Easy Ways to Improve the Hiring Process


By Stephanie Hammerwold

The new year will be upon us in a few weeks, so it is time to start thinking about resolutions. With job openings increasing and unemployment dropping, it is a good time to start thinking about your hiring process and resolving to improve it in 2016. Here are a few easy ways to take the HR Hammer to your hiring process and setting up a system that helps find the best candidates to fill your openings in the upcoming year.

Job Descriptions & Ads

While it is not a legal requirement to have a job description, it is an HR best practice to do so. A good job description clearly communicates expectations to an employee, but even before someone becomes an employee, it is a tool to ensure that a candidate understands the requirements of the position. Creating or updating a job description also ensures that everyone at the company is on the same page about what the position will do.

Prior to posting an ad, review the existing job description for accuracy. Jobs evolve and change with each new person who takes on a position, so make necessary adjustments to the old description. If you are starting from scratch, get input from people already doing the job so that what you have on paper accurately reflects the day-to-day work of the position.

&&&Use your job description to create your job posting ad. Gone are the days of having to string together cryptic abbreviations to minimize the cost of a classified ad in a newspaper. Most job posting sites give you plenty of space to describe the position; however, this does not mean that you have to create the War and Peace of job postings. Remember that job seekers will be scanning many job sites, so keep your posting brief. Focus on the key responsibilities and qualifications for the position, and include something about your company culture and benefits. You can include a link to the job description on your own site for interested job seekers who want more information, but the goal of the ad is to spark someone’s attention enough to learn more about your company and to visit your career site.

Winging It

Sometimes we get so busy that preparation for an interview is little more than a quick scan of a resume while a candidate waits in the lobby several minutes before the interview starts. Unfortunately, such an approach is little more effective than trying to read and memorize a semester’s worth of material in the hours before a final exam. There is a strong possibility that you will miss out on important details and will forget to ask good questions.

To help avoid having to wing it for interviews, take some time to develop interview questions while you are creating or updating the job description. If the candidate is going through multiple interviews, this is a good way to prevent making the candidate answer the same questions over and over. It also gives you a chance to review questions for suitability and to get rid of any questions that might be inappropriate or touch on protected classes. Focus on asking about work experience, relevant training and education and questions that require the candidate to demonstrate their knowledge.

Do not forget to schedule some time to review the candidate’s resume and application prior to the interview. Get to know their experience and history so that you do not have to waste interview time on questions that the candidate already answered on paper.

Too Many Cooks in the Interview Kitchen

Now that you have a polished job description, beautifully written ad and flawless questions, it is time to take a look at who will be a part of the interview process and just how many interviews a candidate has to go through. Keep things simple, and avoid unnecessary interviews.

In all my years of interviewing job candidates, I have come to realize that you can usually get a pretty good idea if someone is a top contender within the first few minutes of the interview. That does not mean you should stop the interview after only a couple minutes, but it does mean that having the candidate come back for multiple interviews or having a large team of people conducting interviews is probably a bit excessive.

With the exception of high-level positions, you probably do not need too many people involved in the interview process. It is often good to have a second opinion, and the hiring manager and someone from HR should be sufficient. If you feel the need to include others, consider conducting panel interviews to cut down on the number of interviews. Trust your managers to make good hiring decisions. Train them on interview skills so that they do not need a bunch of people involved in the interview process for openings on their team. If you find that a number of people would like to be involved, consider quick, informal introductions following an interview, so others have the chance to briefly meet a candidate before a final decision is made.

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

Finally, put a process in place to make sure there is adequate follow up with candidates. At the conclusion of the interview, let the candidate know how long you expect the decision process to take. If it takes more time than planned, follow up with the candidate by making a call or sending an email. Once you have made a decision, get in touch with all candidates to let them know whether or not they got the job. Waiting for a call about a job is stressful, and a quick call or email can help ease the frustration many feel during the waiting game of the hiring process.