The hiring process is undoubtedly one of the most important processes within any businesses. Having the right people in place is essential to deliver on business strategies and to drive the company forward.
Recruitment strategies vary greatly from one business to the next and the same can even be said for filling different role types. Some businesses have an in-house recruitment team that take care of the entire end-to-end process from advertisement through to arranging induction. Other companies pay recruitment agencies to do it for them.
There are pros and cons for both approaches but if you want to ensure that you find the best candidates for the role, then the answer isn’t necessarily to control the whole process yourself as an HR manger. The best way to get the best people in right role is to ensure that the employee hiring process is seamless.
Why hiring the right employee is important
Working in HR, you probably already have a good idea of why it is so important to hire the right employee. However, like most business processes, the landscape changes on a regular basis. Innovative hiring processes are tried and tested and the most effective hiring strategies get modified regularly.
It is often said that employees are what differentiates one company from their competitors. You can buy the best technology and equipment, you can set up the most efficient working processes but your people do the rest. If you are an organization that wants your brand to stand out for delivering excellent customer service or for being innovators in the industry, then your employees must reflect that vision to the outside world.
If we look at Richard Branson as an example, in many interviews he describes the importance of looking after your staff and having the right people. His 7 hiring rules include:
- Personality over book smarts
- New hires do not have to fit in right away
- Go for experience and transferrable skills rather than qualifications
- Define your company’s purpose to attract the right people
- Leaders should hire to fill their own weaknesses
- Internal promotion should be favored over external recruitment
- Avoid bulk hiring where possible
Branson’s rules suit his brand but they might not be completely relevant for your own organization. However, being clear about the company’s purpose will be essential for a seamless hiring process.
Having a clearly defined purpose will help applicants to determine whether they are the right fit for your company and vice versa. Having values that underpin the purpose will also help applicants to build an idea of what your company culture is like and what key characteristics you look for in employees.
A lot of companies make the mistake of trying to quickly fill roles where they have a high turnover, for example in customer contact centers. However, this can result in employing the wrong people, who either leave the role or do not perform well. It might not be their ability that is the issue, but more their suitability and motivation to do the role. For example, if someone is looking for a short-term role before going to university, it is pointless spending weeks training them, for them to hand their notice in a few weeks later. Recruitment is better when handled from a long-term perspective rather than to plug gaps when required.
High turnover of employees results in huge, avoidable costs and can occur for a number of reasons. Whilst there are cost variances from industry to industry and role to role, according to SHRM, the average cost per hire for companies is $4,129 and it takes around 42 days to fill a position. So when you take these costs into account, it makes business sense to ensure that you get the right person in the role to begin with.
How the hiring process works
The recruitment experts at The Balance Careers break the process down into three phases:
- Employee selection
To expand on the process, a set of six main steps comprise the full hiring process:
Step 1 – Resource planning/identifying a vacancy
Resource planning enables you to make the right decisions around when a role needs to be filled. Many companies have a dedicated resource planning team that uses software to make resource planning decisions that can be determined by call volumes, for example. Once the requirement to hire for a role has been decided, either through an employee leaving or increased workload forecasting, the hiring manager would usually acquire sign-off from the relevant person to approve the hire.
Step 2 - Job specification/description
Usually the hiring manager and HR manager would review the existing job specification or create a new one if necessary. If there have been issues, such as high turnover, for the role then this could be a sign that the job description was not effective in outlining the role to candidates. So spending time on getting a lot of detail and examples of role responsibilities is essential.
Step 3 – Recruitment plan
This could be a blended approach of advertising through an agency website, advertising on the company website and even searches for candidates on LinkedIn. The more places you advertise and search, the better chance of attracting the perfect candidate but it also means higher costs and more work to screen the applications.
Depending on the type of role, you may want to establish a recruitment committee that includes the hiring manager, HR manager/recruitment manager, a job specialist and someone who will be working closely with the role holder. Whilst your interview panel would generally only include a few of these people, the screening process can be done collectively to ensure different business priorities and considerations are taken into account.
Step 4 - Interview shortlist/application screening
Once the job has been posted and searches conducted, a shortlist should be drawn up as agreed by each member of the committee. If you have large numbers of job applicants then it is quicker to use an applicant tracking system to filter the responses. According to Jobscan, 90% of Fortune 500 companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to save time in the reviewing of resumes.
How application tracking systems work
Application tracking systems (ATS) are based around keywords that are relevant to the role and will filter the ones with the most matched keywords to the top of the pile. An ATS is also a great way of managing the application process from start to finish and to provide better communication to keep applicants updated on how their application is doing.
Step 5 – Interview and assessment
Once the shortlist has been signed off and interview invitations sent out, the next part of the process is the actual interview and assessment (if relevant). Depending on the role and number of good applicants, you may want to conduct a telephone interview before the final applicants are invited to interview. This is particularly relevant for roles that will be telephone based or have a high element of verbal communication.
You may also want to use a form of assessment to see how candidates perform with a typical task. This will be specific to the role type but psychometric tests, presentations and case studies can all be considered in addition to the interview questions. As an example, if you are recruiting an analyst to produce monthly reports, then set them up with a test version of the task to perform.
If your company operates with competency based questions then this will be the format for the interview. If you do not already have a set of questions to work with, then research some good examples on LinkedIn and other online resources.
Remember when selecting your questions, one of the key considerations is the potential long-term growth of an applicant. Identify whether a job applicant will last a long time with the company, whether they work well with others, have leadership skills and whether they go above what is asked. One person in the panel should be taking notes to ensure all details are recorded.
Step 6 – Selection and offer
The results of the interview should hopefully provide you with a clear candidate. If you are split between candidates then you may want to take more time to review LinkedIn profiles and other evidence of their credentials. Then you can make the offer and hopefully have the perfect employee with a long-term future at the company. Don’t forget to plan a great onboarding program for the new employee, as their first impression of the company and their early engagement will have a lot of impact on their long-term relationship with the business.
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