Implement recruitment process

January 14, 2020

In Umbrella’s tech department, Line Lead (LL) managers drive the recruitment process for a vacancy with the support of Talent Acquisition (TA) managers and others if needed. As a person with years of experience in the software development field I support LL managers throughout the process filling in technical details when required and by giving feedback to help them in the selection of the right person or during the induction process. As an example, to fully describe this process I’m going to explain what was done to hire a “Senior WordPress expert”. This is one of those positions mentioned in AC 2.2 above where the company wants to replace FTC with FTE. In this case it was not a hundred percent like-for-like replacement case because more responsibilities had to be covered by the employee compared to an external consultant.

The entire process started with the input from the Head of Development who expressed his wish to replace consultants with employees for this role and to restructure the current positions to better fit within an organisation in constant evolution. After this the LL started to profile this position and performed a job analysis to clearly understand the responsibilities and duties, at that time, covered by consultants. This activity revealed that more responsibilities had to be taken by an employee compared to a consultant. For this task the LL got the support of the Product Owner that was leading the work done by the FTCs. At the end the following details were known: purpose and job title, department, reporting line, location and responsibilities. With these details in mind the LL wrote the role description. This was not meant only to be published in the job advertisement and attract prospect candidates but also as the foundation of this specific recruitment to remind the people involved what type of candidate the company was looking for.

From this moment onward the selection process followed the standard procedure. Umbrella uses a template for job advertisements and the job description is a key part of it. TA and LL collect all the required information and ask support from other colleagues to complete this task: in this case details about the tech stack used in this position. The TA then does a final review of this work before publishing the job post. Once everything is ready the job post has these following sections:

Header Content
The role Job description
We use Used tech stack
Some facts about tech at Umbrella Brief description of the tech department
What you will do Duties and responsibilities
How will success be measured in this role Further details about the position not purely tech related
Your experience Description of the ideal candidate
Application process Description of what the candidates have to expect as selection process

As career progression is very important in Umbrella Inc., at first, new job posts are published on the company internal career website. Only employees can access this area so they can be the first to apply for a vacancy. This gives the hr department the opportunity to understand if internal resources are interested in the open position. When no applications are received or they don’t satisfy the recruiters, the same content is published on the company’s external career website and LinkedIn to reach as many as possible job seekers.

For this position no internal applications were received. After the job post went public several applications came. As usual they were filed in an online system that allowed the recruiters (TA and LL together) to start the screening process and shortlist the applications and focus only on the more interesting candidates.

When an interesting candidate is identified the TA proceeds with the first contact that can be an email or a phone call. This is to double check if the prospect is still interested in the position and if so, to get a first impression of him together with more details. When this step ends with a positive outcome the LL decides when to schedule the first interview. Although the LL is the one that has the final say and drives the recruitment process the TA is the person in charge to handle the communications with candidates cause all the legal requirements of this process must be fulfilled and some specific expertise in the area is required.

The first interview, when possible, is always face to face, so the candidate is invited to the office. If the person is abroad, an online meeting with a camera is used as a backup procedure. The LL leads the interview with the support of a team member: they introduce themself and explain the format of the interview and then the candidate introduces himself. These are icebreaking steps that try to reduce the candidate’s tension and avoid, as much as possible, stress. The aim of this first meeting is to explain to the candidate the details of the offered position and, at the same time, assess the candidate’s soft skills. Technical skills are covered in a second interview, that happens after a practical assignment.

When the outcome of the first interview is positive the LL sends to the candidate the practical assignment asking when it will be delivered. This is a key point of the interview process because the prospect employee can demonstrate his ability to independently carry out assigned tasks, time management and communication skills. Once the assignment is delivered one or more senior team members review the work and a second interview is scheduled.

In the second interview high-level technical questions are used to trigger the dialogue between the parties and create a connection. Open-ended questions are used in the first part of the interview to give the candidate a chance to prove the information in the curriculum vitae are updated and correct, express opinions and demonstrate communication skills. Situational questions follow trying to understand a candidate’s adaptability, flexibility and creativity.

Once the second interview is done the LL must have all the elements to fully evaluate the candidate. In case of a positive outcome the TA proceeds with references check. This can be done by email or phone call. When this last step is completed successfully a job offer is sent to the candidate that has a few days to accept it. Unsuccessful candidates always receive feedback from the TA. This is important to thank the candidate for the time spent and to prove all candidates has been treated with no discrimination. Interview notes help to write an honest and personalized message that does not contain negative or positive comments and don’t run with comparisons. Umbrella Inc. wants to be listed among the best employers on the island, so it is key for the HR department that the rejected candidate understand why the process ended unsuccessfully but he or she leaves with an overall positive and professional experience while dealing with the company.

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Written by Claudio Maccari . Passionate developer and former windsurfer. You can read more about me here