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Start Your Business Startup Basics

6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process
Credit: Robocio/Shutterstock

Hiring new talent is an inevitable and critical part of being a business leader, and it's more complicated than just reviewing applications and interviewing candidates.

If your hiring process does not run smoothly, it could deter possible candidates. Here are six tips to build and improve your hiring process.

In an Accountemps survey of over 300 hiring managers, most agreed that candidates should follow up after submitting their applications. Eager applicants are more likely to be passionate and driven, which are qualities to highlight while reviewing submissions.

"Employers should be looking for employees who want the job, and candidates who follow up demonstrate their enthusiasm for the opportunity," said Mike Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps.

If you receive follow-up emails, make sure you respond to them with information regarding the hiring process. Communicate a timeline and keep them updated on any changes, said Steinitz.

If you're not careful, the way your job posting is written can deter candidates. Many companies write descriptions with lists of responsibilities and requirements, but a study by researchers in the United States and Canada found that this can alienate qualified employees, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In the study, researchers rewrote 56 job ads to emphasize two different approaches: the Needs-Supplies approach, which focuses on what the company can do for the candidate, and the Demands-Abilities approach, which focuses on what the company expects from the candidate. Of the 991 responses, applicants who responded to Needs-Supplies job listings were rated higher than those who responded to the Demands-Abilities ads.

Focus on what your company can do for potential employees, and you'll attract candidates who better fit your needs.

Most people want to work for companies that keep up with the latest tech trends. A survey by MIT and Deloitte found that the vast majority of respondents want to work for digitally enabled organizations, which means businesses will have to stay ahead of the curve in order to retain employees and attract new ones.

Make sure your career site is mobile-friendly too. According to a 2015 Pew Research survey, nearly 30 percent of American adults have used their smartphones in some way for their job searches, including browsing job listings (94 percent of smartphone job seekers), filling out online job applications (50 percent), and creating a resume or cover letter (23 percent).

Part of embracing the digital age means using public social media profiles for candidate research. Like most employers, you'll probably do a standard background check on applicants, but the candidate's social media profiles can offer more details about the individual as a person and an employee, for better or for worse.

While it's legally risky to allow a candidate's social media activity to factor into your hiring decisions, it can give you a better picture of someone you're interested in hiring. In another Business News Daily article, Aliah Wright, a manager with the Society for Human Resource Management, said that social media can be used as a skills assessment, especially if a candidate has professional blog posts or portfolio work. [See Related Story: The Pros and Cons of Social Media Background Checks]

Although the right skill set may seem like the most important factor in whether a candidate is a good fit, the truth is that skills can be acquired, but personalities cannot.

"Don't become pigeonholed into thinking the person with the exact necessary experience is the right person for the role," said Tom Gimbel, CEO and founder of staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network. "Consider soft skills – like interpersonal skills, communication skills, thought processes and emotional intelligence – because they matter."

You should also consider how a candidate's personality traits align with the daily job tasks. For instance, a trait such as empathy would likely be much more important for a nurse or a social worker than it would be for a tax attorney or a computer programmer.

"What kind of person you hire depends on [the] culture of organization and the kind of job," said Maynard Brusman, a San Francisco-based psychologist and founding principal of consulting firm Working Resources. "A great person with all kinds of skills may be [a] good fit for one and [a] poor fit for another, simply based on their personality type."

A study by Leadership IQ found that failures exhibited by new employees may result from flawed interview processes. Eighty-two percent of the 5,000 managers surveyed reported that the interviewers were too focused on other issues, too pressed for time or lacked the confidence in their interviewing abilities to pay attention to red flags.

According to Leadership IQ CEO Mark Murphy, this is because the job interview process focuses on making sure new hires are technically competent, whereas other factors that are just as important to employee success – like coachability, emotional intelligence, temperament and motivation – are often overlooked.

To ensure you touch base with these factors, ask the right questions.

John Schwarz, CEO and founder of workforce analytics company Visier, said answers to questions such as "who are you going to be 10 years from today?" and "what makes you get up in the morning and do what you do?" can tell you a lot about a candidate's drive and ambition.

It's important to allow prospective employees to interview you too. Letting candidates ask questions will give you a chance to see what's important to them, Brusman said. It also gives them a chance to determine that they want to keep pursuing a job at your company, or to decide that it's not the right fit for them.

"Be open and honest about what it's going to be like to work for your company," Brusman said. "You want to give a realistic preview of the work environment."

Potential employees often seek insider information about companies they want to work for, and this includes salary estimates, interview tips, and reviews from current and former employees from sites such as Glassdoor. According to Glassdoor, 46 percent of its members read company reviews before they even speak to a recruiter or hiring manager. Top candidates may not even apply in the first place if they don't like what they see: 69 percent of job seekers said they would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were currently unemployed.

However, another 69 percent of respondents said they're likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages the employer brand by responding to reviews, updating the company's profile, and sharing updates on the company's culture and work environment.

Based on Glassdoor's data, two actions that draw in candidates include being active on review websites and posting accurate information. If you have a lot of negative reviews from former employees, it may be time to work on your company culture before you try to fill any open positions. Doing so can improve employee retention and lead to more positive reviews that will attract quality employees.

Editor's Note: Looking for recruiting software for your business? If you want information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

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Additional reporting by Marci Martin, Brittney Morgan and Nicole Fallon. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela is a recent graduate of Rowan University, where she majored in writing arts and minored in journalism. She currently works as a Purch B2B staff writer while working on her first novel in her free time. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.