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The recruitment process


An effective recruitment process should help manage one of the most critical and risky activities an organization engages in. There comes a time when every organization needs to up-staff. However, this is often an expensive and thankless activity that can result in hiring poorly or not at all. Employees are a vital component of every organization; but are one of the most difficult resources to source; on board and manage.

Most managers can recite horror stories of hiring badly and living with the consequences of their decision for months and often years to come.

Therefore it is surprising that many organizations often ignore the need to have effective and robust processes and structures in place when it comes to their hiring process. Decisions are often left to the “gut” feel of the managers and not enough thought is given to the actual requirements of the position/functional role.

The actual engaging of head hunters or recruitment agencies is also an expensive process, so care must be given to ensure the most cost effective system as possible.

Suggested steps in the recruitment process are as follows:

Realizing the need to hire

  • Careful consideration should be given before running off to hire additional staff. We are often tempted to throw resources at a problem instead of really analyzing the business problem and need. It is always important to revert back to the workforce architecture of your organization and ensure that the additional head fits in with the workforce plan; the organizational structure and the budgetary constraints.

The job description/profile

  • Either the role is in existence and the profile is already in place and signed off, or it is a newly created position that requires a lot of thought and consideration before finalization. Every job profile should provide a guideline to what the role output is and the skills; qualifications and experiences necessary to for fill the function. A well defined job profile (and competency framework) provides you with the roadmap to hiring correctly.

Competency frameworks

  • If well defined competency frameworks form a component of your workforce architecture it should also provide the foundation elements of a well defined assessment process. Competency frameworks provide a common language to the competencies/skills that underpin a functional role from a level of work; functional requirements and behavioural perspective.

Defining your assessment process

  • We suggest a more formal approach to putting together your vacancy assessment process. Developing interview/assessment guides to create standardization and objectivity in your recruitment process is an important element of working in line with the current labour laws as well as providing you with the tools to objectively assess the candidate’s capabilities against the role requirements.

Sourcing your candidates

  • Sourcing candidates can be both from an internal as well as external perspective. Depending on your recruitment policies you may be obliged to advertise internally for a period of time in order to consider the wants and needs of your workforce as well as to support the management and retention of your existing talent pool. If you are required to source externally it is essential that this is done in accordance with the recruitment/hiring policy. The policy should be there to provide support to your sourcing process and not a hindrance. Careful consideration should be given to the service providers used to source the relevant skills; the advertising strategies that your organization may have and the process that you should adhere to in order to ensure the most relevant shortlist. Certain position demand head hunting solutions, which are expensive. Remember that sourcing candidates can be an expensive process.

Screening your candidates

  • Unfortunately sourcing the candidates is the easy part, screening the candidates is a function that requires planning; careful execution and above all objectivity and emotional maturity. It is often easy to recommend the hiring of like minded people, but does not always bode well for good team dynamics. Therefore it is essential that the assessment process is defined in isolation of the sourcing process and that a panel of assessors are used in the interview process to ensure objectivity. Depending on the role more than one assessment could be necessary in order to reassure the panel of the best candidate for the role. There are a number of tools available to screen personality traits; however these tools cannot be used in isolation as a decision making criteria and need to work hand in hand with a well defined assessment process. Short listing and decision making should be made based on the candidate’s alignment and fit to the functional role and inherent requirements thereof.

Verification and reference checks

  • It is recommended that a minimum of 2 references are obtained from previous managers from different organizations. Although it is essential to secure the candidates permission to do such checks, it is also important for the individual obtaining the reference to request factual information regarding the individual’s performance. Negative feedback on a candidate must be supported by documentation of warning letters or disciplinary processes. The notion that past behaviour predicts future behaviour is an important one to recognize when doing reference. Depending on company policy credit and criminal checks may be obtained through the proper service providers available in SA. It is essential to follow the correct procedure as candidate rights are protected. It is also important to remain objective when reviewing information from these sources. Patterns can be established but there are also times where individuals have a poor credit rating because of unforeseen circumstances outside of their control. Resolve should be applied when assessing whether a candidate is a high risk or not.

Letter of offer

  • Once agreement and signoff has been obtain regarding the successful incumbent, the process of offering employment to that individual becomes the key focus. Discussions around desired packages and benefits must be weighed up against market related salaries; budgetary constraints and the candidates capability levels. Offers should be made in writing and candidates should not be encouraged to resign before written offers have been made.

Letters of regret

  • It is good governance to regret the unsuccessful candidates as they deserve closure. It is also good for the organizations reputation to provide well thought through feedback that is based on facts.


  • It is critical that once a hiring process is complete, the start date of the new recruit is documented; all the paper work is finalized; lap tops and other work related tools are order or arranged and the work station is prepared. The individual needs to be inducted into their new working environment so that are well prepared for the internal processes and procedures they would have to adhere to. Planning for their induction is imperative as it sets the right example for the new recruit and sets the tone of the desired work ethic.