Simplify Hiring: Your Strategic Hiring Process Guide
Hiring can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task.
Finding the right candidates for your roles is like searching for a needle in a haystack. So many candidates, so many resumes, not near enough time. So, how do you simplify the process in order to find the candidates you want to know more about, while still giving all of your candidates a great experience with your company?
With 72% of hiring managers saying that they are struggling to find and source skilled candidates and some industries reporting a labor shortage of anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, what is the secret to attracting qualified candidates to your posted positions?
A simple, well-oiled hiring process.
This guide will help you find great candidates in no-time-flat.
What is the Hiring Process?
A typical hiring process begins when an employer sees a need to fill a role and ends when the selected candidate accepts the job offer.
Seems pretty simple, right?
The steps in between are where things can get sticky, so building out a solid hiring process can help your hiring team become organized and save hours of time on repetitive tasks. These steps can be different by role and by company, but typically there will be 4 main steps: planning, attracting and interviewing candidates, and the job offer. We will dig deeper into these steps throughout this guide.
Planning and optimizing your hiring process will:
- Strengthen and optimize your recruiting strategy
- Save you time by speeding up your recruiting process
- Attract quality candidates for every job posting
- Build an A+ team
- Increase employee retention
Are You Ready to Hire?
First thing’s first, ask yourself ‘What is my hiring need?’.
Start the planning process with the team hiring manager and any other team members that will be involved in the hiring process to put together a list of tasks and responsibilities for the new position they will be hiring. Many times, if this simple task is skipped, you could be hiring for a position that is unstructured or not needed at the current time.
When you come to the conclusion that the position is a necessity, take the time to put together the necessary skills the position will require, who the candidate will be working with, and what you will need for proper onboarding.
Questions to consider about the role:
- Do you have enough work for the role?
- Does the role fit into the growth of your company?
- Will this position create more revenue for the company?
Questions to consider about the hiring process:
- Who will the person be working with and how will they collaborate with them?
- Who will onboard the new hire and train them?
- Who will ultimately be responsible for the success of the new hire in the first 90 days?
Job Leveling will ensure you understand how the new hire will fit into the team dynamic, who will interview the candidates for the position, and what the specific interview will consist of.
What is Job Leveling?
According to an article by SHRM, job leveling is a “process that defines and evaluates the knowledge and skills that are necessary to perform the job and establishes the job’s duties, responsibilities, tasks, and level of authority within the organization’s job hierarchy.”
In other words, you would use the strategy of job leveling to clearly define the role you are seeking to fill. This entails specific skills the candidate will need to possess in order to do the job at hand, job tasks and responsibilities on a day-to-day basis, and how they fit into the company’s organizational hierarchy (manager, supervisor, C-level, etc.).
It is important to have the entire role planned out and clearly outlined so employees and employers alike will understand roles and responsibilities in the company, who they report to, what is expected of them, and how they can eventually move up in the company. Having a clear plan of development and growth in the company will ultimately increase employee retention and morale.
Plan & Optimize Your Hiring Process
In today’s tight and uneasy talent market, having an optimized hiring process will keep your recruiting flow moving forward without typical hiccups. Keeping talent engaged and your time-to-hire short, you can be sure you will attract the right candidates.
Your Hiring Timeline
According to survey data collected by Robert Half, when faced with long hiring processes, 39% of survey respondents lose interest and pursue other roles, while 18% decide to stay put in their current job, and 32% said a protracted hiring process makes them question the organization’s ability to make other important decisions.
That’s a lot of forfeited talent.
Keep your hiring process simple and short by planning out your workflows. While each role may have a different workflow, you can plan your general guidelines by department.
For example, if you are hiring developers, your general hiring workflow could be a variation of this:
- Initial phone screen
- Video interview with technical interview questions
- Skill assessment
- Final video interview
- Background check
Remember to only include members of your team in the hiring process that will be working directly with the new hire. Cut out any unnecessary interviews, choose skill assessments that showcase the candidate’s skill level in one go, and narrow down desirable candidates for final interviews quickly.
Pre-plan the interview questions you want to ask the candidate and have them readily available during your initial phone and video interviews. These questions will be based on the background of the candidate, their ability to complete the required tasks of the job, competence, and overall interest in the position. The same interview questions should be asked to every candidate. Keep phone interviews to a short 20 to 30 minutes max and video interviews to no more than an hour. We will cover interviewing more a little later.
Throw in a few questions that give the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate how they problem solve and how they are at communicating. This can give you a better understanding of the candidate’s soft skills.
During each of the interviews, make certain to leave time at the conclusion of the interview for the candidate to ask any questions they may have about the position, the teams they will be working with, and about the company. Assure they have a good grasp of the position and what is required.
Now that you have this beautifully organized and optimized hiring process, how do you attract qualified candidates to your new role?
Build your employer brand
Why would someone want to work for you?
It is important to showcase your company as a great place to work. Not many candidates would want to work for a company that is lacking information about itself online or with a bunch of negative reviews. Your company’s reputation is a great place to start when boosting your presence on the web.
Work on your social media presence. Many candidates will check out your company’s website, but will also head over to LinkedIn and Facebook to see what you are posting about, how your brand looks, and what kind of followers you have. Keep up to date and consistent with posts about your company and have current information in your about sections.
Ask current employees for company reviews and videos. See if they would be willing to answer a few questions about their time at the company, what they like the most about working there, and what could be improved. Typed-out answers are great, but if they would be interested in putting it in video form, it can give it an extra boost and a face to the review.
Transparency into your company policies and culture. More than ever before, candidates want to know what it is like to work for your company. They want transparency into what your company stands for, its policies, and its team members. Recently, digital marketing agency Brainlabs did just that and published their entire employee handbook on their company website, in an effort to showcase exactly what drives their company culture.
Create your job description
There are several things to remember when you are writing a job description that will grab the right audience.
Be concise and clear. Give specific details of what the role is and the necessary skills needed for the job. Be clear in the type of candidate you are looking for and what their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities will look like.
Leave out “nice-to-haves”. Only list the qualifications that the candidate needs to have. Leave out the long lists of skills that would be nice if the candidate had, but aren’t necessarily a part of the job. Including these can deter qualified candidates from applying. In fact, women are only likely to apply if they meet 100% of the requirements, while men will apply if they meet 60% of the requirements.
Avoid Unclear Language and Gender-Specific Terms. Leave out terms like “sometimes” and “occasionally” and instead choose words like monthly or quarterly to provide structure. Avoid terms like “rockstar” and leave out gender-bias terms that would imply you are looking for a male or female for the role. Instead, use inclusive language and pronouns like “they/them”.
Promote your open role
Now that you have your workflow and your job description, it is time to put it out there in the world. But, where should you promote your job open to get the best-qualified candidates?
If you are using an ATS, you will undoubtedly have the option to push your job opening out to dozens of free career sites. This can be a great start to getting your position seen and a great alternative to paying to promote your job if you don’t have the funds. Other free ways to promote your position are by posting on your social media channels, having your current employees share the position on their social media profiles, and including the position on your website’s career page.
If you do have the budget to promote your new job position, check out a number of different industry-specific job boards that fit the candidates you are trying to reach. It is also a good idea to include diversity job boards to discover highly-skilled diverse candidates.
The Candidate Experience
It’s a candidate’s market and making sure they have the best experience possible could be the key to standing out from the competition. Candidates want to be treated for what they are – humans. So why not take a few extra minutes to make them feel appreciated? After all, you want them to work for your company.
This may seem obvious, but keep the job application short. Collecting every last detail about the candidate or asking them to type out their job history is unnecessary when the information is already available on their resume.
If you need more information about the candidate, feel free to send them a questionnaire after they have applied and have met the job criteria. This will not only be a better experience for the candidate but will save you time in the long run.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Communicating at every step of the hiring process is a guaranteed win when it comes to a killer candidate experience. Whether or not the candidate gets the job or not, you will want to keep them in the loop throughout the process.
Once the candidate applies, send them a quick (and personalized!) email thanking them for taking the time to apply and when they may expect to hear back from you. This lets the candidate know that you received their application and that you appreciate their time.
For each next step in the process, make sure you have an email that goes out to the candidate. Ready for an interview, send them an email that makes it easy to schedule a time that works best for both of you. Ready to send them an offer? Make it easy with electronic signatures. Is the candidate disqualified or not right for the position? Let them know! Send them a personalized email about why they weren’t considered and a couple of takeaways. Going the extra mile for your candidates helps them improve and keeps them feeling good about your company. You never know, they could be a fit for a position at your company in the future.
Earlier, we touched on pre-planning your interviewers and your interview questions based on the role you are hiring for. This is a critical step in keeping your interviews structured. There are a few more ways you can conduct successful interviews:
Start with a short, qualifying phone interview. Give a quick overview of the role and the company. Measure the candidate’s fit for the role based on their previous experience and see if the candidate is truly interested in the role. Always make sure to respect the candidate’s time by being on time for the interview and ending the interview on time. You should follow up with a quick email thanking the candidate for their time.
Follow up with an in-depth video interview. If the candidate did well in their initial phone interview and has completed any necessary questionnaires or skill assessments, it is time to have a one-on-one video interview. This is where you can spend extra time getting to know the candidate and going more in-depth about the job and the skills needed. Ask specific skill-based questions to access their knowledge and skill level. Pay attention to body language and social cues, as this will help you as the interviewer make any necessary shifts in how you interview. Making the candidate feel comfortable or playing to their strengths will give them the opportunity to shine.
Combat your biases
There is no place for biases in the hiring process; they still exist. So, what can you do to combat your biases and give each candidate a fair shot?
Educate yourself and acknowledge your own bias tendencies.
According to The Office of Diversity and Outreach at UCSF, unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.
Knowing your personal biases will help you combat them during the hiring process and recognize the negative effects of bias within your organization, as well as the benefits of uncovering bias in decision-making processes.
Use the right tools
Using technology to help you in your hiring process can save you valuable time on everyday mundane, repetitive tasks and save your company money.
Using an applicant tracking system can organize your hiring process in a snap. Post your jobs through your ATS to multiple job boards at once, organize your candidates per role, and keep communications all in one place. Save precious time by automating emails and other day-to-day repetitive tasks so you can spend more time getting to know your candidates.
In today’s hiring environment, having a video interview tool that is reliable and fast is a must-have. Choose a tool that compliments your hiring goals and streamlines your interviews. Candidates expect to connect fast and have less technical glitches.
Another must-have is a reliable skills assessment tool. With a multitude of assessment vendors who make the process smooth and even fun, give your candidates access to the best way to showcase their talent and skills.
A smooth onboarding process is crucial in employee retention and engagement in the first month of employment.
Deliver what you promised in the interview process. If you mentioned a specific amount of time for training and who they will be training with, make sure their trainer is there every step of the way with an outlined process for success.
Make the new hire feel important on their first day. This can be especially hard with more remote workers being hired every day. But, take the time to welcome the employee and even have them schedule time with key employees to get to know who they will be working with and how to get in touch with them. If you are still in the office, show them around, take them to lunch, or do something special to recognize them on their first day. Communicate with your new hire throughout the day to see how they are coming along and if they need any help or have questions.
It’s Time to Get Started
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to hiring, you can still make the process reflect your company’s values and optimize it to give your candidates the best possible experience.
This guide can help get you started and as you grow, be sure to add in more of what works best for your company and candidates.
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