Recruiting professionals understand how critical it is to avoid hiring mistakes. Especially right after launching your business.
Assembling a capable team can mean the difference between success and failure. Your new hires create critical foundational processes. You need employees with the skills, experience, and ideas to execute your vision. Your startup team will mentor future employees. They shape your company culture—for good or ill.
Clearly, you’ve got to avoid mistakes beginning with the first hire. Unfortunately, new business owners are tripped up again and again by common hiring pitfalls.
If you are a new business owner, follow our expertise to avoid these mistakes.
Mistake #1: Not Having A Structured Hiring Process
We get it. It may seem unnecessary to create a process at first. You only need to fill a couple of positions, right? You’re busy getting your company going. Who has time to outline a recruitment process?
You hope your business grows rapidly. If you are fortunate and that happens, you aren’t going to have any more time down the road.
A lack of process becomes the de facto norm. It contributes to a haphazard, disorganized company culture. Most importantly, it won’t be effective in finding the employees you need.
Model a process after established companies 50 times your size. That’s what you’re aiming for, right? Begin with the end in mind.
The Solution: ApplicantStack
ApplicantStack applicant tracking system (ATS) helps entrepreneurs avoid newbie hiring mistakes. It is designed for both recruiting professionals and new business owners. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never used hiring software before. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never used any type of business software before. The tools and interface are straightforward and intuitive. And we provide excellent support.
How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee
Our How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series shows you how to set up a hiring process. Then we walk you through each step. Our series explains the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ of recruiting.
It’s critical to start out with the best business software. When it comes to applicant tracking systems, you can’t do better than ApplicantStack. It will help you incorporate recruiting best practices from your first hire. It will grow with your workforce—from one employee to hundreds.
ApplicantStack is affordable and fits any budget. Investing in the top ATS is the smartest thing you can do when launching your company.
Mistake #2 Hiring Bias
Our brains are wired to seek people like ourselves. Though we don’t realize it, our brains are saving time—they don’t have to process as much information.
When we meet a job candidate we identify with—background, ethnicity, age group, personality traits, values—we feel at ease. We subconsciously assume there are more commonalities as well.
Legal issues aside, if you don’t actively combat this phenomenon, you can make many bad hires.
Have you ever noticed that successful partnerships are often comprised of two extremely different people? For example, one might be a persuasive salesperson and face of the company. The other might be a behind-the-scenes tactical thinker.
You don’t need a team of people who are exactly like you. In fact, you need people who have strengths you don’t possess. Maybe organization isn’t your strong suit. If you are looking for an administrative assistant or office manager, organization skills are critical.
The Solution: ApplicantStack Hiring Guidance
Our knowledge base is full of valuable guidance. Review our blog posts on hiring bias. The first step in mitigating bias is to understand it. Then you can use tools in ApplicantStack for the specific purpose of preventing bias. These include structured interview scripts and hiding EEOC data in questionnaires.
Types of Unconscious Bias in Hiring
6 Tips for Avoiding Hiring Bias
Mistake #3: Weak Job Descriptions
It’s common to focus on the skills and experience you’re looking for in a job candidate. This is important. But you can’t ignore the other part of the description: outlining exactly what the position entails. This is just as critical.
New employers don’t always understand job roles. Or they gloss over the negatives in the hopes of attracting more applicants. This is counterproductive. If the candidate doesn’t understand the nature of the position, they are more likely to quit when they realize the job wasn’t what they expected. You might think your awesome team will make up for any initial misconceptions. Don’t count on it.
Some entrepreneurs need to fill positions that haven’t yet been defined. Or they need someone to pitch in wherever they are needed. Be upfront about this. You want to target candidates who value this type of unpredictable, highly varied work. Some people are excited about shaping a new position. Look for applicants who have helped build companies from the ground up.
The Solution: How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series: Job Descriptions
You aren’t the first new business owner to write a job description. Best practices are well-established and universally accepted. They have proven their worth. Our post on how to create a job description contains a step-by-step guide.
Take as much time as you need to write detailed, exhaustive job descriptions. It may take several paragraphs and many drafts to get it right. If you need to modify it, that’s easy. Your job description template is stored in ApplicantStack. You won’t have to start from scratch.
ApplicantStack Will Help You Recruit An Outstanding Team
Our recruiting expertise and smartly-designed hiring software is your formula for success. On behalf of the recruiting professionals at ApplicantStack, we wish you success with your new company.
There are plenty of sophisticated hiring and onboarding platforms. If you are shopping for an applicant tracking system (ATS), it’s helpful to identify which ATS tools are important to your company.
Here are 6 ATS tools to consider.
1. Pre-Screening Questionnaires
Improving time-to-hire is only possible if you automate repetitive hiring tasks. Pre-screening questionnaires perform first-level filtering with knockout questions. Knockout questions eliminate unqualified candidates before anyone on your hiring team spends time reviewing an application.
Pre-screening questionnaires filter out hundreds of applicants. You are left with a manageable pool of qualified candidates. Then your hiring team can concentrate on the candidates that matter.
2. Scheduling ATS Tools
A hiring process that is humming along can slow to a crawl when it’s time to schedule interviews. ATSs that integrate with widely-used calendars such as Google Calendar and Microsoft Office 365 eliminate this slowdown. Applicants are already using these tools, so scheduling with them comes naturally.
This is how it works: your interviewing team indicates their availability before applicants choose a time slot. You email a calendar link to the applicant. The applicant opens the calendar and chooses a pre-approved time.
3. Bias Minimization ATS Tools
Recruiting and hiring an inclusive team helps your business succeed. Inherent bias (both conscious and unconscious) shrinks your applicant pool. This, in turn, can screen out the most qualified candidates.
Your ATS can help you prevent or minimize several types of bias. The first way an ATS minimizes bias is by allowing you to create a structured hiring process.
The pre-screening questionnaires discussed previously filter based on qualifications, not snap judgments or ‘gut feelings.’ Keep in mind that you have to write the questions carefully as well.
Additional bias minimization tools include structured interviews and blind resume review.
4. Advance Auto-Emails + Texting
Most ATS’ have email templates. Actions such as hiring stage changes that trigger auto-emails increase efficiency. Many recruiters are using texting as well. Do you want to incorporate recruitment texting as an additional communications channel? It is most effective when done from the recruiting platform. The software keeps a history of conversations that would otherwise exist on personal mobile phones. Multiple people on your hiring team can text from the same number, preventing confusion on the part of the applicant.
5. Video Interviewing
Video interviewing brings a host of advantages. You can interview out-of-area applicants easily. Decision makers located away from the main office (or traveling) can participate in the interview from wherever they are working. Members of your hiring team can review recordings of the interview as many times as needed. And there are significant costs savings as well.
6. Document E-Sign
HR is a document-intensive department. When applicants and new hires can sign forms online, you can process them much faster. Electronic copies are automatically stored and can be accessed with a quick search. Did you know that 5% of paper documents get lost?
There are environmental benefits to electronic documents as well. You decrease your company’s carbon footprint by using less paper.
Last but not least is the cost savings. When you account for paper, copying, and administrative expenses, it costs up to $25,000 to fill a filing cabinet. (Source: LinkedIn)
Free Trials Let You Test ATS Tools
When you are shopping for ATSs, take advantage of free trials. They allow you to test drive the software before you buy. We offer a free trial of ApplicantStack so you can experiment with the most popular ATS tools. Our software helps you source, qualify, and hire quality candidates while saving time and money.
If you are the hiring manager for an agency, you understand the importance of security recruiting. In the security industry, you can’t put a client on hold because you are short-handed. Staying fully staffed is critical. Just as importantly, your agents need the right hard and soft skills.
But the security industry—like most others—is struggling in this era of low unemployment. Security agencies compete for what seems like an ever-shrinking talent pool.
Top 3 Recruiting Tactics For Security
Financial success depends on recruiting and retaining good employees.
Here are proven tips for hiring qualified employees for your security agency.
- Use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automate hiring processes
- Create accurate, comprehensive job descriptions
- Use screening questionnaires to eliminate unqualified candidates
ApplicantStack Applicant Tracking Software
Profitable security agencies use the right technology for all aspects of business management. To win the hiring game in security, you need current generation software. It gives you speed, flexibility, and keeps hiring costs as low as possible. ApplicantStack is an ATS that helps security owners find exceptional employees. The HR professionals at ApplicantStack are keenly aware of the recruiting hurdles for security businesses.
ATS vs. Spreadsheets
It’s a common misconception that spreadsheets are just as effective. When it comes to recruiting, ATSs are leagues ahead. For hiring processes, spreadsheets are scarcely better that paper-based methods.
Attracting Millennials and Gen Z
The first generation that grew up using apps has become the largest employee demographic. ApplicantStack is especially effective for attracting millennials.
Let’s dive deeper into our top tips.
1. Use an ATS to Automate Hiring
An ATS helps you hire quickly and strategically by:
- Writing and managing job descriptions
- Posting jobs to job boards, social media sites, careers pages
- Creating and administering applications and questionnaires
- Applying scoring criteria and filtering applicants
- Sharing feedback with hiring team members
- Tracking process workflows with task assignments and reminders
- Creating and managing structured interviewing scripts
- Scheduling in person and video interviews
- Candidate communications—emails, texts, phone calls
Your ATS compiles an applicant database without copious data entry on your part. It parses contact info from resumes and applications and stores digital copies of resumes. Plus, it maintains a history of interactions (applications, emails, questionnaires, interviews, reference checks, etc.). Collaboration has never been easier.
Some ATS’ integrate with background check services, video interviewing platforms, onboarding software, and other types of business services/software.
2. Write Accurate, Comprehensive Job Descriptions
It’s expensive to hire an employee. You take a financial hit when a new hire quits after two weeks. The most common reason for quitting is because they didn’t understand what the job entailed.
A comprehensive job description is highly detailed. It includes the required certification(s) and experience. It describes exactly what the employee will do in typical shift. It includes the necessary soft skills that will help an employee succeed.
There is no ‘typical’ job in security. Because job roles and work environments vary widely, highly-detailed descriptions are key. Some employees expect hours of solitude. Others want to actively interact with others at the location. Go into more detail than you think is necessary. This will save you time and frustration.
3. Use Screening Questionnaires to Eliminate Unqualified Candidates
An ATS can filter out unqualified security candidates before you set eyes on a resume. This saves so much time, first-time ATS users are blown away.
You create a custom questionnaire for each job description. When the applicant clicks on your job posting (on a job board, social media site, or your careers page), they are presented with the questionnaire. It includes knockout questions that eliminate candidates without the necessary experience. Regardless of your job requirements, you can do a first-pass screening automatically in your ATS.
ApplicantStack For Security Recruiting
Using these methods, you can efficiently advertise jobs, organize applicants, and isolate a pool of top candidates. Then you can concentrate your time on the most qualified applicants.
CRM for Recruiting
Most businesses use CRM tools for sales. CRM software is created to perform specific functions and it excels at those functions. We love our CRM systems.
Some companies believe CRM software can take the place of an applicant tracking system (ATS).
You actually need both types of tools. Let’s discuss why.
What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?
An ATS is a type of recruiting software. It lets you create and manage an applicant database.
It automates repetitive operations like posting jobs, collecting applications, parsing resumes, and administering screening questionnaires.
You create and manage all hiring communications with your ATS: job descriptions, screening questionnaires, emails, candidate scorecards, and structured interview scripts.
Moving candidates through specific stages triggers emails and texts. ATS’ simplify interview scheduling and reference checks.
Your team can score candidates, share feedback, and make hiring selections.
Some ATSs integrate with background check companies, job boards, and video interviewing software.
What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
The word ‘relationship’ in the title is key. CRM software is designed, first and foremost, to nurture relationships.
These can be customer relationships, partner relationships, or passive candidate relationships. For the purposes of this article, we will switch the ‘C’ for ‘customer’ to ‘C’ for ‘candidate’.
Relationships are built on interactions. Successful interactions require context. You need an accurate, comprehensive history to respond effectively.
How Do You Use CRM For Recruiting?
Potential applicants initiate contact through several digital channels. These include your careers page(s), social media sites, email campaigns, and job boards. You add to your pool through employee referrals and professional networking. Proactive sourcing through LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other sites adds to your pool.
When a person opts in—leaves their contact information or comments on a social post—it’s time to engage them.
This requires consistent compelling messaging. The goal is to move your candidates through the funnel and inspire the best ones to apply.
CRM systems have an administrative component like ATS’. After all, there is plenty of data attached to every person. And all that data needs to be collected and organized. But this is secondary to the primary purpose of nurturing relationships.
ATS and CRM: A Match Made in Heaven
Now that we’ve made the case that both are essential, what are your options?
You can look for ATSs that have CRM tools. You can look for CRM systems that have ATS functions. Or you can integrate two platforms.
How Does CRM For Recruiting Work?
Previously, we outlined what a good ATS does. Here are CRM functions and tools to add:
- Social recruiting
- Personalized emails and texts
- Automated invitations to business events
- Email campaigns
- Candidate surveys
- Engagement analytics and scoring
- Candidate segmentation
- Referral programs
Proactive talent sourcing requires ATS efficiency and CRM tools. ApplicantStack has both. Our software helps you establish and nurture a talent pipeline. Discover why over 23,000 users rely on ApplicantStack to meet their recruiting needs.
Today’s post explores a fundamental issue in the recruiting industry: why you should automate recruiting.
Do you work as a hiring manager? HR director? Small business owner? It you are using paper-based recruiting processes, this post is for you.
Let’s discuss why you should automate recruiting.
Why Automate Recruiting?
- Process applicants more quickly and efficiently
- Create more effective screening materials
- Manage multiple job openings simultaneously
- Collaborate more easily with your hiring team members
- Engage with millennials and younger job candidates
- Reduce hiring expenses
- Stop duplicating work among your team
How Do You Automate Recruiting?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a type of HR software that automates hiring processes.
ATS software is similar to a customer relationship management (CRM) system. It allows you to track and manage applications, candidate interactions, online job postings, and team communication.
- Collect and track hundreds of applications and resumes
- Establish a central database of current and former applicants (talent pipeline)
- Create branded templates for job descriptions, questionnaires, emails
- Post to your favorite job boards with a single signon
- Track applicants through each hiring stage
- Changing an applicant’s stage triggers actions (i.e. emails, background checks, etc)
- Applicants complete pre-screening questionnaires and schedule interviews with a self-service interface
- Team members access cloud-based ATS’ from any mobile device—manage recruiting anytime, anywhere
Streamline Interview Scheduling
Scheduling technology simplifies interviews. Your team members mark their availability on a shared calendar. The ATS candidate interface presents applicants with pre-approved interview time slots.
This saves so much time you’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner.
It also shows your company’s commitment to technology-driven efficiency and convenience. Millennials make up the largest employee demographic. Gen Z-ers are coming of age and entering the workforce. Both groups engage using digital tools. You simply can’t attract these potential employees without automated recruiting software.
Recruit from anywhere using mobile apps. See your ATS dashboard on any connected device. How are your job postings performing? Which applicants have completed screening questionnaires? Who’s interviewing tomorrow?
You have all that in your pocket. Around-the-clock. Recruiting superstars use mobile tools. You can too.
The Power of Pre-Screening
You post the job. Then you gather applications and resumes. Now the tedious, time-intensive pre-screening work begins. The pre-screening stage is a slowdown for many recruiting teams. If any recruiting task has been screaming for automation, this is the one.
You can pre-screen when a candidate applies with a custom application. Or email a questionnaire shortly afterwards. Video screening is also a brilliant recruiting innovation. With a pre-recorded video interview, the job applicant records a video of themselves answering screening questions. They can do it at their convenience—the software handles it. You can see your applicants before you invite them to schedule an in-person interview.
Automated pre-screening reliably shortens time-to-hire. It also helps you find higher quality employees faster by isolating top candidates.
Branded Recruitment Marketing
ATS’ let you brand your recruitment marketing. Job postings, applications, and candidate emails blend seamlessly with all of your marketing.
This helps your company present a cohesive image to applicants, customers, employees—and investors. This provides an important competitive edge. Especially for companies in industries with a low ATS adoption rate.
Establish Talent Pipelines
Today’s hiring challenges call for multiple recruiting techniques. One of these is creating and continually expanding a talent pipeline. An ATS collects and tracks applicants for your current job openings. Plus, it retains all applicants’ pertinent info in your database. This is critical for meeting long-term staffing needs.
Forward-thinking companies nurture applicant relationships in their talent pipeline. In the same way CRM systems help you connect with customers, ATS’ allow you to share relevant content as often as you like.
Automate Recruiting With ApplicantStack
ApplicantStack recruiting software automates every aspect of your hiring operations. It was designed by HR professionals for HR professionals. ApplicantStack is cloud-based, so you and your team can access it on any connected device. We handle the updates and rigorous data security protocols.
You can start using ApplicantStack today. Setup is quick and intuitive. But don’t let ease-of-use imply low-level functionality. ApplicantStack is a full-service applicant tracking system for companies of any size.
This is the second post in our series: Hiring Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide. In today’s post, we will show you how to do prescreening prep in ApplicantStack Recruit.
Before we continue, let’s review where we are in the series:
What is Prescreening Preparation For a Job Posting?
Prescreening prep defines scoring criteria for filtering and hiring applicants.
These are the steps:
- Create an application and/or questionnaire in ApplicantStack
- Determine the scoring system for the questions in ApplicantStack
Why does prescreening prep come before posting the job? 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.
Plus, you can still make changes to your job description if necessary because you haven’t already posted it.
ApplicantStack makes prescreening preparation quick and easy.
Create Your Perfect Screening Questions
You should have a list of job requirements from your job description. Using the requirements, create a questionnaire in ApplicantStack. The candidate will complete the questionnaire before you decide whether to interview him/her.
In the questionnaire form, write a question and answer for each requirement. The question should reveal whether a candidate meets the requirement.
ApplicantStack provides several ways to structure your screening questions:
- Yes/No answer (binary choice)
- Multiple Choice
- Select One answer from multiple choices
- Select Many from multiple choices
- Enter Date
- Choose File Type
- Allows applicant to upload a file and designate the file format
- Electronic Signature
ApplicantStack allows you to create the ideal questionnaire for your hiring needs.
Apply Scoring Criteria For Job Applications
In ApplicantStack, you create scoring rules for resumes, applications, and questionnaires. There are two ways to score each question: 1. Assign a numeric point value or 2. Designate it as a knockout question. You can also apply scoring rules to keywords in resumes.
ApplicantStack Recruit Automates Candidate Scoring
When the applications start coming in, ApplicantStack will score them automatically using your rules. The system will calculate a total score for each applicant. This serves as a first pass assessment of the candidate’s match to the position. It will also eliminate applicants with knock-out questions.
Questionnaires and scoring in ApplicantStack make it easier for you to focus on top scoring candidates.
Work Efficiently as a Team in ApplicantStack
Make sure that you alert the people on your team who will be involved in the evaluation and selection processes. They need to know:
- The evaluation criteria
- Their roles and responsibilities
- How the process will work
- How to keep the process moving
ApplicantStack streamlines the entire process. It also creates the ideal applicant journey. You can see the scoring criteria in the system. Workflow checklists show where each applicant is in the process. Assign tasks to team members so everyone knows what they are supposed to do. Each member of the hiring team can add notes for all to see.
To recap, here are the benefits of doing prescreening prep with ApplicantStack Recruit:
- ApplicantStack automatically scores applications and questionnaires
- ApplicantStack eliminates unqualified candidates before you spend time on them
- By automating the scoring process, you can spend your time focusing on the top scoring candidates
- ApplicantStack questionnaires help create an ideal applicant journey
In the next post in our Hiring Your Perfect Next Employee: The Ultimate Guide series, we will show you how ApplicantStack posts to the top job boards.
Take a look at this entire series as an infographic!