7 steps to a foolproof recruitment process

There are seven simple recruitment process steps that you should follow every time you hire. 

The recruitment process can be incredibly time-consuming. The good news is that nearly every recruitment drive can be broken down into seven simple steps, many of which you will be familiar with already.

Here's a one-stop guide that you can use time and again. Perfect for staying in line with legislation, running a foolproof recruitment process, and hiring the right candidates to last and reduce costs down the line. 

1. Know what you need

The key to getting what you want? Knowing what you are looking for. That's where good planning comes in. Ensuring you have an in-depth understanding of the role you are hiring for will make the rest of the recruitment process easier and faster, since you’ll quickly be able to determine who has the experience required to successfully fulfill the role. It also ensures candidates have a clear purpose and planned goals for the position when they join, removing any ambiguity on where they fit within wider business objectives.

Key questions to answer:

  • Why is a new employee needed?
  • What duties and responsibilities will the successful candidate have?
  • What skills or abilities are required to succeed in the role?
  • Where does this role fit within the wider business structure? 

2. Prepare the job description and person specification

These are written descriptions of:

They will be one of the first things jobseekers read when they find your job vacancy. Attracting the right applicants during the recruitment process is largely about getting these two documents right, so it's worth spending time on them before moving to the next steps.

  • Try to include key responsibilities in the job description to give a good idea for what the role involves, as well as giving a feel for who they’d be working with and what success looks like.
  • Person specifications help you characterise the type of skills and mindsets that will flourish in the role.

For decades, companies have focussed on the job and not the person. It is vital that you hire people who share your company's values and fit your culture. The person spec is where this starts.
Chris Adcock, Managing Director, Reed Technology

3. Choose where to advertise

Job sites

  • Benefits: a quick way to gain widespread visibility of your vacancy to thousands of registered job seekers.
  • Drawbacks: you may well end up with hundreds of CVs to sift through, and it’s likely you’ll get a lot of random applications as people ‘spam’ their CV out in hope of uptake.


  • Benefits: the person you’re looking for could be right under your nose! Saving time and money on recruiting costs, motivating employees through opportunity provision, plus they’re already integrated to the culture and rhythm of the business.
  • Drawbacks: For some roles, bringing in a fresh perspective or new set of skills can help add depth to the capabilities in your team.

Social media

  • Benefits: LinkedIn is the no1. social platform for recruiting and screening candidates with nearly 740 million professionals present, above Facebook and Twitter, and allows specific targeting of content to the skills and expertise required for a role.
  • Drawbacks: your company page needs to show good quality content - the platform is as much for candidates to review if your company is the right workplace for them, as much as it is for you to see if they are the right candidate for you.

Specialist support

If you are already struggling to fit everything in during the recruitment process, you might want to consider outsourcing to a recruitment agency, especially if you are serious about finding the candidate that ticks the right boxes.

  • Benefits: a good recruitment agency can take care of everything, without forcing you to relinquish control of the important decisions. As the UK's #1 recruitment company, we have placed hundreds of thousands of talented jobseekers with satisfied employers companies. Our specialist divisions ensure you have someone who knows your sector and tailors the process to your needs.
  • Drawbacks: we understand that costs associated with using recruitment consultants can be off putting, in particular to smaller businesses. However, using a specialist can both strengthen and speed up the process, giving you valuable time back to achieve more within the business.

4. Review your applications

Good candidates should quickly and clearly highlight how their experience aligns with the available role. So revisit your job description and person specification for a reminder of what you are looking for. Don't feel bad about scan-reading applications. The onus is on your applicants to prove their suitability as quickly as possible. And, trust us, after reading about 100 CVs, you'll be able to spot the standout candidates a mile off. Take a deep breath and dive in.

No matter how well you crafted your job description and person specification, you will always receive wildcards. And they shouldn't always be discredited. Sometimes judicious flexibility can pay off.

5. Conducting interviews

A key component of the recruitment process is the interview, which gives you invaluable contact time with your candidates. Good preparation is key to getting the most out of the conversation. Enter knowing what talking points are most important to cover, including highlights from their CV or application, and of course, key requisites for the role. We are also witnessing the rapid transformation of the interview process through new video technologies.

Candidates' expectations are advancing just as any consumer, with higher desire for convenient, mobile experiences with a seamless transition between digital and physical interactions with a brand. It’s worth exploring how new tools and technologies can enhance your candidate experience throughout the process. If you’re not sure where to start, speak with one of our consultants.

Interview Tips

6. Checking references, drawing up a contract, and offering the job

Once you have shortlisted your top candidates it's time to check their references. Many employers miss this recruitment step, but it's essential to check your candidate's background to help make sure they are everything they claim to be. (Hiring the wrong person can be eye-wateringly costly.)

Find out more about Reed Screening and how we support employers across the UK to vet candidates

If everything is in order you will need to draw up a contract of employment. You will most likely have a template that can be adapted to the salary, number of holiday days, working hours and responsibilities. If not, we can take care of it for you. Then it's on to the fun bit - offering the job.

It’s essential that organisations protect themselves with a high quality pre-employment screening process. We offer peace of mind so you can recruit the best talent, without the risk.
Keith Rosser, Head of Screening and Compliance, REED

7. Welcome your new rising star as they settle in

Being the new person often feels awkward, difficult, and uncomfortable. Here are our top tips for ensuring a welcoming company culture, achieving good impressions early on, and gaining serious loyalty points by making a special effort to help your new candidate settle in:

Read more on onboarding best practices and making your new hire feel welcome here.

The process of recruitment is not easy to do alone. But when you have a proven process to follow, you wind up with more time to concentrate on the important stuff such as finding a candidate that will fit your business, your budget, and the role you are recruiting for.

If you want further support and guidance, seek out a specialist in your sector here.  

My consultant made what could have been a very stressful process remarkably easy and took everything we threw at him in his stride.
Testimonial from – HR & Facilities Manager – Institute of Structural Engineers – Industry Sector 

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