By Tim Austin
Hiring the right person isn’t an easy task. It’s even harder to do so in a timely fashion. When your business is ready to hire, it benefits you to do so quickly. Not only do long hiring processes cost you time and money, they also delay you from filling a needed role on your team (and that’s not including your onboarding process).
Every hour spent during the hiring process is an hour taken away from other essential business tasks. However, it’s also vital to recognize that rushing a hire can lead to other costly issues. Settling for a bad fit—or worse, dealing with negligent hiring—will only set your business back even further. Hiring means you need to perform an important balancing act—speed up the hiring process while finding the right candidate.
While tricky, it’s not impossible to speed up the hiring process without rushing. Here are ways you can streamline your hiring process to get the candidates you need quicker than before.
Templatize Your Job Descriptions
Every job description you write from scratch is extra time and effort you can avoid. Using a consistent format for new postings will not only help you draft descriptions quicker than before, but it can also make them easier to scan for potential applicants.
In terms of what format you should use, it can depend on exactly what type of position you need for your business. If you had a past job description that worked out well, you can use that as a base and modify it as necessary. If not, the following format is a good start:
• Job summary (what it is and why it’s appealing)
• Qualifications for the ideal candidate (both mandatory and ones that would be beneficial)
• Company benefits
• Clear call to action for how to apply and next steps
From there, you can add in different sections based on what’s important to you and your business. Is company culture a huge part of your hiring process? Include a section about it in the format. You can also fill in specific parts of each description ahead of time, such as specific benefits that would apply to every potential employee. Adding these details to a base template now will only save you time on every description in the future.
Write Clear Job Descriptions
While a template will help, it’s important to make sure that your descriptions are specific enough to weed out certain applicants. One way to sidetrack your hiring process is to accidentally attract the wrong types of candidates. It’s important to be very clear about exactly what you want in a potential new employee to clear up any confusion from people who either aren’t right for the job or simply don’t have the qualifications. That means thinking very carefully about the following factors:
• Which objectives the position should achieve
• The core skills required to meet these objectives
• Description of a typical day in the position, including regular duties, occasional tasks, etc.
By spending a little extra time going into detail about necessary skills and objectives, you can signal to unqualified applicants that the job isn’t right for them. This in turn will save you from going through these applications (and potentially interviewing extra unqualified candidates).
Be More Selective About the Candidates You Bring in for an Interview
While a good description can cut out some less satisfactory applicants, you’ll still likely receive some resumes that don’t quite meet your standards. However, some people are tempted to still interview some of these applicants to try and reach a nice, round number of candidates.
The problem with this approach is that it’s more important to interview the right candidates instead of trying to hit a quota. If you’re only impressed by two or three candidates, focus on just them instead of hoping that a fringe applicant might exceed expectations. This also applies to people during the first-round interviews as well. If someone isn’t impressive, it’s best not to give them more of your time just because you had hoped for a certain number of finalists. In the end, being discerning will save you hours of wasted time, especially if you have a more rigorous hiring process.
Cut Out Unnecessary Steps
Speaking of a rigorous hiring process, try and see if you truly need every step to find the right candidate. The hiring process is different for every company, so you may be able to eliminate some measures that aren’t as important for you.
A good example of this is the traditional request for references. If you don’t find that much value in talking to a candidate’s references, don’t include it in your process. You could also wait to ask for references for a few key candidates after you’ve interviewed them. This will cut down on the amount of calls you need to make or having to wait for these contacts to respond to your message—and that’s if you decide you need to talk to them at all. Try and identify which steps are really important for your search. If you find some are just there for show, get rid of them and use that time for something else.
Have a Prepared List of Interview Questions
Like your job description, it’s good to have a base list of interview questions made ahead of time. This list will make sure you’re asking the right questions every time to quickly see if a candidate is right for your position. It can also help you from going into an interview and asking all your questions off the cuff—nobody wants to accidentally bring up a taboo interview topic that can lead to problems.
In terms of which questions to include, you will want to focus on inquiries that will identify certain skills and behaviors. Monster.com suggests breaking down questions into a few different groups:
• Icebreakers to build rapport and help candidates relax;
• Traditional questions to gather general information about a candidate’s skills and experience;
• Situational questions to understand what a candidate would do in specific, relevant situations;
• Behavioral questions to learn about how a candidate handled a past experience;
• Culture fit questions to gauge whether a candidate would thrive in your workplace environment.
Consider Group Interviews
Sometimes, you have openings with several qualified candidates, but it’s hard to devote enough time to give every person a one-on-one interview. Instead of cutting a few promising people because of a time crunch, consider having multiple people participate in one interview at a time.
Not only will this create massive time savings, but it also has some interesting advantages. For one, multiple candidates mean that you will get different perspectives (and the opportunity to see how other candidates react to those perspectives). In addition, group interviews can help interviewers from getting too comfortable with a candidate. While it’s good to feel relaxed with a candidate, that newfound comfort level can prevent some people from asking some of the tougher questions that will help you gather information.
A Better, More Efficient Hiring Process
When it comes to hiring, you don’t need to choose between hiring quickly or finding the perfect person. By tweaking your approach, you can achieve both goals for your business.
Tim Austin is vice president of sales for GMS, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and a benefits administrator. Founded in 1996, GMS has helped thousands of companies take control of their HR functions. Contact GMS today to learn how to save time and money by managing your employee recruitment and onboarding processes.
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