Video Interviewing Helps Recruiters Hire Remotely While Social Distancing

Video Interviewing Helps Recruiters Hire Remotely While Social Distancing

Updated March 26, 2020

Video interviewing is helping essential businesses interview candidates during the coronavirus pandemic.

Recruiters and Job Applicants are Working Remotely

  1. Recruiters can interview candidates while working from home
  2. Applicants can talk to hiring managers while self-isolating
  3. Hiring teams can record video interviews for remote collaboration

Face-to-face interviewing is very difficult if not impossible right now. The days of in-person interaction are on hold. Video interviewing platforms are critical right now.

Video interviewing platforms create a streamlined, consistent and convenient interview process—a process that makes life easier for both applicants and hiring managers. When hiring processes have been turned upside down, anything that makes life easier for recruiters is worth its weight in gold.

So how does it work?

Hiring managers looking to invest in video interviewing platforms have two options: one-way recorded interviewing or two-way live interviewing.

One-Way Video Interviewing

Employers using the one-way video interviewing process send a list of questions and topics to the applicants ahead of the scheduled interview date. Applicants have the opportunity to read over the questions and come up with answers on their own time (like after dinner, over the weekend, or really whenever they want). Then they send back a video of themselves answering the questions. It’s simple and efficient.

  • Create text or video based questions
  • Limit think time
  • Control the number of allotted takes
  • Restrict max answer length

One-way video technology places responsibility in the hands of the applicants by giving them time to formulate answers and requiring them to submit their response on their own time. While they don’t have to make the drive to an office, they do have to set up a video recording of themselves.

Two-Way Video Interviewing

The two-way live video interview process is similar to traditional face-to-face interviews. Hiring managers who want to use this process need to contact the applicant and schedule a time that works for both parties. Applicants scheduled for a two-way video interview prepare as they would for a traditional interview process—by compiling a resume, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses and coming up with answers for possible questions.

  • Record full-length interviews
  • Brand your interviews
  • Conduct interviews directly in your web browser
  • Receive concierge support

What are the benefits of video interviewing?

There are plenty of reasons to invest in video interviewing platforms. Some of the benefits hiring managers gain from switching to video interviewing are:

  • It’s cost effective
  • It’s easier to schedule and can take place after work hours
  • Allows for consistent interview questions
  • Easy to track performance and compare applicants
  • Reveals how candidates handle technology
  • Helps hiring mangers find employees they wouldn’t have found otherwise

The right video interviewing technology saves time, energy and money. It allows hiring managers with packed schedules to find the right time for an interview—even if it’s after work hours—and gives applicants the convenience of interviewing from their own home (or wherever they feel most comfortable).

The option to choose a convenient location is one of the most valuable benefits. Video interviewing gives candidates who aren’t entirely committed to pursuing an open position the opportunity to interview—without having to worry about the inconvenience of transportation. And sometimes the best fit for an open position is the talented candidate who isn’t sure what they want or isn’t sure if they have the time to drive across town for an interview.

Tips for successful video interviewing

There are, of course, a few important things to remember when using video interviewing technology. Unreliable internet connection, difficulty performing in front of a camera, finding a quiet place for the interview—these are some potential difficulties for video interviews. But these problems are easy to avoid and hiring managers should give applicants a brief explanation of how the process works beforehand.

Hiring managers also have the choice to use video interviewing for some positions and not others. They may want to reserve video technology for applicants from out of town or those applying for remote positions. The flexibility of video interviewing gives hiring managers and applicants the opportunity to communicate and determine which option works best.

There’s no reason for employers to miss out on streamlining their interview process and securing the best talent. Companies that implement video interviewing technology may have an edge over companies relying on in-person meetings.

Getting the most out of video technology

Video interviewing technology alone is helpful. But when paired with an applicant tracking software, it’s transformative—it’s the missing piece of the hiring puzzle that completes the picture and enhances a company’s performance.

HR reps and hiring managers who use an applicant tracking software integrated with a video interview system are able to perform one-way or two-way live video interviews and compare applicants with help from other applicant tracking software features. Using these tools together allows for a seamless hiring process, from screening applications to performing interviews to onboarding.

After screening and ranking applications, hiring managers and HR departments can determine which applicants they want to interview. And after scheduling and completing the interviews, they can watch the videos, compare them to performances from other candidates and submit feedback using their applicant tracking system review features.

Use Video Interviewing to Connect With Quality Candidates Anywhere 

Companies who want the top talent need the right technology. An applicant tracking system like ApplicantStack integrated with a best-in-class video interviewing platform, gives companies the edge they need to find the right fit for open positions. By relying on video interviews, hiring managers can save time, energy, and money—all while analyzing each applicant.

ApplicantStack, the affordable, full-featured applicant tracking system trusted by over 1,500 companies to manage their candidates and workflows, integrates with Spark Hire, Inc. for video interviewing.

Spark Hire is a video interviewing platform used by more than 3,000 organizations to make better hires in a fraction of the time. For more information about Spark Hire go to Spark Hire.

Why 2020 Hiring is Hopeless Without an Applicant Tracking System

Why 2020 Hiring is Hopeless Without an Applicant Tracking System

5 minute read. Updated March 1, 2020.

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An applicant tracking systems is a type of HR software that automates the hiring and onboarding process

7 Sober Hiring Stats You Can’t Ignore

  1. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are 670,000 more job openings than there are unemployed potential workers.
  2. About 7 in 10 companies reported talent shortages in 2019, the highest level ever. That’s more than three times higher than a decade ago. (Manpower Group)
  3. Top candidates are on the job market only 10 days only before accepting a job offer.
  4. 94% of companies with recruiting software report that it’s improved the hiring process.
  5. 35% of small organizations use ATS.
  6. Many companies are using recruitment texting. Some studies put text open rates above 90%! Compare that with around 45% for emails.
  7. 64% of applicants would share negative application experiences with friends and family and 27% would actively discourage others from applying.

11 Undeniable Benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems

1. An Applicant Tracking System Saves You Lots of Money

Applicant tracking systems provide an impressive ROI. How much? A small company can save up to $10,000 using an ATS.

Companies using applicant tracking system reap the rewards. New-hire turnover is 40% less on average, and they can fill vacancies 20% more quickly.

New Hires Generate Revenue More Quickly

ATS’ help you fill positions faster. This shortens the time it takes for the new hire to generate revenue. ATS with onboarding tools further shorten the time-to-productivity.

2. Hire Top Performing Candidates Before Your Competition

An ATS help you identify top candidates and present an offer before the applicant is hired by a competitor. These high-demand employees drive productivity and innovation.

3. Track Hundreds of Resumes With Ease

When it comes to administration, ATS automation is truly impressive. Systems can handle hundreds (even thousands!) of applications, resumes, and other workflows.

Not only do you save on the cost of labor for the hiring team, but you also free up their time.

They can use that time on improving hiring strategies. Improved hiring strategies can then help your business grow even faster

With the strategic use of an ATS, you can become the budget hero in your company.

4. An ATS Creates a Dynamite First Impression

During the recruitment process, your goal is to attract top people to your company. You aren’t just recruiting; you’re marketing. Shockingly, 69% of unemployed people wouldn’t take a job if the company had a bad reputation—they would rather stay unemployed!

Applicant tracking systems help you put your best foot forward. Automate communication with candidates, so no one falls through the cracks. Get your job listed on prestigious job boards across the internet. Brand your application portal so it’s unique to your company. This is how you communicate a professional image of your company to job seekers.

5. Your Competitors Are Using An ATS

If you haven’t implemented an ATS, take note. 98% of Fortune 500 companies and at least 66% of large companies use it. The adoption rate for small companies is lower, but growing quickly. Last year, it was estimated that 35% of small organizations use ATS.

Keep in mind that you are also competing with talent sourcing agencies. The ATS adoption rate for professional recruiters is nearly 100%.

6. Recruitment Texting is a Must in 2020

Many companies are using recruiting texting in their hiring operations. The open rates for marketing texts are legendary. Some studies put the text open rate above 90%! Compare that with around 45% for emails.

Consider this: if a person has set up texting notifications, they can see a preview without opening the message. If the text is short, they can probably see the whole message in the notification window.

If you aren’t engaging with your candidates through texting, you are falling behind. ATS texting helps you leverage the power of many candidates’ preferred method of communication.

7. Quickly Narrow Down The Application Pool

First, you create a job posting. Your ATS posts it to multiple online sites (of your choosing). The applications start coming in. The system collects and organizes them in a central database. It creates a profile for each applicant.

As you know, job seekers format their resumes in a variety of ways. The ATS extracts the information and organizes it in the same format for each candidate profile. In the profile template, there is a field for each relevant piece of data.

For example, there is a field for each degree earned, each previous job title, and each skill.

This type of organization gives you searching superpowers. You can analyze and compare by work experience, education, or previous employers. Or job titles, skills, or demographic variables.

Let’s talk about resume filtering. The software uses keywords from the job posting. It matches the keywords with those found in the resumes. Consider how long it takes you to read one resume. An ATS can parse thousands of resumes in seconds.

This process weeds out the candidates who don’t have the necessary qualifications and it delivers a pool of qualified candidates before you need to read a single resume!

8. Screening Questions Help You Find Better Candidates

When you’re reviewing resumes, you’re going to choose quality over quantity every time. No one wants to waste time going through dozens of unqualified applicants. An applicant tracking system allows you to add screening questions to your application to ensure applicants meet basic qualifications like education level or years of experience. Some applicant tracking systems let you create scoring rules that weigh certain questions more heavily, so better applicants automatically rise in your review queue.

9. ATS Can Post To Multiple Online Job Boards

With an ATS, your job posting gets maximum online exposure. Most will post to LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, and Monster (just to name a few) with one click. While you’re at it, post it to your social media sites and careers page.

You create the job posting in the ATS, and the software takes care of the posting. This is a huge timesaver for busy hiring managers.

10. Applicant Tracking Systems Improve Collaboration

You are more likely to find high quality candidates if multiple stakeholders can weigh in.

But if expanding the hiring team slows down the process, the top candidates will lose interest. They will seek out firms that move faster.

ATS databases enable effective collaboration. Each decision maker can enter notes and applicant ratings. (The rating system is customizable, by the way.) Mobile apps allow recruiters to access the ATS from any internet-enabled device. Some systems include video interviews that team members can watch at their convenience.

11. Applicant Tracking Systems Help You Comply With Labor Laws

To say that recruitment compliance is complicated is an understatement.

The laws are always in flux and they vary by location, industry, and business size. Small companies have fewer resources to ensure that processes are compliant.

ATS help you comply with regulations related to hiring. Vendors update SaaS systems to stay current with hiring regulations.

In addition, ATS generate reports to protect you in case of a legal challenge.

For example, suppose a rejected candidate alleges discrimination. Don’t worry. Your ATS has the documentation to validate your legal hiring criteria.

Who uses Applicant Tracking Software?

If you receive applications, you need an applicant tracking system. ATS software clients include:

  • Independent recruiters
  • Staffing agencies
  • Executive search firms
  • Large enterprises
  • Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB)

Typically, the applicant tracking software is managed by the human resources department or a hiring manager.

We’ve touched on a few ATS functions. Let’s take a deeper dive into the inner workings of applicant tracking systems.

What Does an Applicant Tracking System Do?

ATS perform a wide variety of functions to make the recruiting and onboarding process easier for managers as well as new employees. Any applicant tracking software should perform the following five functions.

Post Jobs

What is an Applicant Tracking System researching and applying for jobs online is nearly universalThere are incredible people out there just waiting to fill your positions – but if they never see the job posting, they won’t apply. A 2015 Pew Research study found that “researching and applying for jobs online is nearly universal” for job applicants. When selecting an ATS software, look for one that gives you access to critical job posting boards like Monster and Indeed.

In 2015, almost 60% of younger job seekers used their smartphones to search for job openings, and half of that population used a smartphone to fill out a job application. Those numbers are only expected to increase. Any of the ATS you look into should be mobile-friendly, creating job listings that allow applicants to submit documents via mobile phone and to bookmark jobs for later.

As any amateur job seeker will tell you, networking is the best way to find a job. Your applicant tracking system needs to sync with the most popular social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You don’t have to worry about unqualified applicants when you use applicant tracking software because they’ll be weeded out. You just want to get your posting in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Track

Inc. reports that for every job posting, companies receive an average of 250 applications. Larger companies will be flooded with applications for each job they offer, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. ATS software should allow you to quickly and painlessly sift through applicants, bringing the best-qualified people to your attention and automatically rejecting unqualified candidates.

Most ATS allow you to create pre-screening questionnaires. Applicants are required to answer certain questions, and ‘wrong’ responses will remove them from the candidate pool (while automatically sending a thoughtfully worded e-mail thanking them for the application). Some ATS go a step further, assigning value points to each question so you can sort candidates by score.

The best applicant tracking software integrates and automates resume parsing, resume storing, and reference checking. If it doesn’t have to be done by a human, why not automate it? The HR department or hiring manager shouldn’t have to sort through dozens of easily eliminated candidates. An applicant tracking system performs the menial tasks of analyzing dozens of candidates, so the hiring manager can focus on the few who really stand out from the crowd.

Communicate

Communication is key in every aspect of life, and that includes the hiring process. The way you communicate with a potential new hire says a lot about your company’s values, and knowing where they stand in the application process is essential for applicants.

ATS let you automatically update candidates with news about the job posting. Give stragglers a gentle nudge to complete an application, or let someone know that you’d love to conduct an interview. Past applicants will appreciate knowing if the job has been filled, and may opt to receive job updates from your company in the future.

Once you’ve narrowed down your applicant pool, applicant tracking software eliminates the back-and-forth of trying to schedule an interview by creating a calendar with open slots for preliminary phone or in-person interviews. Out-of-state jobs may require video interviews so you can analyze behavioral tendencies; some kinds of applicant training software offer this integration as part of the package. The hiring manager enters the times he or she is available, and the interviewee selects the option that works best. No more complicated weeks-long games of email tag to find a time that works for everyone!

Applicants want to know how they are doing throughout the process. One study shows that the key pain points are right after submitting the application, when 49% would like feedback; if not selected for an interview, when 39% would like feedback; and after the interview if they weren’t selected, when 43% would like feedback. Each of these is an opportunity for the HR department or hiring manager to show that the company truly cares about its potential employees. ATS software makes this easy to do.

Hire

Once you’ve found the best candidates, the applicant tracking system can streamlines the hiring process, particularly if you’re using collaborative hiring. Many jobs require input from multiple decision-makers. The ATS software consolidates reviews and reports from every stakeholder, so hiring managers can take in everyone’s opinions at a glance.

Candidates can be scored and rated separately, and a good applicant tracking software includes collaborative tools and reports so everyone is on the same page. Want a background screening? Your applicant tracking system should be able to provide that, too. After you’ve extended an offer to your prospective employee, many ATS offer additional abilities so you can onboard the new hire.

Onboard

The application process may be over, but onboarding is just beginning. Your new hire has documents to fill out, resources to review, and forms to e-sign. ATS software should have an onboarding portal where you can consolidate documents. Your new hire can sign in, review and securely sign necessary paperwork, and use the portal as a resource to check back on onboarding documentation and company guidelines whenever he or she chooses.

Your applicant tracking system may even sync with payroll, so you can quickly get your new hire into the system and properly compensated. Tasks can be created, edited, and managed for both the new hire and the hiring manager. And all of your documentation is secure and accessible in cloud storage.

The right ATS is your hiring manager’s best friend. Try ApplicantStack for free today. You’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

How Manager Feedback and Interview Evaluations Improve Hiring in 2020

How Manager Feedback and Interview Evaluations Improve Hiring in 2020

Updated August 15, 2020

If you aren’t using candidate evaluation forms, you aren’t collaborating effectively.

Candidate Evaluation Forms For Interview Feedback

What is a candidate evaluation form? It’s a tool that allows members of the hiring team to rate applicants based on the same criteria. It is also called an interview feedback form or candidate feedback form.

8 Ways Candidate Evaluation Forms Improve Recruiting

  1. It ensures each interviewer is thorough in their evaluation
  2. It speeds up the interview feedback process
  3. It helps prevent bias in job interview evaluation
  4. It measures hard and soft skills
  5. It simplifies collaboration among your hiring team
  6. It helps differentiate candidates with near-identical qualifications
  7. It improves the candidate experience
  8. It saves time when first-round rejected candidates are considered for future positions
  9. The systemized scoring increases the usefulness of your talent pipeline database

The Interview Feedback Review Process

How do you evaluate candidates without a systematic way to rate them?

Let’s consider a common scenario.

You currently have a mission-critical position to fill and a fairly tight deadline to hire a qualified person. You have posted the position on your website and other outside resources like Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed and Craigslist.

What comes next is a stack of resumes. Followed by the interview process. In 2020, you’re competing with many other companies to find the best talent. You can’t afford a slowdown in your process.

The top candidate could be hired by your competitor. The most desirable candidates are off the market in 10 days.

But you need to proceed strategically so you don’t hire the wrong person.

You pick up the first resume and encounter some mission statements like…

  • “Motivated individual seeks challenging position for personal and professional growth”
  • “Industry expert and thought leader available to implement revenue-ramping methodologies.”
  • “Professional guru with proven track record of driving key performance metrics seeks next challenging opportunity.”

…and you then proceed to read through four more pages of the resume.

Buried in the resume amid the industry keywords and buzzwords is the information that is relevant to your open position. After reading about 10 of these resumes, you can’t remember which candidate had which qualifications. It’s a good idea to organize the applicants into categories like “Unqualified”, “Potential” and “Top Prospect” as you are reviewing the resumes so you can focus on the shortlist of more qualified candidates when you revisit them.

The next step in the process is to make every effort to forward only the best applicants to your manager for review, so you don’t waste the manager’s time and earn his/her confidence that you understand the critical needs.

How Can I Get Useful Interview Feedback From My Hiring Team?

One of the most challenging aspects of the hiring process is about to occur… obtaining useful feedback from your staff during this review process. No matter how many employees you engage in the hiring process, it’s important that you gather the feedback in a consistent and meaningful way.

Let’s discuss how you use candidate evaluation forms filled out by your managers and staff during the review process.

How Can I Standardize Interview Feedback?

Utilizing multiple choice, ratings or scale questions when requesting feedback may prevent receiving vague reasons they are not interested and emails that are difficult to interpret. While you will find feedback questionnaires and interview examples helpful during the review process, you will find them even more necessary after the applicant has been interviewed.

When each member of the hiring team contributes to the interview feedback form, you elevate the entire process. Each person’s perspective and expertise improves the scoring.

The result? You will find best-fit employees quickly.

Job Interview Evaluation Comments Samples

Here are some examples of effective interview feedback evaluation forms. You can modify them as appropriate for the specific position. For example, if the position requires additional skills not listed here, add the skills to the first evaluation sample.

Interview Feedback Examples (Pre-Interview)

Very often the manager reads the candidate’s resume and uses a gut feeling to determine if the candidate should be considered. They may even make a judgment based on the resume format, the number of jobs and where they went to school. If you ask the manager exactly what it is they liked or didn’t like, you will receive more meaningful information and can make a more informed decision about whether you should invite this candidate in for an actual face to face interview.

Pre interview questionnaire

Examples of Effective Manager Feedback Questions (Post Interview)

The feedback you receive from the staff involved in the face to face interview can also be based on more fair and factual information if guidelines for evaluation are distributed. It is recommended that the skills or competencies needed to be successful in the job are listed so the interviewer can explore these areas during the interview and rate each candidate effectively. Please note the two different examples below.

Negative/Positive Interview Comments Example #1

Post Interview 1-1

Post Interview 1-2

Post Interview 1-3

Negative/Positive Interview Comments Example #2

Post Interview 2-1

How Job Interview Feedback Fits in the Applicant Journey

Job interview evaluation influences other applicant touchpoints. As such, it can help you improve job descriptions, interview scripts, and other candidate communications. It also helps members of your hiring team become better at evaluating candidates. It’s a key best practice for any company that is serious about improving hiring outcomes.

Benefits of a Structured Interview Feedback Process

  1. Avoids typical evaluations of candidates that may be filled with ambiguity, superficial statements, and generalizations.
  2. Your hiring decision is based on objective information that the candidate’s skills match your job or project requirements—not because they are an excellent resume writer.
  3. The standardized evaluation questions point out the different opinions of the interview/ evaluation staff and help raise any red flags about the candidate.
  4. Ensures your hiring process is in compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  5. Helps avoid costly hiring mistakes.
  6. Using multiple selection methods helps to ensure you are choosing the best candidate–No single technique on its own can predict on-the-job performance and success.
  7. Streamlines the process and ensure a better, fit—increasing employee retention and productivity.

The Problem Solver Hiring Philosophy

Before you create your interview script and candidate evaluation form, establish your overall philosophy. In the following Quora post, Ryan Duffee, HR manager and consultant, explains how he focuses on finding problem solvers.

When hiring someone, you should always be looking for a problem solver. A business in itself is a problem solver. The company you represent is providing a solution to a problem (whatever is in demand). The product or service you provide is a solution. Inside your business, problems will come up. Especially new start-ups or businesses who have been around forever and operating on antiquated tech or software, policy creation, accounting, personnel, etc. Whenever an organization makes a decision to hire, it is because there is a problem and they need to bring someone in to fix it. Don’t think problems are all negative either. Hiring someone to take on an increase in workload is a positive problem to have. It goes both ways. Moreover, when looking at resumes or interviewing people, the one thing on your mind is, can or will this person fix my problem?

Know The Needs in Your Organization

As an HR Manager, it is my responsibility to know about 99% of the things going on within my company. If you have an HR person that can’t tell you the workload going through a department, that is an issue. I personally make it my routine to meet with dept. managers to ask how their depts. are performing. Not only does it help me understand what they’re doing, it shows them that upper management and/or C-suite are engaged and have better communication.

Most of the time I receive a quick, “good-good” or “great, thanks”, but there are those times where I get the needed info, “We’re swamped and John Doe is overwhelmed and falling behind!” Now is when I (your person) come into action. I will sit with managers and discuss a number of things like workflow trends; is the work load increase just a temporary thing? How long has it been this way? How much production or time have we lost? My job becomes a fact finder (investigator) to go to the executive team to say, “Everyone, we have problems X, Y & Z… My recommendation is to hire or not hire more personnel to handle the increased work load. If we hire 1, 2… this is what we can expect in terms of increased production.” If the ROI on hiring a problem solver (new hire) is greater than the expenses, it makes sense.

Create Your Job Description Based on Problems That Need to be Solved

––
When reviewing resumes, have those problems you need to fix not only on your list of questions, but they should be on the job posting, listed in the form of a job description. Why is that important? This gives the job seeker a chance to see your problems and ask themselves if they’re the right problem solver to help you and apply.

When you know your problems you can clearly define the solution(s) you’re looking for. So, before you go hiring your best friend from the neighborhood because you want to have lunch with them and chat about everything in the world because it’s fun, you need to ask the question of how effective of a solution is this to my problem, or will it create a new problem? Nothing wrong with hiring your friend, I’m just using that as an example. I say, “hire solutions and make a new friends.”

This is not a blanket, one-size-fits-all thing. You should know your organization’s needs, the culture, the work and training required, etc. Hiring an 18 y/o to flip burgers and serve fries doesn’t require the same scrutiny as hiring a Project Manager who will be overseeing multi-million dollar projects. However, you can use this problem solver philosophy to help narrow your search regardless of your industry. (Ryan Duffee)

For more information on candidate evaluation, see:

The Ultimate Guide to Onboarding Your Next Employee

The Ultimate Guide to Onboarding Your Next Employee

After hiring, onboarding is one of the most important HR functions. Whether large or small, every organization should bring new employees on in a structured and efficient manner.
Do onboarding well and you dramatically increase the odds that you retain top talent in your organization. You may be surprised to learn that:

The details may vary but the fundamentals of onboarding are the same. Certainly, the goals are the same: streamline and accelerate the process that transitions new hires to fully productive employees making a positive contribution to the team.

Onboarding is for Everyone

Onboarding is for everyoneYour onboarding strategy may differ by the type of employee you hire. For example, onboarding an executive may be quite different from onboarding a junior accountant. Similarly, Gartner suggests that hiring and onboarding virtual, gig economy workers takes a heavier emphasis on inclusion and engagement.

Regardless of the employee type or the duration of employment, onboarding is essential. After all, anyone who works for you—even seasonally, part time, or as an intern—represents your company. They affect morale, efficiency, and brand.

In fact, the shorter the likely duration of employment, the more important it is to onboard efficiently and effectively. Onboarding seasonal workers, part-time employees, remote employees and interns is as important as onboarding full-time staff. You can see the value for yourself by watching a short Harvard Business School video featuring three students who talk about their internship onboarding experiences.

The Goldilocks Approach to Onboarding

The best onboarding program finds the right balance between focus on the new hire and productivity of the organization. By organizing and standardizing common tasks, you can make onboarding more efficient for everyone.

Onboarding that is ‘just right’ quickly connects new hires to payroll, gives them the tools they need for the job, and engages them with their workplace and co-workers. Efficient onboarding pays off with higher morale, quicker productivity and a more stable workforce.

Go Beyond Onboarding Checklists

So, what does it mean to onboard well? There are hundreds of articles about onboarding but most focus on the mechanics, providing a laundry list of tasks in a series of checklists that give the illusion that onboarding is a cookie cutter, repeatable process driven by tasks.

Instead, onboarding is a critical process that can affect your corporate culture, productivity and morale. It is about more than just the new hire. You need to do it right. Checklists can help make the process more disciplined and onboarding systems can improve efficiency.

This guide breaks down the onboarding process into several key focus areas to guide your onboarding activities. It also includes some checklists, and strongly recommends you develop your own checklists to increase your odds of success with each candidate.

Focus 1: Make a Good Hire

Focus 1 Make a Good HireOnboarding is only as good as the hire itself. Make sure you follow a strong process for hiring. This includes everything from creating a detailed job description to strategic prescreening, job posting, and making a selection.

A good hire will meet the job requirements and fit your culture. Make sure your team evaluates candidate and provides feedback in a way that allows you to have confidence in your selection.

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) can help organize and amplify your hiring efforts. These systems provide templates, workflows, and shortcuts for creating and posting jobs, gathering candidate applications and evaluating interview feedback. They eliminate paper and speed the hiring process while reducing the time and effort for all involved in the hiring process.

Focus 2: Validate Candidate Background and Ability to Work

Focus 2 Validate the CandidateOnce your selection is made, it’s time to verify eligibility to work. Now is the time to release the candidate if there are any surprises. Do a thorough background check.

  • Call references. If you haven’t done so yet, check the references provided by your candidate. Use a standardized questionnaire to ensure that you conform to rules and gather feedback in a consistent manner. Or better yet, use an applicant tracking system to automate this step by triggering an email to the references.
  • Verify qualifications. If there are absolute requirements like holding a valid driver’s license, make sure you get independent confirmation. This can be part of a background check service.
  • Run a background check. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to use a professional service. Make this part of your standard onboarding process to be thorough.
  • Check social media. Review top social media platforms to see if there are any red flags to indicate you need further discussion with the candidate.
  • Drug test. Many organizations require drug testing prior to employment because of potential workplace liability. Use a professional service to conduct this independent testing.

Applicant tracking and onboarding systems can streamline this essential process through checklists and automation.

Focus 3: Leverage Federal, State, Local Incentives and Programs

Focus 3 Leverage FSL ProgramsOnce the candidate makes it past background checks and drug testing, it is time to make an offer. You have done everything you can to ensure that the candidate is a good match for your need. Now is a good time to see if your company is eligible for a tax credit if you hire the candidate.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program is designed to give companies incentives for hiring certain target groups as a way to reduce unemployment. WOTC targeted groups include certain recipients of TANF, veterans, disabled veterans and felons.

To start the process, be sure to have the candidate fill out the relevant forms on or before the offer date. You will also have to file all paperwork within the first 28 days.

WOTC Forms include:

Your tax credit can be in the thousands per qualified employee, so filling out the paperwork is certainly worth the effort. Be sure to include it in your onboarding process. You will also need to track hours worked, as there is a minimum for eligibility and an escalation to a maximum.

Don’t leave money on the table. Ask all your candidates to fill out form 8850. If the forms handling process is too burdensome for you, look for an outsourcer like Efficient Hire. They can manage the entire filing, tracking and reporting process for you for a percentage of your credit. You only pay if you receive the credit.

Other Federal, State and Local Hiring Incentive Programs

There may also be other federal, state and local programs that provide incentives for hiring. Make sure you are well aware and include them in your onboarding efforts up front. Examples include state point of hire credits, federal Indian credit, and the Georgia job tax credit.

Focus 4: Payroll and Benefits Readiness (between Offer and Hire Dates)

Focus 4 Payroll and Benefits ReadinessThe goal of payroll and benefits readiness is a smooth first day on the job without all the paperwork hassles. Make a list of everything you need from the new hire related to payroll and benefits. Use automation to gather as much of this data as you can.
It is in everyone’s interest to get payroll set up ahead of the start date. Be sure to consult legal counsel regarding any compliance issue created by onboarding activities performed off-the-clock prior to report date.

Common forms and details that new hires complete include:

  • Federal W4 Form
  • Federal I9 Form
  • State withholding forms
  • Direct deposit details and authorization
  • Emergency contact

On the hiring side, payroll details include:

  • Employee details including social security number
  • Job assignment
  • Department
  • Employee ID
  • Offer Date
  • Hire Date

For example, applicant tracking software can help you make the transition to onboarding by collecting and storing important candidate information such as name and contact information. Fully-integrated applicant tracking can deliver this information to your onboarding system so that you don’t have to re-enter or track this information separately. It may seem trivial, but it is helpful, saves time, and provides a chain of custody (so to speak) of information on your candidate all the way back to the receipt of their resume.

Time tracking is a critical element of payroll readiness. Timekeeping systems make it easy to track employee work hours, design schedules, accrue time off and manage requests, approve time cards, job cost and more. With all the compliance issues related to workforce management, modern timekeeping makes sense for every organization.

Add your new hire to your timekeeping system, with a schedule beginning on the report date. Your new hire will then be able to clock in at the beginning of their first day on the job. The data from your timekeeping system can then feed into the payroll system for payment of wages earned in the first pay period.

Remote Data Gathering

Your goal should be to have new hires complete all payroll and benefits related forms prior to reporting for work on Day 1. Make this something that the new hire can complete remotely. Let them work from their own device and at their own pace. This makes it more convenient for everyone, and more likely that the new hire has access to the right documentation to fill out the various forms.

Your candidate should be able to log into an employee portal and see a list of documents that need to be completed prior to their first day. It helps to provide a checklist, so they can track their progress. Checklists also provide you with alerts and reporting that help you measure the onboarding process and see where follow-up needs to occur. Checklists can also save time when onboarding multiple new employees at once.

Mobile access can make this process much more efficient. Allow documents to be electronically signed and look for onboarding that tracks engagement. Allowing new employees to use their mobile device also comes in handy when you need them to take a photo of their driver’s license (for example) and upload for your records. Questionnaires can help you measure comprehension and helps establish a basis for performance reviews and even formal reprimand.

Benefits Selection

Some benefits are immediately available while others become available after time on the job. Share as much information as you can early on and consider having the new hire to fill out forms ahead of eligibility, if practical. This may accelerate the enrollment process once the new hire is eligible.

Benefit forms may include:

  • Healthcare enrollment
  • Life insurance
  • Health savings account
  • Retirement plans
  • Disability insurance
  • FLSA

Focus 5: Workspace Readiness, Space Allocation and Technology Provisioning (before Day 1)

Focus 5 Workspace Readiness, Space Allocation and Technology ProvisioningIf your new hire will have an assigned space, assign it now. Prep the space with the various technology and supplies needed on day one. These may include:

  • Phone extension
  • Email address
  • Computer
  • Network connection
  • Software and apps passwords
  • Furniture
  • Paper, pens, and other office supplies

If your new hire works in a shared space, you may need:

  • Locker/storage
  • Network connection
  • Uniform
  • Pen, paper, and other supplies

The goal here is to have the work environment ready day one so the employee can start contributing immediately, whatever their job.

Using an employee onboarding system can help streamline these activities by assigning each task to the individual responsible. Adding reminders will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.

Day One Planning to Ensure a Good Experience for All

Make a list of everything that should happen on day one. Think about day one from the perspective of the new hire, hiring manager, and co-workers. This is the beginning of a successful onboarding program.

  • Logistics
    • Parking
    • Lunchroom
    • Bathroom
    • Timeclocks
    • Supply room
    • Door entry
  • Safety
    • Fire alarms
    • Fire extinguishers
    • Workplace hazards
    • Emergency exits
  • Introductions
    • Team introductions
    • Email/collaboration tool introductions

Every workplace is different. Build the right list for your organization with the goal of smooth introduction to the workplace. Make it a knock-out day one!

Focus 6: Compliance and Alignment (between Offer and End of First Week, Ongoing)

Focus 6 Compliance and AlignmentPolicies and procedures are really important. Be clear. This is about compliance, clarification, culture and connection—what SHRM calls the 4 Cs.

Every new hire should receive a copy of the employee handbook and any other policies and procedures not included in the handbook and relevant to their job.

  • Employee handbook
  • PTO policy
  • Sick leave policy
  • Expense reimbursement policy
  • Bonus plan
  • At-will employee contract

Make sure your new hire understands formal protocol for things like legal representation, press representation, authorizations, approvals, chain of command and other organizational authority.

Get them familiar with emergency protocol, too; fire escape plans, emergency plans, etc.

An employee onboarding system can automatically attach items listed above as a standard to all new employees, which can easily be accessed via the employee portal at any time.

Focus 7: Engagement and Fit

Focus 7 Engagement and FitThe most critical function of onboarding is equipping the new hire with the tools necessary to be a successful contributor to the organization. The peak of activity is at the front-end, when the employee is added to systems like payroll, offered benefits, allocated space, and informed of rules and operating practices.

Beyond the initial flurry of activity lie two related and very serious success factors—engagement and fit. New hires need to integrate into the organization—to become part of the whole and contribute their unique value without subordinating their individuality.

You can foster initial engagement by activities such as:

  • Introducing the new hire to immediate co-workers
  • Notifying all employees and welcoming the new hire via email or portal
  • Inviting the new hire to company social events like lunch-and-learn and birthday celebrations
  • Give new hires an option to provide some personal tidbits like hobbies, associations, and favorite cartoon character to stimulate conversation
  • Assign the new hire a clear, short-term project to focus energy and demonstrate competence

Mentoring and Shadowing Programs

Another way to foster early engagement is through mentoring for new hires. Mentoring programs can be highly effective in connecting new hires to their jobs and co-workers. They can also provide a sense of long-term opportunity for growth. Similarly, shadowing programs can be helpful in learning jobs on-the-go, which can be very effective in retail, restaurant, repair, manufacturing and other environments.

Just be careful not to go overboard on mentoring. New hires need a sense of autonomy and contribution, and current employees need to feel that they are on track to achieve their own objectives. If you offer a mentoring program, be sure to establish boundaries, set goals, and evaluate effectiveness for both mentor and mentored.

Shadowing is a short-term program. Mentoring, however, can be continued over much longer time periods. If you choose to keep it going, make sure you establish goals for both mentor and mentored and revisit on a regular basis.

Performance Reviews

Performance reviews should be regular and two-directional across the course of the first year of employment. These reviews help the hiring manager, HR and the new hire measure the new hire’s achievements as well as identify areas of improvement for everyone involved. They can be as simple as a checklist for discussion or more formal.

Frequency for performance reviews varies by job and industry but commonly starts with day 1 and week 1, followed by monthly and eventually moves to annually. These reviews are an opportunity to build rapport and adjust the onboarding process to suit individual needs. Set an expectation that new hires are encouraged and even expected to gallop out of the gate.

Organizational Fit and Cultural Fit

Fit is a key factor in long-term success for both you and the new hire. This factor should be considered long before onboarding. One of the very first steps of the hiring process has to be a clear understanding of organizational need that is translated into a job description.

Most employers have budgeting and requisitioning processes that help ensure that there is a true organizational need for the new hire. Well written job descriptions and a good screening and interview process help ensure that the new hire is an organizational fit. Put that work in during the hiring process and you have a much better chance that the new hire fits in. Take the organizational fit into consideration during the onboarding process as well to help the new hire understand clearly their role in the overall success of the company.

Cultural fit can be more difficult and nuanced. Introduce the culture early and often, and don’t expect a new hire to be a change agent. This rarely works and usually ends badly.

Keep the Good. Lose the Bad.

Work hard to keep your good hires as part of the organization. The cost to replace and the loss of momentum is steep.

Bad hires, though, are best lost early. Identify mistakes early. If you make an error in hiring, correct it early. Keeping an employee who is not a fit causes bigger problems. Some companies incorporate a quit now bonus into the onboarding process as a check against bad hiring decisions. If all else fails, fire fast!

SwipeClock Adds Texting to Applicant Tracking Solution

SwipeClock Adds Texting to Applicant Tracking Solution

ApplicantStack Logo

New fully integrated feature speeds communication with applicants and increases engagement

Salt Lake City, Utah

Tuesday, July 1, 2019

SwipeClock today announced unlimited texting is now available in ApplicantStack, the top-rated applicant tracking solution included in WorkforceHUB or as a standalone product. Customers that activate the feature before July 8, 2019, receive their first month free—a savings of $25 in the first month. ApplicantStack allows collaborative, paperless recruiting and onboarding. SwipeClock is a leading provider of simple and affordable workforce management services.

“Texting is the communication method of choice for many applicants,” said Coleman Barney, SwipeClock CEO. “This new capability speeds communication and response times and helps streamline and shorten the hiring process for our customers.

Once texting is activated, ApplicantStack users are immediately able to text applicants by clicking on a mobile icon next to the applicant’s contact information. Landlines are automatically recognized and excluded from texting. Users can enter both text and an optional link to a questionnaire. Reply messages are displayed within ApplicantStack, which also keeps the messages as part of the applicant’s complete history.

ApplicantStack with texting enabled helps hiring managers communicate more effectively with job applicants. Managers who communicate with job applicants by text can expect a 98 percent open rate — far greater than with email. Candidates are more likely to read text messages and typically respond within three minutes.

Texting capability is available for US and Canadian users only.

About SwipeClock

SwipeClock is a leader in simple and affordable workforce management solutions. More than 1,000 payroll and HR service providers partner with SwipeClock, empowering 35,000+ businesses and their 1,000,000+ employees to reduce labor costs, comply with regulations, and maximize profits.

SwipeClock solutions streamline HR management, from applicant tracking to timekeeping, advanced scheduling, benefits enrollment, secure online document storage, employee engagement and automated workflows. These solutions are integrated and mobile-ready.

SwipeClock products include WorkforceHUB, TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity, ApplicantStack, and intelligent hardware clocks TimeWorksTouch and TimeWorksTUFF for rugged timekeeping in the field.