The success of any organization rests with employees, but the process of acquiring the right talent can often be a frustrating, time-intensive task. However, companies do not have to struggle to recruit and hire the best people.
There are several ways organizations can make the interviewing, recruiting and hiring process easier and more efficient:
- Consider the difference between “applicants” and “candidates.”
The process of moving from an applicant to a candidate is one of the biggest sources of annoyance when applying for a job. Potential hires can spend hours filling out a questionnaire, either in-person or online, and never make it past the first step. With a solid recruitment strategy, this initial step must be completed quickly and decisively.
It is always best to get a clear distinction between types of people who initially register.
“Applicants” are interested parties who think they are qualified for a place, and so apply. At this point, applicants meet the basic requirements of sending a résumé, application and cover letter.
Those who meet the first stage become a “candidate.” They start as an applicant, but through an internal resume review become a true contender. Candidates are the genuine launching point for a hiring strategy, those who made it to the next level.
- Create a complete picture of what you want, not just a job description.
This is the greatest obstacle in an effective human resources hiring strategy. After a period of cut backs in corporate America, managers are increasingly inundated with more responsibilities. The natural reaction is to put minimal effort in categorizing and formatting job postings. Instead of making a time commitment to produce complete and accurate job descriptions, often they reuse older and dated copy from earlier hires.
What should happen is that every human resources manager put real thought into creating a job description, crafting one that actually fits the specific job. That takes thought and perception.
When a job description is not correct, it wastes time—both yours and the candidates. A poorly defined job results in candidates—who could be class members of your team, but in other roles in the company—to respond with “I’m not a candidate since I do not have that skill,” leaving disappointed and frustrated.
- Cut the red tape between hiring managers, Human Resources staff and recruiters.
Corporations routinely use a single staffer for all applications, which blurs the line between recruiters and the hiring manager. If there is a dedicated recruiter, they often have no more information than the written job description. Furthermore, there is no easy way of asking.
The solution is through communication—hiring managers, HR staff and recruiters must meet either in-person or telephone conference. Hiring managers must clearly understand the requirements and skills needed for employment and relate to the recruiters exactly what would be the ideal personality traits for the job.
- Prioritize the hiring process.
Often, companies hire in a scattershot way, with key requirements (often deal breakers) cropping up at all points in the process.
Does a job require college transcripts, qualifications or certifications? Make sure they clearly communicate that at the start. If a certain GPA is essential in the hiring process, make sure the candidate has an opportunity to present it up front.
- Get the right people to conduct initial screenings.
Preliminary telephone interviews are extremely useful; having a person knowledgeable about the position is also critical to a streamlined hiring process. Usually junior staffers conduct initial interviews, energetically typing and with no real concept of the job. They cannot offer any more insight, other than a list of the job requirements.
Only let your best interviewers interview. Continually improve questions to use in the interviewing process. Having low-level staffers recite a list of questions and record answers is inefficient and unprofessional.
- Use technology as part of the recruitment strategy.
Frequently, job candidates travel long distances for interviews. Sending an email saying the face-to-face interviews is on for that afternoon or early the next day may find some fantastic candidates unprepared.
A serious problem is that once an interview is underway the candidate discovers the advertised job—one that they travel a distance to attend—is not what they expected. Again, it becomes a colossal waste of time and resources.
Use tools, not time. Video conferencing software such as Skype, recruitment tools like Software-as-a-Service (Taleo, Aurico and Ovation, among others) will save time and effort of both parties. The Internet, cloud-based recruiting systems and hire management software open the door for expertise from various geographic areas; casting a wider net for the right hire.
- Stop looking for Mr. (or Ms.) Perfect.
Employers are often reluctant to hire a candidate, otherwise great, simply because they have less than 100 percent of the job requirements. Sometimes a hiring policy should be to prepare, mentor or coach a new hire for a while, and bring them up to speed. Hiring manages and human resources experts can be totally stressed out by the inability to work with appropriate candidates.
Yes, hiring may be like finding a needle in the haystack, but do not throw out a legitimate needle because it is not “golden.”