Managing employees: The HR essentials all employers and managers need to know!


Video Three  – Recruitment and Selection – the raw deal when finding your stars

Kath: Good morning, everyone. Welcome, again, to our third video in our series of HR Essentials, Managing Employees: All Employers Need to Know. Welcome again, Paulette.

Paulette: Thank you.

Today, we’ve got a bit of a story that we’re going to talk about. This all about recruitment and selection, the raw deal when finding your stars.

I’ve got an interesting story that I’d like to share with you. I’m sure there are people out there that have gone through similar circumstances when trying to find an employee. So, I’ll share with you a story if that’s okay this morning?


Awesome. Okay, so essentially, we were looking for a new employee. We had written a position description. We had done all the right things, all the preparation work. We knew exactly who we were looking for, and it was a matter of trying to advertise for this person now.

We were approached by a recruitment company, a fairly well-known recruitment company, and they put forward some candidates to us. We interviewed these candidates ourselves; interviewing is not one of my best things that I know how to do. It’s not something that I’m great at, but I gave it a go. I guess, like most small business owners, you’re good at doing your business, you’re not necessarily great at HR and employing people.

So, we’ve interviewed these candidates, and we found one that we thought fitted the bill. Because the recruitment company had already done all this testing and had said that this person was capable of fulfilling the role that we required, I didn’t do any further testing on this person.

Now, a couple of months in, I’m thinking, “Okay, this is all right.” Six months down the track, this person wasn’t who they said they were. They were not capable of performing the role in any way, shape, or form. Then, we got to that point, we’re over the six-month mark, and we were stuck with this person.

I guess my question is, having been through that experience, which was a bit of a disaster, and also having to pay the recruitment company thousands and thousands of dollars, $12,000, in fact, to recruit this person.



I’d like to ask the question: how could I have prevented that? How could I have actually found the right person for the role and not spent all those thousands of dollars on HR?

Yeah, unfortunately, it’s not a story that I haven’t heard before. There are a lot of recruiters out there, and they say they’re doing certain things and they don’t. There are recruiters that do those things as well, so it’s a matter of finding the right one.

If you are going to use a recruiter, it’s through the referral base as well, but also setting out very clearly with that recruiter, “This is what we expect. These are the terms of condition with working with you.”

Also, you’ll, at say three your six months, if this person’s not working out, are they going to source someone else for you, or are they going to refund money? Whichever way they work, but make sure those terms and conditions of engagement are pretty tight. Yes, that would be the big thing.

You did a job description, so awesome.

Absolutely. That was the first thing that … I mean, it what was a matter of a role that we’re trying to create to alleviate some of the work that we were doing in our business.

We had created a role based around what we didn’t want to do. It was laid out very clearly. I mean, I’ve written position descriptions before, so that wasn’t the hard task. That would be the first thing in the process that we’ve done right.

Yeah, the first thing to do is to do the position description.

Remember when we, back when we did the filming on what to do when employing for the first time, about sitting down and working out exactly what you’ve done, the job task you want this person to do for about three months?

We’ve gone through that. You’ve got your position description, you’ve sent it off to a recruiter. Now, this you’re not sending it to a recruiter, so what are you going to do in that regard? A lot of small business can’t afford $12,000. Should we talk about, at some point that you’re not going to a recruiter?

Sure. What would you do if you place an ad in Seek or wherever it happens to be, the local newspaper back in the day?

It was. I remember those times.

Oh, yeah, me too. What would you do if you’ve done that? You’ve placed an ad, you’ve been inundated with candidates, hopefully. What’s the process then? How do you find out who to choose as the right person for the role?

Okay. What you would do is you’d go through and look at all the resumes that are coming through. On your position description, you would have highlighted the areas that are very important to you. So, you would be looking for those people and then just weed out everybody else.

Also, look for distance; how far they are away from where you are working as well. Because you have got to be mindful that the M1 here on the Gold Coast can be a nightmare. You don’t want to get someone on board and train them and find that the travel is an issue for them, so consider that as well. Over an hour’s travel may be a little bit much. Depending on the level of the role as well; if it’s a low-level role, the traveling is too much, so you’d be going through looking at that.

Then, actually phone up and telephone interview people. When you telephone interview them, actually have a standard set of questions that you ask; the same questions to everyone. They’ll be around the actual requirements of the role. What have they done beforehand? Have they been in this situation?

Now you mentioned that the recruitment agency said that they had told you they’d tested?

Yes, correct.

Testing is a good thing. It’s unfortunate they hadn’t in that circumstance. But from the word go, if you’re, say, working in Mile, as an example, say if it’s an accountancy role, let them know that you’re going to be testing from the first time you talk to them.

“Just to let you know, in the final stage of interview, we are going to be testing for this role. We will actually sit a scenario out for you. Are you okay with that?”

That’s a great idea. Rather than leaving it up to the recruitment company as I did, or just accepting what that candidate says is true, which it may not be the case. Anyone can bluff an interview.

That is very true. I’ve had a circumstance where someone had got through to third place interview, working on Mile, we sat her in front of the computer, and she didn’t know anything that they told us they knew. So, I’ve experienced that first hand, as well.

Which can be a nightmare if that’s the role you’re looking for and looking to help take some pressure away from you, and then that person can’t actually perform that role.

So, you’ve done all your telephone interviewing, and you’ve got down to three or four candidates that you’d like to interview. Try and only stick, if you can, to three or four. Otherwise, you can become overwhelmed with how many people are coming through. But you might have a definitely not pile or maybe in a blitz interview, so you’ve got people to go back to should you find the people that you’re interviewing are not very good.

All right. What happens next? You’ve found those three or four people that you want to actually have a face to face interview with, what’s the next step in the process?

Call them into face to face. Always have two of you interviewing as well. This saves if someone says, “Oh, they discriminated against me.”

A person can actually claim discrimination from the moment you actually start recruiting for the role.

Wow, that’s a scary thought, isn’t it? If you’re trying to hire into a new role and then you can be discriminated against.

Yeah, so always do two on one interviews. It’s just so much better that way, but it’s also you’ve got two people’s opinions on that person as well.

When you’re interviewing, go in with a standard set of questions again. That’s what is important to you as a role, but also bring some cultural things in, how your business works. Because the person needs to fit not just work-wise, but they need to fit into the culture as well.

That is very important, making sure that the team culture is right all across the board; everyone is aligned with your culture of your business.

They are. The questioning that you ask, as well, some very situational questions, the hypothetical questions, what would you do in this scenario questions as well. Be very broad across, depending again on your role, what questions you’re asking.

Again, that’s something that definitely Fresh HR can help with. We have actually got a massive list of questions you could ask; from leadership through to management, to teamwork, the whole lot, all the way through, and some weird questions as well that just test the person on the spot.

Great idea, particularly depending on the role. I suppose. If it’s going to be quite a challenging role where they have to think on their feet, if you can throw in a few questions like that to really test them to think on their feet.

Don’t be afraid to be a little bit challenging.


Just be aware, don’t be discriminatory. You can’t ask someone, “How many kids do you have to look after?” Because if they don’t get the role, they could come back and say you discriminated against them due to the carer’s responsibilities, so be very careful and mindful of that.

Once you’ve gone through that, you could then test them because you’ve really warned them all the way through, you’re going to be testing. So, sit them down and set something up. Now, don’t stand over them when they’re doing it; give them the space to be able to do that without being too nervous. And then, go back and assess from there.

Now, you did mention, I picked up the onuses that interest you one week. We’re going to be looking at this next time, the probation periods, but you mentioned that at six months that you’re stuck with the person. How many staff did you have across all entities?

At the time, we had four.

Okay. So, it’s not six months; it’s actually 12 months. So, 12 months for unfair dismissal.

Okay. That’s a really great point. I didn’t know that, at the time. That would have been really great to know then because I could have actually let that person go.

You could have managed them out of the business without any recourse to unfair dismissal claims. You do, however though, have to be aware of unlawful dismissal and adverse action, but certainly, unfair dismissal, for a business that size, it would have been 12 months. So, knowing that … But we’ll go through that next month with probation periods anyway.

When a person comes on board, the next thing is going to be monitoring them as well. We’ve gone through the recruitment process. Again, we’ll put that we’re monitoring them up in their probation period.

And, I guess, making sure they are having those check-ins all the time to make sure they are performing the role the way you expect them to?

Yes. Another thing as well is to actually do a reference checking. Make sure you do the reference checking. A lot of people don’t. Yes, there are people out there when you phone up, they don’t want to give you any more details than the fact that they’ve actually worked at the company, this is their role they’ve actually done within the company as well.

You can read between the lines sometimes. If they’re really not willing to tell you anything you then think, “Hmm, what’s up?”

Would it be worth asking certain, specific, questions when you are doing those reference checks? Is there anything you can ask, in particular, that would help you gauge what the employee is actually like on the job?

Well, you’d ask them how long they’ve been there? What was their work ethics like? You can ask them that. A good one is, “Would you re-employ this person?”

Good point because, obviously, if you’re not going to re-employ the person then they’re probably not a person that you want on your team.

That’s true, and always leave it the open, “Is there anything else that you would like to tell me?” And always be respectful. “Thank you very much for your time,” is the polite thing to do as well, in regard to that.

Don’t be afraid to do that. And if you’re not sure of something, phone the candidate back up and say, “Hello. We’ve just done your reference check. We just want to double check a couple points before we make a formal offer to you.”

Maybe just to clarify those points that the person you’ve done a reference check has mentioned. Yeah, good point.

But certainly, after the recruitment, the probation period’s the big thing, which we will go through next month. The probation period … Everyone kind of holds on, “What if, what if?” But sometimes letting go is easier than the holding on.

That’s right. I think in a lot of circumstances, it’s easier to let someone go sooner rather than later. The longer you leave it, I think it’s much more challenging because they’ve become part of the team then, so …

They do, yes.

The recruitment is hard, and people can put on a face. Because, you think, it’s like being an actor. You’re on the screen for, say, half an hour. In half an hour, the business owner needs to decide, “Is that person right for me, and is that person not?”

There’s a whole pile of different tools that you can use in the recruitment. Standardized questions, very much so. I also have an attitude meter that I go through: What was their handshake like? How did they appear when they turned up? Just a whole pile of different things as well to gauge people at the interview.

You could do psychometric testing and may want to as well. The price of those can be quite high, so it’s depending on the level of the role again. I certainly can refer people through to someone who does DISC profiles. That’s available as well. But it’s looking at everything as a whole, not just one area.

There is a debate about going onto social media and looking at people on social media as well. Some people do that. It’s entirely up to you whether you do but be very mindful of using social media as an avenue because you can open yourself up to claims of discrimination.

Say, for example, if a person is … One of the examples I use when I’m lecturing is that there’s a picture of them standing behind someone in a wheelchair. As an example, they don’t get the role, you’ve let them know you’ve looked on social media, and they go, “You’re actually discriminating against me based on that I was in a picture with someone with a wheelchair, so you’ve assumed … “

So, you’ve got to be so careful.

Probably not the best one to use. You could go on LinkedIn, depending on the roles. See if the person’s on LinkedIn. Because, don’t forget, on their you’ve got the recommendations.

That is a business profile as well.

You can go on there and have a look at what recommendations people have put on there.

You can go back and look at people’s job history as well. Now, it’s very interesting, a lady did a TED talk, and it was about Don’t Dismiss the Scrapper. She talks about the silver spoon and the scrappers. The silver spoon gets brought up with all the opportunities available for them. Yet, the scrapper maybe left high school early and has had several different jobs, but don’t dismiss him because sometimes the scrapper just needs to find the ideal opportunity. But they’re actually more determined, more consistent, and more driven than someone who’s had everything handed to them.

Don’t Dismiss the Scrapper. It’s a very interesting TED talk.

Have a look at that, and watch it. It’s about 15 minutes long, but it’s really worth it.

What about second interviews? Is it something that you would recommend if you’ve got down to the final two at least, two or maybe three people that you really can’t decide on? Would you run a second set of interviews and would you do them differently to the first round of interviews?

Yes, I would. I’d go a second set. You would be doing the reviewing the resumes, doing telephone interviews, and calling in for a first interview. If you’re going to do a second interview, have a different person with you. Then, that way, there’s going to be-

Different perspective.

The three of you … different perspectives would then have different sets of questions regarding that. You can even say to them, “If we employed you for this position, what’s the first thing you’re going to do?” And gauge that as well.

There’s a whole set of different questions you can ask.

What about group interviews?

Depending again on the role, the level of the role, I’ve certainly done that what I’ve called assessment centres, where I’ve had 15 people come into a room. You have four or five people watching them, giving them tasks, and seeing how they work together as a team. Then, you get to lunchtime, and you weed some out that aren’t going to stay on. Then, you do a bit more in-depth interviews and one to one until you get down to the final couple, and then you can go from there.

But again, it depends on the level of the role. If you were interviewing for a low-level admin position, as an example, you could do a couple of people coming through. But just be mindful of not creating too much stress, as well. Because remember, you’re only seeing a snapshot of them.

That’s right. You want to get a good overview, not a stressed overview if they’re placed into a situation which they wouldn’t likely be placed in under normal work circumstances.

If you are going to do group interviews, let them know prior that that’s exactly what we’re going to do so they don’t turn up here and absolutely panic. Because remember, you’ve got introverts and extroverts as well in personalities. You just need to be mindful of that too.

Okay. Awesome. Well, I don’t have any other questions for you today. Have you got any other tips or tricks that you wanted to share with everyone today in regards to recruitment?

It’s about being authentic, because you’re wanting to get someone who’s going to fit with you and your business, so be you. Don’t try to be something you’re not. They’re interviewing you as much as you’re interviewing them.

They’ve probably done their homework on you and stalked you on social media themselves. If, like most people these days, they’ve got access to social media, so they’ve probably done their homework on you too.

And you don’t know whether they’ve looked.

No. That’s true.

But, yeah, just be authentic. Don’t try and be something you’re not, and help them relax, I guess, is the big thing as well.

Next month we’re looking at probation periods, so letting go can be easier than holding on. You really mustn’t underestimate the use of a probation period. We’ll go through that next week, so please come and check in.

We look forward to seeing you then. Thank you so much, Paulette.

That was great information.

All right. Awesome. Well, sees you all again next month. Bye


Fact Sheet Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and Selection Policy