Hire better, hire well: 5 steps to find the right employee

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It’s not easy finding that perfect employee – wading through piles of resumes and sitting through hours of interviews is no one’s idea of fun. Believe it or not, the hiring process starts as soon as you decide you need a new employee. Following our 5-step plan will keep the guesswork out of hiring.

Step 1: The job description

The job description should lay out in plain language the responsibilities and requirements of the job, while providing you with flexibility to change and update when necessary.

A written job description:

  • Will be the basis of your job ad and will help you clearly communicate the goals of the job to prospective employees.
  • Allows you to develop appropriate compensation plans that reflect their level of responsibility and qualifications within the organization.
  • Can be the basis of performance management; having a clear job description helps employees understand the responsibilities and duties required of them.
  • Can be used to determine areas where training and development are needed when your expectations or requirements are not being met.
  • Should include:
    • Core values expected of all employees.
    • A list of the tasks that will make up the job.
    • A description of the experience, knowledge and skills required.
    • A list of working conditions or minimum physical requirements.

Step 2: Write a great job advertisement

Writing attention-grabbing job ads, and posting them in the right place, can mean the difference between attracting few applicants and having a number of candidates to choose from.

Think about your vacant position as a product you are selling. What is special about your business, industry, location? What is your competitive edge?

  • Great group of employees
  • Near transit or free parking
  • Training and learning from other employees
  • Flexible schedule
  • Great wages and/or benefits|
  • Excellent safety record

Once your ad is written, you have to post it. Deciding where will depend on your budget, the kind of candidates you are hoping to attract, and the position that is vacant. You may want to consider:

  • Government job boards
  • Local newspapers and their recruitment websites
  • Classified websites (for example, Kijiji)
  • Professional organizations
  • Commercial recruitment websites
  • College/university hiring websites
  • High school message boards
  • Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Your own website

The Service Canada Job Bank not only gives employers the ability to post jobs for free, but also offers Job Match – a service that matches job ads with job seeker profiles. After running the matching service, you receive a list of qualified candidates; you can then select the profiles of those you are interested in and ask them to apply. You can also keep track of how many views your ad has garnered, and how many led to applications. You can find more information through Employer Resources.

Step 3: The interviews

For some, meeting candidates face-to-face and rating their suitability for the job and your business can be a scary step. Being well-prepared can alleviate any anxiety.

Start by sorting the applications and resumes, preparing interview questions, and scheduling the interviews.

Understandably, you may have concerns over what you can and cannot ask in an interview, especially when it comes to complying with human rights law. Contact your provincial Human Rights Commission for more information. 

After the interviews are completed you will need to evaluate the candidates.

For more information, review our post on interview best practices, and consider taking the VuBiz online course “Hiring Right” – free to CFIB members.

Step 4: Criminal background checks

Background checks are becoming more and more popular as employers search for the right employee. While pre-hiring background checks are permitted in Canada, criminal background checks can raise concerns around human rights and an employee’s privacy. For this reason, you must first establish that there is a valid occupational requirement for doing the check. You must also clearly state in the job ad and/or conditional offer that the check is necessary.

If you decide criminal background checks are necessary, please note the following:

  • You should let applicants know what kind of information you are looking for and why.
  • You must always obtain written consent before doing any kind of criminal background check on a prospective employee.
  • It is illegal to single out candidates for checks, so it’s best to perform the check only after a job offer has been presented.
  • In many provinces, you cannot refuse to employ someone who has been convicted of an offense, unless you can prove it has a direct impact on the person’s ability to do the job.
  • Keep all details on the background check confidential.

Criminal background checks can be performed by private investigators or the RCMP. If a pardon has been obtained, then the Canadian Public Information Centre will need to be involved. The search can be performed based on a candidate’s name, birth date and, for greater assurance, fingerprints.

Step 5: Letter of offer

Congratulations! You’ve chosen your ideal candidate – now you need to let them know. Some jurisdictions have a legislative requirement for employers to make a job offer in writing. Whether or not this is the requirement in your province, putting the terms and conditions of employment into writing ensures both employer and employee are starting the employment relationship on the same page.

What to include:

  • List of duties and responsibilities
  • Effective date
  • Remuneration
  • Benefits
  • Vacation
  • Confidentiality (if you don’t have a separate confidentiality policy)
  • Termination

Your new employee should sign the letter, confirming that they understand and accept what your company is offering, the employee keeping the original and you retaining a copy in their employee file.

CFIB has a sample Letter of Offer, available to members in the Resource Library, that you can customize to your situation. It is important to have your lawyer review your document before it is put into practice.