10 Best Practices for Streamlining Your Hiring Process
Updated September 30, 2022
The employee hiring process can be a challenge to navigate. From the application process to interview procedures, finding the right candidate for a role within your organization can be a complex and time-consuming undertaking. If you're a human resources professional or hiring manager seeking to streamline your hiring processes, you might consider implementing a few recognized best practices during your next application period. In this article, we explain what best practices are, why they're important and 10 unique best practices to help you attract top talent and hire a candidate who can add value to your organization.
Related: What Does a Hiring Manager Do?
What is a best practice?
Best practices are methods, techniques or structures that have become broadly accepted within certain industries or domains as better than other alternatives. Best practices are often recognized as such because they produce high-quality results and help organizations reach their goals efficiently. Therefore, best practices become the standardized methods for doing certain tasks or reaching certain desirable results within certain industries or organizations. Best practices are used commonly in fields like project management, human resources, healthcare, construction, software development, education and more.
Depending on the circumstance, best practices may be established through a general consensus or an authority, such as a professional association or governing body. Oftentimes, best practices help create industry guidelines that can be followed through reaching specific benchmarks to maintain quality work. Over time, best practices within certain industries or organizations may change due to new processes or freshly uncovered knowledge—they often evolve from heightened awareness, new technological innovations or differing perspectives.
Why are best practices important?
Best practices can help establish an industry or organizational standard for high-quality work. They create an expected threshold for individuals to succeed in carrying out complex processes. Therefore, best practices help support team members and industry players while maintaining a baseline for competency, skill, reliability and efficiency. Regardless of the industry, organization or type of practice, best practices essentially streamline work processes. Here are a few benefits your organization or industry might enjoy from implementing best practices:
Identifying and filling in gaps of knowledge
Streamlining processes for efficiency
Developing better decision-making skills
Fostering problem-solving skills
Providing employees with guidance and resources
Reducing loss of knowledge over time
Increasing budget and time efficiency
Creating a growth-oriented culture
10 best practices for the hiring process
An efficient hiring process can help you find a high-quality candidate who fits the needs of your organization. In addition, it can help save your organization valuable time and money in the long run—streamlined hiring processes can create a direct pipeline for your organization to foster success, higher employee satisfaction levels and less employee turnover. In order to make your hiring procedures more efficient, you should consider implementing best practices designed for human resources professionals and organizational leaders looking to hack the process:
Understand your organization's needs
When designing your hiring process for success, you'll want to ensure that you accurately understand your organization's needs. You should examine your organization's mission, core values, established goals and what the future of your organization might look like. During this examination process, it can be helpful to speak with current team members who have helped foster your organization's culture over time.
Taking such information into account can help you design a hiring process that attracts quality candidates and supports helping your organization grow in the right direction. In addition, understanding your organization's vision, mission and values during the hiring process can help attract candidates whose personal values align with yours.
Standardize your hiring process
Any hiring process that you design should be standardized for all candidates—each candidate you consider should be considered and evaluated through the same processes. This can help you compare candidates with precision while eliminating the potential for bias and subjectivity in your hiring processes, especially in situations where multiple hiring managers are involved in the process.
In a way, standardizing the hiring process can help you encourage the use of other best practices that may influence your ability to find a suitable candidate. Even further, standardizing your process can help give candidates a solid impression of your organization as a consistent entity.
Create realistic job descriptions
When writing a job description for a current vacancy at your organization, you'll want to ensure that your expectations for candidates are realistic. Candidates are generally more likely to apply to positions that have realistic requirements which can be justified by the salary offered—comparatively, if a job's requirements are overwhelming, even qualified candidates may be reluctant to apply. Therefore, it's a good measure to keep your expectations and requirements practical. This is especially the case in hiring processes that utilize resume screening software, as the more requirements there are for candidates to meet, the smaller your pool of candidates becomes.
Look for internal candidates
When there's an opening at your organization, it can be a good idea to search for internal candidates who may be qualified for the position. While it's not always the case that you'll find someone uniquely qualified for a particular role within the existing roster of employees at your organization, it's a possibility. Further, current staff may be more willing than external candidates to commit themselves to complex training procedures in order to advance their career progression. Seeking both internal and external candidates means you'll be able to consider both groups equally and remain invested in your current staff's trajectory.
Related: 7 Steps for Making a Hiring Decision
Ask for referrals for candidates
Hiring managers and human resources professionals alike often forget that their current staff can be a powerful resource in the hiring process. A good way to source high quality and trustworthy candidates is to ask employees to submit referrals. Many of your existing employees may know talented and competent individuals looking for a shift or upgrade in their career, and you can use this knowledge to your organization's advantage. It's common to offer incentives, like bonuses, paid time off or professional development opportunities to encourage employees to take part in referral programs.
Scale the process to your company's changing needs
As your organization grows and changes, your hiring processes and priorities need to follow suit. When designing hiring processes, it can be helpful to scale your process to address the changing needs of your organization effectively. Not only should your hiring process fit the size and projected growth of your organization, but it should be designed to attract the types of candidates you're searching for.
Whether you're looking for candidates with generalized knowledge or specific skill sets, you should adopt the hiring process to identify such individuals properly. For example, if you're searching for a candidate that has strong collaboration skills, you might consider designing a method for evaluating their ability to work within a team-oriented environment.
Seek candidates with drive, energy and potential
Ordinarily, organizations seek to hire candidates with the requisite skills and experiences to perform a job successfully. This is important, of course, but during hiring processes you should also consider candidates with less experience who the possess drive, energy and potential to reach similar levels of success through growth processes.
Most candidates, even less qualified ones, can be trained and taught the skills they need to excel in a role. Therefore, a candidate with a positive attitude, unique vision, focused drive and high potential can make a valuable employee over time. They might be better prepared to meet your organization's fluctuating needs. You should look at candidates holistically and attempt to understand how they might succeed with some development and investment from your organization.
Prioritize candidates who do their research
Prioritizing candidates who understand your organization's brand and mission from the start can be highly beneficial during the hiring process. You should recognize any candidate willing to put in the effort to learn more about your organization during the application process for their efforts. When a candidate does their research prior to coming to an interview, it can signify that they're motivated, growth-oriented individuals who are prepared for the role and invested in your organization's growth. Even further, candidates who do their research and cultivate a deeper understanding of your goals can often successfully integrate themselves into organizational culture.
Do your research on a candidate
During the hiring process, it can often be challenging to understand a candidate's priorities and personality through simply performing interviews. Therefore, it can be a good idea to do your own research on a candidate by examining their internet presence and social media footprint. Most candidates on the market understand that what they post online can add to their overall reputation during the hiring process.
By doing such research, you can find information about a candidate's interpersonal nature, creativity, intelligence, social responsibility and more. It's important to note, though, that while doing research on a candidate can be helpful, you should aim to be fair in your evaluations and avoid scrutinizing all the non-targeted or superficial content a candidate publishes on their personal social media profiles.
Remember that candidates are evaluating your organization, too
When designing a streamlined hiring process, you must keep in mind that, while you evaluate candidates for their ability to succeed at your organization, they're evaluating your organization, too. Therefore, you should aim to make the process as "human" as possible and treat all candidates with the respect they deserve. Candidates should feel that you value them and their effort during the hiring process, as this interaction can be an indicator of how you will treat them if they're hired. Here are a few tips for being considerate of candidate needs during the hiring process:
Publish well-written job descriptions with practical expectations and explicit salary figures.
Keep candidates updated and informed on your timeline.
Notify candidates when you receive their application.
Be clear when you communicate the steps of the hiring process.
Compensate candidates for competency tests you ask them to perform.
Allow candidates to ask questions or conduct informational interviews with current employees.
Maintain transparency during conversations with candidates.
Notify candidates if you have identified a primary candidate or are no longer considering their application.
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