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!

How Can You Improve Your Job Requisition Approval Process?

How Can You Improve Your Job Requisition Approval Process?

Improve your hiring outcomes by improving your job requisition process.

Let’s discuss how.

What’s a Job Requisition?

When a department manager needs to hire a new employee, they submit a job requisition.

A job requisition starts the hiring process. With the requisition, the department manager asks for approval for the new employee. If the requisition is denied, the process doesn’t go any further. The denied requisition is stored in the HR software.

The job requisition standardizes the process of filling a position. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have templates for creating job requisitions. Plus tools to manage the approval process.

A job requisition includes the following:

  • Requisition reference number
  • Job title
  • Type of employment (full-time, temporary, contract, etc.)
  • Name of hiring manager making the request
  • Job description
  • Department or team the employee will be a part of
  • Salary, hourly wage, or pay grade, benefits
  • Type of position: new hire or replacement
  • Hiring budget approval
  • Fill/start date
  • Whether the job description is new or existing

Why Is It Important To Have a Formal Job Requisition Process?

Human Resources professionals understand the importance of standardization. Formalizing and documenting is vital for end-to-end processes and all the sub-steps.

The job requisition process is no different. And the fact that it comes first is not insignificant. Any multi-step operation needs to start on the right foot. Otherwise, it will need to be corrected down the line. At that point, you’ve wasted time and money.

Few things are as important as the quality of the employees on your team. Formalization ensures the process is done correctly. It sets expectations for everyone involved. And you can’t improve a process until you identify exactly what is going on.

Let’s talk about best practices for creating job requisitions.

How Do I Write a Job Requisition?

1. Follow The Approval Process

Job requisitions may need to be approved by Human Resources. In some companies, upper management needs to sign off on new positions. Follow your company policies before proceeding.

2. Justify The Need

Why do you need a new employee? Is it a new position? Is it because someone quit or was promoted? How is the position tied to KPIs? Make a timeline for the job responsibilities. Define exactly what is expected.

3. Write a Good Job Description

A job description is a detailed listing of required qualifications and experience, job duties, and other necessary information about the position. It also includes the salary range, benefits, and information about the company.

Will the requisition be filled by an outside recruiting agency? Remember that they don’t have your institutional knowledge. Include all the necessary details.

We cover how to create a job description thoroughly in our How To Hire Your Perfect Employee Series. Follow the steps to write a spot-on description for your requisition.

Job Requisition Glossary

If you are new to the hiring process, it’s helpful to understand the HR-speak as it relates to job requisitions.

Open Requisition: An active requisition that hasn’t been filled or closed.

Closed Requisition: A requisition that has been filled or closed for other reasons.

Core Competencies: The knowledge and skills that are essential to the job role.

Hard Skills: Skills, experience, or qualifications that are easily quantified. Examples; Certified Public Accountant, Python programming expertise, licensed EMT.

Soft Skills: Behavioral traits necessary to perform the job responsibilities. Examples; leadership, creative problem solving, conflict resolution.

ApplicantStack Manages Job Requisitions

Yes, we have a tool for that, too! The job requisition workflow automates the approval process. Assign tasks to the appropriate members of the hiring team. Complete and document each step in a centralized location. ApplicantStack brings transparency and accountability to your requisition process. When a requisition is approved, the open position seamlessly transitions to the next workflow in the hiring stage.

You can try out the ApplicantStack job requisition function (and all the integrated hiring workflows) free for 15 days.

By Liz Strikwerda

Torn Between Two Equally-Desirable Candidates? How To Choose The Right One

Torn Between Two Equally-Desirable Candidates? How To Choose The Right One

One of the most challenging parts of recruitment is the endless search for talent. Since the current market favors the job-seeker, it’s more difficult than ever to attract top applicants to your company. That’s why the idea of two prime candidates competing for a position sounds unlikely – but it does happen.

Getting your pick of the litter sounds like a nice problem to have, but the pressure can be nerve-wracking. In the end, you’ll have to turn away an applicant that you would’ve hired under any other circumstance. And there’s a chance you end up rejecting the better option of the two.

So, how do you ensure your pick is the right one? Here are four strategies:

1. Determine their desire

While the interview process helps you determine who you want at your company, it might distract you from an equally important question: Who wants your company?

The more promising a candidate is, the more potential they have. It’s very likely they’re looking at multiple companies, not just yours. Sadly, a candidate might not stick around for long if your company’s at the bottom of their list. They might not even accept the job offer to begin with.

An applicant tracking software (ATS) solution can help you find out who’s more committed to your company. This software keeps track of who’s opening your emails and clicking on your links. It also records the amount of time candidates take to respond to emails and complete application materials.

Candidate engagement translates to a candidate’s desire to work at your company. Prompt responses imply that the candidate will be just as eager in the workplace. And they’ll be less likely to jump ship without reason. Having an idea of where you rank on each candidate’s list of options can help streamline a difficult decision process.

2. Consider cultural fit

Don’t let a candidate’s stellar qualifications distract you from other relevant considerations, like their alignment with your corporate culture. Remember: A good worker isn’t always a good teammate.

Both candidates may have perfect interviewing skills and brilliant credentials, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get along with your staff. A better cultural fit can be the distinguishing factor that elevates one qualified candidate over the other.

Get the team involved in the hiring process. This could take the form of a lunch, happy hour or just a simple meet and greet with the candidates. These social gatherings help bring out the personality traits each candidate would be adding to the office dynamic. As a bonus, you can ask your employees who they prefer.

An alternative is to look up each candidate’s social media accounts. A candidate’s social media can reveal a number of behavioral warning signs that you might’ve missed otherwise.

3. Put those skills to the test

You already know that both candidates have the necessary skills, but maybe one uses them more effectively.

So, let them prove themselves to you with a skills test. Have each candidate try their hand at some essential job duties. Or run them through some real work scenarios and compare their responses with how your existing employees have handled similar situations in the past.

When you put two equally qualified candidates to the test, you might get different outcomes, which can help set apart one candidate just enough for you to decide.

4. Look for holes in your workforce

With two ideal candidates, you get the luxury of probing deeper than just a few interview questions. One way to take advantage of this opportunity is to size up the candidates in reference to your existing staff. A few questions to consider:

  • Is the workforce lacking, even a little, in any area?
  • Is there any overlap in qualifications that aren’t required for the job?
  • Could the employees benefit from a certain type of person?

These questions can help you pick one candidate over the other based on the differences. Perhaps your staff needs a leader – pick the candidate with more higher-level experience. Maybe every single employee has leadership skills. Your company probably won’t benefit from another employee with the same qualities – hiring someone with a different strength would enhance the staff more.

Looking for these gaps in your team can help you decide on the candidate that’ll be the best asset to the team.

 

About the Author: Amanda Wright is a content writer for Better Buys, helping companies to find the right b2b software solutions. She enjoys writing about the intersection of business and technology.

Want To Work In Recruitment? Do You Need A Recruiting/HR Certification?

Want To Work In Recruitment? Do You Need A Recruiting/HR Certification?

Preparing for a career in recruitment? Trying to make sense of recruitment certifications?

Recruiting and Human Resources professionals take surprisingly divergent routes. There really isn’t a recognized ‘right way’ to do it.

Some enter the profession from a business management background. Others transfer from sales or even sociology.

But if you’re starting out—as opposed to moving into recruiting mid-career—what’s the best way to get there?

PHR or SHRM

There are two organizations you need to know about; SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and HRCI (Human Resources Certification Institute).

HRCI

HRCI used to be part of SHRM. In 2014, SHRM quit offering PHR certification. SHRM started offering its own certifications.

There isn’t a consensus in the HR industry on which certification is better. Ask a roomful of HR pros and you will spark a heated discussion. There are strong opinions in both camps. I’m not going to recommend one over the other. Suffice to say, if you want to be a professional recruiter, get either your PHR or SHRM. Note that you need a Bachelor’s Degree first. A Master’s is even better. Also, to be eligible to take the exams, you need some HR experience. The requirements vary depending on the certification.

HRCI offers the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and related certifications. HRCI has designed the PHR to ‘demonstrate your mastery of the technical and operational aspects of HR management, including U.S. laws and regulations.’

The topics covered and their respective weighting is as follows:

  • Workforce planning and employment (25%)
  • Employee and labor relations (20%)
  • Compensation and benefits (19%)
  • HR development (18%)
  • Business management and strategy (11%)
  • Risk management (8%)

HRCI offers several related credentials:

  • aPHR Associate Professional in Human Resources
  • PHRca Professional in Human Resources — California
  • PHRi Professional in Human Resources International
  • SPHR Senior Professional in Human Resources
  • SPHRi Senior Professional in Human Resources International
  • GPHR Global Professional in Human Resources

SHRM

Let’s talk about the SHRM credentials.

  • SHRM-CP Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional
  • SHRM-SCP Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional

SHRM organizes eight behavioral competencies into three areas as follows:

  1. Leadership (Leadership & Navigation, Ethical Practice)
  2. Interpersonal (Relationship Management, Communication, Global and Cultural Effectiveness)
  3. Business (Business Acumen, Consultation, Critical Evaluation)

According to SHRM, their certifications are designed to measure practical application of HR knowledge with questions based on ‘on-the-job scenarios and realistic work situations.’

When you have your general HR certification, you can consider recruiting-specific training. There are many good options, depending on your career goals.

Recruiting Certifications

AIRS Alliance of Information and Referral Systems

  • CIR Certified Internet Recruiter
  • ACIR Advanced Certified Internet Recruiter
  • CDR Certified Diversity and Inclusion Recruiter
  • CSSR Certified Social Sourcing Recruiter
  • PRC Professional Recruiter Certification
  • CSMR Certified Social Media Recruiter
  • CMVR Certified Military Veteran Recruiter
  • ECRE Elite Certified Recruitment Expert

NAPS National Association of Personnel Services

  • CPC Certified Personnel Consultant
  • CTS Certified Temporary Staffing-Specialist

CPSP The People Sourcing Certification

  • CPSP-1, CPSP-2 Certified People Sourcing Professional

The Sourcing Institute

  • TSI Levels: Member, Specialist, Professional, Leadership, Leadership Only

Social Talent: Social Talent Internet Recruitment Certifications

Learn from their short 2-3 minute videos at your own pace.

  • Social Talent Internet Recruitment Certifications: Orange Belt, Blue Belt, Brown Belt, Black Belt

What Are The Benefits of Recruiting Certifications?

Gaining more career knowledge is always good. When choosing which certification to pursue, identify your primary goal. Do you want to get a promotion at your current company? If the recruiting positions are in high demand, a certification can give you an edge. A certification is helpful if you want to transfer from general HR to a recruiting position. Or perhaps you simply want additional skills to perform your job better.

Another thing to consider is the type of recruiting position you are seeking. Each recruiting certification has a specific area of focus. Here are the most common recruiting positions:

  • Talent Acquisition Manager
  • External Recruiter
  • Executive Recruiter
  • Internal, Inhouse, or Corporate Recruiter

Emerging Careers in Recruitment

  • Diversity Hiring
  • Recruitment Analytics
  • Candidate Experience Specialist
  • Online Recruiting Specialist

Are you currently an HR generalist (or working in another field) and want to transfer to a recruiting position? Your experience may line up with one of the newest positions in the recruitment industry. For example, if you are currently working in digital marketing, you could apply your experience as an Online Recruiting Specialist. If you are a Data Analyst, you could move into a Recruitment Analytics position.

By Liz Strikwerda

How To Create A Yearly Hiring Plan

How To Create A Yearly Hiring Plan

Does your company currently hire on an as-needed basis? For example, when the workload becomes unsustainable, you begin a candidate search. When someone quits, you dust off the job description and start posting.

With a de facto reactive system, you are always playing catch up. It slows production. It lowers the quality of onboarding and job training.

If this is the case for your organization, we encourage you to create a yearly hiring plan.

What Is A Yearly Hiring Plan?

A hiring plan is a comprehensive strategy. It aligns hiring resources with business goals and long-term staffing needs.

How Will A Yearly Hiring Help My Company?

A good hiring plan ensures continuous business operations. When you anticipate talent needs, you can take the time to find the perfect employee for each position. You can plan better for onboarding, training, and mentoring. A carefully sourced hire adds value sooner than a panic hire.

Filling positions quickly prevents existing employees from being buried with extra work. Team members are less likely to become burned out. This protects you from overworked employees quitting.

Let’s recap the benefits of a yearly hiring plan:

  • Prevent lapses in production
  • Ensure steady business growth
  • Unhurried recruitment results in higher quality hires
  • Prevent burnout and turnover due to understaffing
  • Anticipate onboarding and training needs
  • Reduce stress on the hiring team
  • Stay within your hiring budget

How Do I Create A Yearly Hiring Plan?

  1. Assess current workforce
  2. Outline business growth goals
  3. Identify talent needs
  4. Evaluate current hiring processes
  5. Create a timeline for hiring
  6. Align hiring practices and resources with needs

1. Interview Stakeholders

First, gather information from everyone. This means the executive team, managers, and several rank and file employees. Be methodical and thorough.

Interview each manager about each position in depth. This is how you can identify skills gaps. Find out if the current hires are a good fit. If they aren’t, you need to improve your hiring process. Consult our series How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee.

Talk to members of the executive team about the business strategy. Which new job roles will be necessary? Once you have finished your plan, you will need to circle back if the hiring budget is too low. At that point, you will have justification for requesting an increase.

If your company is too large to talk to everyone in person, create a survey. If you use an HR portal, post a link to a questionnaire on the HR interface.

Talk to current employees about the quality of onboarding and training. Take a pulse on workforce morale. Find out if the day-to-day work has met their expectations.

2. Assess Your Workforce

  • What skills does your team possess?
  • What skills will you need?
  • Are there positions you want to fill internally with promotions or additional training?
  • How many new employees will you need?
  • What is the overall turnover rate? What is the rate per team and/or job role?
  • Will changing dynamics affect turnover?

3. Evaluate Your Hiring Process

  • Is it working?
  • Are you hiring quality employees?
  • Are you filling positions in a timely manner?

4. Hiring Resources

  • What is your hiring budget?
  • Will it be adequate for upcoming hiring needs?
  • What is your cost-per-hire?
  • Can you reduce cost-per-hire without lowering hiring outcomes?
  • Do you need to upgrade your recruiting software?

You can’t chart a course without knowing where you are right now. The first step in creating a plan is identifying your current situation. Interview as necessary and answer the questions outlined previously. Identify actionable steps. Now you will document your findings.

Your Yearly Hiring Plan

  1. Positions to be filled
  2. Detailed timeline
  3. Hiring operations: designate tasks for hiring team members, managers, and HR
  4. Adjust onboarding and training programs based on needs

Use ApplicantStack To Meet Your Hiring Goals

Do you have capable recruiting software? Pairing a top applicant tracking system with a long-term hiring plan is the solution.

Are you a new hiring manager or HR director? Has your company never had a formal hiring plan?

Follow the steps outlined to create a yearly plan. Use ApplicantStack to execute it. ApplicantStack helps you recruit quality candidates in the shortest time possible. Secure yourself a place at the decision-making table. Pat yourself on the back.

By Liz Strikwerda

Reference Checking: The Ultimate Guide

Reference Checking: The Ultimate Guide

Professional recruiters understand the importance of reference checking. Let’s talk about the ins and outs of this common vetting process.

Why do you check an applicant’s references? An obvious answer is ‘To find out if they lied on their application.’

While this is one reason to check references, the practice has broader purposes.

3 Reasons to Check References

  1. To confirm a hiring decision after an applicant is chosen
  2. To help differentiate between two seemingly equally-qualified applicants
  3. To narrow the candidate pool early in the hiring process

What Information Can a Reference Check Provide?

  • Verification of hard and soft skills
  • Verification of resume integrity
  • Red flags that disqualify the candidate

Laws and Policies That Affect Reference Checking

Federal law prevents an employer from giving a negative or false employment reference (or refuse to give a reference) because of

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy)
    national origin
  • age (40 or older)
  • disability
  • genetic information

Why Many Employers Limit the Information They Disclose

A common misconception is that federal law prohibits an employer from disclosing anything beyond the basics. Namely, job title, dates of employment, and salary. In the past several decades, these policies have become very common. The goal is to protect the company from being sued for defamation.

Defamation vs. Negligent Referral

But here’s the flip side: what if the former employee is a significant risk to any future employer? What if they were violent? In the healthcare industry, gross incompetence could endanger patients.

Courts are ruling that an employer can’t only be concerned about their own legal exposure. Negligent referral judgments affirm an employer’s ethical responsibility to protect innocent third parties and public safety in general.

What does this mean for you when you check references? Hopefully, nothing truly egregious will be withheld.

State and Local Laws

Before writing your reference check questions, make sure you understand state laws that limit what employers can disclose. In the past few years, several states and some cities have enacted new laws that affect what companies can disclose during an employment reference check.

Don’t eliminate reference checks just because a law or policy limits what you can ask or what a referral can answer. Think like a prosecutor in a legal trial. An astute litigator can uncover critical information regardless of who brought the witness. In a similar way, a skilled recruiter can elicit helpful information from any reference.

At What Point in the Recruiting Process Should I Check References?

The job role and industry practices influence the timing. If you do high-volume hiring and field hundreds of applications, there are advantages to checking references before the interview stage. It will help you whittle down the applicant pool early in the process.

It may be more helpful to check references after first round interviews. If the interview reveals a potential issue, the recruiter can seek clarification when they talk to the candidate’s references.

For higher level positions, it’s customary in most industries to delay reference checks until the final stages. This could be immediately prior to the formal job offer. Some companies don’t check references until after a conditional offer has been extended.

Examples of Reference Check Questions

Here are questions used by many employers. As mentioned previously, some state laws and company policies affect whether or not any specific question can be asked or answered. With that caveat, a good rule of thumb is to start general and get more specific with each question.

1. What Is Your Relationship With The Job Applicant?

You have to establish the overall context in the beginning. The reference is not always a former employer. It might be a former colleague, manager, or business owner. Applicants just out of college may use professors and intern supervisors.

2. What Was The Applicant’s Job Title And Responsibilities?

This is basic information on which everything else is based.

3. What Was It Like To Work With The Applicant?

This open-ended question can reveal positive and negative qualities not listed on the resume.

4. How Can I Help The Candidate Be Successful?

5. What Are The Candidate’s Strengths And Weaknesses?

6. Would You Re-Hire this Employee If You Had The Chance?

7. Is This Applicant A Good Fit For The Job Position?

8. What Skills Would Help The Applicant Progress To Higher Positions?

9. Is There Anything Else I Need To Know?

Do’s and Don’ts of Reference Checking

  • Do speak to the referral with a telephone call if possible.
  • Do set a positive tone from the outset.
  • Do follow local, state, and federal laws.
  • Do ask the same reference questions for all job applicants.
  • Do notify the applicant that you will be contacting the references.
  • Do document who you talked with and what information was provided.
  • Do be upfront with the reference about why you are contacting them.
  • Do understand your state or local laws about salary history questions.
  • Don’t rush the call.
  • Don’t ask leading questions.
  • Don’t ask for protected class information (race, religion, gender, etc.)
  • Don’t contact people without the candidate’s consent.
  • Don’t assign reference checking to a hiring team member who doesn’t understand the job role.

Asking About Reference Checking in the Interview

Some recruiters ask the applicant what they believe a referral would say during the interview. The interviewer would say something like this: ‘If I talked to your former supervisor and asked them how you performed, what would they say?’

This type of question can prompt a candidate to be more candid about their work history and skills. It can also help the interviewer know what to pay attention to when they talk to the referral.

Reference Checks In ApplicantStack

ApplicantStack hiring software simplifies the reference check process. Add reference fields to the application so you don’t have to ask for references separately. If you use reference checks to narrow the pool early in the process, collecting them in the application allows you to start them without delay.

Some referrals prefer responding through email instead of a phone call. ApplicantStack has reference email templates that make this process quick and easy. Tailor your referral questions to local laws, company policies, and the job position.

Improve Hospitality Hiring to Decrease Employee Turnover and Elevate The Guest Experience

Improve Hospitality Hiring to Decrease Employee Turnover and Elevate The Guest Experience

The thriving hospitality industry includes hotels, casinos, resorts, and restaurants. Recruitment has never been more important in this sector.

Here are some critical facts about the hospitality industry:

  • Hospitality has an employee turnover rate of over 70%
  • Brand loyalty has disappeared
  • Technology has made it easier for small companies to compete

What implications does this have for hospitality recruitment?

  1. There is a huge opportunity to decrease overhead by retaining employees longer.
  2. To attract quality candidates, you must provide an exceptional employee experience. This means you need to focus on the employee experience as much as you focus on the guest experience. They are interdependent.
  3. Small companies who find and retain high performing employees can elevate the guest experience. This will improve online reviews, strengthen the company brand, and increase bookings.

Strategic hospitality recruitment has never been more important. But there are significant challenges.

The Challenges of Hospitality Hiring

  • Ultra-competitive hiring market
  • Significant employee shortage
  • Employees need multiple hard and soft skills
  • High level of transience and job-hopping

Recruitment and Onboarding Software for Hospitality Hiring

Online reviews and booking software have transformed the industry from the guest perspective. In a similar way, applicant tracking systems (ATS) have transformed hospitality recruitment from both the candidate’s and recruiter’s perspective.

Hospitality employers who don’t use recruitment software will struggle in several respects. Manual hospitality hiring processes can’t meet the needs of hospitality hiring in 2019.

  1. Manual hiring is slow (the best candidates are hired by your competitor before you can make an offer)
  2. Manual hiring can’t reach a wide candidate pool
  3. Manual hiring doesn’t create an exceptional applicant experience (which is essential for attracting top performers)

How Does Recruitment Software Improve Hospitality Hiring?

From job description to background checks, ATSs improve every aspect of the hospitality hiring process.

Reach More Potential Applicants

Hospitality hiring software allows recruiters to reach more applicants faster and cheaper. You can quickly advertise your jobs to thousands of job seekers on all of your favorite job boards. You won’t need to manage a separate account and password for each website.

Track Thousands of Applications

A large resort has to hire constantly to stay in business. There are multiple departments and dozens of job roles. Hiring software helps you collect and manage a large volume of applications efficiently. Search tools give you searching capability unheard of with a paper-based system.

Successful hospitality employers maintain a large pool of passive candidates. An ATS can work like a CRM for your candidate pool. Every company can benefit from targeting passive candidates.

Structured Interviewing

Hospitality hiring software has tools for structured interviewing. With structured interviewing, you ask all applicants the same questions in the same order. Structured interviewing reduces confirmation bias (when the interviewer seeks to validate an initial bias or ‘gut feeling’).

Top performing hospitality employees need multiple soft skills. This type of interviewing is especially effective for evaluating the type of soft skills essential for hospitality work.

Structured interviewing allows you to maintain efficiency and consistency when doing high-volume interviewing. And it helps you comply with anti-discrimination laws. When your interviewers are instructed to use a uniform script for each position, they are less likely to ask an illegal interview question.

Hospitality Onboarding Software

A proven way to decrease hospitality turnover is to improve onboarding processes. Hiring and onboarding are interdependent. It doesn’t make sense to invest in hiring software without adding the onboarding tools. Is your onboarding process structured, lengthy, and employee-centered? If not, you risk losing your best employees.

What Makes a Great Hospitality Employee?

Veteran hospitality employers know that you ‘can’t teach personality.’ They place the most value on an employee’s demeanor, interpersonal skills, and being able to empathize with a guest. It’s easier to train someone on how to run the booking software than teach them how to deal positively with a rude customer.

When evaluating candidates, look for the following qualities:

  1. Creative problem solving
  2. ‘Hospitality’ personality—enthusiastic, positive, and attentive
  3. Self-starter and hard worker
  4. Ability to maintain composure in high-pressure situations
  5. Attention to detail
  6. Ability to work effectively with a team

See our Structured Interviewing: The Ultimate Guide to learn how to write interview questions to measure these behavioral skills.

How Do Top-Rated Hospitality Employers Retain Employees?

To attract higher quality employees, you need to improve your employer brand. A good wage and popular benefits are essential. But the underlying employer values create the foundation for everything else.

Let’s discuss two hospitality employers who are consistently recognized for being great places to work.

Hilton

Hilton has been high on the list of Fortune’s best companies to work for several years. Hilton CEO Christopher Nasetta is committed to the company’s 60,000 employees. He has redesigned employee work environments, offered a free GED program, and created advancement opportunities.

Kimpton

Both Fortune magazine and Glassdoor have recognized this boutique hotel chain as one of the best places to work. Kimpton offers amazing benefits to all its employees. These include PTO, full medical, 401(k) matching, back-up child and elder care, tuition reimbursement, and employee discounts at hotels.

One Kimpton employee explained it this way: “The difference here is that Kimpton truly creates a culture where every person feels like family. For me, this is not about some poster in the back of the house stating that ‘you belong,’ it is about how people make you feel.”

ApplicantStack for Hospitality Hiring

ApplicantStack has the most popular tools for effective hospitality hiring. These include the features discussed in this post and many more.

Our How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee Series contains additional valuable guidance for hospitality hiring.

 

A Franchise Expert’s Guide to Hiring Franchise Employees

A Franchise Expert’s Guide to Hiring Franchise Employees

Let’s talk about hiring franchise employees. Establishing a profitable franchise doesn’t happen by chance. You have to carefully follow the proven business model. Recruiting is an essential component.

Here are three critical tips for hiring franchise employees.

1. Learn Recruitment Best Practices

Forget gut instincts. You can’t wing it when it comes to hiring. Learn from experts. Avoid recruiting mistakes that could threaten the survival of your business.

Your franchisor probably has resources to help you. Read the hiring information carefully. If they don’t have hiring resources, consult other franchise owners. Take advantage of the collective wisdom of fellow franchisees who have built successful franchise businesses.

A common reason franchises fail is because the franchisee doesn’t follow the formula. Recruiting best practices are part of the formula!

Pay special attention to your manager position. This is your most important employee. You can’t operate without an effective manager. Fill this position first with a seasoned manager. Your manager can then help you evaluate applicants for the other positions.

All of your employees should have experience with your type of business. If you can find people who have worked at your specific franchise, you will save time on training.

Offer a wage a bit higher than your competition if necessary. One experienced, competent employee can often do the work of two entry-level employees.

For guidance on every aspect of hiring, consult our How To Hire Your Perfect Next Employee series. It includes articles and graphics to help any franchise owner find the employees who will ensure success.

2. Educate Yourself on EEOC Laws

In 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received over 76,000 charges of employer discrimination. Many of these involved franchises. (Note that this doesn’t include any state or local cases.)

For example, here is a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee who was fined $30,000 for discrimination.

EEOC laws are periodically updated on both the federal and local level. Don’t assume the franchisor’s compliance guidelines are current.

In addition to understanding the laws yourself, make sure your manager and anyone else on your hiring team agree to follow them. Include them in your employee handbook and use e-signature for verification.

In the first section, we mentioned structured interviewing. Creating a compliant script will help you avoid illegal interview questions.

3. Use Advanced Recruiting Technology

An applicant tracking system (ATS) automates franchise hiring processes. It’s never been more important to leverage technology. You simply can’t compete for the top franchise talent in the current labor market.

If your franchisor offers an applicant tracking system—use it. If not, get your own. You’ve got to staff an entire business before you can start turning a profit. You need the best tech tools. They will allow you to move multiple applicants through the process simultaneously.

Onboarding software is also important for franchise employees. The first few weeks and months are critical for long-term success.

Turnkey Software for Effective Franchise Hiring

Let’s elaborate on Tip 3: Use Advanced Recruiting Technology.

You’ve invested a lot of money. You want to get up and running quickly. Turnkey business software saves time for franchise owners while providing all the tools you need.

Franchise Employee Applicant Tracking

ApplicantStack is the applicant tracking system of choice for franchises. It’s ideally suited to staff an entire franchise business as quickly as possible.

  • Food and Beverage
  • Home Service
  • Fitness Centers
  • Salons
  • Pet Stores
  • Real Estate
  • Automotive
  • Financial/Insurance
  • Healthcare

Let’s explore the ApplicantStack tools that streamline hiring franchise employees.

Where To Advertise Franchise Positions

Job applicants search for franchise jobs on Monster, Indeed, Craigslist and college job boards. Franchise owners also find job applicants on company social media sites and the careers page of their website. Depending on the type of franchise, there are also niche sites that target specific industries.

It’s tedious and time consuming to post one job position to each site manually. Posting all the positions for an entire franchise launch is exponentially more time consuming. As a new franchise owner, you have to staff your entire company while dealing with all the other stuff. Like learning how to run the business.

Without ApplicantStack, you have to remember your account passwords for each job board. After taking the time to post to each site manually, you start receiving applications and resumes from the various sites. Without applicant tracking software, it’s an organizational nightmare.

Job Description Templates

ApplicantStack works like a busy franchisee’s capable hiring assistant. Create job description templates for each position. ApplicantStack stores them for you so they are ready when you need them. If you have multiple locations, you can create a template for each one. Include the geographic keywords to attract online searchers. ApplicantStack’s job posting tools make franchise hiring a breeze.

Single Signon Job Posting

You will need to post to multiple job boards simultaneously to build your team. With ApplicantStack, you can post to several job boards using a single signon.  Remember, you are competing with the other businesses in your area. You need a large pool of applicants because you will filter many of them out. That leads us to our next section.

Pre-Screening Questionnaires

Let’s talk about the importance of filtering. ApplicantStack automates this process as well. Create custom screening questionnaires in ApplicantStack. Applicants complete the questionnaire online when they apply. This quickly isolates the candidates who have the necessary experience, skills, and availability.

This ensures that you won’t waste time reviewing an application for a candidate who can’t work the necessary shifts. Pinpoint necessary job skills or certifications. Don’t take time away from marketing your business to review an application for a high school student who is too young to serve alcohol, for example.

Franchise experts use automatic filtering because there is no better way to find qualified employees quickly. With manual filtering, you might have to postpone your grand opening because you haven’t staffed your business in time.

Franchise Job Applicants Prefer Texting

ApplicantStack allows you to communicate with job applicants by email or text messaging. With the increasing popularity of texting, franchise experts take advantage of this immediate, highly personalized channel of communication. It not only speeds up the hiring process, it demonstrates that your business is on the cutting edge of technology.

Franchise Workforce Management

Once you’ve hired your team, you need to manage them efficiently with advanced software. Employee time and attendance software handles shift clock in/out, franchise employee scheduling, and PTO tracking.

TimeWorksExpress is a turnkey employee timekeeping system from SwipeClock. It only takes a couple minutes to create an account. Enter your franchise team in a few minutes. They can start clocking in and out today using a smartphone, work computer, or tablet.

Franchise Employee Self-Service HR

TimeWorksExpress allows franchise employees to check their schedule, request time off, and monitor their PTO balances. One of the keys to franchise employee job satisfaction is hassle-free Human Resources.

Give Your Manager Advanced Tools

Franchise managers love TimeWorksExpress as well. They can approve time cards and time off requests from their smartphone whether or not they are at work.

Previously, we discussed how critical it is to have a competent manager. Managers need smartly-designed tools to perform well. TimeWorksExpress will help your manager efficiently run your business and your staff, both of which are equally important.

Franchise Shift Scheduling

Franchise shift scheduling can get complicated. Many businesses need multiple part-time shifts of varying lengths. Spreadsheets don’t cut it anymore. TimeWorksExpress can handle complex team scheduling with employee shift drag-and-drop and schedule templates.

ApplicantStack and TimeWorksExpress

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel or spend hours researching software. ApplicantStack and TimeWorksExpress will help you find quality, experienced employees for your team and manage them efficiently going forward. (Click the links to try either product for free.)

Franchise experts know this is the key to recouping your investment and achieving long-term profitability.

New Business Owner? Avoid 3 Hiring Mistakes That Can Doom Your Startup

New Business Owner? Avoid 3 Hiring Mistakes That Can Doom Your Startup

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.

How Manager Feedback and Interview Evaluations Improve Hiring in 2019

How Manager Feedback and Interview Evaluations Improve Hiring in 2019

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

What comes next is a stack of resumes. Followed by the interview process. In 2019, you’re competing with many other companies to find the best talent. You can’t afford a slowdown in your process. The top candidate could be hired by your competitor. But you need to proceed strategically so you don’t hire the wrong person.

The Interview Feedback Review Process

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

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

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

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

Obtaining Interview Feedback

One of the most challenging aspects of the hiring process is about to occur… obtaining useful feedback from your staff during this review process. No matter how many employees you engage in the hiring process, it’s important that you gather the feedback in a consistent and meaningful way. One of the best ways to standardize feedback is to create candidate evaluation forms and request that they are filled out by your managers and staff during the review process.

Candidate Evaluation Forms For Interview Feedback

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

How Does a Candidate Evaluation Form Improve Recruiting?

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

Standardize Interview Feedback

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

When each member of the hiring team contributes to the interview feedback form, you elevate the entire process. Each person’s perspective and expertise improves the scoring. The result? You will find best-fit employees quickly.

Job Interview Evaluation Comments Samples

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

Interview Feedback Examples (Pre Interview)

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

Pre interview questionnaire

Examples of Effective Manager Feedback Questions (Post Interview)

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

Negative/Positive Interview Comments Example #1

Post Interview 1-1

Post Interview 1-2

Post Interview 1-3

Negative/Positive Interview Comments Example #2

Post Interview 2-1

How Job Interview Feedback Fits in the Applicant Journey

Job interview evaluation influences other applicant touchpoints. As such, it can help you improve job descriptions, interview scripts, and other candidate communications.

It also helps members of your hiring team become better at evaluating candidates. It’s a key best practice for any company that is serious about improving hiring outcomes.

Benefits of a Structured Interview Feedback Process

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

Identify Your Wish List When Evaluating ATS Tools

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.