7 Effective Recruitment Techniques for Architects

Image Copyright: Bansri Pandey

"In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profitsUnless you've got a good team, you can't do much with the other two.” - Says Lee Iacocca

 

Employees are one of the firm’s greatest assets. They reflect a firm’s image, personality and level of service. In management terms, it’s called as 'HRM – Human Resource Management' which is defined as the organizational function that deals with issues related to people such as compensation, hiring, performance management, organization development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training. For an architectural firm, whether it is a big or a small firm, the importance of HRM is indisputable. To recruit the right candidate for a right job, following are the 7 key techniques to be considered during the recruitment process in an architect's office:

 

1. Why do we need a new employee? Describe the job clearly.

 

Before opening a new vacancy in the firm and developing the job description, you or your HRM head, shall sit together with your existing team and openly discuss following questions:

 

  • Do we really need a new candidate or it can be incorporated into somebody else’s job?

  • Do we need a part time employee, or a full time?

  • Can we outsource the work altogether?

  • Is the purpose of the job clearly and unambiguously expressed?

  • Can the results of the candidate’s efforts be recognized and appreciated?

  • Are rewards linked directly with the performance of the candidate? What is the motivation in this job for the employee?

  • How effective and beneficial will be the recruitment of this candidate to the organization?

2. Attracting the right candidate 

 

Candidates are generally attracted via press advertisements, radio and television advertisement, fliers, brochures, recruitment fairs, people's references, poster displays on notice boards in colleges and institutions. Before choosing any of these msediums, carefully ask,

  • Are your requirements clearly defined in your advertisement / communication media?

  • Architects are a creative breed of people. Does your advertisement reflect the creativity of your firm?

  • Are the opportunities and scope for growth communicated to the prospective candidate?

 

3. Screening applications

 

Screening the applications is one of the most important task of the recruitment process. All applicants may not perfectly fit into the job's given requirements. But that does not discard their abilities to perform and be suitable for the job. You shall consider following while screening the applications:

 

  • During the first round of screening, set minimum parameters for applicant's eligibility for the job. Do not expect the perfection. 

  • Pre-screen the candidates by telephonic interview or through email. This saves the organization's time. You can screen applicants with higher salary expectations as well as judge their confidence level.

  • Do not be fooled by the list of certificates / credits. Check the ability of the candidate to perform by taking a practical test or by interviewing. 

  • Even if the candidate is good for the suitable job, consider his flexibility and ability to merge into your firm's work-culture.

  • Check at least two references of the candidate before the final round of screening. 

 

4. Selecting a candidate

 

There is no foolproof method of selecting a candidate. Each architectural firm has to develop its own method based on experience, requirement and affordability. It is a best practice to inform the candiate about the process of selection  to receive a genuine response. Considering following aspects before making a final selection may be helful:

 

  • The selection process should be handled professionally by the competent staff. 

  • You can take personal interview or a phone interview. 

  • Ask the relevant questions to explore the required skills, abilities, and attitudes. Avoid any personal questions in the first interview. 

  • You can ask for several tests like work-related ability tests, cognitive ability test, presentation skills, problem solving test, group discussion etc. 

  • Ask to give references of the past employees, or reputed people of the society. Ask your candidate to permit your company to check the information and background of the candidate from the given references. 

  • The candidate who may be selected, have the right to negotiate the salary, perks, scope of growth, etc. Allow him to express his aspirations and expectations.

  • The rejection and negative consequences have lasting effect on applicants. Unsuccessful candidates need to be offered feedback. Professional but polite method should be evolved for saying ‘no’ to the candidate. 

  • Once the candidate is selected, the terms and conditions of the employment shall be clarified before the final appointment. 

 

5. Welcoming the new employee

 

Beginning a new job contains stresses and pressures that are often ignored in the excitement of a new start. The formal welcome by the chief person in the organization can make a new employee feel a special part of the organization. The candidate, 

  • should be introduced to the existing employees and should be explained the nature of relationship with them.

  • should be made aware of the general issues, rules and the working practices. 

  • should know about the arrangement of working hours, overtime, time sheets, meal time, outgoing time, storage and use of personal property.  

  • should be handed over complete necessary forms for payroll, tax and pensions. Explain arrangements for payment and layout of pay slip.

  • should be shown around and knows the office premises in detail like entrance, exit, canteen, car parking etc.

  • should be introduced to immediate colleagues and should know why he/she is important and his/her contribution is going to affect the organization.

 

The above mentioned are only a few steps, however the introduction process lasts for a couple of days to get the feel of the firm personality. I consider this to be one of the most important processes which require constant follow ups.

 

6. Retaining employees

 

After a long time-consuming process, you have selected the candidate and now he/she is part of your team. The employer and the employee may try to adjust to each other for establishing a long term relationship. Often, people start fault finding exercise very early and regrets their decision of choosing the candidate. But caring, nurturing, training, rewarding, appreciating, assigning the right job, paying an attractive salary, etc. creates a win–win situation for both the candidate and firm. Hiring and firing employees is a lengthy and expensive process. If you keep the employees happy, the success graph of the firm is bound to go up, up and up.

 

7. Good bye to the mismatch candidate

 

This is one of the most disappointing and unpleasant side of the recruitment process. 

Even after a lot of time, sincere efforts and adjustments, it is possible that the candidate and the firm do not get along. 

Thus, The way you define your hiring process in detail, similarly it is important to define your termination policy. Make the termination policy very clear, precise and legal so that no one has to part with bad taste in the mouth. Also, like a graceful entry, you should also give a graceful goodbye to your employee. 

 

Next>> Do architects have time and money for training their employees?

 

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