How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series: Making Your Selection

How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series: Making Your Selection

Welcome to our series How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide. In today’s post, we describe how to make a candidate selection with ApplicantStack. We will explain how ApplicantStack streamlines the background and reference check process.

Before we continue, let’s review where we are in the series:

Make Your Hiring Selection With Confidence

The time has come to make a selection from your pool of top candidates. You want to be careful, but you risk losing applicants if this stage takes too long.

You have candidates at every point in the hiring workflow. You can’t afford bottlenecks anywhere along the applicant journey. Every stage is critical, including this one.

Don’t let background and reference checks slow down your hiring process. ApplicantStack helps you optimize this critical stage by narrowing your pool of candidates to the best possible options. Then it eliminates final concerns with background checks and calls to references.

What is a Background Check?

A background check as part of a job application is a review of the applicant’s records and history. The employer wants to determine if the applicant is honest and trustworthy. They want to know if he/she poses a threat to the company in any way. For example, if the applicant has been convicted of theft or an assault, it would raise red flags.

Employers also check other information specific to the job role. For an accounting position, the employer might review the applicant’s financial records. If the applicant was highly leveraged with debt, the potential employer probably wouldn’t be comfortable letting them handle company funds.

Most employers contract with a company that specializes in performing background checks.

The purposes of a background check include the following:

  1. To confirm the applicant’s identity
  2. To determine if the applicant has a criminal record
  3. To confirm the employment history listed on the resume and/or application
  4. To confirm the education listed on the resume and/or application
  5. To review the applicant’s driving record
  6. To review the applicant’s credit history

There are federal and state laws that regulate background checks. It’s important that employers understand how to conduct legal background checks.

When Should I Perform a Background Check For a Job Applicant?

Background checks are generally performed following the review process, before an offer is extended. You can move this action to any point in the process based on triggers in the workflow. When the background check step is triggered, an email is automatically sent to candidates asking them to complete the screen process.

What is a Reference Check?

Employers perform reference checks to evaluate and verify an applicant’s employment history. The candidate provides the names and contact information for the references on their resume or application.

There are two main types of references: professional and personal. A professional reference is usually a previous (or current) employer, manager, business associate, or client. A professional reference provides information about work history and skills.

If an applicant is new to the workforce and has no professional contacts, they might provide a personal, or character, reference. A personal reference may be a teacher, professor, coach, member of the clergy, or supervisor at a non-profit.

Reference checks vary in the types of information obtained. The employer might simply verify dates of employment and the job title. With a more extensive inquiry, the employer seeks information about the applicant’s performance in previous job roles.

Reference checks are regulated at the federal and state level.  It’s important to understand how to conduct compliant reference checks.

How Can ApplicantStack Simplify Reference and Background Checks?

In ApplicantStack, you can trigger reference and background checks at any stage in the hiring process. The applicant provides the references on the questionnaire during the application process. Emails are sent directly to references. All feedback is imported into the candidate profile.

ApplicantStack Automation + Customization

Intelligent automation and the ability to customize prevents logjams. This is true for the background and reference checking stages as well as the other workflows in the hiring process.

  • Background screening
    • This workflow can be triggered at any stage in the hiring process
    • The applicant is automatically sent a screening email
  • Reference checks
    • This workflow can be triggered at any stage in the hiring process
    • Auto emails are sent to the applicant’s references
    • Responses are imported into the candidate feedback tab

Does ApplicantStack Integrate With Background Screening Companies?

ApplicantStack integrates with several background screening companies and we’re adding more all the time. Our current background screening partners are Accurate Now, Amerisearch, CareerBuilder Employment Screening, DISA, and Trak-1.

Select Your Perfect Next Employee

Based on the feedback during the previous steps, you can now make your selection of the top choice candidate. When this stage is finished, you are ready to offer the job to your top candidate!

Join us for the next post where we will teach you how to extend a job offer.

You can watch other videos in this series on our How to Hire Your Perfect Next Employee playlist.

Take a look at this entire series as an infographic!

How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series: Offering a Job

How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series: Offering a Job

Welcome to our series How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide. In today’s post, we describe how to make a job offer to your top candidate.

Before we continue, let’s review where we are in the series:

Making an Offer to Your Perfect Employee

You’ve completed the assessment part of the hiring process and are ready to make an offer to your top candidate. ApplicantStack can help you make this final step quickly and effectively.

There are three main components in extending a job offer:

  1. Creating the offer letter
  2. Communicating the offer to the applicant via phone call and email
  3. Receiving their acceptance (hopefully!)

Don’t Delay!

When you’ve made a selection, don’t delay! If possible, telephone the same day they complete their final interview. Remember you have competition. Now that you have identified this person as the perfect candidate, you can be certain others have as well. The applicant could be waiting for job offers from several of your competitors.

How to Make a Job Offer Telephone Call

  • Be excited! You want your new hire to feel your enthusiasm.
  • Clearly tell them that you are formally extending the offer
    • Start date
    • Job title
    • Compensation/bonuses
  • Ask if they can accept over the phone
  • Notify them that you are sending an email with the formal job offer letter

What Do You Include In a Job Offer Letter?

The job offer letter initiates the employer-employee relationship. It’s a comprehensive document similar to a legal contract.

These are the basic elements in an offer letter. Your company may require additional information.

  • Position/Title
  • Name/Position of Supervisor
  • Reporting Structure
  • Work Schedule
    • Full-time or part-time
    • General work hours
    • Shift, if applicable
  • Employee Type
    • Overtime exempt/nonexempt
  • Job Duties
  • Base Salary/Wage
  • Equity, if applicable
  • Bonuses/Commissions
  • Wage Disclaimers, if applicable
  • Benefits and Eligibility
  • At-Will Employment

Important Documents to Accompany Offer Letter

Depending on the position, you may need to include other documents. These may include confidentiality and noncompete agreements. As well as invention assignment and intellectual property terms.

ApplicantStack Offer Letter Templates

Creating an offer letter template in your ApplicantStack document library is easy. Add as many merge fields as needed (see the previous list). A merge field imports information you have recorded elsewhere. In the video, we show you how to create a merge field for the job start date.

The candidate will receive an email including the offer letter and can sign the acceptance electronically. The offer letter will be available in the candidate profile record.

The Benefits of Using ApplicantStack For Extending Job Offers

  1. Create offer letter templates for each position—you will always be ready to extend an offer
  2. Merge fields in letter templates allow you to import information stored in the system
  3. Brand your offer letter with your company logo and colors to reflect your company brand
  4. Electronic signature allows your perfect candidate to accept the offer upon receipt of the email

Improve Recruiting to Take Advantage of a Favorable Business Climate

If you have a slow hiring process, you are at an extreme disadvantage. If you can’t find qualified people, you can’t implement your business goals. This is an unnecessary obstacle to success. There are growth opportunities in every industry. And a host of emerging industries as well! To take advantage of these opportunities, you need the right people to execute your vision.

ApplicantStack Was Created by Recruiting Professionals Using Best Practices

ApplicantStack hiring software helps you establish best practices to find quality employees in a timely manner. Regardless of the size of your company, follow our step-by-step How to Hire Your Perfect Next Employee guide. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to recruiting workflows.

Brand New Employer?

If you are a start-up, congratulations! You can incorporate recruiting best practices from your first round of hiring. You will start out strong and continue that way. Plus, your hiring team will never become burned out with tedious manual processes.

Do You Have a Recruiting Mess on Your Hands?

If your hiring process is in trouble—no problem. Follow our guide to revamp your recruiting system. With the right software (ApplicantStack, of course!) it won’t take long to identify and remove process bottlenecks. Get started now and you will finish 2019 strong. Your hiring team will also appreciate using the best hiring tools for their critical job role.

ApplicantStack Helps You Create an Applicant-Centric Hiring Process

ApplicantStack also helps you create an outstanding applicant journey. It’s the only way you can hire competitively and establish a positive employer brand.

Join us for the next video where we will go over the last step in the process: Hire.

You can watch other videos in this series on our How to Hire Your Perfect Next Employee playlist or check out our brand-new How to Hire Your Perfect Next Employee infographic!

How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series: Hiring Your Perfect Employee

How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series: Hiring Your Perfect Employee

This is the final post in our How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide.

In today’s post, we describe how to hire with ApplicantStack. Hiring is the hand-off point between the applicant tracking process and the onboarding workflow.

Before we continue, let’s review where we are in the process:

  • Create a Job Description
  • Prescreening Preparation
  • Post Job to Job Boards
  • Candidate Scoring
  • Schedule Interviews
  • Collect Team Feedback
  • Making a Selection
  • Extending a Job Offer
  • Hiring Your Perfect Next Employee

Hiring simply means the applicant accepted your offer of employment. They are now a lucky member of your team. Congratulations!

From Job Description to Hire With ApplicantStack Applicant Tracking Software

First, we created a precise job description.  We performed prescreening preparation by defining scoring criteria. As part of this process, we created a filtering questionnaire. The questionnaire included knockout questions that eliminated a slew of candidates before we wasted any time evaluating them.

After that, we posted the job to job boards, social media, and our careers page. The applications started coming in. ApplicantStack gathered the applicants into a database. We could see how many we had in real time. We could see which job board each applicant came from. The system filtered and sorted the applicants based on our criteria. Note that we hadn’t read even one resume at that point.

Automated Applicant Scoring

ApplicantStack scored each applicant and ordered them by their scores. We could see our top candidates throughout the process.

Have you noticed that we haven’t done any manual data entry? Each applicant entered their information in the initial application. ApplicantStack imported the data into the candidate profile and everywhere else it needed to go.

Applicant Communications

ApplicantStack has been communicating with each applicant throughout the process using email templates we created. Each applicant knew exactly when their application was received. If they were knocked out during the questionnaire, the system sent them a prompt, tactful notification.

After that, ApplicantStack simplified scheduling interviews. Our hiring team conducted the interviews. We gathered hiring team feedback.

ApplicantStack Helped Us Find The Perfect Employee

Then, we made a hiring selection with confidence. Just to be sure, we confirmed our decision with background and reference checks. Then we sent a professional, branded offer letter.

ApplicantStack Ensured a Successful Hiring Decision

Our perfect next employee accepted our offer! This is what we do in the ApplicantStack dashboard for this step:

You can celebrate now!

But not for long. You’ve got a lot of work to do.

This transition is the first step in the onboarding process. It’s vital to communicate next steps effectively.

Why Onboarding Can Make or Break Your Company

Why is it essential to get the handoff from hire to onboarding right?

The quality of onboarding influences everything that comes next.

If your hiring process was effective, your new hire starts with high expectations. They are eager to dive in. Effective onboarding meets the expectations of an employee who experienced an exceptional recruiting process.

Good onboarding:

  1. Is structured
  2. Is personal
  3. Establishes loyalty
  4. Helps the new hire be successful
  5. Improves collective team morale

What is Poor Onboarding?

There is an epidemic of poor onboarding in companies of all shapes and sizes. Read through these and see if they sound familiar.

  • The new hire enters an atmosphere of confusion or apathy
  • No one takes ownership of the onboarding process
  • The process is impersonal
  • HR bombards the new hire with paperwork
  • The manager doesn’t communicate expectations
  • The new hire doesn’t receive enough training

When a new hire experiences haphazard onboarding, they start questioning their decision to take the job. They wonder if they have a future at your company. This belief can be impossible to change.

U.S. Employers Don’t Take Onboarding Seriously

The Aberdeen Group (a market research firm) reports sobering statistics about the state of onboarding:

  • 31% of workers have quit a job after less than 6 months
  • 53% of employees said they could do their job better with improved training
  • Only 32% of employers have a formal onboarding program
  • 56% of self-labeled ‘disengaged’ employees said they got poor training or no training at all
  • 17.5% of employees said they didn’t understand what was expected of them until they had worked 90 days or more

Distinguish Your Company With First-Class Onboarding

The good news? The overall sad state of onboarding presents an opportunity for you. You can create a superior onboarding process with SwipeClock WorkforceHUB. WorkforceHUB is a unified Human Resources portal that manages the entire employee life cycle.

Exceptional onboarding will be an important competitive advantage. Your secret weapon for business success. The benefits will compound over time.

Thanks For Your Interest in SwipeClock ApplicantStack

We hope you have enjoyed our series How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide.

We are working on our next Human Resources series: How To Onboard Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide. It will also include a comprehensive whitepaper, videos, blog posts, and a handy infographic.

Take a look at this entire series as an infographic!

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!