4 steps companies can take to improve the hiring process

Organizations should review their current hiring process and update it to reflect changes in technology and the TA team, as well as goals for how the process should work.

A continuous improvement mindset is critical for businesses today. What worked in the past may no longer be relevant, or a competitor may have found more efficient and effective processes.

The hiring process is no different. New technologies, employee changes on the talent acquisition team and new methods of attracting candidates are all reasons to evaluate how to improve the hiring process.

Consider these four steps to revitalize and improve the hiring process.

1. Evaluating your current hiring process

You need to understand your current process before you can change it. Investigating how you do things today allows you to identify the steps you need to take to improve, as well as everything you want to keep and why.

Consider the following areas in your current process:

  • Process flow: Document, in detail, the processes and sub-processes people in your organization use when hiring external and internal candidates. Also, capture the systems and manual workarounds employees need at each step.
  • Technology: List all the technology the talent acquisition (TA) team uses so you have a clear understanding of what it uses and why, as well as the benefits and challenges the team faces. Sometimes, this can identify issues, such as "we've always done it this way."
  • TA team: The TA team in place today may be significantly different from the one that existed when you defined your existing process. The team may be bigger or smaller, may have new skill sets, or might have lost a key team member that had a unique skill set.
  • Training: What training is available for the TA team, hiring managers, candidates and employees? Insufficient training material can make easy-to-solve issues seem more complicated. Proper training can also reduce risk and improve the effectiveness of the hiring process.

With a clear picture of your current process, you can identify the issues that are preventing your company from having a world-class hiring process.

2. Determine your goals

This is the opportunity to define how you would like the hiring process to work, while also incorporating feedback from your stakeholders to ensure their needs are considered.

While evaluating your options, consider internal and external factors that may influence your decision. For example, implementing a state-of-the-art applicant tracking system may not be feasible in the near future for a startup company due to costs and a lack of resources to implement and maintain the system.

You can prioritize your list of goals using a ranking, such as short-term, medium-term and long-term goals, and the level of effort required to complete a task. This will help you to focus on the most important goals and to avoid investing in projects that are interesting but not high priority.

3. Implement change

Now that you have a clear understanding of your current challenges and goals, provide a roadmap of the changes you want to implement and an approximate timeline. This will communicate to stakeholders that you considered all their recommendations.

However, you may not be able to implement improvements that require a significant investment of time and money or that depend heavily on employees from other teams right away. Start with small changes that have an immediate impact to build momentum. This is often referred to as catching the low-hanging fruit.

Changes can take many forms and require various levels of effort.

  • Developing new training material: The results of your evaluation may show that the training material your stakeholders have is incorrect or not detailed enough to ensure they execute your process correctly. You may also want to consider various options to train those involved in the process, such as in-person and online sessions, interactive courses, and updated documentation. Also, if you implement significant changes, at a minimum, you should plan to review your existing training material.
  • Streamlining the hiring process: You may have steps in the process that are no longer required because of technology or policy changes within your organization. Removing steps in the process may not solve all the issues, but it will reduce the amount of time required to fill each position.
  • Evaluating your TA team: This may involve growing or shrinking the TA team, creating a new role or investing in external training to support the development of new skills on the TA team.
  • Setting up new partnerships: It may be advantageous for the TA team to form partnerships with internal teams, such as IT, project management, or learning and development, to supplement the skill sets needed to achieve their goals. This may also extend to external teams, such as placement agencies or outsourcing companies, that can assist with part or all of your recruiting needs.
  • Implementing new software: There is a large selection of applications serving the TA market, from simple tools to automate routine tasks to advanced AI systems. AI is the future of recruiting. Its impact is being felt in areas such as review automation, resume ranking, the use of chatbots to engage with potential candidates, and video interviewing tools that evaluate candidates using biometrics and psychometrics. If you are not currently ready for AI, you can deploy it over time and integrate it with your exiting applicant tracking system and human resource management system.

4. Evaluate the changes you have implemented

After making changes to your overall process, schedule time to evaluate the results and determine if you met your goals. Some changes may miss the mark, and this step will provide an opportunity to re-evaluate and make additional changes as needed.

There are many steps organizations can take to improve the hiring process; however, you should take a methodical approach to the process. Keep in mind that this is not something that you do once and leave alone -- it requires attention and adjustment over time.

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