Hiring Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide

Hiring Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide

At some point in your role as a hiring manager you’re going to be faced with the question of how to hire the perfect employee. Hiring an employee is one of the most critical functions you can fulfill as a hiring manager.

Hiring an employee is a lot like getting married; you’re going to spend a lot of time with this person. Employees who work in the same office spend over 2,000 hours together each year. You need to find the perfect person who has the skills, work ethic, and fit for your culture.

How do you find the perfect employee? It’s a matter of knowing the steps and sticking to them.

This hiring guide will teach you all the essentials and some extras that will help ensure that the next time you hire a new employee it’s a perfect match. Everyone wants great employees. You have a much better chance of hiring them if you have an efficient process in place.

Let’s get started

Step Zero: Know Your Organizational Needs

Before you rush headlong into hiring, take a moment to review your company’s needs. It’s a good idea to write a few things down as you get started. This will help you stay on track and address the needs that initiated hiring a new employee in the first place.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Is there really a need for a full-time employee?
  • Can the job be temporary, part-time, seasonal, or outsourced?
  • Does the new job affect your ACA status?
  • Where is the job in the organization?
  • How will the change affect the organization?
  • Is there a deadline for hiring?

Test Your Assumptions

Even if you feel that you know what your company needs, take the time to test your assumptions. Run through some scenarios as a sanity check. Check with other managers and interview employees.

Ask questions about the role you are considering. You’ll use this information to refine your understanding for the job role in the next step. Be wary of bias. Employees and even managers will craft their answers to get the extra help.

To avoid biased answers, ask direct questions about the specific functions the new employee will fulfill. Ask about expected outcomes, and how those outcomes will move the business forward.

Collect your notes and refine your written understanding of the business case for hiring a new employee. Now run a few scenarios to determine if your expected outcomes are viable, what it will take for the employee to meet those expected outcomes, and whether the outcome solves the original problem.

Resources for Knowing Your Company Needs A New Employee

Here are a few resources that can help you gather your thoughts on why you might need a new employee. Look for ideas to focus your hiring effort on solving your original need with a better understanding of your objectives for the new hire:

Step 1: Create a Job DescriptionStep 1 Create a Job description

Hiring your perfect next employee begins with writing a great job description. The job description serves many important purposes:

  • Defines the job responsibilities
  • Reduces the candidate pool to those who qualify
  • Introduces the applicant to the company and its culture

It’s important that your written job description includes all the right components to communicate all the right requirements. This will help you get to your most compatible hiring candidates faster than your competition.

The Components of a Great Job Description

Keep your job description simple and to the point. Be sure to include all the details that a candidate needs to know about the job. The job description is your first opportunity to attract qualified candidates and filter out the ones who aren’t a good fit.

The components of a good job description include:

  • Job location
  • Job title
  • List of job responsibilities
  • List of candidate requirements
  • List of desired candidate credentials
  • Statement about company and benefits
  • EEOC statement

Effective job descriptions avoid acronyms and jargon. They are clear and concise. They convey the company’s personality and make it easy for candidates to judge whether they want the job and if they qualify.

Be sure to choose and stick with a standard format for all of your job descriptions. This will make it easier to create new job descriptions and will present your company in the best light.

You can find plenty of examples of job descriptions by searching Google or visiting popular job sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, JuJu, and CareerBuilder. Use these examples to craft your own unique version. If you copy a template to get you started, be sure to rewrite the description so that it fits your company profile and prioritizes your key requirements.

Get Team Input on Job Descriptions

When you have your description drafted, get input from the team. This will help you refine priorities and get buy-in from your team on the kind of person you are seeking. This early input will assure you won’t have any surprises in later stages of the hiring process.

Share your job description with key team members and consider asking them the following questions for focused feedback:

  • Is it complete?
  • Is there a clear distinction between requirements and nice-to-have qualities?
  • Is this an accurate description of what the company needs?
  • Is the pay rate appropriate for the described position?
  • How does this description compare to jobs listed by the competition?

The job description is important both during the hiring process and as a clear yardstick for measuring performance. If you cannot evaluate an employee against this description, you should revise it.

Resources for Writing the Perfect Job Description

In addition to the advice in this section, there are many resources on the web to help guide you. I’ve gathered some of the more helpful job description resources and listed them here for you. These additional resources will help you write the perfect description for your perfect next hire:

Step 2: Pre-Screen PreparationStep 2 Prescreening prep

With a great job description in hand you can expect to attract top talent. Before you post the job, take a few minutes to think about what criteria you will use to determine which applicants deserve your attention.

It’s important to have this list together before you post your job so you are ready to handle incoming applications in a timely manner. Screening applicants will take more time if you aren’t prepared. When applications start coming in, you’ll want to screen them as quickly as possible so you don’t lose a perfect candidate in the waiting.

Defining Your Screening Questions

Look at your list of requirements (…I told you they’d come in handy). For each one, think of a question that you can ask each applicant to determine if they are qualified. Sometimes this will be a yes/no question. For example, you might require that the applicant be authorized to work in the US. Or you might require that they be at least 21 years old. In these examples, the answer is clear cut. Ask a yes/no question.

Other qualifications are better posed as multiple-choice questions. For example, if you require a specific college degree or certification, you could ask their highest level of education and provide a list to choose from. Consider this example:

  • High School Degree
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Master’s Degree

Similarly, you could ask for years of work experience and provide ranges. Remember, if you have ranges be sure they don’t overlap!

Be sure to include answers that fall outside your requirement range. In this example, “High School Degree.” This will allow candidates who don’t match your criteria to self-select for the wrong options. In this case, “High School Degree” becomes a knockout answer in your screening if you are looking for an associate degree or higher.

Prioritizing Your Screening Questions

Once you build your list of questions, consider which ones are appropriate during the initial screening. You want to be able to identify those applicants who are truly disqualified, but you don’t want to eliminate anyone that might be a good candidate for an exceptional reason.

For example, you may find a candidate that doesn’t have the right education level, but that does have an unusual breadth of experience.

Prepare for Screening Early

Take the time to create the screening tools now, rather than waiting until the first applications roll in. There are three great reasons for this:

  1. You will have enough to do when your inbox fills up with applications.
  2. You can still make changes to your description if necessary because you haven’t already posted it!
  3. Once you begin the process, you are competing with other employers to find great candidates. Take the time up front so you don’t slow yourself down after the start.

Prepare to Watch For Keywords In Resume Reviews

Another element of pre-screening comes through the resume.

Think about the keywords you expect to see in a resume that matches the job description. For example, if you are hiring a waitress you might expect the words restaurant, waitress, or server. If you are hiring a controller, you might look for CPA and MBA.

Make a list of the keywords you think will indicate a match. Think about the relative weight each word carries. In the financial officer case, perhaps CPA is more important than MBA.

Using an Applicant Tracking System for Automation

If you use an applicant tracking system (ATS), you may be able to use both the questions and keywords to auto-assess your candidates. This can save a tremendous amount of time.

Applicant tracking systems allow you to automate much of this process. Look for an applicant tracking system that can help you screen candidates automatically.

Even if you don’t have an applicant tracking system, identifying and quantifying your review criteria before you post your job is a good investment. Your competition may be looking for similar job candidates, and you don’t want to slow down the hiring process at this stage.

Be ready and refine your list of questions so that this early phase can go as quickly as possible.

Alert the Team

While you’re at it, make sure that you alert the people on your team who will be involved in the evaluation and selection processes. They need to know what the evaluation criteria are, what their roles and responsibilities are, how the process will work, and how to keep the process moving.

Advanced preparation and transparency are key to success.

Resources That Will Help You Prepare for the Screening Process

In addition to the advice in this section, you can find additional resources to help you prepare for pre-screening your incoming job applicants.
Here is a list of additional resources that will help you prepare for the screening process.

Step 3: Post the Job

step 3 Posting a jobWe’ve come a long way from the old days of placing job ads in print newspapers. In those days, if your best candidate didn’t read the employment section that day, you were out of luck.

You could turn to ‘head hunters’, but there is a hefty price to pay for that. If you have a storefront, you can post your ad in the window or on a bulletin board, but that only gets you as far as the foot traffic walking past your window.

These days, online posting is where it’s at. If you are serious about hiring a new job candidate, your options are online. The question is where to post, and how.

Here are your answers…

Where and How to Post a Job

When it comes to posting a job listing online, there are almost too many options. On the social network side there’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All are important, but there’s more…

There are free job boards like Google for Jobs. There are paid job boards like CareerBuilder and Monster. There are hybrids where you can post free or enhance with a paid version like Indeed and LinkedIn. You can post to your own website and push to search engines or post on specialty boards like Craigslist. Your employees can post to their social media, too.

With all these choices, it can seem daunting. And the thought of a deluge of unqualified applicants can be depressing. Who has the time to post to a dozen sites and manage all the incoming applications?

…Not many busy professionals, but if you want to find the perfect candidate in the shortest time, your best option is to post to as many job boards as possible.

Building Your Job Posting Strategy

You need to have a strategy for where you advertise your job and how you track the performance of each applicant source. To begin, keep it simple…

The first and most obvious source for candidates is your staff. Someone on your team may be qualified and want to apply for the job. Be sure to give them a way to apply. You may even want to give them a few days head start on the process. Hiring candidates from within the company is less expensive and provides an opportunity to hire experienced workers into more responsible positions. This strategy can be very effective and allows you to shift your hiring strategy to a more entry-level position if you are successful. Risk is lower, and you’ll save a lot of time and expense.

Your staff may also have people in their social network who can qualify for the job. Many companies provide incentives for referrals for just this reason. Social media has made it easy to reach friends of friends. Referrals can shorten your hiring timeline and increases your trust in the new employee. Make it easy for staff to alert their connections to the job opportunities at your company.

Another obvious place to put your job openings is on your own job board. If your company has a website, put it there. Make sure applicants can see the entire job description and have options to apply or refer a friend. The application process should include a way for the applicant to send their resume and provide contact information.

If you have an applicant tracking system, it may offer a custom job board for you. These can be handy because they have built-in search and display options that your own website may not support, and can be connected to your site through a “Jobs” link. They also typically provide a way to upload a resume and fill out an application. These handy options can reduce the time it takes to find a viable job candidate.

Commercial Job Boards

Free and paid job boards are essential for today’s job hiring environment for several reasons:

  • People seeking jobs routinely visit these sites.
  • Your posting is on equal footing with other postings, making small and mid-size companies more competitive for job applicants.
  • Filters and search criteria may identify your company as the best match for a qualified applicant that otherwise may not have thought to consider your position.

Job boards provide an easy mechanism to connect you with more job seekers. The more job seekers you can get in front of, the higher the chance you will find that perfect next candidate. Job boards will also reduce the time it takes to find a candidate. This is critical in today’s competitive job environment. The faster you can find that perfect job candidate, the quicker you can fulfill those job requirements we talked about in Step 0.

Professional job boards are critical. Use them.

Which Job Boards to Choose

Now comes the complicated part: choosing the job boards that are right for you and the job at hand.

You may find that paid listings are worthwhile when there is a lot of competition for applicants. Paid listings get a higher profile on the site. You may also find that for some jobs, you have better success with niche job boards.

Free listings are a no-brainer. Post your job to as many free job boards as possible. This will take some time, but you can reduce that time if you have followed the advice in the first three sections of our process:

  1. You know your organizational needs.
  2. You have a solid job description ready to cut and paste.
  3. You have your pre-screening questions ready to go.

Paid job boards are essential if you are competing with other national companies, have specific skill requirements that are unique, or have highly specialized requirements. Paid job boards can be important, too, if you are hiring for a highly competitive job role or need a candidate fast.

Paid job boards will highlight your listing based on a higher level of criteria. They will also use featured tools to match your job description with candidate skills. You may find that paid listings offer more advanced tools that can help you solve your hiring needs faster, and with a more perfect candidate.

Tracking Your Job Applicants

Whichever you choose, or if you choose all the above, be sure to track the source of all applicants so you can tell which ones are delivering good candidates. Remember that results may vary based on the particulars of the job description, so track that too.

Variables that might affect the quantity and quality of responses from any given job board and posting include job location, job type, education level, years of experience, hours, and physical requirements.

Of course, time is the gating factor in doing this kind of analysis. If you are doing all this by hand, you may find that you are quickly overwhelmed. An ATS system can be very handy in reducing the amount of effort you have to apply to track applicants. Applicant tracking software will also help you generate important data that can make your next hire even more competitive, quick and easy.

Setting Up Your Job Boards

Each job board has its own setup requirements. Try to keep your company and contact information similar across the boards. This will help you minimize maintenance activities.

Keep your login information secure but easily accessible for when you do your posting. Schedule time to post each job to the boards you choose. Be ready on the receiving side to field the applications as they come in. If you are doing this by hand, you’ll need to plan time to watch for email notifications or login to view new applications. Respond to them as quickly as you can.

Don’t Forget Social Media

Remember that social media can be an effective channel for job posting as well. Create company accounts for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to cover the major bases. Make posting to these channels part of your regular job posting routine.

It’s easy to forget your social networks. You’ll want to plan time each day to check each social network for new applications, comments, shares and likes. Don’t forget to check your inbox for questions or private messages; social networks offer a wide range of communication options. You need to keep an eye on each of them.

Applicant Tracking Software Can Help

Applicant tracking systems can be a big help in the job posting process. Doing all this by hand is possible, but applicant tracking software will reduce the time required by a significant amount. It can also help you find that perfect job candidate a lot quicker. You’ll beat the competition to the better candidate and fill your job needs faster.

Applicant tracking software can provide many efficiencies, letting you:

  • Post to all job boards at one time.
  • Manage your credentials for each job board so you don’t have to login separately.
  • Automatically track application sources and job applicant details.
  • Post to social media and track responses automatically.
  • Generate unique links for posting to niche job boards or email.
  • Create and maintain an internal job board.
  • Automate screening of candidates based on your criteria.
  • Automatically receive and store applications and resumes.

If you are serious about hiring or have a high turnover in your business, consider an applicant tracking system to help you optimize your hiring process.

Resources To Find The Right Job Boards For Your Next Job Opening

Here are some additional resources you can look to for advice on which job boards to post to. Many job boards provide niche opportunities or special features that may be specific to your industry. Do a little research before you decide, make a list, and post to as many as you can:

Niche job sites:

Step 4: Initial ScreeningStep 4 candidate screening

Now comes the fun part! Once you’ve defined and advertised your job, get ready to field applications.

The beginning of this step in the process should be an email from you to your applicant that acknowledges receipt of their application. You’ll want to communicate to your applicants as soon as possible to let them know they are in the running. This will keep their attention on your company and tune them into responding quickly.

Set this up as an automated task so that you:

  • Save time otherwise spent sending individual responses.
  • Appear interested and responsive.
  • Avoid phone and email calls from applicants seeking status.
  • Present a consistent and timely message to all applicants.
  • Buy a little time for screening.

Focus Your Candidate Screening

The first level of screening should focus on 2 objectives:

  1. Knockout the clearly unqualified.
  2. Highlight the top candidates.

You can save your team a lot of time by removing candidates that do not make the grade for the job.

At the same time, though, be careful not to knockout a candidate that might be exceptionally qualified. For example, if you have a job that requires an undergraduate degree in computer science, anyone without it might be considered unqualified. However, you might have a candidate that has extraordinary experience that makes them worth hiring (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg were all college dropouts).

Use the questions and keywords list you devised in step 2 to help you do a quick evaluation and sort the applications. You may want to do this in batches or at the end of the job opening window to save time. However, this may come at the cost of losing top talent to time.

Sorting Out Top Job Candidates

After the quick sort, go through each candidate in detail starting with the top candidate. Double check the knockouts. Then decide which ones deserve to go to the next level.

For those not moving on, consider whether they should be retained in the pool of potential future candidates. For example, if the applicant is a student who will graduate the following year, perhaps they could be a candidate for an internship in the summer or an entry-level position in the future.

Keep Communicating with Job Candidates

It’s a good idea at this point to send another email to all candidates. Give them a status update. For candidates moving on, let them know that they will be scheduled for a phone or in-person interview. For the rest, let them know that they were not chosen for the position.

Be sure to follow company guidelines and HR best practices for the content of these emails.

Watch for Bottlenecks in Your Screening Process

The initial screening can be a painful process for all involved. There can be a great deal of inefficiency, particularly if you have a high response rate. This step in the process can be fraught with danger.

You can miss great candidates because knockouts are too restrictive. You can lose other great candidates because they are snatched up by others before you finish your process. You can waste precious time wading through unqualified applications.

If you find the screening process to be a bottleneck for your organization, consider an applicant tracking system. An ATS can automate many of the tasks associated with this important first touch with applicants. For example, you can set up automated emails for each step in your process.

You can also typically have the applications go directly to the ATS (instead of your email) and scored against your criteria. This allows you to skip right to reviewing candidates in priority order. It is much easier to review candidates when you see them in context of each other and can go to details quickly and easily without jumping back and forth between files or pieces of paper.

Resources to Help You Screen Your Job Applicants

Here are additional resources to help you screen your job applicants. This is a critical stage of your hiring process, and it makes sense to have a good grasp of what you’ll be dealing with. Applicants will respond to your communications in a variety of ways, some positive and some with frustration.

Be prepared to handle the task by learning all you can in this area. Here are some great resources to help you build on this advice:

Rejection Letter Examples

Screening Questions

Screening Methods

Step 5: Schedule Interviewsstep 5 scheduling interviews

Once you’ve eliminated the unqualified, it is time to go to the next level. Interviews.

Typically this is either a phone interview (as a second screening) or an in-person interview. Either way, the candidate and one or more of your staff need to agree on a date and time for the interview.

Scheduling seems like a simple task but rarely is. It can be particularly frustrating when calendars are constantly filling up. Another issue is how the substance of the interview is shared with others. As much as possible, try to move the process quickly and efficiently so that valuable time is not wasted.

Scheduling Interviews

On the scheduling side, use a scheduling tool that can access the calendars of all your staff involved in the interview. You can then set a date and time for the interview and communicate it to your candidate.

Even better, set a window for the candidate to select a date/time combination that also works for them. This is particularly important if you have multiple candidates and multiple interviewers.

For example, if you have 10 candidates that appear qualified based on their applications, you should conduct an initial phone interview with each prior to an in-person interview. This will give you a chance to reduce the number of people you have come into the office for team interviews.

You’ll save a lot of time if you can send an automatic email to each job candidate. Invite them to choose an interview date and time based on your calendar. Offer a selection of times, or use a tool such as Calendly to offer a range of times with automated scheduling. Even better, use your ATS system to manage everyone’s schedule.

As each of the 10 candidates in our example follow the link, they see the combinations still available to them. Once each chooses an interview slot, the pool of available times goes down by one.

Include Team Scheduling to Optimize Time

In another example, let’s say you are hiring 10 seasonal waitresses. You have 20 applicants that seem qualified so you want to schedule them for an in-person interview with you and several team members.

In this case, you’ll want to schedule time with your team and announce a speed-date interview session to each of your candidates. Scheduling specific times won’t be necessary if you block out a time and receive candidates as they come in. Candidates won’t mind waiting a few minutes to get started, and you can round-robin your team so that everyone is conducting an interview at the same time.

Send an automated email inviting the candidates to come at a specific date/time that fits your team’s schedule. Receive candidates as they come in.

You may even want to do a series of phone and in-person interviews in a similar round-robin format where you hand off to the next teammate after each 15-minute call. Whichever method you choose, scheduling is going to be a big part of the process.

Everyone Involved, from candidate to hiring manager, needs to be looped in as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, most people now use either Google or Outlook calendars, so coordination should be possible.

Resources for Scheduling Interviews and Managing Time

Here are some interviewing related resources that will help prepare you for interviewing new job candidates.

Here are some scheduling related resources that can help you optimize your time and reduce the impact on your team during the interview process.

Step 6: Collect Feedbackstep 6 collecting feedback

One of the hardest steps on the path to hiring can be quantifying feedback. If the process is working right, unqualified candidates were eliminated early, so there can be a risk of feedback becoming very subjective.

Start with Hiring Criteria

To help ensure that all of your staff evaluates candidates in a consistent manner, start with the hiring criteria.

Make sure everyone is on board with the qualification list and what constitutes a good match. Create a feedback form that everyone uses so that you can compare all perspectives. Make it as quantitative as possible, then give some room for opinion. Let everyone weigh in, and then combine the data for easy review.

Collecting Feedback from your Team

Make sure you include instructions for providing feedback. Instructions can include the interview criteria themselves. Also include the method for providing feedback, whether by email or printed form. Let your team know when the feedback is due, and be wary that this process can take a lot of time.

To shorten the time, ask for feedback immediately. This will keep the interview process as short as possible. You’ll also get fresh feedback that doesn’t rely on memory.

Share Feedback to Your Team

After the interviews are complete and all the evaluations are in, make them available to the team so they can do a final assessment on which candidates are top contenders. Make it as easy for them as possible, presenting all assessments for each candidate, and a roll-up for all candidates.

It’s a good idea to provide a summary survey that each team member can complete. This summary survey can ask them questions about their final analysis including which candidate they felt was the most perfect for the job.

Have each team member name their top three candidates in order of priority to make it easier to match the best job candidates.

Make it as easy as possible to narrow the field.

Resource on How to Assess Job Candidates

You can learn more about interviewing and assessing candidates from this resource.

Step 7: Make a Selectionstep 7 Making selections

At this point, you should be down to only a few candidates for the position.

It’s time to check references and do background checks.

Checking References of Job Candidates

You may have collected references at the very beginning of the process or may do it now. In any case, this is usually the point where you invest time talking to previous employers and looking for any issues that were not already uncovered.

Try to automate this process as much as you can. For example, send an automated email to the references asking them to fill out a linked questionnaire. To speed this step, call references and fill out the questionnaire yourself. Either way, try to gather information in a consistent manner from each reference for each final candidate.

To save time, you can begin checking references during the interview process. Create a checklist and ask a team member to conduct phone interviews while candidates are being interviewed.

Performing Background Checks on Job Candidates

There are many organizations that can conduct a background check and other specialized checks that you might require such as drug testing and driver history. Notify the candidates to let them know you are conducting the checks.

Background checks are best handled by a professional company that specializes in background checks. Note that there may be regulations to navigate. Be careful not to ask for information that may be protected either federally or by state law.

If you are conducting background checks, make sure your job candidates know up front. There is likely paperwork and agreements to sign before background checks can be initiated.

Let everyone know what the criteria are for the background checks, and provide candidates the opportunity to opt out if they have concerns.

Making a Selection

Once the checks are complete, it is time to make a selection. Give the selection team access to all candidate information (unless it is confidential) and make it easy to compare candidates if there are more than one still standing. There are tools available to speed this process and make it easier to review all candidate and reviewer information.

Resources to Help You Make a New Hire Selection

Here are some additional resources that can help you make a selection. This is the most nerve-wracking part of the hiring process, and it deserves some additional know-how. Learn as much as you can about selecting your next new hire and get comfortable with the stresses of selecting candidates.

Step 8: Offer the Jobstep 8 Offer Job

Now that a decision has been made by you and your company, it is time for the applicant to weigh in. If everything has gone well, the candidate is excited about the job and wants to join your company. If everything has gone fast, the candidate is still available for hire.

Send an Offer Letter

Send an offer letter that states clearly the key information about the offer, including wage, location and start date. You might also want to include where and when to report and any other details that are specific to the offer.

Give the candidate a signature line and send it out.

Get to this process as quickly as you can. Remember you have competition out there. Now that you have identified this person as the perfect candidate, you can be certain that others have, too.

It helps to have a job offer ready to go before you start the process. Begin with a template…

Use a Job Offer Template

Use an offer letter template to make this a speedy and consistent process. Create the template in advance and have it ready to go for this and your next hire.

Include your company logo, standard text and merge fields where you can easily add the details for the specific offer. Keep this template on hand for future job offers so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It helps to save time, too.

The offer step is important to execute as quickly as possible, so it helps to have the tools standing by to get the job done fast.

Resources to Help You Formulate Your Job Offer

Here are some samples and resources that can be useful in defining your offer.

Step 9: HireStep 9 - hired

Congratulations! You have crossed the goal line and have successfully filled the job.

But just as in football, there is still work to do after the touchdown. Time to go for the extra point—onboarding your new hire now, before they report to work.

Onboarding Your New Hire

Onboarding is a topic for another day, but suffice it to say that there is a huge upside to tackling onboarding ahead of the first day. It makes day one more productive and less painful for everyone from the new hire to hiring manager and colleagues.

It also helps establish your new hire faster and more productively. Onboarding can save you months of ramp-up time and helps build company loyalty in your new employee. Statistics show that employees who experience a thorough onboarding process are more likely to spend more time at the company, and will be more productive, faster.

Onboarding typically includes a lot of paperwork. Instead of having new hires spend hours in the new workplace filling out forms, give them the power to do the work at their convenience before reporting to work. Employee self-serve portals, online documentation, digital employee handbooks and a personal digital file cabinet are all part of the onboarding process.

With onboarding, employees have the opportunity to complete tasks before they come to work. Then when they come to work, they are ready to work.

The Components of Onboarding

The onboarding process is specific to every company, so it’s hard to determine a standard. However, there are common onboarding processes that you will want to consider.

Here are some common components of onboarding:

  • Tax forms
  • WOTC forms
  • ACA forms
  • Benefits enrollment
  • Direct deposit and payroll details
  • Emergency contact information
  • Employee handbook review
  • Policies and procedures
  • Safety instructions
  • Timekeeping instructions

There is a great deal of efficiency to be had for all involved simply by moving these processes off paper and online. There are plenty of tools available to help you make that happen and make everyone involved jazzed about getting down to business on day one.

Resources for Onboarding Your Perfect Next Employee

Here are some resources that can be useful in understanding the scope of onboarding and ways you can streamline the process.

The Ultimate Guide To Hiring Your Perfect Next Employee

So there you go. If you’ve made it this far you have a pretty complete understanding of the hiring process. Use this guide to plan your next hire. You’ll find the steps in this guide to be invaluable to finding and hiring your perfect next employee.

Good luck!

Constantly Hiring? 4 Ways To Streamline The New Hire Process Fast

Constantly Hiring? 4 Ways To Streamline The New Hire Process Fast

new job, hiring and employment concept – international team of recruiters having interview and shaking hands with asian female employee at office

Do you need to streamline the new hire process? Are you a hiring manager with a mess on your hands?

In this Reddit forum, a hiring manager describes why her job is a nightmare.

  • No recruiting software
  • High turnover
  • Constant onboarding
    • Daily new hires to be processed
  • Always in panic mode
  • Bosses make unrealistic demands
  • Too many priorities to get anything done

Does this sound like your job?

Crisis Intervention For New Hire Chaos

  1. Evaluate current process (or lack thereof)
  2. Identify and prioritize problems
  3. Create plan to streamline workflows
  4. Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Assess Current Hiring Practices

If your processes are manual, measuring outcomes is difficult. Where do you start? Right here:

Get feedback from:

  • Recruiters
  • Team leads

Calculate time-to-hire:

  • Measure time from job posting to acceptance
  • Break down total duration by each step
  • Identify bottlenecks

Calculate staff turnover rate

The turnover rate is defined as the number of employees you must replace in a specified time frame. Depending on the size of your staff, calculate by month, quarter, or year.

Compare your rate to the average for your industry and geographic area on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. Hard numbers give you insight. If your industry has an especially high turnover rate, you can take comfort that others are fighting the same battle. If you are an outlier, it means your processes are making a bad situation worse.

If you have an ATS, look at your analytics. Run reports for everything. Even those that don’t seem directly related. You may learn something new.

Gather your information and figure out what’s going right or wrong. Create a plan for fixing the problems. These steps will help:

Improve Job Descriptions

If you aren’t getting qualified applicants, fix your job descriptions.

Start with the jobs that attract the most unqualified applicants. These job descriptions need to be better defined. Consult with the hiring team members listed in step one.

All job descriptions should have:

  1. Starting date range
  2. Salary range
  3. Benefits and perks
  4. Required skills and experience
  5. Ideal skills and experience
  6. Hiring manager contact information (a real person)
  7. What does the position require on a daily/weekly basis?
  8. Timeline for the hiring process

Many companies don’t include the last two. Add these to your descriptions and differentiate your company. The posting will start performing better.

Check References Before Scheduling Interviews

If you check references after interviewing, you are wasting time. Reference checks are an important filter. If checking references takes too long, make it easier for references to contact you. Give them several avenues: email, phone call, snail mail a letter of reference.

Filter Candidates Faster

You need technology to speed this up. Especially if your workload is ridiculous. Use an ATS to filter applications quickly. You won’t need to read any resumes until the applicant pool is narrowed down.

How you speed up filtering with an ATS:

  • Create a database of all applicants
  • Track where each applicant is in the process
  • Create tasks with reminders
  • Auto emails
    • Email templates
  • Store and manage job postings
  • Application filtering
    • Create questionnaires with knockout questions
  • Integrate with background check company (if you outsource background checks)
  • Structured interviewing questions

Onboarding

Applicant tracking systems with onboarding bring the same efficiency once the candidate accepts the job offer. Managing it with an ATS is called structured onboarding.

  • When hired—simply change status—no need to enter everything again
  • New hires fill out initial paperwork online
    • They can access it from a mobile device
    • They can do it before their first day (you have to pay them for their time)

How To Convince Your Boss That An ATS Is An Absolute Necessity

ApplicantStack recruiting solutions were designed to clean up the new hire mess. With ApplicantStack Recruit and Onboard, you can tame the chaos at your company. Plus, your new hires will stay with your company longer.

Help your boss understand how ApplicantStack Recruit works and how it will pay for itself:

ApplicantStack Recruit Product Walkthrough

ApplicantStack Cost-Per-Hire Calculator

Can My Company Afford an Applicant Tracking System?

 

 

Why Is HR The Last To Get New Technology When Labor Is The Largest Expense?

Why Is HR The Last To Get New Technology When Labor Is The Largest Expense?

Overworked Business Woman
Many businesses neglect HR technology in their quest for improved efficiency. They have automated solutions for accounting, merchant transactions, CRM, manufacturing, online marketing, tech support, and inventory management.

Yet Human Resources trudges along with clipboards and stacks of forms. They wrestle unwieldy spreadsheets. They reenter data because systems can’t talk to each other.

Sound familiar?

Why do businesses ignore the logical place to extract ROI?

Let’s discuss five reasons HR should have technology on par with everyone else.

1. HR Technology Lowers Labor Costs

Labor expenses are not something you can completely eliminate. But every business can find ways to reduce them. Because a variety of factors influence them. A reduction in labor costs provides an immediate revenue boost.

Employee timekeeping integrated with payroll lowers labor costs.

  • Reduce overstaffing
  • Stop paying employees for time not worked
  • Eliminate time theft by buddy punching/time card padding
  • Decrease unnecessary overtime with improved scheduling and alerts
  • Reduce expensive payroll errors

Labor eats the largest chunk of operating expenses. While HR doesn’t generate revenue directly, it can do it indirectly by decreasing labor expenses. Thus, HR is as important as sales, marketing, or widget production.

2. HR Technology Optimizes Recruiting

Recruiting is another expensive necessity. It could be considered a part of labor expenses, but I believe it merits its own section.

You can’t compete without advanced recruiting technology. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) work like CRM for job applicants. They create a database of resumes and applications. A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is not complete without applicant tracking tools.

What does an ATS do? In short, it streamlines and automates the entire recruiting process.

You create and manage job postings, questionnaires, and structured interviews. It posts to multiple job boards. ATS’ automate applicant communication.

With ATS, you can track and filter hundreds of applicants. In less time than processing dozens of applicants manually.

To find out exactly how much you can save with an ATS, use our ApplicantStack Cost-Per-Hire Calculator.

If you are researching HRIS or Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS), look for recruiting tools.

3. Technology Makes Your HR Team More Effective

Competent HR professionals keep your business operating. They are worth every penny you pay them. Why don’t you reduce the tedious paperwork? It will free up their time for high-impact programs. And you won’t have to expand your HR team anytime soon.

4. HR Technology Improves The Employee Experience

Smartly-designed Human Resources portals transform the employee experience. From the applicant journey through onboarding. Continuing with timekeeping and payroll.

Employees access all functions from their smartphone. They can apply, onboard, check their schedule, review time cards, and monitor accruals. Instead of waiting for their managers to circulate shift-change requests on their behalf, they swap shifts on an online trade board. Ditto for PTO requests and changes to their health benefits.

A positive employee experience pays off. It improves internal recruiting and customer service. Engaged team members are dedicated to your company’s success.

5. HR Technology Simplifies Labor Law Compliance

Businesses of all sizes are fined for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state violations. There are strict rules for everything from hire to retire. Interview questions, background checks, minimum wage, overtime, predictive scheduling, and employee classification require automated HR systems.

Create compliant structured interviewing questions. Document and train recruiters on legal hiring practices. Track hours worked, PTO, overtime, and breaks. This ensures compliant payroll processes. Avoid fines, store records for verification, and reduce your risk of a violation.

SwipeClock ApplicantStack

SwipeClock ApplicantStack provides affordable, easy-to-use Human Resources technology. We help you reduce costs, work efficiently, and support your employees.

The Ideal Applicant Journey in 3 Steps: Use Hiring Psychology Like a Pro

The Ideal Applicant Journey in 3 Steps: Use Hiring Psychology Like a Pro

What is applicant journey mapping?

The process of creating a graphical representation or map of a job applicant’s journey. It depicts what the applicant experiences through each stage of the recruiting process.

What is an applicant persona?

A semi-fictional description of your company’s ideal job applicant. 

Both of these methods are components of hiring or recruiting psychology.

Why should you use these techniques to improve your applicant process?

  1. It’s becoming more difficult to find quality employees
  2. A favorable applicant journey improves quality-of-hire
  3. An effective applicant journey improves company brand

What factors have altered the employment landscape?

  1. Millennials are now the largest employee demographic
  2. Unemployment has decreased substantially
  3. Employment patterns have changed
  4. Small companies can compete more effectively
  5. There are skills shortages in emerging industries
  6. Businesses have less control over their online reputation

Are you recruiting like you did ten years ago? This will inhibit growth and lower your chances of success.

Employers Haven’t Responded to the Big Shift

The advantage has shifted from the employer to the job candidate. If your recruiting practices are still company-centric, you will continue to struggle. Hiring will get more difficult.

Consider this:

Only 28% of millennials plan to stay at their job longer than five years.

This means you are starting at a disadvantage with the largest employee demographic. Think about that. When you hire a millennial, they already have low expectations.

It’s critical to raise their expectations. A so-so applicant journey will confirm their perceptions.

The Applicant Journey Influences Your Company Brand

Applicants, employees, and customers interact with your company. Each group shares their experiences online and offline. They don’t exist in separate worlds. A poor applicant journey reinforces a negative brand or reputation.

Successful companies take a holistic approach. They value their applicants and employees as much as they value their customers. Neither exists in a vacuum. Your applicants and employees are also customers.

An applicant who has a negative experience will probably never be a customer. They will discourage others from applying.

Dissatisfied employees also discourage people within their spheres of influence. As we all know, spheres of influence continually expand.

What Can You Do To Create The Ideal Applicant Journey?

Now that we’ve established that old processes don’t work, it’s time to start from scratch.

Any sized company can use hiring psychology. Don’t let the term ‘psychology’ intimidate you.

Follow these steps to create or improve your applicant journey.

Step 1: Create An Applicant Persona

This is representation of a quintessential employee. Not just an ideal applicant, an ideal employee.

How do you identify these elements? Look at your best employees. They may not seem similar at first glance. But they share traits that help them thrive in your culture and their job roles.

Talk to team leads throughout your organization. Conduct ‘stay interviews’ with high-performing employees. Identify their characteristics and what motivates them.

Here are elements in an applicant persona:

  • Biography: Address, education, job title, personality traits
  • Goals: Desired career path, personal ambitions
  • Benefits: What benefits are important to them?
  • Challenges: Why are they looking for a new job? Why are they unsatisfied in their current position?
  • Job Search Process: What avenues and tools do they use? What online sources do they consult to research your company? Who do they talk to?

Go into more detail than you believe is necessary. You may need several personas if you have diverse job roles.

IMPORTANT COMPLIANCE NOTE: Don’t let your applicant persona introduce bias into your hiring process. The point is to improve the experience for the job applicant. For example, your applicant persona may include age if you think it’s relevant. But you can’t discriminate based on age when you hire. Use the fictional lifestyle details to identify and respond to your applicant’s needs. Be especially mindful of protected classes.

Step 2: Map The Applicant Journey

You can’t disrupt your process if you can’t see your process. An applicant journey map portrays the process graphically. The point is to understand it from the applicant’s perspective.

Stages of the Applicant Journey

If you’ve mapped your customer journey, you know the stages or elements. They are only slightly different for a job applicant.

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Interest
  4. Application
  5. Selection
  6. Hire

Touchpoints in the Applicant Journey

What are the touchpoints in the journey? A touchpoint is an interaction between the applicant and your company.

They could include some or all of the following:

  • See your job posting on a job board
  • Visit your careers page
  • Visit your corporate Facebook page
  • Check employee reviews on Glassdoor
  • Talk to a recruiter at a career event
  • Fill out an application
  • Send their resume
  • Receive confirmation email
  • Fill out questionnaire
  • Receive telephone call to schedule interview
  • Come to your office for an interview or have video interview
  • Receive ‘Thank you for interviewing’ email or phone call
  • Receive job offer
  • Accept job offer

Step 3: Determine The Applicant’s Needs

Identify the job candidate’s needs at each stage in the journey. In the customer journey, these are sometimes called pain points. Use your applicant persona.

Their needs will vary depending upon the position. A student applying for a part-time customer service position has different needs than a 45-year-old applying for an executive-level position.

Walk your applicant through the journey. Flesh out what takes place with each touchpoint or interaction. Do this several times. Solicit feedback from everyone on the hiring team. Talk to current employees.

Now you have the tools to remake your recruiting process. The formula looks like this:

Applicant persona + applicant journey + applicant needs = effective recruiting strategy.

Applicant journey mapping will help you:

  • Create highly-targeted job descriptions
  • Identify the most effective recruiting channels
  • Tailor communications to your ideal applicant
  • Eliminate redundant steps
  • Provide multiple avenues of communication

Hiring Software is a Must-Have If You Want To Improve The Applicant Journey

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is the best tool to improve your applicant journey.

  • Create a strategy based on applicant journey mapping
  • Set up hiring workflows in your ATS: job postings, communications, filtering, interviews
  • Automate 90% of workflows
  • Measure hiring outcomes and adjust as necessary

Do you want to start improving your applicant journey today?

SwipeClock ApplicantStack Recruit is ahead of the curve in the recruiting industry. Our web-based hiring software was designed by recruiting professionals. You don’t need to sign a contract. You don’t need help from your IT team.

Start your Free Trial of ApplicantStack Recruit today.

Attention Employers: Reinstatement of Revised EEO-1 Pay Data (EEO-2)

Attention Employers: Reinstatement of Revised EEO-1 Pay Data (EEO-2)

Don’t Miss The 2019 EEO Reporting Deadlines!

In March 2019, a federal judge reinstated the requirement for employers to provide pay data in their EEO report.

Start Today To Gather Component 2, It Takes Longer Than You Think

Pay data for your EEO report is due by September 30, 2019 (for 2017 and 2018).

Does This Reinstatement Affect 2018 EEO-1?

No. The deadline for EEO-1 2018 data is still May 31, 2019.

What Is EEO-1?

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO-1) Report is a mandatory Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) compliance survey. Component 1 requires hiring data categorized by the following:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Job category

A sample copy of the EEO-1 form and instructions are available here.

What Is EEO-2?

EEO Component 2 (EEO-2) is pay data: hours worked and wage paid. You can find instructions here.

Do I File 2018 EEO-1 In The Same Online Portal?

Yes. Use the currently open EEO-1 portal to submit Component 1 data (for 2018) by May 31, 2019.

I Thought EEO-2 (Pay Data) Was Put On Hold

It was, but now it’s back on. There was temporary stay on the previous administration’s proposal. The stay was overturned in March 2019.

Judge Tanya Chutkan overturned the stay in National Women’s Law Center, v. Office of Management and Budget.

Background On The Original Proposal For Pay Data

In 2016, the Obama administration proposed adding employee pay and hours data to the EEO-1 report. Many business owners registered concerns about data security and other issues. The agency and employer groups have had ongoing discussions about security protocols and the use of private contractors to accept, process, and secure the submissions.

Can I Submit EEO-2 Now?

No. The EEOC contractor is not accepting submissions yet. The portal is supposed to be ready for Component 2 on July 15, 2019. The EEOC says it will notify employers if that date changes.

Wasn’t The Recent EEO-1 Reinstatement Decision Appealed?

Yes, the Department of Justice (DOJ) appealed the reinstatement.

But The Appeal Doesn’t Change The EEO-2 Deadline

The appeal doesn’t change the Component 2 deadline: 2017 and 2018 pay data is due September 30, 2019.

What Size Companies Have To File The EEO Report?

If you have 100 or more employees or are owned by an entity with 100+ employees, you are required to file it. If you are a government contractor with 50+ employees, you are required to file it.

State and local government, public schools and universities are generally excluded.

The specifics can be found here.

Use The Same Online Portal For EEO-1 Reports Due May 31, 2019

Filers should continue to use the current EEO-1 portal to turn in their EEO-1 2018 report May 31, 2019.

Check Your Notification Letter For A Temporary Password

The EEOC sent notification letters with a temporary password for EEO-1 submissions for 2018. You should have received your letter before March 18, 2019.

Use the temporary password to reset your password when you access the EEO portal.

Who Is In Charge Of This At The EEOC?

Rashida Dorsey, Ph.D., MPH (Director, Data Development and Information Products Division)

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • 131 M Street NE, Room 4SW32L
  • Washington, DC 20507
  • (202) 663-4355 (voice) (202) 663-7063 (TTY)

In summary:

  • EEO-1 (For 2018) is due May 31, 2019
  • EEO-2 (For 2017 and 2018) is September 31, 2019

What Is The Best Way To Track Wage And Hour Data?

An automated employee timekeeping system synced to a biometric time clock.

What Is The Best Way To Track Demographic Data?

An HR portal supported by a workforce management (WFM) provider. Unified HR portals track demographic data for legal hiring and employment. The systems include onboarding and ongoing HR management. As explained previously, the software providers maintain data security.

When considering the Software as a Service (SaaS) products listed below, inquire about their data security protocols:

SwipeClock provides:

We Keep Your Data Safe

SwipeClock maintains rigorous data security, encryption, and system back-up protocols.

 

(more…)

How To Conduct An Interview: Best Practices to Improve Hiring

How To Conduct An Interview: Best Practices to Improve Hiring


Why learn how to conduct an interview? It’s simple. You will find better employees. Quality employees help you execute your business objectives.

Let’s discuss interview best practices. Notice that steps 1-6 all take place before the candidate arrives. The things you do to prepare are just as important as what you do when you are conducting the interview.

Know The Job Description

If you wrote the job description, you already have a general understanding. But dig deeper. Talk to managers about skills that may not be readily apparent. Ask successful employees what helps them. Update the job description as you gain a better understanding.

Create a Structured Interview

Using unstructured interviews is a common mistakes made by new business owners. Most do it by default, not realizing that there is a better way. Some employers think structured interviews are only for high-level positions. Others believe they can pick a good employee with a ‘gut feeling.’

It’s not hard to create structured interviews. We cover it in depth in this article: Structured Interview Questions: The Ultimate Interview Guide. Follow the steps to create structured interviews for your hiring team.

A structured interview includes standardized scoring. This helps you fairly evaluate each candidate. If there are several decision makers involved, each person should rate the applicant with the same method.

Structured interviews improve hiring for every type of company. Large and small. Entry-level and senior positions.

Part of your structured interview script is an explanation of what your company is all about. Describe your company’s mission and values. Explain the organizational structure.

When you have created your structured interview script, memorize it as best as you can. You have your script to refer to, but learn it well enough to maintain eye contact with the applicant. Practice the script out loud.

Learn Hiring Laws

It’s easy to innocently commit a hiring violation. Business owners and hiring managers do it all the time. Protect your company by learning the do’s and don’ts of legal hiring.

If your company has a legal team, make sure they sign off on your questions.

Review The Candidate’s Application

Don’t go into the interview cold. If you are familiar with the applicant’s background, you will have a context for understanding their answers. It will also help you maintain eye contact and stay on script.

Schedule The Interview Location in Advance

You don’t want to wander around looking  for an open conference room with the applicant in tow. It reflects poorly on your company. It makes the applicant nervous. It’s a bad start all around. If possible, choose a private room with comfortable chairs. Glass-walled fishbowl conference rooms don’t put either of you at ease.

If it’s a video interview, make sure all equipment is ready to go. You don’t want to spend the first ten minutes figuring it out. Nothing diminishes your confidence (and corporate image) like the inability to use technology.

Schedule Enough Time

You don’t want to be rushed. Schedule enough time for the candidate to answer each question in depth. Add a 15 minute buffer between interviews.

Be a Good Communicator

The previous steps were preparatory. Now you are ready for prime time.

  • Turn off your phone or have your assistant hold your calls.
  • Speak slowly, maintain eye contact.
  • Listen intently.
  • Reject any urge to vary from the script.

Any business owner can follow these steps to improve their interviews.

Recruiting Software Helps You Conduct Better Interviews

SwipeClock ApplicantStack provides recruiting software that helps you improve your interviewing process. ApplicantStack Recruit helps you write job descriptions, post to job boards, create structured interviews, and track applicants. The result? You will find and hire quality employees faster.

You can try our recruiting software for free. Visit ApplicantStack Recruit to sign up.