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By: Katie Chen on January 25th, 2023

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Recruitment Process Wins: Get Better Results From Your Hiring Strategy

Best Practices | Recruitment outsourcing

When discussing the recruitment process, we often focus on the employee experience. Is it easy to apply? How do you communicate with candidates? How good is the onboarding process?

But what about the manager experience? When one of your leaders identifies a hiring requirement, how easy is it to bring in a fresh face? Can they access a pipeline of superb talent, or do they have to wait months for the right candidate? And what happens when you need to perform a large-scale hiring initiative? 

The employee experience and manager experience are two sides of the same coin. A smooth recruitment process makes everyone happy, as managers get their dream candidates while candidates get their dream job. 

Building a recruitment process isn't easy. Maintaining that process is even more challenging, especially as your business grows and evolves. In this guide, we'll look at some of the more common problems that can emerge and offer hints on how to improve your recruitment process.

Table of contents:

  1. What is the ideal recruitment process?
  2. Example of a failing recruitment strategy
  3. What are the most common problems in a recruitment process?
  4. 5 quick wins to improve your recruitment process
  5. Reboot your hiring process with Helios HR

What is the ideal recruitment process?

No single recruitment process works for every organization. Instead, it's about finding the right strategy for your business needs. 

Some organizations have a decentralized recruiting process, which puts the recruiting responsibility on the different business units or middle management. Some choose to centralize their recruitment and have a team of recruiters focusing solely on recruitment for the entire organization. Some do a mix of both where hiring managers are still involved in recruiting, but a designated HR or recruiting expert engages at certain stages in the process.

Regardless of who is responsible, the goal is to create a recruitment process that is:

  • Easy: Leaders and stakeholders should be able to fill their teams without going through a complex process. 
  • Fast: Candidates don't want to get caught in a lengthy hiring process, while leaders want to see a low time-to-hire for each vacancy
  • Reliable: Turnover during the onboarding period should be minimal, and new hires should become productive within a reasonable timeframe
  • Inclusive: Your recruiting process is a core component of your DE&I strategy, which means that you should see diversity among new hires
  • Scalable: Your hiring needs may rise sharply during periods of growth, so it's essential to have a hiring strategy that can keep up with high demand

Even if your recruitment process is okay today, things might not work so well in the future. Let's look at a common scenario in which a recruitment strategy fails to support the organization's strategy. 

Example of a failing recruitment strategy

This is a fictional example, but it's indicative of the kind of problems that many organizations face.

Imagine a business going through a growth spurt. The company has already recruited lots of new people to help keep up with customer demand, and they want to hire even more.

However, Human Resources has remained the same size. The HR team faces a growing workload of tasks related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, talent management, training, labor laws, and compliance. This overstretched team has no time for recruitment work.

Hiring managers start complaining that HR is creating a bottleneck in the recruitment process. To alleviate this, hiring managers receive training on recruiting responsibilities such as scheduling interviews, conducting interviews, and making selections. HR only gets involved at the end, when it's time to send out offer letters.

This process works well—at first. Hiring managers feel empowered to streamline the recruitment process. They customize the application process and rethink the screening strategy. Junior staff members start helping with interviews. The recruitment process starts moving at an acceptable speed.

Here's the problem:

When HR professionals get involved at the end of the recruitment process, they discover grave errors. Hiring managers haven't properly documented each candidate's journey. Interviewers asked illegal questions and made decisions that could be perceived as biased. On Glassdoor and the company's LinkedIn, job candidates are complaining that they waited months for a post-interview follow-up—or didn't hear anything at all.  

The outcome: damage to the employer brand, poor recruitment process outcomes, and possibly complaints about discriminatory hiring practices.

The fault here lies not with any individual but with the recruitment process itself, which failed to adapt to changing circumstances. As a result, the company's growth slowed down, affecting its long-term viability.

Download Your Hiring Process Checklist

What are the most common problems in a recruitment process?

You might be wondering: how can I avoid recruitment disasters like those detailed above.

There isn't one specific answer. In fact, many businesses have started out with a well-honed recruitment process, only to find that it's inadequate when circumstances change.

Companies are constantly evolving. When your goals change, so do your staffing requirements, which means you may have to restructure teams and hire new people. Employee requirements also evolve. After the pandemic, for example, we saw The Great Resignation, during which employees quit their office jobs in favor of remote work positions.

So, there are lots of moving parts, which means many different problems can emerge. But there are four main warning signs to watch out for:

1. Recruiting is not a priority

Hiring managers can contribute to your recruitment plan, but there's one big problem: it's not their main job responsibility. Hiring managers are often under pressure because there is a vacancy on their team, which means that they have to help current employees manage an oversized workload.

Hiring managers can juggle these demands for a short period, but over the long term, it can lead to burnout (and burnout for the team members waiting for the new hire to arrive.) If you don't have someone who can prioritize recruiting, there are ways to lighten the load, such as:

  • Designated calendar blocks specifically for interviewing
  • Quick meetings after interviews to gather immediate feedback
  • Hiring team meetings to discuss strategies for shortlisting the best candidates

2. The recruitment process takes too long

Candidates get their first impression from your application and recruiting process. Timely responses are impactful to your organization's reputation and the candidate experience. According to data gathered by LinkedIn, "81% of candidates responded that employers who continuously communicate the status updates improve the candidate experience."

Timeliness is even more important when a candidate is considering offers from multiple employers. If you're concerned about the overall duration of your recruitment process, ask the following questions:

  • Who is making the initial review of applicants?
  • Does your ATS have an automated response to applicants?
  • How is the rejection letter crafted?
  • What is your timeline for a follow-up? Are you consistently and promptly following up with candidates after decisions are made?
  • Are the requisitions closed once a hiring decision is complete?

It's also a good idea to ask new hires about their candidate experience. You can do this as a survey or informal discussion while onboarding the new employee.

3. No one is auditing the recruitment process

Audits can reveal any errors or inappropriate actions during the hiring process—but by then, it's too late. Recruiting process mistakes have an opportunity cost (missed candidates), a reputational cost (negative online feedback), and a financial cost (increased cost-per-hire, plus possible fines for compliance breaches.)

Errors can creep in at any point in the process, from crafting job descriptions to making a formal job offer. HR professionals can help avoid these errors by playing an active role throughout hiring, even if it's only to provide checks and balances. Typical HR checks and balances might include:

  • Reviews of documentation like interview feedback and scoring for decision making
  • Training on selection process biases and how to avoid them
  • Guidance on equitable salary offers
  • Auditing of automated systems to avoid potential discrimination
  • DE&I reviews of the job interview process to ensure each interview is accessible and welcoming

Companies often have to make tough decisions about resource allocation, especially during times of growth. It might be tempting to let HR focus on day-to-day matters, but in the long run, it's better to keep HR engaged in all steps of recruitment.

4. Bulky processes

Every internal process—not just HR processes!—is subject to "process creep". This is when extra steps are added to a process, even though those additional steps don't add value. People follow the recruitment process steps without question, simply because that's how it's always been done.

A bulky recruitment process often has too many interviews, practical tests that don't reveal anything related to the new job, or repetition on the potential candidate's part (such as filling out multiple versions of the same application form). It's frustrating for candidates and hurts your overall time-to-hire.

That's why it's so important to conduct regular process reviews. Ask questions like:  

  • If candidates are required to take an assessment, what specific competencies are you measuring?
  • How many rounds of interviews are candidates going through?
  • Who are they meeting with at each interview, and are they meeting the same individuals in different rounds?  
  • What is the purpose of each meeting? Does each one ask unique and in-depth interview questions?
  • Can you use technology to speed up the process—for example, replacing some in person meetings with video interviews?
  • Who needs to sign off at each stage in the process? Will they be available when needed during the process?

The purpose of a recruitment process is to give you the right candidate as quickly as possible. Streamlining the process can be a balancing act: you need to ensure you're picking a qualified candidate while also moving towards a decision as quickly as possible. With the right recruitment process in place, you can balance both demands.

Download Your Hiring Process Checklist

5 quick wins to improve your recruitment process

Creating an efficient recruitment process takes time, focus and resources. If you don't have enough in-house expertise, it might be time to work with a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) specialist. RPO consultants can lighten the workload, while also helping you identify long-term process improvements.

You can also make some improvements right now, such as:

1. Improve communication with automation

Automated email replies are an effective way to help set candidate expectations, and you can easily set these up on your applicant tracking system (ATS). Whenever job seekers apply, your ATS can send a message such as:

"Thank you for your interest in [Company Name]! We appreciate the time you took to apply and look forward to reviewing your application.   

If your application is a great fit for a position here, a member of our team will reach out to you directly to find an opportunity to get to know you." 

2. Use templates

Templates are a great way to maintain consistency and provide a unifying voice for the company. Templates can come in the form of interview feedback forms, emails for scheduling phone screens/interviews, social media posts, background checks, offers, and rejections.

3. Clarify the chain of command

Everyone should know their role before the recruitment process starts. Make sure that there's a designated person responsible for:

  • Creating job descriptions
  • Scheduling and structuring interviews
  • Communicating with candidates
  • Authorizing hiring decisions
  • Making salary and Total Rewards offers

Clear roles with defined responsibilities will help deliver a more focused recruitment strategy.

4. Make interviews more consistent

If the candidates are required to undergo a series of interviews, consider electing a panel to conduct all interviews during a particular stage of the hiring process. This can speed up the overall interview process while ensuring a consistent candidate experience.  

5. Involve the whole team in interviews

Do you have any employees that can help conduct interviews? Employees can take some of the workload off hiring managers, plus they can offer a team member's perspective, which is especially helpful for highly technical roles. Remember—anyone involved in interviews must have adequate training and must understand their compliance and DE&I obligations.

Reboot your hiring process with Helios HR

A great recruitment strategy is key to long-term success. When you focus on hiring, you end up with lower time-to-fill, lower recruitment costs, more offer acceptances, better retention, and increased success with your employee referral program. Best of all, you’ll have access to the kind of top talent you need for your future success.

Most businesses look for expert help, especially when they’re going through a growth phase. If you need help with Recruitment Process Outsourcing or any other aspect of talent acquisition, book a call with a Helios HR consultant today. Let’s talk about how you can build your dream team!

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