Your employees are the foundation to the success of your business. They are front and center of your operation, and they impact the overall quality of your team’s performance.
That is why it is necessary to find the right people for the job and what better way to achieve this than using a systematic recruitment and selection process that doesn’t just simplify everything for a busy HR professional but also makes it unforgettable and personal to the potential hires of your company.
In this article, I’m sharing the best tips to design a selection process that can help you find your organization’s perfect fit while eliminating the guessing game in the hiring process or hiring due to bias.
The selection process, what is it? It’s the systematic method of shortlisting the right candidates who possess the skill set, experience, and qualifications that suit the job vacancy’s description.
It’s not the same for all companies, but it depends on the specific industry or department of the same hiring company.
Suppose one of your employees left for another company and you needed to replace him/her. This begins with a job opening, a specific position or vacancy that you need to fill. It also contains a well-defined function profile and includes certain criteria/requirements, such as educational background and professional experience, and if stated, the number of years that an applicant must be working in that certain position to qualify.
The job posting, nevertheless, outlines the need for the position, including the type of person that can fit into your company’s culture and pertinent skills, both the required and the nice-to-have ones.
When ready and published, hopefully, your job posting attracts a lot of applicants. But as said, the hiring process doesn’t begin and end in screening CVs and interviewing candidates to later hire ‘the right fit.’
This is where your selection process comes in, and it’s typically composed of seven hiring process steps, which I’m outlining in the following.
- Applicant screening and pre-selection
- Reference checking and background investigation
- Hire decision
- Job offer and contract
So, you’ve posted your job advert and included the most important factors – salaries, benefits, location, and commute time (The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor, 2018), and now you’re waiting for applications; however, certain factors will affect the number of applications you’ll get.
This includes factors beyond your control, such as ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, which may result in getting a lower number of candidates compared to the pre-pandemic situation.
This is particularly true for jobs that require on-site work. For example, if you’re an HR in the medical industry and you need to recruit new nurses, you might find this role more challenging than if you were in the IT industry and you need to hire developers who can work remotely.
In addition to industry, the size of your organization, the type of job, the recruitment strategy, and your brand also affect the number of applications you’ll receive.
For example, out of the 10,000 applications at the Apple Store, only 200 applicants are hired, and that’s only about 2% acceptance rate, much lower than Harvard University’s acceptance rate at 5%.
However, rewards and perks, growth opportunities, and other internal factors will also have their impact.
The factors affecting the quality of applicants you’re getting also depend on your job post – how well it’s written (should be as accurate, descriptive, and informative as possible).
The job advert should also be unbiased and inclusive if you want to attract top talents and diverse candidates. As a general rule, you must beware of gender bias, remove any racial bias, and avoid any gender-coded language. Your job advert must also be inclusive for all types of workers, including disabled and older workers.
Test your application process to find out which areas your applicants might be struggling – may be filling out a very long form or answering a lot of questions on your website’s career page? Do this to determine areas to improve in the process to provide applicants with an easier and smoother application experience.
Where you post your job advert
It’s not enough that you post the vacancy on your website, but you need to ensure that it’s optimized for mobile so that applicants can create their profile easily. In addition to your website, applicants can find the job advert in other channels, such as the following:
- Social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn
- Recruitment websites and agencies that let applicants create a profile and apply for a job
- Company website, especially if you’re an HR professional working for a large company, such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Coca-Cola.
- Online job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, Google for Jobs, ZipRecruiter, Monster, and CareerBuilder
- Word of mouth, as job seekers would ask for a job opening recommendations and advice from their family, friends, and relatives
- Recruitment events in international, national, or local colleges (This can promote diversity.)
- Recruitment apps and tools can help your company find the right applicants. Oftentimes, they use AI to simplify the recruitment process and employee selection.
HireNest, for instance, can allow you to create custom assessments based on what you’re looking for in ideal candidates and lets you connect with candidates easily. It also uses reports for insights into the best candidates.
Diversity and inclusivity matters and are essential for companies to succeed and even outperform competitors.
For example, diversified teams perform better when it comes to anticipating the changing consumers’ buying behavior and needs, and this results in a faster innovation that organizations need to gain a competitive advantage.
Applicant screening and pre-selection
Once you’re done with the application process, which you might expect to be a large number of candidates, your next job is to screen all the candidates.
This step aims to reduce the number of applicants from a large to a small group between three to 10 applicants to call for an interview. To go about the initial screening, keep reading.
- Screen the CV/resume: This will help you gauge the suitability of the applicant based on the job description you included in the job advert. So, if you require that the ideal candidate have two years of related industry experience, you can easily disqualify an applicant that has recently graduated from college.
If you’re working for a large company, however, reviewing every CV can be time-consuming and tedious, in which case you might want to use AI tools.
They’re more cost-effective and efficient than manually scanning resumes. Commonly used tools include resume screeners built with artificial intelligence that can predict a hire’s quality.
- Use a chatbot or phone screening: Once the CV screening is done, you can proceed with a phone/video screening process that involves asking questions to the potential hire, and some of these can include starting date, pay expectation, and some deal-breakers.
If you were short of time and want to use a template of questions, use a chatbot instead.
Depending on the chatbot you’re using, one can guide or assist your potential candidates while giving them a smoother application experience. It also matches talents fast and saves a lot of time.
The giant cosmetic company L’Oréal uses a hiring chatbot, allowing it to receive more than two million applications annually. It deployed its AI chatbots to help 145 recruiters process this bulk of applications and improve candidate experience.
Pre-selection is an important step in the recruitment process because it lets HR professionals filter out candidates that don’t match the job requirement or profile.
Pre-selection tools are gaining an increasing role in the recruitment process, helping predict the new hire’s quality through different screening tests as well as a job simulation that provides applicants with a realistic job preview – including its more interesting, enjoyable, and challenging aspects that they need to know.
Using AI technology, these tools help recruiters find the best matching candidates for the job, especially those who are a great fit for the organizational culture.
Pre-selection tools are valuable particularly for roles that receive a huge number of applicants. They help weed out candidates that aren’t a match for the role.
One of the most important steps in the hiring process, a job interview is also one of the most visible aspects of recruitment.
It involves a conversation, either formal or casual, between an employer and an applicant.
During this step, you’ll have the opportunity to appraise the qualification of an applicant further, including their verbal and social skills, general fitness, and grooming.
The applicant, on the other hand, learns more about your company and the job itself and assesses if it can meet their expectations and needs.
Reaching this stage means that the employer is interested to know further about the applicant, who has submitted his CV/resume for the job, and now it’s time for the very important interview that takes place after an applicant is invited back for it.
Other companies, on the other hand, hold an initial interview over the phone to save resources and time. In this pandemic, a preliminary screening interview is also common.
For small businesses, interviews are held only once, typically by the employer himself/herself.
For larger businesses, there could be at least one interview, the first one being by an HR representative, and then one or two more if the organization implements a series of interviews. For example, an applicant may also be interviewed by a panel composed of supervisors and other decision-makers who together make the hiring decision.
An interview can be in-person or virtually. During the first stage, it can be a remote interview, and then a final interview (in-person) is the last stage of the interview stage. Especially in the pandemic, remote interviews are held, as again, it saves both parties time and resources. This trend is to continue beyond COVID-19.
An interview, which is an in-depth conversation to figure out a candidate’s suitability, can be structured or unstructured.
The structured interview has a fixed format, meaning the questions are prepared beforehand. It is also called a planned or patterned interview.
The other type is an unstructured interview, which is the opposite of the first one. While the interviewer may have some prepared questions, this interview, which in research is classified as a qualitative type of research method, has an informed or unplanned approach wherein the interviewer and interviewee have a friendly conversation. The interviewer asks unplanned questions or skips prepared questions.
An interview can also involve a panel of peers, with the primary objective of gaining insights into the personality of the candidate, including one’s sociability and behavioral skills.
Structured interviews, however, are far more reliable than unstructured ones because it allows interviewers to compare the candidates objectively and make data-based decisions.
How to evaluate interviews
Besides standardized questions, HR professionals use the STAR Method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) in interviews. STAR is a valid strategy in formulating competency-focused questions. Typically, this starts with lines like Describe a time when….” or “Share a situation where….” It allows recruiters to gain deeper into the capabilities and skills of a candidate, and this is through sharing real-life examples or proof.
- Situation: A question probing about a candidate’s situation in which one was involved and that had an excellent outcome.
- Task: Ask a candidate to describe a task that is involved in the situation.
- Action: Allow the candidate to share the specific actions done in the particular situation to accomplish the task.
- Result: What was the result achieved after the action?
This method tests a candidate’s experience in job-relevant situations, which can help you assess an applicant’s experience in given situations. It can also allow you to test for primary competencies and compare the applicants by gauging their experience level.
We’ve reached the 4th step in our recruitment process.
At this point, a full assessment will be done. It may include the Five-Factor Model of Personality test and an IQ test or the general mental ability test.
A higher IQ candidate is likelier to perform better than a lower IQ one.
Personality-wise, the five big traits are emotional stability, agreeableness, and openness to experience, extraversion, and conscientiousness.
Conscientiousness, which relates to a person’s dutifulness, is one of the most important traits that employers are looking for when hiring a candidate. It relates to one’s desire to perform and be thorough in the job. Conscientious people persevere when faced with challenges and are less likely to be late. They also work more efficiently, possess an excellent work ethic, and are highly organized.
Other final assessment methods are sample tests, job knowledge tests, and integrity tests.
Job simulations, which ask candidates to perform job-related tasks, are one of the most effective assessment methods because they allow you to compare different candidates with the quality of their work.
Job simulation samples
- Identify problems, if any, in an expense report
- Organize and schedule a meeting
Customer Service Representative
- Ask for and verify customer information.
- Analyze customer complaint emails.
- Determine a customer’s eligibility for a promotion
- Write a memo on how a legislation change might impact low-income families and the support they receive from the state.
- Present a topic of choice to a panel.
Work sample tests allow you to see the competency of candidates in performing work activities or tasks they would face daily. If you’ll be providing training in performing the tasks or work activities, this final assessment method may not be suitable. The same goes if you’re hiring for a mid-career role. One’s CV or resume may be enough in gaining an insight into the candidate’s competency.
Reference checking and background investigation
Reference checking aims to evaluate and verify the previous job performance of an applicant based on the data gathered from one’s subordinates, supervisors, and peers that have worked with him. It is also to verify the information provided in the CV/resume and interviews and helps in predicting an applicant’s success through comparing one’s competencies and experiences as the job requires.
In some cases, an applicant might have also altered or enhanced their work history and training. A reference check also proves its value in uncovering any vital information that an applicant may not have revealed in his resume and other procedures of the application.
A reference check can verify the accuracy of the information given by the applicant. This also helps cut down selection errors and forecasts an applicant’s performance. It’s been shown to be a valuable performance predictor as measured by supervisory ratings and a predictor of promotion potential. You may structure reference checks by basing the questions on a job analysis.
A reference check may include verification of job titles and employment dates, but an in-depth one may include calling listed references to probe into a candidate’s qualifications and skills.
On the other hand, a background check or investigation helps you determine if an applicant may be disqualified due to a motor vehicle violation or a record of a criminal conviction. It may also be due to misrepresentation of information about work history and education. In many cases, a background check is a part of the pre-selection process and a prerequisite in the application.
For example, a role that involves a high responsibility for the lives of others, including nursing or teaching positions, is a good example to conduct a criminal record check on unqualified applicants that abused their care duty over the weak or vulnerable people.
We’re down to one of the final steps in the recruitment process – the big decision. This is where you need to select the right candidate (after all the assessments have been done). Use a data-driven method in making the decision, and as much as possible, seek input from other supervisors, managers, and key personnel.
Nevertheless, you’ve reached this step because you’ve taken all the others we’ve discussed earlier. Now, you’re in a good position to make the hire while also eliminating any risk to make a bad one. At this point, you might be with your list of the finalists – and you’re ready to pick the best one or two to hire as well.
To help you with this, review the notes and scorecards assigned to each candidate.
- Look holistically at every ideal candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and remember every attribute and skill’s gravity.
- Write down the things that you liked and disliked about every finalist. Beware of your biases, though. Know why you prefer one over the other.
- Avoid self-doubt. While there are certain points when you might be second-guessing, eliminate them. Remember, you’ve gotten this far in the selection process because you’ve followed a thorough step-by-step guide. You’re hiring based on objectiveness and data. Don’t doubt yourself for choosing one candidate over the rest.
Job offer and contract
Making the decision isn’t the end of the hiring process. It still needs another step – the offer acceptance. If the candidate accepts the offer, you’ll get the contract ready, and both parties need to sign it.
The selection process, nevertheless, will only be complete once the contract is signed by the employer and the new hire.
To check on the effectiveness of your recruitment funnel, I’ve prepared some important recruitment metrics that you need to know.
Today, sourcing is made easier, although doesn’t mean more effective. There are many sourcing options available at your disposal – social media, employee referrals, and job boards, to name some.
While there can be plenty, being able to measure their effectiveness, which also means saving resources and time is more important. Which among the recruitment channels attract or send you the most ideal candidates?
If the metrics imply that channel A gives you most of the performing and long-term employees, while employees from channel B leave the company early, you might want to tweak your strategy accordingly for the best results and most effective sources to use.
90-day or 1st-year attrition
Attrition within the first year indicates a bad hire. It naturally occurs when an employee leaves a company for professional motivation, personal reasons, or a job mismatch. You must treat every case as an HR incident to avoid wasting resources, time, and money.
Drop off rates of applicants
This refers to the number of applicants that have applied but do not complete the application. A 50% drop-off rate means 50% of the applicants started their application but didn’t complete the entire process.
This is a good opportunity to look at your recruitment process to determine at which point they are dropping off. The insights you’ll gain from analyzing the data collected will help you start tweaking and improving your strategy as well.
Time to hire (TTH)
Another key metric used in recruitment, TTH is the amount of time between when a candidate is contacted by the company initially and when one accepts a job offer. This metric can help you determine how much time it takes to fill a position, with the period that covers from the moment you need a new employee to the time of one’s first day at work. It also predicts the recruitment process’ efficiency and lets you optimize it effectively.
Quality of Hire (QoH)
This metric has a long-term business impact, including your employees’ performance that is directly affecting your organization’s success. It can also help improve your staff’s quality and increase retention rates.
Effectiveness of the selection process
It’s important to know the effectiveness of the recruitment and hiring process for select staffing jobs. For example, narrowing down the number of applicants to interview can save you time and energy, or else, you might have to interview a lot of candidates, some are a mismatch for the job criteria.
You can consider the yield ratio to analyze the selection process’ effectiveness. It indicates the percentage of the applicants who move and proceed from one step of the recruitment to the next.
A quick look at the hiring process
Bringing in new employees to your team can also bring in a new kind of energy. However, it can also bring turmoil to your organization if you’re not going to use a systematic approach in the recruitment process.
Especially that the recruitment landscape is changing in the middle of this current global situation, you need to keep up and use a data-driven approach in finding the right people to join your team and make your organization more competitive now and beyond.