- A proper hiring process can help you attract and retain high-quality employees.
- Improve your talent acquisition process with technology, reputation management and accurate job descriptions.
- During interviews, pay attention to employee coachability, emotional intelligence, temperament and motivation.
- This article is for startups and small businesses that want to improve their current hiring process.
Hiring new talent is an inevitable and critical part of being a business leader, and it's more complicated than just reviewing resumes and conducting interviews. There are many recruiting mistakes that can deter a qualified candidate from seeking employment with you, from poorly crafted job descriptions to lack of communication about applications. However, with the right hiring and onboarding process in place, you will soon be on your way to recruiting and hiring only the best candidates.
What is a hiring process?
A hiring process is a step-by-step method used to find, recruit and ultimately hire new employees. A good hiring process will help you attract and retain high-quality employees who match your brand. The specific elements of a hiring process are unique to each company, but there are some general steps every business can follow to attract and hire qualified candidates.
Key takeaway: A hiring process is a step-by-step method of finding, recruiting and hiring employees.
What steps are in the hiring process?
Although the specific steps in your hiring process should be unique to your company (and sometimes even to the open position you are hiring for), there are 10 general steps that most hiring processes include.
- Write a job description that accurately reflects the hiring need.
- Advertise and recruit for the open position.
- Analyze and review candidate resumes, cover letters and applications.
- Conduct a phone interview for initial screening.
- Conduct in-person interviews (or video conferencing interviews if recruiting remotely).
- Have the job applicant perform applicable assessments.
- Run a background check and check references.
- Make a hiring decision.
- Extend a job offer.
- Hire and onboard the new employee.
Key takeaway: Most hiring processes include basic steps like recruiting, interviewing, screening, hiring and onboarding employees.
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How to improve your hiring process
If you already have a hiring process in place, there is a good chance it can be enhanced to better serve your business needs. Here are seven tips to improve your hiring process.
1. Build a strong employer brand.
According to an Officevibe report, more than 75% of professionals are passive candidates who aren't currently looking for jobs, but are open to new opportunities. Building a strong employer brand not only reduces employee turnover by 28%, it also attracts these passive candidates to your company over others.
A Glassdoor survey found that 69% of respondents are likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages its brand by responding to reviews, updating the company's profile, and sharing updates on the company's culture and work environment.
When you focus on building a well-known employer brand, you won't have to do as much active recruiting. You'll be a highly sought-after organization, flooding with applicants.
2. Move as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Officevibe reported that the best candidates are off the market in 10 days. It's important to act quickly, especially when you know you're interested in a specific applicant. Even if you haven't made a decision yet, you should follow up with the candidate often, discussing further details of the position to ensure you're on their radar. Also, respond to any questions or concerns right away to keep them updated throughout the process.
3. Write better job descriptions.
Many companies write descriptions with lists of responsibilities and requirements, but a study found that this can alienate qualified employees, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In the study, U.S. and Canadian 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.
4. Embrace digital trends and social media.
Most people want to work for companies that keep up with the latest tech trends. Part of embracing the digital age means using public social media profiles for candidate research. Like most employers, you'll probably conduct a standard background investigation 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, as it can result in unconscious bias or discrimination, it can give you a better picture of a job applicant you're interested in hiring. [Read related article: The Pros and Cons of Social Media Background Checks]
5. Fit the personality to the job.
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.
During the selection process, 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."
6. Improve your interviews.
A study by Leadership IQ found that failures exhibited by new employees may result from flawed interview processes. The study revealed that 82% 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.
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."
7. Keep an eye on your reviews.
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. Studies show that 86% of Glassdoor users read company reviews and ratings before deciding to apply for a job. Top candidates may not even apply in the first place if they don't like what they see: 50% of job seekers said they would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even for a pay increase.
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 your employee retention and lead to more positive reviews that will attract quality employees.
Key takeaway: To improve your hiring process, embrace technology, build a positive company brand and online reputation, and improve your job descriptions and interviews.
Skye Schooley contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.