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11 hiring process best practices to improve recruitment

While there isn't one right way to approach the hiring process, certain best practices -- from using software to training everyone involved with recruitment -- can make it easier.

The recruitment process continues to be a significant challenge for many companies. Organizations experience several issues, such as manual and ineffective processes, a limited talent pool and HR systems that do not meet expectations.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are some hiring process best practices that can make recruiting easier. Companies need to determine what will be most effective for them to ensure the recruitment process is efficient and identifies the best candidates for their organizations.

Learn some hiring process best practices below.

Review and streamline internal processes

Using concepts from the Lean methodology, review all the steps in the recruiting process and remove any that do not add value. This might include eliminating redundant approvals, automating steps with software or updating steps to make them more effective.

Use an applicant tracking system

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) provide valuable functionality for talent acquisition (TA) teams. They automate manual processes, centralize information about jobs and candidates, and send reminders and notifications.

Reviewing your ATS from time to time ensures the system meets your needs and that you're taking advantage of new features. If your ATS no longer meets your needs, a different vendor may have a system that is right for your company.

Maintain an open dialogue

Communicate with candidates throughout the hiring process so they stay engaged. Top candidates will have multiple options or may decide to stay at their current place of employment. Showing candidates that you appreciate them and respect their time will not only reflect positively on the recruiter, but also on the company.

Incorporate AI

Many software vendors have embraced AI and are integrating the technology into their existing applications or are building AI-specific tools. There are also tools that will work with your existing ATS so you can retain your existing HRMS integrations.

For example, AI can review and rank resumes, gather information about a candidate's online presence, and target job posts on websites that ideal candidates visit most often. This is similar to how companies advertise products on websites you visit.

Additionally, AI can review and summarize more data than can reasonably be done by a person, providing a more detailed overview of your top candidates.

Training

Ensure everyone involved in the hiring process is trained adequately for the role they are playing. This includes your TA team, hiring managers, executives and employees. There is an art and a science to recruitment. Processes run smoothly when everyone knows what is expected of them.

The following are some examples of why training is so important:

  • There are legal requirements you must adhere to during the hiring process. Training can help prevent new hires from asking harmful questions and risking the reputation of the organization.
  • Employees can be your best recruitment ambassadors. Educating them on this practice can have positive results as they become extensions of your recruitment efforts.
  • Training to avoid bias is also important so hiring managers understand how to avoid it.

Market your company

Candidates have many options when looking for a new position, so your organization needs to stand out from the crowd. This may include developing an excellent recruitment page on your website that not only shows open positions, but that highlights your organizational culture and truly explains what it's like to work for the organization. Consider developing videos in which hiring managers discuss what it's like to be on their teams, the types of projects they work on and what successful candidates can expect if they are hired.

Marketing should include a presence on social media and possibly print material. Also, consider comments and ratings about your company on public websites, as candidates often look at those before making a decision.

Schedule your time

In recruiting, you may get pulled in multiple directions when managing candidates, hiring managers and other competing internal projects. Avoid the temptation to switch from one task to the next as requests come in. You'll accomplish more by focusing on each task separately, and you can close your open requisitions that much quicker.

Stay in contact with hiring managers

Keep your hiring managers abreast of the status of their open requisitions through email, regularly scheduled meetings, and by providing direct access to or reports from the ATS. Proactive communication and timely updates can build trust with hiring managers and provide the opportunity to recalibrate at any time if you are not getting the results you're expecting.

Invest time with top candidates

Not only do you want to keep your top candidates engaged, but you also want to ensure you are hiring the right people. A single one-hour interview cannot give you and the candidate enough time to truly get to know each other. It also doesn't help the candidate learn about the company, the position or allow for time for them to ask questions.

Try a 30-minute pre-screening call to ask preliminary fit and technical questions. During the first in-person interview, build on your pre-screening call questions. Once you've narrowed down your list of candidates, consider having multiple team members meet with the candidates. This allows you to see different sides of candidates and introduces them to more team members.

Search for competencies

Look for candidates that match your culture and values, have a strong work ethic, and have a continuous learning mentality rather than focusing on narrowly defined skills, while also keeping in mind your mandatory requirements.

For example, if you are hiring a Java programmer, knowledge of that programming language would be a requirement. Secondary skills such as knowledge about specific databases or application servers may be less important if they have a solid foundation in related technologies.

Ensuring your new hire fits your culture and is an exceptional worker will allow you to move them to new positions as needed, but a new hire with a more narrow skill set may be less agile when it comes to company change.

Use an onboarding system

To provide new hires with the best experience possible, it is often ideal to use an onboarding system. This streamlines the new hire process for the candidate, HR, the hiring manager and others within your organization. It also offers you an opportunity to share information about your company, the team and details about the role consistently.

Looking at hiring process best practices is a good place to start if you want to make improvements to your current process. They may highlight items that you have not considered. With a list of hiring process best practices in hand, you can evaluate which ones you might implement and how they can be customized to align with your company's culture and to help your organization achieve its goals.

This was last published in March 2019

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