Safeguarding your recruitment process increases quality in new hires and retention in the workplace

Friday, Mar 11, 2022

Good help is hard to find. In recruiting, Results are at their worst when the process is rushed or if there isn’t a format or structure to follow at all. Throughout my career, one of the most common statements I’ve heard from other managers or business leaders is: they need “quality” employees, but they don’t have the time to look for them. Yet, with little to no process, an applicant applies and they are offered the job almost on the spot. Let me be the first to admit that this type of scenario usually does not work out the way we hoped it would.

At first, there is a sigh of relief because, after all, the spot is filled. But not for long…it turns out that they weren’t the right fit for the company, or maybe the company wasn’t the right fit for them. Just like that, they are out the door, and it’s back to square one, or worse.

I’ve seen it happen so many times before, and to be honest, as a former manager, I have done the same thing, a few times. There are moments where we find ourselves in a bind and we just need someone who will show up, so we think to ourselves, “If I can just get someone to show up, I’ll worry about the rest later.” Have you been there before? Maybe it describes your current situation right now.

Even now as an HR consultant, I greatly identify with how other business leaders are often pressed for time, and more often than not are having to roll up their sleeves to help get the work done with little to no assistance. To some, it really does feel like the demand of business makes it nearly impossible to plan and execute a solid hiring strategy. While it may be the reality for some, the truth is, you can’t afford to not make the time. No customer-facing business can be sustained for very long without the stability of quality employees. The overall level of service (professionalism) you are able to provide as an organization really depends on who is on your team. Anytime you hire someone just because they applied without thoroughly vetting them, it opens your organization up to liability and it can negatively impact your brand in a major way.

I do want to mention that implementing a structured recruitment process won’t 100% foolproof your organization; however, it will create consistency around the way you hire, helping you to make better informed hiring decisions. Let’s explore how to safeguard your recruitment process.

Steps to Developing a Thorough Recruiting Process

  1. Create a clear job description.

A well-thought-out job description will include the job title, purpose of the role and how it impacts the organization, the responsibilities, qualifications, hours, location, salary, and benefits. The job description is the blueprint for the position you intend to recruit for. It is the foundation of reference for the hiring manager to develop the most appropriate questions for the interview process, and for the candidate(s) to know what to expect in their role should they be offered the position. It is very important to not skim on the details. The more quality information made available, the better chance you’ll attract the type of candidates you are looking for.

Tip: Write your descriptions in a way that people would want people to explore your organization. Your description shouldn’t read like they are going to be treated like robots or like they will be micromanaged, but more so like an opportunity (pun intended) to join an amazing organization that focuses on collaboration and personal development (or whatever makes your company so great). What can they expect from the work environment? If it isn’t so great, work on getting it there.

  1. Identify the best-recruiting methods for your organization.

There are so many ways your company can recruit for your next great talent such as word of mouth, internal referrals, job fairs, or job boards.

  • Job boards- before putting all your money into marketing on every available channel, identify which job boards most align with your industry. For example, are similar companies posting there? If so, there might be a decent pool of candidates that are searching for an opportunity like yours. Some boards require an upfront payment.

  • Community colleges/Universities often have career centers that you can partner with. Some have online job boards, on-campus hiring events, and you might be able to introduce yourself to a class or two after building rapport with the department heads.

  • Local Unemployment offices- Unlike some of the job boards, this is a free resource to advertise your business, and you might be able to host an in-person event. They will help identify candidates that meet your criteria because they want to help people get back to work.

  • Word of Mouth or Referrals- Let your top talent recruit for you! You could do an incentive program, for example, if they refer someone to apply, and they are selected and work 30 days (or whatever timeframe you determine) they can earn a cash bonus/gift card, etc.

  1. Streamline your application process

As challenging as it may be to find good candidates, you don’t want to make it harder by having your candidates jump through so many hoops. What is your intake process? Do you have a paper application, or do they apply online? Does your application have 100 pages (exaggeration) or does it ask for the same information over and over again? Do you allow candidates to just submit their resume at first, and then you ask them to complete an application to officially start the screening process? Would you go through your own application process?

  1. Structure your interview process

Depending on the type of position, the interview process can vary. However, I would highly suggest that you follow the same process for all candidates applying for the same position. Typically, whenever I recruit, this is the process I follow:

Step 1: Pre-Screen

After I review the resumes, I determine which candidates are most aligned based on the information they have provided. (I will write a separate blog on this topic in the near future because people can use all the right keywords and verbiage and still bomb the job.)

I will take about 5-7 minutes to contact the candidate to get an understanding of what attracted them to the position, and I will re-iterate what the job is, where it is and the hours to confirm that is something they are still interested in. Again, some people apply just to apply, some are looking for an easy check, and some are actually looking for a starting point to grow in their career path. My time is valuable and so are positions I recruit for, therefore, it is important to me to weed out anyone that doesn’t seem like they are highly motivated for the opportunity.

Tip: I also pay attention to their tone and how well they remember the details of the description. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker at this part of the process (I keep my mental notes), but you’d be surprised how often I have heard people say they don’t remember applying to a position. Depending on their other responses, I might still invite them to a formal interview. If they haven’t brushed up by the 1st interview, this might be a flag that they aren’t going to be committed and I typically end the journey there, respectfully.

Step 2: The first interview

As I am writing this, we are still dealing with the effects and changes of Covid-19. Traditionally, I will have an in-person interview, however, lately, they have been more virtual. During the first interview, I will gather more in-depth details about their previous work history and I will have a standard list of questions that are in line with the nature of the job.

Tip: To maintain a fair process, ask the same standard questions to all applicants. If you need more details you can ask them to be more specific or to elaborate more on their responses.

Step 3: The final interview

When a candidate is selected for a second interview, I normally facilitate it with a panel. This panel is typically the direct supervisor and/or the owner and myself. Prior to the interview, I have already briefed the leaders on what was discussed in the first round, so during this interview we focus on behavioral-based questions so we can gather information on the candidate’s personality and critical thinking process. Just like in the initial interview, we are asking the same questions to all candidates as it relates to the job we are interviewing for.

Tip: Depending on the nature of the job, it may not be necessary to have more than one interview. If only one interview is necessary, I would recommend doing a panel interview if possible and combining the behavioral interview questions into the process. If a panel interview is not possible, I personally think it would be best for the person who will be supervising the candidate to be the interviewer. There is no perfect way, however, it gives both the candidate and the supervisor a chance to interact before an offer is made. If it isn’t going to be a match due to personality on either side, it’d be better to catch it before the onboarding process is completed.

Step 4: The offer

Make a formal offer. Some companies make verbal offers, but if at all possible, a letter is a nice touch. Formal offer letters solidify the decision for everyone and the more documentation you have, the better. What you should include:

  • Job title and classification
  • Location
  • Schedule or traditional business hours(notate if the schedule will vary)
  • Rate of pay/compensation
  • Benefits
  • Starting date

Be sure to not make promises that you can’t back up. For example, if you are not offering benefits, don’t list them.

Tip: For the candidates that you are excluding, get in the habit of letting them know as early as possible in a formal, but professional rejection letter. Going back to my pre-screen calls, I will speak with them for a few minutes (as a courtesy interview) and the next day I will send a letter. I would never end the call abruptly as I always desire to represent myself and those I represent well.

So, you made the offer… what’s next?

Stay tuned for our next blog on the onboarding process.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at: [email protected]