Hiring 101: Step by step guide to recruitment



Nine steps to hiring...

  1. Identify your recruitment needs
  2. Set the right expectations with a specific job description
  3. Create a timetable or plan for the process
  4. Use keyword search tools and job boards to search for talent
  5. Give candidates the best experience by communicating any interview requirements 
  6. Screen relevant candidates with key questions for your shortlisting process 
  7. Schedule & conduct interviews quickly after shortlisting
  8. Be ready to negotiate for top candidates you wish to offer
  9. Provide an engaging induction & onboarding experience to retain top talent
After 20 years as problem-solvers, life-changers, and business-transformers… we know a business is only as exceptional as its employees.

To hire exceptional talent, you need to stand out.

You need to live up to the hype.

And you need to get the basics right.

We all try to run (at least once) before we walk but without these ABCs, you’ll run the risk of creating a reputation you can’t afford to have in a competitive market.

In this guide, we’ll go through basics to get you started. So, grab a drink and settle in.

Before we get stuck in, let’s look at what makes an effective hiring process.

The definition of an effective hiring process

A successful hiring process requires planning and constant assessment that allows you to source the right candidates both quickly and efficiently. This means keeping your team up to speed with the workflow and providing them with the tools required for each step. This process can be simplified with that extra touch of organisation.


The Hiring Manager should be armed with a CV, interview questions and a skills matrix for benchmarking (at the very minimum).

Your candidate experience workflow should include a heads up about the full interview schedule to avoid uncertainty about next steps.

Fit the needs of your business

Remember that recruiting strategies aren’t a one-size-fits-all result. An effective recruitment process is one that is tailored to the needs of your business. For example, a recruitment agency or large enterprise does not have the same hiring needs as an SME.


Map out your specific requirements to fit your needs and help you achieve your company’s commercial objectives.

Automate recruiting tasks

Just like the early bird catches the worm, a savvy recruiter will nab the best candidates quickly, so employers need every advantage they can get.

Using an applicant tracking system (ATS) gives you that advantage, keeping candidate information organised through every phase of talent acquisition so you can focus on finding the right talent for the job and creating a great candidate experience. You’ll be able to automate where you’re posting listings, track the number of applicants, and filter CVs to find the most qualified. Plus, with all that time saved, you’ll have more time to build a rapport with potential recruits.

Enhance the candidate experience

Remember that while a candidate is naturally trying to impress you, you also need to be on your A-game when leaving a good impression.

The candidate experience is an important one, as this not only impacts their decision to continue through the process, but also reflects your company’s brand and reputation.

READ MORE: What is you company doing to ensure it’s first choice?

Enhancing this experience involves creating clear and informative job descriptions (get creative!), improving your website to be clear and accessible, scheduling interviews efficiently, and keeping communication regular and consistent. Alternative benefits can also add to the experience and attraction of wanting to work for your business later in the process.


Review your candidate touchpoints and make sure they align with your company’s vision, culture and values.

Develop a strong employer brand

As mentioned above, recruitment is a two-way street.

The hiring team should make extra effort in attracting talent by showcasing why you’re a great employer. Most candidates will do a little digging before they apply, so it’s vital to establish a clear brand and Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that will only entice them more. Keep your company’s mission, culture, and values in mind – are they highlighted on your website and social media platforms?

It’s important to always think beyond your product. What are you doing to give back? Highlight your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy to potential candidates. What are you doing to create a shared future for your employees and customers? What was the latest score on your employee engagement survey? Are you committed to diversity and employee inclusion?

READ MORE: Remember that giving back will always be beneficial for your brand and an attractive asset to candidates.

Implement an employee referral programme

Did you know companies that use their employee’s networks can have a ten times larger talent pool to recruit from? You can involve your employees in the recruitment process by creating an employee referral program. Allow your team members to help spread the world, which will likely lead you to more qualified candidates for the job, and better employee engagement!

Make data-driven decisions

Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to data-driven decisions. By investing in a broad data analytics system, you’ll be able to see how many people applied for a job, how many were interviewed, where the best candidates came from and so on. With each hire this will help improve and make for a smoother process.


Make sure you’re tracking applicants for future hires, who may not be right now but could be as your business grows.

The benefits to having an effective hiring strategy...

  • Lower recruitment costs
  • Better quality of new hires
  • Increases employee productivity

Nine steps to hiring...

Now that we’ve established the qualities of a successful recruitment process, we need to look at how you can design one. Below are nine steps to an effective recruitment process and how to navigate each one. (Cue next cup of tea!)

1. Identify your recruitment needs

Before you begin your search, or your watch (no Game of Thrones references here), you first need to identify the recruiting needs of your business. This may seem like an obvious step but, if overlooked, your job will become more difficult later down the line. Create a clear list of needs. This involves conducting a skills gap analysis, changing, or updating job descriptions, and recognising new roles to be created.

2. Prepare the job descriptions

Creating a good job description is more than telling people about a new position. It’s about setting the right expectations from the start and attracting the right candidates. This is vital in executing an effective recruitment strategy.

Determine the duties and responsibilities of the role and write them out. It’s important to be as specific as possible in the description to avoid wasting and attract candidates who can meet the demands of the role.

A detailed and effective job description creatively includes:

  • Job Title
  • Department
  • Salary
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Skills, experience, knowledge, and any training required
  • Location (on-site/hybrid)
  • Qualities that would be advantageous

WATCH: Creating a compelling job description for advertising.


Interested in how innovative companies are responding to the 85% of employees who want the option of hybrid working?

3. Create a plan

Save yourself some time by organising a recruitment plan – a very simple yet effective step. Determine who will be reviewing CVs, scheduling interviews, and ultimately deciding on the right candidate.

4. Search for talent

Use keyword recruitment tools to significantly cut down your search time. Keyword tools can weed out unqualified applicants and will help on what is the most important yet time-consuming part of recruiting.

There are two sources of recruitment that you can tap into when searching for talent:

External recruitment sources – for wider scope

  • Job Portals
  • Job Advertisements
  • Company Careers Page
  • Social Media Platforms

Internal recruitment sources – motivates current employees and provides sense of teamship.

5. Communication

Make sure to maintain timely communication with your candidates or they’ll quickly move onto the next opportunity. The best candidates usually have many options, so be sure not to slack on keeping in touch. Using a mobile hiring app to review top candidates can be useful to keep on top of things while you’re on the go.

6. Screen and shortlist applicants

A simple phone or video call can effectively help to narrow down the selection process and make sure you want to take an applicant to the official interview process. Be prepared with some initial interview questions that can help you get a sense of their experience and attitude.

7. Schedule and conduct interviews

Depending on the process, interviews should take place shortly after talking on the phone – ideally within a week. Beware of taking too long in a competitive market, or candidates may find another opportunity.


If you need an applicant to complete a task, presentation or a psychometric test – make that clear from the outset.

Contact is key to a great candidate experience so make sure to follow up with them, even if you decide not to take them to the next stage/offer the role.

8. Employment offer

Keep in mind that just because you offer an employee a job doesn’t mean they’re going to accept it. Did you know over 90% of people report being contacted by a manager directly can make them accept a job offer faster, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Expect that the process may take time and be prepared to negotiate salary and benefits.

9. Introduction and onboarding a new employee

You’ve done the hard work and decided which candidate will be joining your team, and now the real work begins. Make sure you implement an engaging onboarding process so the new candidate has a positive experience and can easily dive into the job you’ve hired them for.

This process shouldn’t primarily be about new hire paperwork – it should focus on methods and resources that will help new hires transition successfully into the company. For instance, set up one-to-one time with managers or assign a mentor or a buddy – all of which can help accelerate new hire proficiency.


Set up a 10-minute chat with each team member, individually or in department groups for a quick intro on their sector and roles. This vital yet easy step can avoid that overwhelming feeling of being ‘the new kid’ and not knowing faces/names when it comes to the larger group meetings.

Talk to Denholm

So these are the basics… the recruitment process may be a difficult one to crack but follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to hiring talent for your business. To expedite the process, feel free to give us a call.

Whether it’s scarce skillsets, elusive locations, or you just needed them to start yesterday… We are experts in hiring the talent you simply can’t find yourself.

So if you have a permanent or interim requirement, need some help scoping a brief, or you are simply looking for some up to date market insight in an ever-changing landscape, our team are ready to help. 

Call us on 03303 359 818 today or download a version of our step by step guide to recruitment here.

New Spirits Division



Andy Brady is a seasoned HR recruitment specialist, with over two decades of expertise in the field. With a foundation in Human Resource Management from the University of Derby, Andy swiftly transitioned into specialised HR recruitment. His diverse portfolio spans FMCG, Manufacturing & Engineering, Financial Services, the Third Sector, and Supply Chain, working at all levels from entry to executive positions.


Recruitment AdministratoR

Zoe joined Denholm in 2022 as Recruitment Administrator, after working in administration roles for nearly a decade. Most recently within the recruitment industry, she joins us with experience of supporting consultants, clients and candidates at all levels. Zoe has a passion for helping people and applies her positive attitude and approachable manner to support our team and deliver the best possible service to our clients and candidates at all times.



Drew arrived at Denholm as an award-winning creative, having headed content strategy teams for marketing/advertising agencies in the UK/USA before a successful career in HR, people and culture. He has years of marketing experience and building teams on both sides of the Atlantic, priding himself on going the extra mile for clients and candidates alike. Drew always works with passion as our specialist in account management, planning and strategy, digital marketing, full-spectrum creative and traffic/studio management.



Callum has been working in recruitment since 2018 where he has solely focussed on the Technology, Change and Transformation market across the UK and ROI. He works closely with his clients and candidates to build long-lasting relationships across several industries, including Technology, Financial Services, Professional Services, Healthcare, Education, Public Sector and more. He specialises in engineering roles across Software, Infrastructure, Systems, DevOps and Cloud, along with Software Testing.


SENIOR CONSULTANT - Technology, Change & Transformation

Euan has been working in the world of recruitment since 2012, working to deliver bespoke services to both clients and candidates. Prioritising ‘future-fit’ candidates for clients, he works as an extension of his client’s business ensuring great representation in the market. He consults with each client to ensure excellent candidate journeys. Euan works focuses primarily on business analysis, project management and technical support opportunities.



Liz has over 14 years’ experience in recruitment working across primarily the high-tech, pharmaceutical and FMCG sectors. She joined Denholm on December 1st 2021 following a relocation from Ireland to focus on Marketing recruitment. Liz’s experience ranges from high volume recruitment to executive search and she prides herself in her ability to fully understand a brief and her accurate matching skills. Frequently praised as being a clear communicator with a strong customer service ethic, Liz is well suited to the culture here at Denholm, where the client and the candidates’ needs are paramount.



Alana has been working in recruitment since 2012, predominately within the FMCG & Consumer markets. Having recruited in both the UK & Asia Pacific markets, Alana has a sound knowledge of local & international recruitment. Partnering with brands to attract & hire the best sales talent in the market, Alana focuses on mid to senior level Sales appointments within the Consumer space. With a strong commercial & sales background, Alana identifies and engages the best commercially focused talent for our clients.



Scott started his career working for one of the leading Advertising & Comms agencies in Edinburgh where he spent 7 years before moving in to recruitment in 2011. As such, he is well-networked in the Marketing & Comms space across Scotland. With a friendly and consultative approach, Scott is genuinely passionate about providing a positive journey to both candidates and clients alike and believes communication plays a big part in this.  A “thinking-outside-the-box recruiter”, he is known for helping candidates portray the best version of themselves and helping clients find talent for those hard to fill roles.



Andy has been recruiting in Technology, Change & Transformation since 2001. Delivering tailored resource solutions as trusted advisor to clients ranging from start-ups through to global blue-chip organisations across contract, permanent, fixed term, and managed service/statement of work solutions. He has experience providing candidates for Helpdesk through to CIO and takes great pride in providing excellent customer service and ensuring each candidate journey is a positive one. An expert in his market he can provide guidance across current market trends.



James has a decade of experience within the FMCG sector where he has partnered with a wide range of businesses placing key appointments at all levels including Director/ Board level. Driving growth across our Manufacturing & Engineering function, James specialises in Production, Operations, Engineering, Quality, HSE, Technical, NPD and Supply Chain. With his passion and expertise in these areas, James supports candidates and clients by working closely to understand their needs and wants providing exceptional service.



Having worked in the recruitment industry since 2000, Angela brings a wealth of experience as a Recruitment Professional and a proven track record of delivering a high-quality search and selection service to both public and private companies in the UK and internationally. Angela believes in a partnership approach to recruitment, ensuring a detailed understanding of employer/jobseeker requirements and delivering a bespoke service underpinned by professionalism, pragmatism and strong market knowledge.

Our Community

As well as working in close collaboration with our clients, and the online marketplaces, we are active members of groups that have been established to combat illicit trade. These include the Scottish Anti-Illicit Trade Group, the European Intellectual Property Office, The Scottish Business Resilience Centre, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, and the China Britain Business Council. Members of our senior management sit on the boards of ACID (Anti-Copying in Design), the Scottish Ministerial Trade Board, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s Observatory Panel for SMEs, amongst others.

Each team member nominates good causes or charities that are supported on both an individual and corporate basis. Wherever possible, we support the employee’s involvement whether through time or fundraising events.

Our Environment

We deliver purpose-driven work from an extremely welcoming environment near the City Centre. We actively encourage the responsible use of resources, from using public transport to reuse, recycling, and, of course, a minimal impact office environment. We have benefited from the advice of the Energy Saving Trust and Resource Efficient Scotland. Our waste contractor also provides us with a monthly report on volumes and types of material and the carbon emissions avoided through recycling.

Over 80% of our employees can walk or cycle to The Lair and, pre-pandemic, 10% were using public transport as their normal daily commuting mode. Without doubt, online meetings will replace considerable miles, going forward, saving resources, time and energy. Where possible, when possible, the train remains our preferred option. 

Our People

Our people are our most important asset, and their mental well-being and happiness are core to our success. We love our diverse workforce, actively embrace flexible working (even pre-pandemic!) and encourage a healthy work-life balance. We have been recognised as one of the most diverse SME workplaces in the UK and are holders of the Scottish Business Pledge which exists to promote a fairer Scotland. We have also just been included in the 2021 Culture Leaders Top 25 – an accolade of which we are very proud!

We are a fully inclusive and nurturing employer and, despite being in tech, the majority of our team are women, leading to accolades in the Computing Magazine Women in IT Awards and the Amazon Growing Business Awards. We currently represent 15 nationalities and speak 20 languages. Age is no barrier, and we recruit for attitude, providing and encouraging appropriate learning and training for each and every role.

We are also proud members of IP Inclusive, a network of professionals working to make the intellectual property industry more diverse.

Our Purpose

Our aim is to combat illicit online trade by identifying and removing counterfeits for sale. Counterfeits not only damage brands, their reputations, and revenues, but can cause significant harm to the end customer – whether as a fake toy or a fake medicine – and the consequences can be life threatening.

Counterfeiting is a significant economic and social issue.

The OECD reports that counterfeit and fake goods make up more than 3.3% of the world’s global trade. Those involved in the trade of counterfeits have been linked to people trafficking, prostitution, and drug dealing.

As such, reducing illicit trade is about much more than brand protection but also about human rights, safety, and social equity.

And this is what we do, every day.







Communication Advisors

We’re a passionate and professional team who thrive in issue-rich environment and we’re looking for Senior Communication Advisors, Communications Advisors and Communications Executives to join their fast-growing team. 

You’ll have previous agency experience at Senior Account Manager or Account Manager level and be passionate about delivering excellent results for clients. You might be a specialist in PR and media relations who produces compelling editorial content across a range of topics and sectors or you might be a public affairs expert who understands the policy landscape and helps clients build influential relationships. Whatever your specialism, you’ll be an excellent writer, full of creative ideas, with proven client management experience and the ability to provide expert advice our clients.

Your key duties will include:

  • Supporting the key account lead with day-to-day client liaison, providing strategic counsel on day-to-day account matters when required
  • Active involvement in planning and delivering global PR, marketing and digital campaigns
  • Managing content programmes, including mapping out content themes, spotting industry trends and story angles, writing copy when required which may include opinion articles, web and social
  • Building strong media relationships, creating pitches based on your story ideas and delivering content in-to suit the client’s target media and securing opportunities
  • Planning and running client’s social media programmes, and management of their channels
  • Continuously identifying opportunities to grow brand awareness and profile our client’s businesses within their target sector through events, webinars, thought leadership
  • Producing comprehensive and timely reports on client activity 
  • Supporting in the development of client proposals to help grow or win parts of the business

In addition, to be considered for this role, you must be able to demonstrate:

  • Proven background in account handling and direct client liaison – 4 years’ minimum
  • Experience in an agency setting focusing on B2B communication or PR
  • Strong communications skills, verbal and written
  • A background in delivering creative, digitally led B2B communications such as LinkedIn campaigns
  • An innate understanding of earned media, with the ability to create stories and generate coverage across traditional media, digital and social
  • Experience working on content management programmes, with an awareness of the changing way business audiences consume information and an appreciation of search, paid and wider customer marketing activity, and how it all fits together
  • A history of working with clients in a variety of sectors is welcomed but experience in the tech and energy industries is advantageous.

Communication Lead

We’re a passionate and professional team who thrive in issue-rich environment and we’re looking to add a Communication Lead to our fast-growing team. You’ll be a trusted advisor to clients across several sectors in all aspects of communication, external affairs, marketing and issues management. Coming from an agency or consultancy environment, at Account Director level or above, you’ll report directly to the Managing Director and be responsible for a small and busy multi-disciplinary team. You’ll have first-class project management skills, be solutions-driven and excellent commercial acumen too. Alongside the senior team, you’ll work to drive the strategic growth of Aspect.

Your core duties will include:

  • Working with the MD to develop and deliver growth strategies 
  • Attracting and retaining profitable clients across a range of sectors 
  • Leading the creation and execution of strategic communication programmes
  • Inspiring, leading and developing multi-disciplinary teams
  • Developing strong relationships with clients, colleagues and associates
  • Producing high quality pitches and proposals to secure new business 
  • Curating, nurturing and managing a team of talented associates.

You’ll be a skilled communicator, interested and knowledgeable about the key issues shaping the external environment. In addition, to be considered for this role, you must be able to demonstrate:

  • 7+ years of senior leadership experience within an agency or consultancy
  • Experience in Energy, Renewables, Financial Services or Life Sciences would be very desirable
  • Outstanding writing skills and the ability to engage and excite an audience
  • An impressive track record of client attraction, retention and growth 
  • The ability to thrive fast-paced environment managing multiple projects simultaneously
  • Strong influencing and leadership skills to motivate and inspire those around you
  • Excellent planning, evaluation and project management skills
  • To develop new processes, systems and ways of working to drive performance


You can give us a call for more information about our Outplacement Support or you can simply download more details here.


You can give us a call for more information about our Career Transitioning Support or you can simply download more details here.


Our Careering out of the crisis guide will give you some expert tips to start taking positive action towards a happier and more fulfilled working life.


Get our best practice guide to successful virtual hiring and onboarding today.


CVs and interviews will take you to Level 2. Our behavioural profile will take you to Level 3, vital to identifying future potential.


Appears to...

  • Appearance
  • Expressiveness
  • Manner
  • Presence


Can do...

  • Knowledge
  • Acquired skills
  • Training
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Credentials


Will do...

  • Capability to learn
  • Aptitude
  • Attitude
  • Self-motivation
  • Stability
  • Persistence
  • Maturity
  • Temperament
  • Behaviour patterns