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Updated Jan 19, 2024

The Modern Hiring Process: What Job Seekers and Employers Should Know

New methods and priorities are revamping outdated hiring processes, ushering in new best practices for job seekers and employers.

Leslie Pankowski headshot
Leslie Pankowski, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Writer
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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The job market is constantly evolving, and hiring practices must adapt to allow organizations to recruit and retain the best talent and thus fuel business growth. Today’s hiring landscape involves terms like “the Great Resignation,” “quiet quitting” and the “Great Reshuffle,” signaling an increase in job vacancies and the need to hire engaged professionals who are willing to invest their talents in an organization. Additionally, shifts to remote work and digital employment platforms are changing how people apply for jobs and engage with career opportunities. 

We’ll explore the latest hiring process trends to show job candidates what they can expect and help recruiters create a successful hiring and onboarding experience that meets candidates’ expectations and the company’s needs.

Elements of the modern hiring process

The process of hiring employees has shifted rapidly and evolved well beyond large teams of faceless panel interviews and “Don’t call us; we’ll call you” employer attitudes. Here are some essential elements of the hiring process that job seekers and employers should understand.

1. The shift to remote work is affecting the hiring process. 

The pandemic moved many employees to remote work plans, bringing telecommuting into the mainstream. This remote-work shift is showing no signs of dissipating. According to a FlexJobs survey, 80% of women and 69% of men said remote work is an important factor when they are considering job offers. Remote employees can avoid the toll of the work commute while enjoying more flexibility to care for their families and achieve a positive work-life balance. 

Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from remote work. Businesses see higher productivity levels from remote workers, higher employee retention and a more engaged workforce. 

It makes sense that more employers are adding flexible, hybrid and remote work options to their job listings and adjusting their hiring processes to attract the best employees. 

To start implementing flexible work policies that attract top talent, consider compressed workweeks, remote work during the holidays, and telework options for part-time staff.

2. Online job boards have changed recruiting. 

Job sites such as Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor and FlexJobs have been around for a while, but they’re more important than ever in the recruiting process. 

Today, in addition to streamlining the application process, online job boards can do the following: 

  • Make it easy for companies to access high-quality candidates, not just vast quantities of applicants 
  • Help businesses write better job descriptions 
  • Help companies craft compelling job posts optimized for SEO 
  • Serve job candidates by matching their skills to specific positions and suggesting jobs that are a good fit
  • Increase trust with job candidates so they come back instead of relying on general job searches
  • Help candidates with career advice, salary calculators and other tools
  • Use targeted advertising to increase an applicant pool

3. Proactive recruiters engage with passive candidates.

In the past, hiring managers rarely approached passive candidates – that is, people not actively seeking a job – thinking they lacked interest in the company. Today, recruiters are under more pressure to find top talent and can’t rely on sifting through piles of applications.

More recruiters are taking the reins in job searches these days, re-engaging previous candidates and matching skills to open positions. Hiring managers and recruiters are seeking out overlooked gems in their applicant tracking system (ATS). Online job boards can help with this process by saving information on previous applicants who may be an excellent fit for a new position. 

4. Hiring managers are saving time with automation.

According to the 2022 Recruiting Trends Report, 47% of hiring managers expect automation to significantly influence future recruiting. Small business owners, hiring managers and HR directors are becoming overwhelmed with exponentially more applications and resumes, and automation can streamline and ease the process. 

Automation can do the following: 

  • Save time: Recruiters can save time by setting up automated email responses when an application is received, when a first interview is scheduled and throughout the hiring process. 
  • Follow up with candidates: Automated responses and triggers can keep candidates “warm” if the hiring process is taking longer than expected. Automation ensures appropriate candidate follow-up so excellent talent doesn’t drift away.
  • Screen candidates: Set your ATS filters to check for keywords on resumes, related or required licenses, software applications and industry terminology. If you don’t have an ATS yet, conduct similar filtered searches using Microsoft Word. 

5. Businesses are expanding employee referral programs.

Your current employees are an excellent source of applicant referrals. They’re already familiar with the work hours, culture, advancement opportunities, salaries and employee benefits packages. More businesses are turning to employee referral programs to bring in excellent potential candidates that other job searches may not yield.

Create a system to share job openings with current employees, and make it easy for them to share opportunities via email, text and social media. Ask employees what kinds of referral incentives they’d appreciate. Here are some examples of referral incentives: 

  • Monetary bonuses
  • Paid days off
  • Discounts 
  • Gift cards

You’ll also improve employee engagement by asking your employees to help build your hiring pool and rewarding them for doing so.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Employee referral programs bring in prescreened candidates who will likely fit your workplace culture while saving hiring managers and HR directors time and money.

6. Diversity has become an essential hiring consideration.

The 2022 Recruiting Trends Report revealed that 57% of hiring managers prioritize finding diverse job candidates. Additionally, 59% say diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is a top hiring trend, and 52% plan to hire diverse leadership. 

Today’s businesses are using tech tools to enable a more diverse talent pool. For example, AI-assisted job listing creation and blind resume-reviewing tools aim to eliminate unconscious bias in the hiring process. Additionally, including diverse hiring team members helps companies identify potential biases they might have missed otherwise. 

7. Companies are investing in onboarding to retain new hires.

The hiring process doesn’t end after a hiring manager writes a job offer letter. The next hiring phase is onboarding, a crucial and often overlooked element in retaining talent. 

Poor onboarding can result in lower productivity and morale. In contrast, a strategic and thoughtful first two weeks of work can give a new employee confidence and quickly get them up to speed. 

Hiring managers today are working with HR to create detailed onboarding processes that instill an organization’s mission and values, along with explaining benefits and scheduling meetings and training sessions. Investing in your new hire’s first days will yield dividends for years to come.

Create an employee hiring checklist to standardize onboarding. Include customized steps for various roles, including managers, team members and seasonal employees.

Recruitment and hiring mistakes to avoid

In Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World, authors Tyler Cowen and Dan Gross reveal a significant shift in recruitment and hiring processes. The days of bureaucratic hiring teams and interview processes are over, and employers are focusing on streamlined, strategic and efficient hiring processes.

Here are some mistakes to avoid in today’s hiring climate, according to the authors: 

  • Too many interviews and interviewers: The authors recommend revising processes that include four or five interviewers. This bureaucratic hiring process is slow and costly and has a low return on investment. Additionally, long processes discourage and alienate qualified candidates. Shift your hiring process from consensus-based to hiring manager-based.
  • A lack of transparency: Job applicants expect open communication throughout the hiring process. Candidates grow frustrated when prospective employers don’t share what’s happening, what their status is and who’s making decisions. In your job posting, candidate correspondence and interviews, be transparent about the hiring manager’s name and role, the hiring process’s stages and steps, and the time it will take for the applicant to learn their status.
  • Ineffective hiring team members: Remove staff members who slow – or block – the hiring process, and prioritize hiring team members with a track record of recruiting, hiring and onboarding effective employees. Consider which employees on your hiring team reject the most applicants. Are they adding value to the shared goal of finding a qualified new staff member? If the answer is no, consider rotating their involvement or including them in an advisory capacity instead of a voting or scoring role.

Modern hiring doesn’t have to be complicated

Modern hiring processes have changed, but you will still be able to welcome excellent new team members. Consider the elements of a great hiring experience for prospective employees, and gather a hiring team that’s on the same page. You’ll build an effective and efficient hiring process that consistently brings top candidates to your organization.

Leslie Pankowski headshot
Leslie Pankowski, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Writer
Marketing expert and small business owner Leslie Pankowski has spent nearly 30 years guiding companies through their advertising efforts. Her consultative services include market analysis, audience analysis, media proposals, campaign effectiveness and more. She is skilled at using data analytics to drive business decisions, developing strategic partnerships and drafting communications plans. Pankowski has taught marketing concepts and best practices to the next generation of business leaders at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business (from which she holds an MBA), the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College and at Marymount University. She is also passionate about business leadership and talent management and has served as a consultant for the executive staffing company vChief.
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