedule time for this to be done in the evening.  Find some quiet time when you can get through this task quickly without being disturbed.

First and foremost:

Go to your computer, create and save a folder and name it with the job title of your advert; e.g. Sales Assistant.

Inside this folder, create 2 more folders – one titled Yes and one titled No. You only need to briefly look over the candidate(s) CV at this stage – no need to read it chapter and verse.

Open the CV on your laptop/PC and scroll down it. Look for things that are relevant to the role you are recruiting for. If at first glance it looks ok, save it into the Yes folder – even if you’re not sure, still save it here. If, however, you open a CV and it’s completely obvious they have no relevant experience whatsoever – save it into the No folder. You can deal with it later.

5th Step – dealing with the Yes folder.

Once you have enough CVs in the Yes folder, revisit them again and look at all of them in more detail. Create your first shortlist with the candidates you would like to contact.

There are various ways to contact candidates. Here are the methods that recruiters, in general, find works the best:

Firstly, text or call them.

If you text, a sample message should look something like:

‘Hi Karen, you have applied for a Sales Assistant vacancy advertised on Indeed. You have made it onto our shortlist of people we would love to speak to. Please can you call me on______________ to discuss your application. Regards______ ‘.

If you decide to call them, firstly prepare yourself. Think about what you want to say/ask. You will either get their answerphone OR they may answer. If they answer, remember to come across both professionally and friendly. You want them to like you, and to feel that you’re a nice person to work for – first impressions work both ways remember!

If you get their answerphone – leave a short message and remember to include your contact details as well as the best time to reach you.


This should always be the last resort. You should only send an email as a backup after you’ve left a voicemail letting them know you’ve called OR because you are sending them an email confirming an interview.

Please don’t use email as your first point of contact – they won’t get your message as quickly as a text or a call, and you could lose people, OR even fail to reach them altogether.

6th Step – inviting your shortlisted candidates in for an interview

You have now screened the candidates over the phone. Some will have been declined, the others you will invite in for an interview to meet with you face to face.

Plan in your diary where you can block out some time to do the interviews – keeping inmind, if one of your colleagues needs to be there with you. Always allow for this scenario. 

If a candidate wooed me over the phone in my recruitment agency days, I would have booked them in for an interview there and then – why wait! If someone sounds great to you, just get them booked in, asap, – and I mean as soon as possible – not in 2 weeks’ time; this will be too late!

You must react fast if you want to win in this game! Get them to come in and see you the same day or the same week if you can. The following week at the very latest!

Verbalise the arrangements over the phone with the candidate. Double check their email address whilst you have them on the phone, and then once off the phone, send an email confirmation with all their interview details included.

7th Step – Interview day!

Preparation is key throughout all this process, but especially on the interview day. Prepare where you are going to do the interviews. Think about what you need. And, have a list of questions you would like to ask, etc.

I hope you have found some of this useful. This isn’t everything; just a few things to help you on your way.

We will be putting together some more useful hints and tips around the subject of recruitment throughout the year, but if you need any specific help, please just ask – we don’t just write job adverts; we are here to help you every step of the way..

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