You are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department and are knowledgeable around the business functions. What about the people tasks? Managing people starts with recruiting…finding the right talent. I’ve created a simple guide to help you through the maze of hiring the right talent.

1. Job Opening – decide who owns the recruiting process…you or Human Resources. In some companies, HR drives the process. In smaller companies, the manager is usually in charge of whole process. If it is HR, you still need to be involved during many of the steps.

2. Job Description - whether you are filling a replacement or a brand new position, you need a job description. Before any outside recruiting efforts start, review or create a job description.

3. Pay – be clear around how much your budget can handle, or if you have pay scales, know what the company’s range is for this role. Keep in mind a few thoughts around this subject: the experience of the potential employee you are seeking, what others are making performing the same responsibilities and what can you afford to meet your budget. If you have an HR Department, they can be a support in this matter.

4. Advertising the position – you can advertise in any of the online job boards, specialty job boards or magazines, newspapers, or local papers. An outside recruiter can be hired to recruit, depending on the difficulty of finding talent for the position or your time availability is limited in the search process. Don’t forget internal candidates for the position.

Another resource for finding talent is your current employees. When I was actively recruiting full time I was successful in hiring 34% of my new hires via employee referrals. They can be your talent scouts. Start an Employee Referral plan where you compensate the employee who locates strong talent for you.

Many companies have Applicant Tracking systems to help with the gathering and sorting of resumes. If your company has many open positions, I would highly recommend that you purchase a system.

Even if you don’t have an applicant tracking system, you could use Microsoft Outlook to take incoming resumes and put them in the appropriate folder. For example, you are looking for two different sales functions…sales manager and junior sales rep. Make sure in your ad you require the subject line to state either Sales Manager or June Sales Rep. As the email hits your inbox, with the right set up on your PC, each email with the resume will go into the appropriate folder.

Note: Resumes need to be held for a year before tossing. Put a date at the bottom when you received the resume. See Below a statement from

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers with at least fifteen employees must retain applications and other personnel records relating to hires, rehires, tests used in employment, discharge for one year from making the record or taking the personnel action. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) requires the same length of retention for the same employment related records for employers with twenty or more employees. In addition, Title VII and the ADA require that basic employee demographic data, pay rates and weekly compensation records be retained for at least one year. ADEA requires the same information to be retained for at least three years.

5. Screening Process – who is responsible for the first level screening of resumes? You, HR, or someone in your department who is experienced and knows the type of candidate you want to interview. They will go through the many resumes, using the job description as their guide, and locate the candidates that best match.

If HR does the screening, they usually send their top resumes to you for your initial review. On the other hand, they do the first level interviewing before you even see the resumes. Then they present their best candidates to you.

Note: Before recruiting, create a list of “who does what” so everyone is clear and the process runs smoothly.

6. Interviewing Questions – put some thought into what you want to know about each of the candidates. Create a list of 10 open-ended questions that you will ask all of the candidates.

Open-ended questions insure that the candidate answers with more than a “yes” or “no.” For example, if it is a customer support position you are seeking to fill, ask the candidate “tell me a time when you were faced with a difficult customer, what was the situation, and how did you handle it, and was the customer satisfied or not.

Create a separate sheet for your interview questions and capture the candidate’s answers on that sheet. Don’t write on the resume…keep that clean. If another person interviews the candidate, he/she is not swayed by your perceptions. Give them your list of questions as a guide…without the answers.

7. Lists of Interviewees – create a list of potential interviewers and notify them of their responsibility in the recruiting process. You can have individual 1:1 interviews or a group interviewing process. Try to be organized as you don’t want to drag out the interviewing process because of schedules. You can lose a strong candidate because of a long interviewing process.

8. Reference Checking - always check references. There are companies that will not provide any references, though I tell the candidate that I want references that will have a conversation with me about their performance. I request from them a manager or two that has supervised them, as well as a peer who has worked side by side with them. Then create a list of questions that you will ask the references. Be prepared and you will hear what the references are saying and what they are not saying.

9. Decision Time – time to gather everyone who has interviewed the candidates and make a decision who you will offer the position to and the reasons for this decision.

Final Thought

Your decision should be based on their skills, experience and ability to work in your environment…be careful around discrimination issues, such as race, sex, age or physical disabilities. Can the candidate do the job? Why you have chosen this candidate over the other candidates?

Author's Bio: 

Pat Brill is the author of the blog “Managing Employees” (, “The Secrets of a Successful Time Manager” ( and “Manager’s Guide to Performance Improvement.” ( You can reach Pat at