Five ways to improve the hiring process for PR professionals

All too often, as a recruiter, I've been witness to the (mis)management of the hiring process.

All too often, as a recruiter, I've been witness to the (mis)management of the hiring process. When an employee leaves, those remaining are expected to pick up the slack until a new employee comes aboard. This could negatively impact the search, because the additional work can take up more of management's time.

The following tips might help to ameliorate the situation, making it better for you, your employees, and the recruiter - if you are working with one.

1. Consider the cost of a delay, or doing nothing. Your staff is working harder, longer hours; your clients are getting less attention; and the candidates are not receiving the attention you should be paying to them. Set a schedule or set up target dates for the search.

2. Week 1: Craft a job description and include base salary range, bonus potential, vacation schedule, benefits schedule, etc. Your recruiter can help you with this.

Weeks 2 to 3: Collect resumes and immediately eliminate those not at all appropriate, and save the rest. A new e-mail address created especially for this might help, along with an "auto reply" thanking them for their submission. Again, a recruiter will often handle this step.

Weeks 4 and 5: Schedule and conduct the first round of interviews, which will be followed in Weeks 6 and 7 by a second round of interviews with the leading candidates. Leave weeks 8 and 9 to make your offer.

3) After accepting an offer, your new employee will give a two-week's notice, and, most likely, will take another week for him/herself. Meantime, prepare their desk, phone, e-mail, business cards and whatever else they need to begin the new position. At this time, the recruiter, or yourself, will notify those candidates who did not make it.

4) Depending upon your requirements, don't be afraid of an employee with a few grey hairs! There are many solid, professional PR pros out there with outstanding skills, good judgment, and experience.

5) Keep everyone in the loop. This might include a couple of your employees, the recruiter, not to mention the candidates. Keeping everyone abreast of the situation will also keep everyone on the same page.

Making at least one of these changes will improve the hiring process for everyone.

Peter Bell, president of Peter Bell & Associates, LLC, is a recruiter with more than 15 years experience specializing in the PR industry.

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