8 Simple Steps to Improve Your Recruitment Process

Walid Abou-Halloun

Posted by Walid Abou-Halloun Date: May 21, 2021 11:00:54 AM

A company is only as strong as its employees. As a human resources professional, you might not realise how much of your company’s future hinges on you. No pressure.

If you’re disappointed in the number or quality of candidates you receive, you’re not alone. A great HR professional can sift through a pool of candidates and find the best ones, but you’re still at the mercy of that pool in the first place.

If your recruitment process and hiring process could use some work, we can help. Follow these easy steps.

Steps to Critique and Improve Your Recruitment Process

A great recruitment process takes more than posting a job description on every website and job board you can find. As the saying goes, work smarter, not harder. Use these steps to refine your hiring process.

1. Get Your Current Process in Writing

You can’t critique your current recruitment process if you don’t have a clear idea of what it is. Playing fast and loose with your hiring pipeline is a recipe for unpredictable results.

Take some time to write down the basic process you use. You can start with a pipeline of the steps each candidate tends to follow. Go into more details, too, though.

For instance, write down the criteria you use to eliminate resumes from your stack. Do you prioritise job experience? Grammar and formatting? Education?

Keep in mind that different members of your HR department might have different criteria and priorities. Talk to them about their own processes and strategies so you have a complete picture.

Don’t worry about getting everyone on the same page at this stage in the game. We’ll talk more about that later.

2. Make a List of the Resources You Use

On top of writing down your process, you need to take a close look at the resources you use. This includes job boards, applicant tracking systems, recruitment firms, subscriptions, software, and more. Write down the costs of each as well.

When you have your big list together, look for overlap. Are you using multiple systems that include similar functions? Is there a specific reason for it like customisability, or do you have a true redundancy?

This helps you in multiple ways. First, it lets you cut back on expenses. Second, it helps you simplify your process. For some HR departments, especially those at large companies, team members waste a lot of time out of sheer confusion because they don’t know what tools to use and when.

Before you recommend cutting certain resources, though, talk to other members of your team. They might know about or use certain functions in a specific program that you don’t know about.

3. Define an Organised Pipeline

Now that you’ve critiqued your existing process, it’s time to create a straightforward one for the future. This should be something your whole team can use.

There are a few reasons why this is important. First, it will make your department more efficient. When people have a clear idea of their next steps, it helps them stay on task.

Second, having a distinct pipeline ensures that when you compare candidates, you’re comparing apples to apples. If one candidate has gone through two phone interviews and another has done a skills assessment, how can you compare them?

For example, here’s a sample pipeline.

  1. Gather candidates through select job boards and other resources. On your actual pipeline,list down all the places where you plan to publicise the open position.
  2. Have candidates complete a skills assessment at home.
  3. Narrow the resumes based on the skills assessments and background requirements.
  4. Complete a phone interview.
  5. Set up an in-person interview.
  6. Complete a second in-person interview for the top candidates if necessary.
  7. Select a candidate and make an offer.

With each stage, your pool of candidates will get smaller and smaller. Keep in mind that the pipeline doesn’t have to be the same for every position. For instance, some positions may not warrant a skills assessment. The key is making sure that for any opening, all the candidates are going through the same stages as each other.

If you want to make your process even more efficient, set deadlines for each stage of the pipeline. This will motivate you to stay on track and fill the position within a reasonable timeline.

4. Communicate More with Departments and Teams

One of the largest problems HR departments have is that their job descriptions don’t reflect what the position actually needs. The HR department is bringing in candidates with certain criteria in mind while the manager has something different in mind.

Before writing a job description for any position, talk to the manager who will oversee that position. They may have a new project or change of direction coming up, changing the qualifications and skills they want their new employee to have.

This applies to re-using old job descriptions too. It’s always worth your time to ask the manager to look over the description you have on file and make edits if necessary.

5. Make Your Job Descriptions into Sales Pitches

Every HR professional wants to hire the best of the best. You can only do that if the best of the best are actually interested in the position.

Some job descriptions sound like scowls on paper as if you’re trying to judge candidates before they even apply. At this stage of the process, your job is to be clear about the job and to “sell” the position to applicants.

For an even better result, you can tailor the job description to appeal to the type of candidates you want. For instance, maybe you want to hire someone who will stick with the company for the long haul. In that case, emphasise your company’s growth opportunities.

In the process, pay close attention to the technical elements of your job description. It should be well-written and organised with proper grammar and spelling. Your job description could be the first impression a candidate has of your company. A mess of a job description will turn off candidates who are organised and want a professional workplace.

As we mentioned above, make sure you have the position’s manager review the job description before you post it. It’s also a good idea to show it to an extra set of eyes and ask for their impressions.

6. Don’t Overlook Your Own Website

We’re going to assume that your company already has a professional website. You should use this as a tool in your candidate search too.

Create a careers page on your website and keep it updated with your current job openings. You should also use this page to “sell” your company to candidates and give them an idea of your workplace culture.

Not only does this give you one more place to post your job description for free, but it gets you more qualified candidates. If someone is on your website, chances are that they’re already interested in your company. That means they’re more likely to stick with you for the long haul.

Be sure that you make it clear how candidates can apply for a job, too. Provide an email address or a phone number they can call. Better yet, have an on-page application process.

7. Institute an Employee Referral Program

One of the best ways to find great candidates is to get referrals from your existing employees. After all, no one knows which candidates would fit in with your company better than someone who already works there.

You can do this in a few different ways. One method is to just advertise all open positions to your current employees. Encourage them to refer any candidates they think could be a good fit. In some cases, your employees themselves may be interested in changing roles themselves.

Another option is to offer a bonus to any employee who refers a candidate that you later hire. There are definite pros and cons. The “pro” is that employees have more incentive to refer people. The “con” is that they might refer everyone and anyone in order to get the bonus, rather than only candidates who are qualified.

8. Track Your Recruitment Methods’ Success

This is an ongoing task, but it’s something you need to start now if you haven’t already.

Keep a list of all the places where you find candidates. This should include job boards, your own website, recruitment firms, and more.

Next, start keeping a count of how many candidates you get from each of these sources. Finally, calculate what percentage of those applicants you later hire. This tells you the volume as well as the quality of candidates you get from each source.

You should continue tracking this information long-term and assess the numbers every few months or so. This will show you where you should focus your efforts and your budget based on current trends.

Finding Those Needles in a Haystack

Wouldn’t it be nice if candidates came with scorecards that show you right off the bat if they’re the right fit? As much as that would streamline your process, it’s not reality.

A successful recruitment process takes a lot of work, planning, and forethought. The steps above can help you streamline and enhance your process to bring in better candidates and identify the right ones.

For more hands-on help, contact our specialised IT recruiters today.

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