To ensure you are making smart hires, it is critical to have a well-designed hiring plan in place.
Hiring new employees can be an exciting prospect – fresh faces can bring new perspectives, skills, and energy to your organization. Despite being a crucial element to company operations, talent management is an oft-overlooked area of improvement when attempting to maximize efficiency, results, and return on investments.
Hiring and job hunting have dramatically changed over the years. In today's world, hiring is less of an in-house function and is increasingly outsourced. For both job seekers and companies, the internet offers an endless pool of search engines, job boards, networking channels, and application platforms.
In some ways, the surplus of information and resources can create inefficiencies, distractions, and new struggles for human resources managers and others involved in the recruiting and hiring process.
Here’s how subpar hiring practices show up in your organization and what they’re costing you.
Understand the cost of bad hires
For organizations focused on delivering the best possible product or service, hiring can easily be ignored as an avenue of strategic investment. This is evident based on the number of companies who report that bad hiring severely costs them.
In a survey of over 1,000 business owners and hiring managers by Robert Half International, 54% of respondents reported that significant time was wasted on a bad hire. On average, it took 17 weeks to correct the mistake of a bad hire by letting the person go and replacing them. This situation wastes resources, puts additional stress on employees, and decreases confidence in management. Interestingly, the survey also found that 81% of hiring managers admitted to making a bad hire.
Root causes of ineffective hiring will depend on a variety of factors related to organizational structure, effective use of technology, and (if third parties are involved) maximizing relationships with external partners.
Before you begin attempting to fill an open position, spend time with the hiring manager to understand exactly what type of candidate is needed. Asking the manager questions like:
- Who are the best employees you currently have on the team?
- What are the personality traits of a great candidate?
- What traits do you not want to see in a candidate?
- What skillset does the ideal candidate for the position have?
Write effective job postings
Anyone working in talent management will tell you that the best hires come from the most diverse (demographically and experientially), skilled pool of candidates for any open position. It’s hard to attract this pool, however, with job postings that waste time for both job seekers and hiring managers. An ineffective job posting will lead to job seekers asking unnecessary questions and points of clarification, and recruiters and managers will spend even more time finding the right candidate.
A large number of job seekers are considered "passive" candidates who aren't definitively pursuing a new position – they would only change jobs should they come across the right opportunity. This means that job seekers are maintaining a year-round presence on job search boards and digital networking spaces. For your job posting to stand out, it needs to be eye-catching without attempting to oversell or be inauthentic.
Expressing clarity regarding the expectation for the job and transparency on the hiring process, as well as conveying organizational purpose and culture, can go a long way in building a good first impression. Write transparent, clear, and to-the-point descriptions of the position with realistic expectations. Balance clear details with concise explanations and avoid flashy language or unnecessary jargon. This saves time and resources down the line by building a more viable pool of candidates.
Some of the top reasons that employers struggle to hire qualified candidates can include:
- Unclear job posting descriptions
- Competition from other employers
- Lack of needed work experience
- Lack of technical skills
- Low number of applicants
- Lack of other workplace (soft) skills
Narrow your applicant pool
Streamlined hiring practices recognize that increasing quality candidates is more important than the overall number of applicants. It may feel counterintuitive and inefficient to bring in fewer candidates, but attracting more serious, qualified candidates will lead to more fulfilling results. Doing so will weed out inexperienced candidates who are wasting your time and resources throughout the screening and interview processes. The high number of passive job seekers requires more thoughtfulness on the part of hiring staff throughout the recruitment and hiring process.
Pay attention to screening tactics and processes. Using screening technologies, which will be covered later in this article, as part of your streamlined hiring process is one method that can help you focus on the best-fitting candidates for interviews.
Adapt to a changing workforce
The World Economic Forum notes that existing career models are being disrupted by numerous factors. There's a rise in the contingent workforce (freelancers, contractors, etc.) tasked with solving specific complex business problems that are shifting overall career expectations.
This doesn't mean that job seekers aren't looking for salaried positions. Rather, this indicates that as people become normalized to flexible work options in the broader culture, companies may need to rethink their talent management strategies and adapt accordingly.
Here are some questions to consider as you evaluate your hiring practices:
- Who are your target audiences and profiles for your job postings?
- Are you leveraging all available technologies and digital platforms to expand your reach?
- Are your job postings accurately conveying the flexibility or inflexibility of positions based on work hours, location of work (remote or in-person), and other considerations?
- Are your positions, requirements, and qualifications reflective of the emerging workforce that is adopting more fast-paced and flexible opportunities?
- Are you missing out on potentially great hires through outdated assumptions? For example, seeing gaps in work experience as an automatic red flag.
Previous management models may have recruited someone to a company and then assigned them a specific role. Now, people are increasingly sought-after based on their specific skills. They may work on specialized duties or projects given their expertise in a set of hard and/or soft skills.
Many companies waste time, and lift candidates' hopes, by failing to communicate information that job seekers are most anxious to know. Adapting your positions where possible may be necessary as you streamline hiring to meet the needs of the current and future workforces.
Effectively leverage technology
Does your organization have a high volume of applications being reviewed at any given time? Whether you're a medium-sized business or a multinational corporation with employees in several countries, using cutting-edge technologies for streamlined hiring is one avenue to consider. With some corporate positions seeing hundreds of applicants for a single opening, time is often wasted screening fake or incomplete applications.
A total talent acquisition management platform allows you to automate certain functions of the candidate search and application screening process. Although quite new, this type of service shows great promise in harnessing artificial intelligence and machine-driven algorithms to verify applicants' identities, locate potential matches quickly, and create consistent and fair results in building demographically diverse pools. All of these functions save resources and eliminate waste from prolonged vacancies.
Hiring managers and staff may have valid concerns about adopting a technological approach to talent management and recruitment. Three in four job seekers, after all, prefer human contact in the hiring process. Word-of-mouth remains one of the top methods to landing a position.
What does this predicament mean for those tasked with producing fair, consistent, and streamlined hiring?
Referrals, after all, only go so far, as they can often lead to a homogenous workforce. Referrals are sometimes inconsistent and unhelpful when you’re seeking candidates with a specific skill set. Nonetheless, an entirely technological approach can turn job seekers off as it may feel impersonal and robotic.
One way to reconcile this dilemma is to leverage technology so that hiring managers and HR staff can maximize time and resources to build connections, communicate the organization's values and branding effectively, and cultivate meaningful internal processes to evaluate hiring and talent management satisfaction.
Implement follow-ups and evaluation
Any hiring process cannot be improved unless it's thoroughly reviewed. Many companies don't see the necessity in evaluating their hiring and recruitment processes, tools, and practices. Measuring whether someone was a “cultural fit” or satisfied with their position may seem difficult, but it's certainly possible to survey both recent hires and those closest working with that hire to measure satisfaction.
Organizations that fail to evaluate their hiring and recruitment processes are at risk of quickly becoming obsolete, as well as falling behind on generational and demographic shifts in the workforce. Satisfaction during the recruitment, hiring, and even onboarding process goes deeper than improving efficiency – it’s a core component of organizational culture and creating a welcoming, trusting atmosphere. Streamlined hiring cannot save your bottom line if preserving employee happiness and satisfaction isn’t integrated with it.
Evaluations should measure if productivity was enhanced, and seamless transitions were made possible. Perhaps most importantly, evaluations should also investigate whether new hires felt welcome and confident throughout the process. It's also worth determining how the hiring process influenced the candidates' perception of the company. The idea here is to ensure that your hiring process was as authentic and transparent as possible.
In addition to evaluating hiring satisfaction, it’s crucial to monitor results from recruiting channels, referrals, and other digital resources. This will help you see which avenues produce the best hires and candidate pools, thereby helping your hiring managers focus on the most effective routes to success.