6 Best Practices to Improve Your Hiring Process in 2018

In some industries, the hiring process doesn’t seem to change. Large organizations are still hiring their new employees in the exact same way they did decades ago. Entry-level to management candidates go through the same process, from background checks to references, that previous generations did to the same degree.

hiringThat might actually be a problem. Naturally, you want to attract the best talent in your field and industry. But what if your closest competitors work diligently to offer them more, and make the process more intuitive than it would be through you? Suddenly, you begin to lose prime candidates to the companies most capable of cutting into your market share.

That’s what makes continuous improvement so crucial in the hiring process. Seemingly every day, new technologies and opportunities enter the market that can improve the way in which you attract, screen, and hire relevant candidates. That’s because the process is not static, but always evolving.

Fortunately, your organization can do something about that. In fact, the early part of the new year might be the perfect time to review your hiring practices, and learn from those around you in order to improve it. These 6 best practices help you prepare your hiring process for 2018, as well as the years to come.

1) Customize Your Hiring Process

First things first: it might seem counter-intuitive given our introduction above, but a single hiring process is actually not in your best interest. Different roles and positions within your organization will require very different candidates and qualifications; running them through the same pipeline might cause you to lose out on some uniquely qualified talent joining your operations.

planningSome of this is obvious. For instance, a database administrator in your IT department will probably come with different skills than a graphic designer in your communications office. But while most organizations already emphasize these differences in their job descriptions, the same differentiation is not always true for the process itself.

At its core, the hiring process is simple: plan the hire, attract candidates, review candidates, and close the deal. And yet, all four stages can benefit from increasing personalization around the type of professional you’re looking to attract.

To stay with the above simple example, a graphic designer is less likely to perform well in a standardized knowledge or problem-solving test than a database administrator. They might also be more likely to use different digital channels, so be sure to target your job ad differently depending on your open positions.

Customizing your hiring process, then, can benefit from an approach similar to marketing: establish a target audience that goes beyond skill sets. Try to understand who your ideal candidates would be in terms of professional experiences, hobbies, and other differentiators. Then, use these insights to create a process designed to attract candidates who match the profile.

2) Establish Baselines and Differentiators

Most organizations treat hiring as a zero-sum decision making process. You write a job description, and potential candidates either fit the required qualifications or they don’t. Those who come closest advanced in the process, until finally one is chosen that matches the required skills and experience most closely. Some take a more complex approached by adding an optional ‘desired’ skills area to the description, but that’s where the nuance ends.

Instead, it makes sense to build a more comprehensive matrix of the types of candidates you actually want to hire. The simplest way to accomplish that feat is to establish two separate factors: baselines, and differentiators.

  • Baselines are the skills, experience, and expertise every candidate needs to have to be even remotely qualified. Ideally, these are quantifiable in a way that allows you to objectively limit your candidate pool without injecting personal biases.
  • Differentiators are a more fully considered version of the above-mentioned ‘desired skills’ section. These are the areas that the ideal candidate would fulfill, even though they’re not absolutely required for the job. A few of the many examples could be years of work experience in a comparable position, specific software and platform skills, and cultural fit (more on that later).

Differentiators are more subjective, and help you select the single ‘best fit’ for your candidates. They should include the points that cannot easily come across in a resume, such as collaboration skills. Once you limit your later hiring stages to these points, you can streamline the process and improve efficiency.

3) Prioritize Applicant Experience

As we move into 2018, what your candidates think about the hiring process is becoming almost as important as the efficiency of the process itself. In its article “The Candidate as Customer,” HR Times described the importance of ensuring a positive experience in greater detail:

applicant experience

This leverage is making candidates more demanding of employers. That’s especially true of Millennials (the 18–34 age range), who have grown up with highly responsive and personalized consumer technologies. They tend to expect recruiters to provide on-demand, customized information on the company and the position.

Too often, individual companies take a self-centered approach to hiring: let the candidates come to me. In reality, especially younger generations do not find that approach satisfying. They like to be wooed, and the top-end talent typically is. That does not necessarily mean you have to roll out the red carpet, but it does mean you should make sure you treat them in a way that allows them to see your organization in a positive light.

Human touch is crucial. Your hiring department should be responsive to any questions, and guide candidates along the way. Meet them where they are, rather than expecting them to come to you. The smoother the process is for your candidates, the more likely the top talent will be to make it through to the final interview and decision.

4) Hire for Cultural Fit

Just as candidate experience matters, so does culture. Even the most highly-skilled candidates will contribute little if they simply don’t buy or fit into the culture that surrounds your company, its leadership and its daily work environment.

cultural fit

As Business News Daily points out, you have to be able to articulate what values, norms, and practices define your organizations beyond its mission statement and brand name. All of your recruiting materials, from the job ad to the HR website, should emphasize and reflect these values.

That doesn’t necessarily mean promoting your company at all costs. Some people simply aren’t a good fit to work at Google, regardless of how well-regarded its culture is. Instead, it means being honest and open about the work environment and values in which potential hires will enter so that you attract the talent most likely to be attracted to those values.

Cultural fit should also play into the differentiators mentioned above. A qualitative analysis of whether your most highly-qualified candidates could actually thrive in your organization’s culture should be part of the final decision before extending a job offer. The more you emphasize your corporate culture as an important qualifier, the more likely you will become to hire candidates who actually succeed within your organization.

5) Ensure a Speedy Hiring Process

When it comes to your hiring process, speed matters. A position that’s open for a long time can prevent your organization from functioning effectively while essential personnel is missing. Meanwhile, long response and consideration times can turn off candidates who will receive other, more desirable job offers in the meantime.

hiring time

And yet, the trend is going the wrong way. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, the time it takes to screen and hire employees has almost doubled over the last few years. Advancing technology, increasing numbers of candidates, and ever-growing requirements from potential candidates.

But these longer times help no one in the process. Instead, one of your priorities for the coming year should be taking as much time off the hiring process as possible. That means being strategic about the process, and streamlining as much as you can. It also means prioritizing any committee work or decisions that require collaboration toward the beginning of the process.

Take too long to decide, and your best candidates commit elsewhere. In the process, you also risk wasting resources and compromising your efficiency. Instead, ensure a speedy hiring process to make sure you get the right candidates into your organization at the right time.

6) Introduce Video Screening

As you might have noticed, improving efficiency within your hiring process is a trend that threads through most of the tips and best practices mentioned above. One crucial way to accomplish that feat is to introduce video screening into the workflow.

Closeup of a business woman talking through video chat on tablet. Using a video Business coaching platform

The average in-person is more than 45 minutes long, and even the average phone interview takes almost 30 minutes. And yet, most hiring managers know within the first two minutes of that interview whether or not a candidate has the potential to be successful. That discrepancy leads to waste, as well as longer hiring processes that help no one involved.

Now, imagine a system that allows you to screen potential good fits before the interview. Through our video screening software, you can achieve exactly that. In the process, you can take personal biases out of the equation by standardizing the questions asked, and maximizing your efficiency.

Suddenly, you have to invite only the top candidate to an interview for final confirmation. You will save money, improve customer service, and waste less time. To learn more about HIRENAMI, and how we can help you get to that point while preparing your hiring process for 2018, contact us.