Why 2021 Hiring is Hopeless Without an Applicant Tracking System

Why 2021 Hiring is Hopeless Without an Applicant Tracking System

5 minute read. Updated November 20, 2020.

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

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

Why is 2021 hiring hopeless without one?

Let’s talk about it.

Acquiring talent for a small or medium size business has never been easy. Even before 2020 when everything got harder. Before the pandemic, recruiters complained of a lack of candidates due to low unemployment and talent shortages. Companies that could move applicants quickly through their process had the advantage. Of course, they needed a good evaluation process to find best-fit candidates.

In 2020, the pandemic upended recruiting. Essential businesses started hiring at scale. Companies that pivoted suddenly needed to fill new job roles. Employers in shrinking industries were inundated with applicants for the few openings they had. Because many started working from home, hiring processes had to be adapted so they could be conducted virtually.

Regardless of the unrecognizable hiring landscape, an ATS is still the answer. Are you doing high volume hiring in 2021? An ATS is essential for managing multiple job openings simultaneously.

Are you recovering in 2021? You probably have a shorthanded hiring team. ATS automation will allow a small team to meet your hiring needs while you are getting back on your feet.

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 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 prescreening 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. It will help your hiring team succeed in 2021 and beyond.

Root Out These 7 Insidious Hiring Biases to Increase Workforce Diversity

Root Out These 7 Insidious Hiring Biases to Increase Workforce Diversity

Hiring bias limits efforts to increase workforce diversity. Companies that do more than pay lip service to diversity identify the types of bias in their process. After that, they create a detailed plan to eliminate it. To carry out their plan, they dedicate the necessary resources, measure outcomes and modify as needed.

Working toward demographic parity is not just the right thing to do from a moral standpoint. It’s the best thing to do from a business standpoint. At the end of this article, we discuss the benefits of increasing workforce diversity.

First, we’ll discuss seven insidious types of hiring bias. After that, we will outline an 11-step roadmap to eliminate the bias and build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

7 Types of Hiring Bias to Root Out

These are categorized as cognitive biases. A cognitive bias is a flaw in judgment. Think about a coin toss that comes up heads ten times in a row. While there’s always a 50% chance that the next flip will be tails–it seems unlikely.

hiring bias1. The Halo Effect

We all know that first impressions matter. This is related to the halo effect. Once we have a favorable opinion of someone, it takes a lot to change our mind. Another element of the halo effect is the idea that because a person excels in one area, he or she will also excel in others. For example, we might assume that because someone is an excellent public speaker, he will also make a good content writer. In reality, these skills don’t necessarily influence each other.

2. Expectation Bias

This is related to the Halo Effect discussed previously. A recruiter might read through dozens of resumes. One candidate looks particularly good ‘on paper.’ When that person comes in for an interview, the recruiter may be more likely to overlook obvious flaws. For example, the person doesn’t make eye contact or is inarticulate. If you expect someone to be something–whether that’s good or bad–he or she is likely to fulfill those expectations.

3. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information that validates your current opinion. For example, people who tune into Sean Hannity are typically more conservative. People who watch Rachel Maddow are typically more liberal. As a hiring bias, it’s the tendency to focus only on the aspects of a person that coincide with the recruiter’s pre-established opinion.

4. Anchoring Bias

Anchoring is a hiring bias in which the hiring manager fixates on one piece of information. As a result, they give it more weight than it deserves. Say, for instance, you have a candidate who is the president of the local Mensa Society. Even if the candidate isn’t the best for the job, it may be tempting to overlook her flaws because ‘She’s in Mensa!’

5. Social Comparison Bias

Managers hiring for their team are especially vulnerable to this one. The social comparison bias is the tendency to dislike or feel competitive with others who may have similar skills. For example, suppose you’re known as the company’s expert on a certain software application. You may feel reluctant to hire someone whose skills exceed your own. For decades, research has shown that this is a relatively common phenomenon. Therefore, it’s an issue you’ll want hiring managers to consciously avoid.

6. Ingroup Bias

Ingroup bias is the tendency to favor people who are similar to oneself. Those who are part of the same ‘group.’ Like sexism or racism–it’s blatantly unfair. But there are less obvious examples of ingroup bias. Some hiring managers, for example, might look more favorably on fellow alumni. You may feel a sense of camaraderie with a candidate who participated in the same fraternity or sorority. There are several types of ingroups, so make sure your team watches out for them.gender parity

7. Shared Information Bias

While this type of bias may not directly affect your candidates, it can certainly draw out the hiring process. Shared information bias is the tendency for members of a group to discuss information that everybody is already aware of, rather than focusing on hidden information that is only available to some. For example, if one interviewer notices an irritating quality in a candidate, he or she should share this with the group–even if it doesn’t seem relevant. All members of the team should have the full scope of information.

Now that we have discussed types of unconscious bias, hopefully you will consciously avoid them. Many experts suggest that AI is the solution. An applicant tracking system (ATS) can be used in many ways to root bias out of your hiring process. For example, an ATS can hide aspects of a candidate’s profile that you don’t want to consider. Also, you can use an ATS to manage gender- and ethnically-neutral job descriptions. Plus, you can decrease the shared information bias when everyone keeps notes in a central location. Lastly, tracking all candidates and hires in a centralized location makes it easier to track your diversity metrics.

An 11-Step Roadmap for Increasing Diversity Through Recruitment

Once you’ve identified the types of hiring bias going on, it’s time to make a plan to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate them. Use these steps to create a plan designed for your company. Many factors will affect your plan. For example; your industry, the size of your hiring team, the number of yearly hires, and your current level of diversity.

1. Set Measurable Goals

Firstly, assess your workforce. Consider gender, ethnicity, and age. Also educational background, socioeconomic status and geographic location if you have remote workers. (If you don’t have remote workers, why not?)

In addition, be mindful of not discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Though this information would be difficult and inappropriate to address in an assessment. (Under no circumstances should you ask any employee about his/her/their sexual orientation or gender identity! It would be illegal and in extremely poor taste.)

Secondly, create a diversity mission statement. Let your employees know about your diversity hiring goals. If you use an HR portal, remind your employees of your diversity mission frequently.

Thirdly–and this is most important–make a specific goal to increase your target hires in each underrepresented group by X in X months.

Lastly, include your diversity mission statement in your employee handbook and training materials. Put the statement on every piece of recruiting communication. Use it on internal documents so it’s always top of mind for your employees.

Keep in mind that diversity doesn’t just mean varying nationalities. It’s also important to hire professionals from a range of industry backgrounds and diversified levels of experience while paying attention to gender balance. The beauty of diversity is there is no perfect formula. Every team will look unique. (Sheryl Lyons, “The Benefits of Creating a Diverse Workforce,” Forbes)

2. Incorporate Employee Resource Groups

Make diverse candidates feel more comfortable by using employee resource groups (ERGs) during interviews. (Hopefully, you have ERGs. If not, encourage your staff to create them and support them in the effort.)

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. Other benefits include the development of future leaders, increased employee engagement, and expanded marketplace reach. (Catalyst)

workforce diversity

3. Review Resumes Blind

Studies show that resumes with white-sounding names receive more callbacks or interviews than those that seem non-white. Consequently, many candidates ‘whiten’ their names and backgrounds. But why should a candidate’s name affect whether he or she is a fit for an open role? You can use an ATS to remove names and hide demographic information. This will help your team avoid unconscious bias during the resume review process.

4. Diversify Your Hiring Team

Is your hiring team diverse? Applicants will notice. If minority candidates have several job openings to choose from, the makeup of the interview team could be a factor in their decision. Diversify your interviewing team. This will help them make better collective decisions.

5. Train Employees on Hiring Bias

You can’t increase workforce diversity if your employees don’t understand unconscious bias. Therefore, it’s important to conduct formal training. You can create your own internal training program, hire a consultant, or use online resources like Google’s unconscious bias training.

The Harvard Business School’s Implicit Project (requires registration) is an eye-opening exercise. It can help people recognize and measure their biases. At the start of training, consider having participants take a few surveys to learn what social stereotypes they may be harboring. Encourage them to challenge their assumptions.

6. Retool Your Job Descriptions and Job Requirements

Do you use gender-neutral terminology? Scrutinize your job descriptions and take out any gender-specific language. Instead of ‘he’ use ‘he or she’ or ‘s/he’. You can always use the job title in place of any pronoun.

Many words used frequently in job postings discourage women from applying.  Here is a free gender decoder tool. Just paste in your job description. Create job description templates after carefully crafting them to avoid bias. Manage them in an applicant tracking system.

Just as important as giving your job descriptions a makeover, consider your job requirements. If ‘corporate culture match’ is a hiring criterion, remove it. This is an easy place for unconscious bias to creep in. It will hinder your efforts to increase workforce diversity. Furthermore, if your company culture reflects a homogenous workforce, you don’t want to use it as a measuring stick anyway. Increasing workforce diversity will improve your company culture.

7. Use Structured Interviewing

In addition to retooling job descriptions, rewrite interview scripts to avoid bias. Train your interviewers to use them correctly along with EEOC guidelines. Manage your structured interviewing scripts in your ATS. Standardizing interview questions enables a consistent and fair experience for all candidates.

Lastly, remind employees to avoid asking questions that could lead to a candidate sharing his or her age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity. This information doesn’t relate to a candidate’s ability to perform in the role and could bias hiring decisions. If the candidate volunteers the information, instruct your interviewers to steer the conversation elsewhere and discourage them from sharing the information with the rest of the panel.

8. Seek Diverse Referrals

In addition to revamping recruitment communications, use your employee referral program. Encourage employees to refer applicants from underrepresented groups. Our closest associates are likely from our same demographic group. When moving outward in our network, however, we find more diversity. Therefore, encourage your employees to look beyond their first- and second-degree connections.

Pinterest created a program designed to increase the diversity in their engineering teams. They asked their engineers to refer potential job applicants from target demographics. They discovered that if their employees made a conscious effort, they could find referrals from underrepresented groups. Pinterest’s diversity referral program was a success. They are taking additional steps to increase diversity in other departments. (Medium)

9. Improve Onboarding

You might wonder what onboarding has to do with workforce diversity. It comes after a candidate accepts the job, after all. The reason onboarding is key is because good onboarding reduces turnover. Hiring more employees from inadequately represented groups is the first step. Retaining them is the second step.

Consider the employees who have quit your company in the last five years. Identify whether minorities, women or older employees have shorter tenure. If they do, you’ve got problems with culture and management. Your company may not be welcoming to underrepresented groups. The topic of turnover leads to the next section.

10. Use Exit Interviews

Hopefully, you don’t have a lot of employees quitting. If you do, use exit interviews to learn why they are leaving. You may discover you have problems with your managers. Perhaps your company doesn’t support work/life balance. Maybe there are limited opportunities to progress along a career path. Are your advancement policies discriminatory? Find out what’s going on and fix it.

11. Revisit Your Benefits

Does your company recognize employees in different life stages? Do you support working mothers and fathers? Which holidays do you recognize? If your benefits are designed for a homogenous workforce, it will hamper your workforce diversity goals.

Offer benefits such as onsite daycare, childcare subsidies and flexible schedules, and let new hires know that you are willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays and diversity-friendly (but office appropriate) apparel choices.
Wall Street Journal

The Business Advantages of Workforce Diversity

Let’s discuss the benefits of workforce diversity from a business standpoint. A diverse workforce has increased depth of experience, knowledge. and skills. It is more productive and innovative. It’s impossible to successfully introduce a product into a new market if you don’t understand the culture. Diverse teams can better serve diverse clients.

Through 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets. And gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperformed gender-homogeneous, less inclusive teams by 50%, on average. (Gartner) 

The consulting group BCG found that organizations with above-average diversity on their management teams had higher innovation revenue. 19 percentage points higher, in fact, than companies with below-average leadership diversity. 45% of total revenue versus just 26%. Note that this study involved leadership teams. This underscores the importance of increasing diversity at the highest levels. If you focus only on entry-level positions, you won’t experience the same benefits.

In conclusion, let’s reiterate the steps to increase workforce diversity. First, understand the types of hiring bias. Second, identify which ones are inherent in your process. Third, create a detailed plan to eliminate the biases. Fourth, set a measurable goal for increasing diversity. Fifth, follow the plan and measure results along the way. Sixth, tweak the plan as needed until you reach your diversity goals.

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

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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:

Top 10 Benefits of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Top 10 Benefits of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Whether you are trying to “sell” an applicant tracking system to your management team or CEO, or you are looking to find a better way of managing your candidates and resumes, here are the top 10 benefits of an Applicant Tracking System .

1. Publish your jobs across multiple third party job boards as well as your public job board

With a few clicks, you can post a position to major job boards like Indeed, Google Jobs, LinkedIn Limited Postings, Glassdoor, JuJu, Monster, CareerBuilder, as well as social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter). Have consistent, branded job postings across job boards and your own website.

2. Enable Candidates to Quickly and Easily Apply for Jobs

 This might sound straightforward, but creating an easy and accessible application will allow candidates to quickly and easily apply to your organization. In today’s competitive market, having an ATS will enable you to appeal to the maximum number of qualified candidates.

3. Manage Candidates all in one place and manage the entire recruiting process via your custom workflow

Gone are the days of trying to manage multiple email folders and Excel spreadsheets. Using an ATS allows you to customize your workflow to match your current process.

4. Quickly Identify the Best Candidates and don’t waste time on those that are not a fit

Use pre-screener questions to quickly knock-out unqualified candidates and to prioritize the best ones using automatic scoring. Then systematically review interviewer feedback to focus on high-priority candidates so you can quickly make offers.

5. Automate Routine Tasks

Send notifications to candidates. Schedule interviews. Gather interview feedback. Rate candidates. An ATS can automate all of these functions and more, enabling recruiters to the highest value-added activities.

6. Enhance Reporting and Compliance

Keep management up-to-date on the candidate pipelines for each job and effectiveness of different job boards. Easily capture, track, and report voluntary EEO data, while remaining in compliance with the guidelines set forth by the EEO/OFCCP.

7. Streamline Employee Onboarding

Once a candidate has accepted an offer, automatically move them through the onboarding process. Use the system to ensure the completion of paperwork, scheduling of required initial meetings, set-up of IT services, and more!

8. Your New Employees Virtual Assistant

A hire portal with username and password allows for a secure portal for your new employees to see all relevant information and see all tasks assigned to him or her.

9. Eliminate all Employee Onboarding Paperwork

Easily assign all new hire paperwork such as state and federal tax forms, health plans, employee manuals, training videos, etc. Have the new employee complete and sign all items online.

10. Improve Communication & Reduce Friction

No more chasing down interviewers to schedule interviews or gather feedback. Don’t worry about notifying candidates. Easily provide status updates to management. Let the ATS do it!

 

New Employee Onboarding Checklist [Updated 2019]

New Employee Onboarding Checklist [Updated 2019]

Onboarding a new employee can be quite challenging and time-consuming.  Every phase of the employee onboarding process is important, so make sure to have a new hire checklist to onboard your new employee.  You can use the following outline as a guide, however, every organization will have its own unique requirements.  These tasks will need to be adjusted for the type of employment (full time, part time, seasonal), but having an initial, general list will provide a good starting point for different positions.  We have outlined a new employee onboarding checklist to make it less daunting.

Step 1:

Create a list of tasks that new employees will need to complete and that current team members will need to work on/setup prior to the new employees first day.  Example tasks to put on new hire checklist could include, but are not limited to:

Prepare any State & Federal tax forms that need to be completed.  Some of these forms might require input from multiple individuals.  Having a system in place where these can be created and completed online can save time and resources.  The ability to upload these forms form a library can be beneficial to any busy HR professional.

Prepare any job-related forms that will need to be completed and/or signed by the employee or current team member.  Having a system in place to easily upload and create fillable forms can make this task much easier.

Gather any health insurance forms and benefits information

Identify any computer or other peripheral needs that need to be set up prior to the employee arriving on the first-day

Order any technology equipment

Order phone and create new extension

Obtain a new photo ID

Order business cards

Order any materials/supplies needed by the new employee

Make any arrangements for parking/transportation

Add new employee to relevant email lists

Identify any socialization tasks such as a tour of facilities or welcome lunch/meeting

Step 2:

Put together any supporting documents and links to any videos.  These should be items that do not require any input or signatures.  Example supporting documents might be included on a new hire checklist include, but are not limited to:

Welcome message for new employees

Contact namesNew Hire checklist - library

Phone/extension list

Any training material or videos that will need to be watched

Benefit packages to review

 

Step 3:

Assign tasks from the new employee onboarding checklist to current team members and new hires.  An automated process for task reminders is an invaluable tool.  Having the ability to set deadlines with reminders will ensure that the tasks will get done.  It is also helpful to be able to visually see the progress indicators that show any outstanding tasks.

Assign all tasks to any relevant person with a due datenew hire checklist - checklist

Order assignments according to time needed to complete tasks and dependencies between tasks

Create email remainders

Monitor completion of tasks on the new hire checklist

Step 4:

Establish clear communication with the new hire.  Having an employee portal to facilitate the new hire checklist can make this much easier.  An employee portal can be viewed as their own virtual assistant that can help the onboarding process run smoothly.  Here are some items to include when using a portal:

Their manager’s contact information

List of tasks from the new hire checklist

Any materials that they need to review and/or sign (from Steps 1 & 2) A progress indicator and list of deadlines to help the new hire complete all the tasks

Step 5:

Review your plan and make necessary tweaks for the next employee.  Don’t assume that one new hire checklist is going to fit all employees!  Luckily fully-automated tools such as ApplicantStack Onboard allow for on the fly updates and customizations.

Ready to implement your new employee onboarding checklist? Download a copy of our checklist here:

New Employee Onboarding Checklist

How to Create a Smooth Online Application Process

As any recruiter or HR professional will tell you, one of the primary considerations you should make with any new recruitment technology is the experience of the candidate. Process automation is great, but first you have to get good, qualified candidates to apply for your positions. And it all starts with having a robust, smooth and easy-to-use online application process.

We’ve worked with hundreds of companies to set up their online career site, job board and online application. We also talk with candidates who are applying on these sites, so we hear first-hand the ways that they can get frustrated and tripped up. The following are some of our suggestions for a great online application process.

Brand your employment site to match your website

The first thing a candidate will notice when they hit your employment portal is the overall look and feel of the site. Having your company name and logo is an excellent start, but even better is having a site that matches your main website’s design and navigation, to give a consistent, professional impression to the candidate.

For example, here are a few ApplicantStack customer employment sites that we think provide a consistent, clean brand image to the candidate:

Keep in mind that having an employment site that matches your website doesn’t require that your existing website administrator create the site. Many third-party systems for employment sites are able to create a “skin” which matches the website, so it will appear consistent to the candidate even though it’s running on a different system.

Make sure your job information is up-to-date and complete

You want to make sure the list of jobs and job descriptions on your site are complete and up-to-date. One of the primary benefits of an employment site is to enable candidate self-service so they are not calling up your company to inquire about your jobs. But if you have out-of-date jobs on your site or don’t provide all the details of your jobs, you will be missing one of the primary benefits of an employment site.

Having a good applicant tracking system is an excellent way to make sure the information on your employment site stays up-to-date and complete. When you post a new job you can push it automatically to your employment site. Similarly, if you modify the details of a job or close a job, the change can be made automatically in real-time. This sure beats having to submit a request to your website administrator to update your site each time your jobs change.

Decide how much you want to ask of candidates when they apply

When designing your online application you should consider how many fields you will ask the candidate to fill out in order to apply. Many organizations just ask for basic contact information (Name, Address, Phone, Email) and a Resume, while others may ask the candidate to fill out a complete Employment Application with separate sections for Personal Information, Education, Employment History, References, etc. Still others will ask for basic contact information and then ask some job-specific screening questions.

There is no right or wrong size for an online application, but you should weigh the trade-offs. In general, the more fields you ask in an online form, the less people you will have complete the form. However, it is often advantageous to collect all the information you need in your hiring process up-front, rather than having to request it later in the process. Also, many companies, such as those under OFCCP regulation, are required to review each application and document the review, so it may be advantageous to restrict applications to only those most serious candidates.

Keep the application simple

Many forms on the web these days, especially those designed by us web developers, tend to be a bit “too clever”. Developers have this nasty habit of trying to take advantage of every technology at their disposal, even if it doesn’t improve the user’s experience. You want to project a modern image to your candidates, but if you try to make your application too fancy it can make it hard for the candidate to fill out.

For example, scripts and animations during the application can look cool but can also get in the way of the basic task of filling out the fields. This is especially true of longer applications such as a complete employment application. Web technology was built with a very simple, but robust way to capture data through forms, and often just sticking to these web standards will result in the most usable forms.

Any web site should keep in mind that users will be coming from multiple environments and browsers, which is even more reason to keep the application simple and stick with standards. The animation where the screen scrolls up and prompts the user to fill out a missing field may look great on your browser, but someone on another (older?) browser may find it prevents them from completing the application. Better to just do the validation when the user clicks Submit and come back with a prompt for any missing data.

Don’t make the candidate re-enter data

There’s nothing more frustrating than being asked to fill out questions in an application process that you’ve already answered somewhere else. For example, you provide your Contact Information when you register with the system, but then when you go to apply to a job the system asks you to fill it out again. Or even worse is when you apply for one job, then go and apply for a second job and the system asks you to fill out the complete application again.

A good application system should be able to save an applicant’s information and re-use it later in the process to prevent duplicate (or triplicate!) data entry.

Be careful of data loss resulting from timeouts and lost sessions

Actually, there is something more frustrating than having to enter data you’ve already entered somewhere else, and that is having the data you’ve spent so much time entering suddenly lost. We’ve all had the experience of filling out a form, entering a comment or composing an email, and then clicking Submit only to lose the data entirely. Sometimes a person will take the time to enter the information again, but more often they will just leave in frustration.

The usual culprit in these situations is system timeouts and lost sessions in your application system. For example, if a candidate has the Apply page up and partially filled out, then is called away from her computer suddenly, when she comes back to Submit the application she may find that her session with the system has timed out and the data she entered on previous pages is lost.

Most good application systems will be engineered to prevent this type of data loss, but you should definitely test it out. For a simple test, just start an application and go half-way through, then leave the screen up over night and in the morning try to submit. If the page comes back with a “Your session has ended” message and you can’t get back to your data, there is session timeout problem and there’s a good chance it will affect your candidates.

Single page or multiple page?

When designing your online application you will need to decide whether you want to have all fields on a single page, with the Submit button at the bottom, or broken up into multiple pages with Next and Back buttons. There are advantages to either method, but you need to consider the trade-offs:

Single Page Application:

  • Allows the candidate to see everything they are being asked to submit and thus determine if they have time to complete it in this sitting
  • Keeps the application process simple (less moving parts)
  • Prevents data loss because all information is submitted at once, rather than kept in session memory (see session timeout issue above)

Multiple Page Application:

  • For very long applications, breaking it up into multiple pages can make it not seem as long to the candidate
  • The system can validate the information page by page and provide more immediate feedback, rather than all at once at the end
  • You can use questions on previous pages to trigger logic on later pages (i.e. skip questions), although this does make developing the application quite a bit more complex

For most cases we prefer single-page applications because of the simplicity and ease-of-use. But either method can be implemented successfully.

Provide confirmation and information on next steps

Finally, after the candidate has submitted his or her application you should provide a confirmation message that the application was received. Along with a general confirmation message, you may also want to consider providing some additional information to help the candidate understand the next steps in the process. For example:

  • If you will be sending email communication from a central email address (i.e. [email protected]), you can ask the candidate to add this email address to their address book / white list so your emails won’t be accidentally caught as spam.
  • Tell the user when they should expect to hear from you, for example, “We will review all applications within 2 weeks.”
  • Tell the user the next step to expect in the process, such as a phone screen or skills assessment test.
  • If you don’t want the candidate to call you to ask about the status of their application, you should probably tell them so

Moving from a manual application process to an online process has the potential to drastically improve your recruiting workflow and provide a great first impression to your candidates. But you need to make sure that the process you set up isn’t going to result in frustration on the part of your internal users OR candidates.