Anyone who has ever directed a hiring process knows it can be time-consuming. Add to that the cost of a bad hire, and the process of rehiring and retraining a new employee can cost you precious time and money. You need to get it right the first time.
It’s hard to find quality applicants if your hiring process is unclear, disorganized, or not clearly defined. Smart hiring takes hard work, planning, and organization.
Follow these steps to streamline your hiring process and improve your organization’s internal processes so you can spend more time finding the perfect candidates.
Take the time to evaluate your hiring process at each step of the candidate’s journey:
1. Evaluate your recruitment strategies
Make sure your job title is clear and contains keywords candidates will understand. A clear, accurate, and compelling job description should tell candidates everything they need to know about whether they are the right fit for the role. Clearly identify the job responsibilities and expectations to weed out people who don’t match your needs. The precise description will lead to better qualified candidates and will also help you draft focused interview questions. Expand your reach by posting your listing on job boards, your company career site, and on social media.
Understand the cost/benefit of a new employee before you hire. Be sure you have a clear picture of how their work will justify the full cost of hiring them.
Strengthen your employer brand with content marketing. You want to create a brand that the top talent in your space has heard of and wants to work for, so that when they learn about a position at your organization, they’re excited about the opportunity, not wondering who you are.
Start measuring the time it takes you to hire. From deciding you need a new employee to onboarding, how long does it take? Knowing this will help your company determine how much lead time you need for effective recruitment. Getting the timing right means giving yourself the time to find a good hire, not just someone to fill an empty seat.
Have a strategy to attract the best cultural fit. Be honest about your culture and convey real information about daily life at your company. If you put out accurate information to help people decide if they’re a good fit, you won’t waste time interviewing or hiring the wrong people.
2. Review your pre-screening procedures
Determine whether you want to pre-screen candidates by following up with a phone interview, questionnaire or other pre-screening methods.
Pre-interview questions can help you gather information about candidates that they didn’t list on their resumes. The preliminary interview questions can reduce the amount of time you spend in later interviews.
You can automate part of the pre-screening process by having candidates take an online survey framed around those skill sets, knowledge, and experience you need. Include questions to determine whether candidates mesh with your company culture.
By pre-screening, you’ll avoid the frustration of scheduling interviews with candidates who ultimately wind up being ill-suited for the position.
But beware of asking candidates too many things before they’ve even met you! The questions should only take about 20-30 minutes to answer. A phone interview should only last about 15-20 minutes.
3. Ensure a quality interview
Come prepared with a list of thorough behavioral and practical questions. Consider sending questions to candidates ahead of time. We’ve done it at Mac’s List with good results!
It’s important to conduct consistent interviews and evaluate all candidates using the same criteria. Ask the same questions and use the same processes for all candidates.
Go through your job description and questions to be sure you’re focused on the key skills and responsibilities of the position.
Make sure you go deep in your questions. If a candidate gives a generic answer on a key point, follow up with additional questions until you have the information you need.
- Be sure you know which topics are legally off limits. For example, don’t ask questions that could elicit information about the candidate’s race, religion, marital status, etc. In many states, you can’t ask about salary history. Know what to avoid ahead of time!
- Pay attention to common red flags: for example, if the candidate only asks about salary and benefits, isn’t prepared, is overly confident or overly nervous, criticizes a former employer, or has a negative attitude.
- Go beyond your script when necessary. Consistency is important, but so is tuning into the details about a particular candidate. Ask follow-up questions that drill down into a candidate’s experiences.
4. Assess candidates effectively
Standardize your evaluation process. Make sure everyone in your organization is aligned on the qualities and requirements you are looking for in the ideal candidate. Setting clear expectations at the beginning of the process will ensure that your team is in agreement and help you avoid debate when it comes to selecting the best candidate.
Make sure your process is efficient. You can shorten the process by sorting resumes into three piles: top resumes, clear no’s, and maybes for consideration only if the top resumes are not the right fit.
Communication is key. Keep candidates apprised of where you are in the process. Once you decide to offer a candidate the job, make the offer promptly so you don’t lose out on top applicants.
5. Standardize employee background & reference checks
Have a clear, defined process for reviewing candidates’ criminal history and educational background, and for checking references. Explain the process to candidates! One option is to outsource this part of the process and hire a third party that specializes in background checks.
The hiring process can be time-consuming, costly, and stressful. But if you follow these tips to help you manage this complex process, you could land a great new team member!