9 Elements of a Well-Oiled Hiring Process

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Why is a Hiring Process Important?

Whether you’re managing a single-location, or a large decentralized organization, you likely know how important a great team is to driving your business results. At Hireology, this is the foundation of our business model: giving businesses everything they need to make and retain great hires. We believe in creating a seamless, intuitive HR platform for business owners and HR managers while also getting applicants interested for opportunities to join your team.

Through our experience, we’ve identified nine elements every great hiring process needs. While it may seem like a lot, the steps we’ll walk you through take advantage of automation and centralized online tools to expedite the time to hire while allowing you to compare candidates on a level playing field. The results are a well-oiled hiring process that helps you find great candidates, reduce turnover, and realize a positive ROI on your human capital.
In this resource, we’ll dive into the 9 elements of a well-oiled hiring process that make up a powerful HR stack:
A Strong Career Site
Clear Job Descriptions
SmartRank Applicant Surveys
Objective and Valuable Interviews
Candidate Skills tests
Reference Checks
Background Checks
Onboarding Before Day One
Integrated Payroll

1. A Career Site to Attract the Best Candidates

The first step of a great hiring process is to find and attract the best talent in your region. For all companies and organizations regardless of your industry or vertical, we recommend investing in your career site to stand out among your competition. Over time, a great career site will help build your organization’s employment brand: the way applicants see your company as either a career destination with incredible job opportunities, or a run-of-the-mill employer top candidates may pass up for other, well-regarded brands.
Our research shows that while career sites drive about 20% of total applicant traffic compared to job boards, around 80% of eventual hires originate from the company career site. If setup correctly, a top career site will drive a steady stream of incredibly engaged candidates, and this makes sense: applicants who actively seek out your website to research your brand and apply to your positions directly are likely more engaged than those who simply click a single “apply” button using online job boards like Indeed.
How do you make sure your career site is doing its job to attract the best applicants? We’ve identified three things today’s top applicants must see on your career site before they decide to apply:

1. An overview of your company culture

Top candidates take a longer-term look at their next career move, and today’s applicants – especially millennials – need to see that the organization they are looking to work for will offer them a strong, collaborative team structure, involvement in the local community, and an environment that leaves them wanting to come to work each and every day.
Highlighting all of these aspects will get today’s top applicants interested in learning more about your company, and ultimately submitting their application to your open positions.

2. A clear career path

Today’s job market is remarkably strong compared to the years immediately following the Great Recession. According to Hireology research, roughly half of
today’s applicants are looking for a job while currently employed, allowing them to be very selective during their job hunt. This means that while top applicants might want a career change, they need to see the incentives you’ll offer before making a move.
Your career site should showcase current employees and the reasons why they joined the team, highlight your opportunities for advancement, and discuss your career progression plan so it’s clear you value your employees more than simply clocking in to fulfill a task. Once your site walks through the ability to move up the ladder and grow their skill set, it’ll incentivize the best applicants to apply for your roles.

3. The benefits of working with you

Beyond a strong culture and a defined clear career path, one more thing you should include on your career site are the overall benefits and perks offered to all employees. Going beyond the standard 401K and healthcare offerings, do you have any social gatherings, training sessions, paid holidays, or other benefits?
At Hireology, we’re lucky enough to have on-site gym access, a discounted bike sharing program, and endless La Croix beverages in our Chicago office. While not critical to fulfilling our jobs, they show that there are other perks to working here in an effort to make us more comfortable at work. You may be already offering similar benefits at your company – is this coming across on your career website?
Taking Action:

It’s time to think of your career site well beyond a simple list of open positions. If you don’t have the means to develop this yourself, get more details on our career site products to help your organization.

If you’re not quite ready to rethink your current site, download our Career Site checklist to learn more about getting the best items featured on your own careers page.

2. Clear Job Descriptions

Once you set up a killer career site to attract applicants and get them excited to apply to your organization, the next thing in the well-oiled hiring process is to ensure your job descriptions are easy to read, easy to find, and accurately reflect the role you’re looking to fill. It is worth putting in the time and energy on the initial job description so all applicants are clear on the expectations you have for the role.
Here are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success with clear and concise job descriptions for any role:

1. Make it easy to read

It should go without saying, but the spelling and grammar in your job descriptions needs to be perfect. Just as you look for applicant resumes to be error-free, anyone applying to your positions may be turned off due to poor editing of the job description. Include a brief summary of the role in paragraph form while also describing how the role fits into your broader organization.
Below this, include a concise bulleted list of the responsibilities you’ll expect from the person who ultimately joins, as well as any needed accreditations, certifications, or educational experience. Avoid company-specific jargon and keep your list of bullets down to the most critical elements the hire will need to accomplish to be successful.

2. Make it easy to find

Search engines and organic job board feeds are incredible for getting applicants to your open positions. There are a few best practices you can do today to get your job post shown in search results when applicants look for a new job.
First, be sure you’re including the most accurate job title for the position you’re opening. Avoid the use of adjectives, locations, or other details – including
special characters – within the job title as this may flag you as spam by job boards, negatively impacting the applicant reach. Beyond this, be sure you’re only including one role in the job title. A listing like “Assistant/Secretary/Admin” might seem logical, but this may also be flagged as spam since it could be interpreted as being very vague. Finally, make sure you’re not using company- or industry-specific terms in the search: your next great employee might be searching for a career change in a completely unrelated segment of the job market. Let’s make it easy for them to find you.

3. Make it easy to apply

Following the above points will make it easy for candidates to find and review the job descriptions for your open positions. Don’t let a long, clunky application prevent them from actually applying.
Our research shows that having fewer than 20 questions on an online career site application has a submission rate of 8%. With 20 or more questions, this conversion drops to 5.6%: losing about a about a third of applicants to the excessive amount of questions. Keep your applications short and simple, asking only the details that pertain to their performance on the job. This balance of getting relevant details while keeping the application easy to complete will go a long way in keeping good applicants focused on completing the application.
Another thing to consider: Can you successfully complete the job application from a mobile phone? Our research shows that while a majority of applicants finish the application from a desktop computer, 1 in 4 are applying to jobs from a smartphone. Take out your phone and try to apply to one of your current openings. Is the experience easy to complete? The more you do to make the application process easy to complete – from any device – the more you’ll avoid applicant drop-off at a critical stage of the hiring process.
Taking Action:

Take a look at our guide to writing perfect job descriptions and ensure your current and future openings are getting the right traffic.

3. SmartRank Applicant Surveys

By now, you should be attracting applicants with varying levels of quality to pursue your open positions. With any luck, you will see dozens – or hundreds – of applicants flooding your inbox from candidates who have an interest in working with you. While this is great news, it can quickly become overwhelming to review hundreds of resumes if you’re looking to fill a position quickly without fear of missing a great candidate in the shuffle.
At Hireology, our customers utilize a SmartRank prescreen survey to automate the process of weeding out unqualified applicants. We do this by automatically emailing applicants a brief survey to ensure they are qualified to move along to the interview stage. The online survey is a series of 20 true/false questions related to the specific position. The survey can be completed within 5 minutes and is automatically scored for the hiring manager. This allows the hiring manager to begin speaking with top applicants first, who have been identified by the survey as the most qualified.
This tactic allows you to automatically prioritize your time, saving you hours by letting you focus on the top 10% of applicants, instead of reviewing each and every resume that comes across your desk. This will let you quickly move into the next aspect of the well-oiled hiring process: the interviews stage.
Taking Action:

SmartRank technology lets you instantly remove 90% of applicants who would be a poor fit for the job, saving you hours on reviewing resumes for people you’d never want to hire. Learn more about Hireology’s SmartRank survey.

4. Objective and Valuable Interviews

Interviews are the most commonly thought of component in the hiring process, and one of the most critical. It’s the opportunity to hear the candidate discuss their background, career ambitions, and why they’d like to work with you. But many companies struggle to interview effectively, relying instead on gut instincts or asking the wrong (or potentially illegal) interview questions that could land a poorly qualified hire, or worse, result in litigation due to discrimination.
While Hireology dedicates a considerable amount of time to help our customers hire great candidates, there are a few recommended best practices to follow to ensure interviews are an objective conversation and the best candidate is selected for the job:

1. Keep it objective

If you or one of your hiring managers is interviewing several candidates for one open position, the most critical component of the process is to ensure you’re running a consistent process. Candidates should be asked the same questions and rated on the same scale to take an objective look at all candidates. This means the person interviewing is well-prepared ahead of time with questions your team has agreed to ask in order to get the best sense of on-the-job performance.
For each interview question, you should also have clarity in what an “excellent,” “good,” “adequate,” and “poor” response is from the candidate. Do they come off as articulate with a concrete example of how they overcame an obstacle, or were they completely blindsided by the question and give a vague response? Asking questions and looking for respective answers in this format will provide a more objective look at performance, even for candidates who tend to “interview well.” Be sure your questions also touch on the full spectrum of responsibilities the job calls for so you can be sure you get a full sense of capabilities from each candidate.

2. Use different interview formats

Many organizations treat the interview process the same, whether they’re bringing in a cashier, sales associate, or district manager. Yet a single, traditional interview format may not make sense for many specialized positions.
For example, phone interviews are great to gauge a candidate’s ability to provide customer service or represent the business to outside vendors. However, positions such as an automotive service technician or parts specialist may never be in this position, so a poor call may knock someone out of the process who is otherwise well-qualified to join your team.
Other organizations may have several rounds of interviews where a hire can be made after 1-2 touch points with a candidate: especially for entry-level positions. Are there ways of customizing the questions you’re asking so you can consolidate the process to just one onsite interview instead of two or three? Remember, with so many of today’s candidates looking for new roles while they’re employed, it could be difficult for them to take multiple days to interview.
Focus on the critical abilities you need for the open position and plan your interview schedule around this. We’ve worked with hundreds of Hireology customers to do just this, resulting in efficient, objective interviews that help focus on top candidates who are more likely to succeed.
Taking Action:
The interview is one of the most important steps of the hiring process. Be sure you’re conducting them in a standardized way that asks the right questions to best assess the candidate’s on the job performance. Beyond this, be sure you’re not asking potentially illegal questions to avoid any legal problems with new hires.

5. Candidate Skills Tests

Many business owners and HR leaders are interviewing for positions that call for specific skills, certifications or specializations. While the candidate may speak to having related skills and experiences during the interview, how can you be sure they are as skilled as they claim? Is that registered nurse truly prepared for your home health business? How about that automotive technician you’re looking to bring on board at your dealership? Or the teacher looking to join your school?
We recommend using both hard and soft skills tests to ensure your candidates are truly gifted in their respective fields. As an organization, it’s critical to find these details out before the hire versus once they’ve already joined your company. While this process can take many forms, we’ve integrated skills tests directly into the Hireology hiring process.
For our customers, we recommend sending 1-3 skills tests or online assessments that each candidate takes to demonstrate their capabilities in virtually any professional field. Common tests include accounting, office, mathematics, certified nursing, auto parts and technicians testing, IT networking, and many more. Each assessment we utilize can be completed within 15 minutes, and tests are automatically scored with the results sent directly to the hiring manager.
Assessments help gauge the actual capabilities of each candidate without burdening hiring managers with the task of quizzing each person brought into the late-stage interview process. Thanks to the ease of use, we recommend skills tests for any specialized position.
Taking Action:

You shouldn’t have to wait for a new hire to join the team before you realize they cannot do a critical component of their job. Skills tests are a great, fast way to see who measures up to your open roles. Learn more about eliminating any chances from your hires with our recent eBook: 10 Reasons to Use Candidate Assessment Test

6. Reference Checks

If the candidate interviewed well and passed their skills tests with good results, it’s time to move to the verification phase of the hiring process. Here, we’ll verify their abilities with their peers, as well as their identity and background to avoid any potential conflicts or legal challenges.
Reference checks are the first phase of the verification phase. Surprisingly, many HR leaders who lack a well-oiled hiring process skip this step entirely. They may be too busy to ask the candidate for references, setup calls, and finally connect with the references – all while pulling together the offer letter and moving the hiring process along so the team can bring this person on board.
At Hireology, we solve all of these challenges by having the candidate do most of the work, and automate the rest – resulting in a reference check process that’s typically completed within 36 hours. Like other elements in the well-oiled hiring process, we use online tools to make the reference check process easy on everyone: the hiring manager, the candidate, and the references. Instead of a phone call, the reference provides feedback in the form of a brief online survey. We require at least one manager reference as well as two peer references. The results are compiled into a report that’s sent to the hiring manager for review.
This saves a dramatic amount of time in the reference process – so much so that many Hireology customers are able to run reference checks on every late-stage candidate. By shifting most of the responsibility onto the candidate and automating the process, we’re able to get comprehensive feedback in a way that requires virtually no work from the hiring manager.
Taking Action:

Reference checks give you a preview of the candidate’s potential on-the-job performance from some of their closest peers. Thanks to technology, this process has never been easier. Learn more about references in our recent eBook: How to run the perfect reference check

7. Background Checks

At the final phase of the hiring process, we’ll verify the candidate’s identity, ensuring their record is clear of any previous felonies or illegal activity. This is a critical step for so many businesses: a majority of open positions will have interaction with your customers, financial records, inventory, or your customer’s property, or family members. A background check provides a final way to validate that the candidate will not expose your organization to risky or illegal behavior that could open up your company to litigation.
Many companies fail to run background checks on candidates, only to discover they risk a wrongful termination lawsuit once the truth is revealed about a new hire’s past. Due to these reasons, Hireology recommends a background check is conducted for all candidates who will be extended an offer. Like reference checks, we’ve worked to integrate and automate much of this process for our customers.
Whether you’re using Hireology or running the check yourself, keep in mind to order the correct verification package for the position: while any employer will benefit from a simple QuickSearch verification, automotive dealerships or small businesses that require travel should also conduct a motor vehicle report to uncover evidence of major accidents or incidents that could put your organization at risk.
Background checks are critical, providing peace of mind for all hiring managers. Hireology’s integrated background checks simplify and automate most of this process, ensuring that you have the time and capability to run the right background check verification on any and all late-stage candidates.
Taking Action:
Background checks are one of the most cost effective ways to save your company from substantial liability. See how much just one of these bad hires can cost you and your organization in our recent infographic.

8. Onboarding Before Day One

Your well-oiled hiring process doesn’t end when an offer is accepted from your top candidate. Once they’re officially onboard with accepting the position, it’s time to take the steps to set them up for success before they step foot in your organization. This process includes having them complete personal forms, their direct deposit information, tax and I9 details as well as any relevant training.
Getting these details to the new hire before their start date ensures they can review the materials at their own pace and complete everything without the stress of rushing through paperwork during their first day in the office. Instead, they’ll be able to walk through the door on day one with all of these materials complete so they can learn more about the position, meet their team, and get setup for success faster.
Like our previous steps, Hireology integrates onboarding directly into the hiring process, and makes it simple to have the new hire fill out these details online. This saves time for the candidate as well as the hiring manager, letting everyone focus on the excitement of the new hire to join your team.
Taking Action:

No two onboarding processes are the same. Different companies – and different roles – all need their own path to get setup for success. But all onboarding share 5 things to prepare the new hire. Learn about them in our onboarding best practices playbook.

9. Integrated Payroll

We’ve finally reached the last step in the hiring process. It’s time to get payroll up and running for the new hire.
Today, payroll systems should make it simple to manage all aspects of your employee’s payroll needs: calculating hourly wages, time reporting, sick and leave tracking, and of course getting your team paid. Like other aspects of the well-oiled hiring process, your payroll system should integrate well with all other aspects of your human capital management. With an integration to your applicant tracking system, you won’t need to re-enter any of your new hire personal information – saving you time while also eliminating errors that could occur with manual data entry.

We’ve recently launched a partnership with Netchex to pass along new hire data to payroll for a seamless integration between our two systems. The result is a platform that blends applicant sourcing, tracking, interviews, verifications, onboarding and payroll in a single unified experience. By integrating all aspects of human capital, you’ll use powerful automation tools to save time and allow you to concentrate on running your business.

Taking Action:
Payroll is the final piece to unlock the full data stack from your human capital platform. See how we combine hiring, onboarding, and payroll data for a comprehensive look at your talent – in a simple platform that saves you time and reduces costs while building a great team.

How Well-Oiled Is Your Hiring Process?

We just walked through nine elements of a well-oiled hiring process. You likely have some of these steps already covered, but is there anything that you could be doing better to save yourself time and money, all while finding top quality candidates to fill your open jobs?
Hireology’s main mission is to do just this and we’d love to show you how our process can work for your business.

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