If you’re new to recruiting, or it’s something you don’t do very often, it can seem like quite a daunting job. From understanding what you’re legally allowed to ask candidates, to ensuring your interview technique gives you relevant information, it all may feel like uncharted territory. So what can part-time recruiters learn from those who find hiring second nature? And what are the differences between the two?

The struggle to find talent

Whether you hire five people a year or 5,000, you’re going to be competing for the same candidates, and it’s not easy for anyone. According to the CIPD’s 2012 Resourcing and Talent Planning report, 82% of organisations experienced difficulties recruiting staff, regardless of their size.

A clever strategy many full-time recruiters use is having a database containing information on candidates. This allows them to have a readily available pool to draw from when vacancies arise. Many larger recruiters will have dedicated talent management systems to deal with this, but an Excel spreadsheet is a good start.

Employment law obligations

When it comes to discrimination laws the rules are the same, whether you recruit all the time or just occasionally. Anyone who hires staff needs to ensure they open up applications to as diverse a pool as possible and recruit people based on skill rather than a candidate’s personal attributes or background.

As an occasional recruiter, you may not have access to an in-house lawyer, but there are many online resources available to ensure you’re keeping your recruitment activities on the right side of the law.

Access to social media

Unless you upgrade to premium packages, using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to support your recruitment strategy will help you reach a wide number of potential candidates for free – so the only investment is your time.

If you’re only recruiting for one role, or you’re looking for very specific skills, following the social media route can prove very cost effective with a number of benefits. It’s also a good route to find passive candidates, who may not be looking for a role right now, but are open to being approached.

Getting the right fit

Recruitment isn’t cheap, with costs estimated at as much as £8,000 for a senior manager position, so getting the right candidate the first time round is crucial however often you recruit.

Simple strategies such as formulating a good mix of competency-based and personality-focused questions should quickly help you establish if someone will be able to do the job and fit in well.

Online psychometric testing services could also be worth the investment, particularly for an important hire.

What’s different:

Access to resources

As a casual recruiter it can be harder to justify spending money on value-added services such as psychometric testing, running an assessment centre or installing a bespoke recruitment software system.

Look into larger businesses in your supply chain or companies you have partnerships with: is there any way you can share their resources, for example the use of a facilitator for an assessment day?

Knowing what to ask

In recruitment as much as anything else, practice does make perfect. Certain questions will get candidates to open up more than others, and people who hire more often will know how to extract information that differentiates a great candidate from one who simply looks good on paper.

If you don’t hire people often and are worried about your interview technique visit online forums for further help, (e.g LinkedIn). Ask others who have hired people for similar roles about the questions they found most successful – they might even be able to suggest practical tests (also known as ‘in-tray tasks’) that would work for a certain role or industry.

Investment in brand

Big employers spend thousands of pounds on glossy campaigns to ensure the brand is at the front of candidates’ minds when they come to apply for jobs.

Smaller recruiters may not be able to replicate this, but by simply making sure your communications are clean and consistent you’ll make the candidate feel the recruitment experience is a smooth one, and they will soon spread the word.

Ability to outsource expertise

Companies that need to recruit hundreds or thousands of staff per year often turn to specialist outsourcing companies to take on some of the administrative burden – for example sifting through CVs or arranging first interviews.

If you’re a less frequent recruiter without access to such resources, jobsites will be able to send you only those candidates that match pre-specified requirements, helping to reduce the load. Being a one- or two-man band can also be a positive, as candidates appreciate the personal touch.