Blog - From the Bench

Process Makes Perfect – Must-Haves for a Standout Recruitment Process

By John Bemis On March 2, 2021 · In

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, so why would you hire someone without a plan? Even when the construction is identical, the builder still refers to their blueprints every step of the way. The same is true when it comes to hiring. A solid recruitment process helps you stay focused and gets you from job description to offer letter to onboarding with a minimum of headaches.

Whether you’re recruiting for an existing position or a newly formed role, these steps help streamline and optimize your recruitment and hiring process.

Define the Position and Process:

Once the need has been identified and approved, it’s time to meet with the hiring manager and all internal stakeholders to gain consensus on the requirements of the role and desired skills and qualities. As you review those requirements, ask the following questions:

  • Is this requirement a must-have? It’s important to identify the list of “must-haves” versus “would like to have” and set expectations with the hiring team.
  • Can a specific skill be developed on the job? How well can someone do the job without having mastered a specific skill?
  • Is this requirement job-related? This is particularly useful when evaluating soft skills or culture fit. You may want someone with a good sense of humor, but that’s definitely not job-related.

With the final list at hand, rank each requirement ensuring you and the hiring team know which skills are more important than others and whether the lack of certain skills is a dealbreaker.

Update Job Description and Recruitment Plan:

Make sure you’ve updated the job description to include any new information relating to job requirements, specific qualifications, desired characteristics, and experience. Be sure to include your company’s latest information about remote work, including plans and policies about returning to the office when it is safe to do so.

Describe the specific steps within the hiring process, including criteria for initial screenings, who will conduct the interviews, and the internal communication and notifications required to move the process forward.

Create or update your job ads. Use language that describes your company culture and employer branding. Think about what would attract your ideal candidate and develop benefit statements that emphasize why people want to work for your company. Focus on “What’s in it for them,” so your ad stands out from the clutter.

Take a look at your online application. Is it easy to fill out the required entries? Can your system seamlessly auto-populate uploaded resumes to the relevant fields and eliminate the need to re-enter information that’s already on it? Is the online application optimized for mobile?

Similarly, review your company’s career page. This is often the first page candidates visit when they check out your website. Does it reflect your employer branding and serve as an ambassador for potential recruits? Particularly in IT, top talent wants to know if the job fits what they’re looking for, they want to know what kind of company you are, what kind of people they’ll be working for, and what sort of mission and vision you have.

Get the Checklist: Download Benchmark IT’s Latest Salary and Hiring Guide for a Complete Hiring and Best Practices Checklist.

Start Sourcing!

In addition to LinkedIn ads, job board ads, and social media, develop a plan to reach out to passive candidates who aren’t looking at job ads. Announce the role internally and tap into your existing employees’ social and professional networks. Publicize your referral and incentive program to generate interest. Search your company’s existing database or applicant tracking system to discover potential candidates or reengage with previous applicants. Goes without saying, engaging with an experienced, ethical external recruiting firm is a huge boost to your recruiting efforts, if internal resources are limited or aren’t experienced in the more technical types of positions.

Will your HR or talent acquisition team be the first to review and eliminate candidates? Or will the hiring team or hiring manager review each of them? Once that’s determined, set a deadline to review the first batch of qualified applicants and identify those you want to advance to the screening stage. Make sure that you quickly and courteously communicate to those applicants who have been withdrawn from consideration.

Screen, Interview, Repeat

These days, the traditional phone screen and in-person interview have been replaced with a series of video calls. Over the past year, most professionals have become familiar with the ins and outs of video conferencing. However, it’s still helpful to distribute a video tip sheet to internal managers and candidates to prepare for the best experience possible and avoid technical hiccups.

Screening interviews typically focus on an applicant’s experience, hard and soft skills, work history, and availability.
Make it easy for them to schedule a screening call by offering several time-slots to choose from. Better still, consider using an appointment scheduling software like Calendly or GoodTime, where recruits electronically schedule a time on your calendar that works for them. Once scheduled, be on time. Video calls are far more unforgiving of lateness than in-person meetings. If you’re running behind, send a quick text or email to push the meeting back a few minutes.

If the candidate advances to the next round, interviews will be much more in-depth and likely involve several members of the organization. Preparation is critical for both the candidate and the interviewer, so make sure both have all the relevant details related to the role. It’s also a good idea to share a standardized list of interview questions with your internal team. This enables you to compare apples to apples in the decision process and evaluate feedback from various team members.

Need Interview Questions? Contact us for a custom IT Hiring Guide. They include easily adaptable assets, including skill-specific job descriptions, suggested interview questions, job ads and more.

Communicate with Candidates

Prompt and constructive feedback is crucial to filling a position. Schedule a feedback session with your internal team for the same or next day to collect feedback and share it with your candidate as soon as possible. This is as important to the process as it is to your employer brand. Candidates appreciate clear and consistent communication as to where they stand in the process. Stay actively engaged with top candidates as your process continues and let them know if you’re not ready to make a decision or the requirements have changed. If you don’t, not only will your top candidate have taken another role, but they’ll also likely tell people to avoid your company.

Once you do have news, share it with the candidate immediately. Will they need another round of interviews or a skills assessment? What are your background and drug-testing policy? Make sure your top candidates are aware of each step in your hiring process.

Feedback is equally essential when a candidate is disqualified. They appreciate knowing why they didn’t advance and can hopefully use that feedback to enhance their skill set for the future. Giving bad news isn’t always easy, so it’s a good idea to prep your internal team on ways to deliver effective and constructive feedback. This kind of positive candidate experience can be very powerful in building your reputation in that candidate’s network.

Hiring and Onboarding

Finally, you’ve got a winner! Now it’s time to make an offer and get your new hire on board as quickly as possible. You’ll want to present your complete compensation package, including cash and non-cash compensation and benefits. In a perfect world, the candidate has been “pre-closed,” understands the scope of the role and its compensation and is ready to accept. However, that’s not always the case, so you should be prepared for some back and forth before you agree.

Once you’ve finalized terms, prepare an offer letter in accordance with your company’s policies. Typically, the letter presents the official job title, expected start date, the compensation package including cash and non-cash compensation and benefits, working hours, and reporting structure. Send the offer letter along with more information about the company including your employee handbook, and updated Covid-19 policies and health safeguards. Including some company branded merchandise such as a mug or a t-shirt is always appreciated.

After a comprehensive search, interview and offer process, you might think it’s time to sit back and relax, but not yet. Candidates still get calls, some of them tempting, between when they accept a new offer and when they start the new job. It’s always advisable to have a backup in case something happens between your candidate accepting the offer and the start date. If you had a strong number two candidate, keep them apprised during the process. They will respect you for this. If you don’t, they’ll likely be gone or less interested, and you’ll need to start the process all over again.

Finally, focus on having a smooth, welcoming onboarding process. Keep the candidate appraised of progress throughout any background checking, equipment provisioning and other formalities, and treat them like an employee that they are soon to be, in terms of communication, closing any loops, etc. The hiring team should be working on a good First day welcome and a plan for the first days and weeks, to make sure the new employee gets off to a strong start (especially if they are working remotely!).

Have questions? We’ve placed thousands of IT candidates and have helped our clients adopt processes to fill positions quickly and with a minimum of surprises along the way. Let us know if we can be of service to you!

About Benchmark IT –Technology Talent
Benchmark IT –Technology Talent offers IT consulting, executive search, and direct hire recruitment and staffing services throughout the metro New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area. Established in 2007, its proprietary recruitment process and dedication to precision, ethics, and personalized service have made them a trusted partner among Fortune-ranked companies, mid-market, start-ups, and growth-phase firms in the Tri-State area. For additional information, visit www.bmarkits.com

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