Best Practices for Structuring your Hiring Process

by Chanler Haden, Business Development Manager at Elevate Talent

Despite the increased use of tools and platforms and the amount of data readily available to HR professionals, the state of hiring has never been worse, reports Harvard Business Review. Only about 30% of companies in the US report that they monitor whether or not their hiring processes lead to good employees. Even fewer track key performance indicators such as cost per hire and time to hire.

And yet, hiring remains the number one concern among CEOs, according to the most recent Conference Board Annual Survey. In the race for top talent – and today’s job market is more competitive than ever – best practices around hiring have gotten lost amidst the adoption of AI tools and other technology meant to give companies a competitive edge.

Recruiting professionals must return to these best practices for structuring the hiring process to ensure they get quality leads, track the right metrics, and can adjust their approach as necessary. Here’s how to revamp your interview process to reduce your time to hire by up to 50% and reduce cost per hire by up to 70%.

Define the interview process

In 2012, employers received an average of 85 applicants for every job opening; roughly 60% of candidates who applied did not meet the role’s qualifications. Since then, a number of screening tools and platforms have dramatically sped up the process of culling the pool of applicants to the best few.

A recruitment agency can dramatically improve how companies utilize the interview phase. Some companies use applicant tracking systems to reduce candidate screening time. However, these tools can be costly. Instead, a trained professional can take on the first step of the screening process, using a phone interview to help quickly assess whether a candidate has suitable qualifications and background.

Recruiting agencies place full-time candidates efficiently and more cost-effectively, reducing burn in the long-run. Recruiting agencies can thoughtfully sort through the applicants who aren’t going to meet the role’s qualifications, saving your time in the process. Delegate the first-round interview or pre-screen to a third-party. Then, define the subsequent steps of your interview process to clearly delineate how many steps there need to be, and who needs to be in the room for each step.

Reduce redundancy in the process

Some companies ask candidates to participate in second, third, and even fourth round interviews before making an offer. Traditionally, this was meant to screen out weaker candidates and give c-suite level managers had the chance to meet with only the best applicants.

“The reason for the lengthy interviewing process is that companies want to be sure that they are hiring the right candidate because it’s time-consuming and expensive to have to start the hiring process over if the candidate doesn’t work out in,” write the career experts at The Balance.

However, as the candidate goes through the interview process, the same questions tend to get asked repeatedly. Repeated questions lead to a bad candidate experience: the individual feels undervalued. And, for companies, having the same question asked at multiple stages leads to wasted time and resources. How many people need to ask the same question before a candidate is cleared for the job offer?

Streamline your interview process by reducing how many interviews a candidate needs to undergo. Outsourcing the screening and first rounds of interviews to a recruiting agency can lead to higher-quality candidates – meaning you can move a person more quickly to the “final round” interview and get them in front of decision-makers sooner.

Use a skillset

Skill testing can replace much of what interviews hope to achieve. An interview’s best use is to assess whether or not someone can succeed in your business. There is no point in hiring a talented employee only to set them up to fail. So, use the interview to learn more about an employee’s work style, communication, and career goals – how will this person fit with the organization over time? This is not the same as culture fit, but it is a good way to predict success once the hiring process is over.

“Only 40% of employers…do any tests of skills or general abilities, including IQ,” reports HBR. And, in a market where more than 80% of candidates report lying on their CV, a skills test is a necessary step in ensuring the right person makes it to the interview. Add some kind of skill testing step to your hiring process to verify that the candidates who come through your pipeline are the real deal.

Shorten the time to hire

When you integrate a skill test and work with a recruiting agency, your company can dramatically shorten time to hire. These trusted verification steps help a company ensure the candidates they hire are who they say they are.

There are other ways to shorten the time it takes to go from job posting to onboarding a new employee. Specifically, companies must build a system that consolidates and streamlines communication from one interview stage to the next. An applicant tracking system or even just a shared spreadsheet can be utilized to collect feedback on a candidate’s skills test, answers to some of the pertinent questions from their phone screen and first round interview, as well as details from their CV and cover letter. When you use a central system to collect feedback, it cuts down on back-and-forth and time-consuming meetings to discuss candidates and can dramatically shorten time to hire.

Offer consistent communication

Constant, frequent communication starts with the signals you’re sending on your company’s careers page. Remove positions once they’ve been filled; don’t waste a candidate’s time applying to “phantom” job postings that no longer exist.

An important aspect of this phase in the hiring structure is making sure you communicate with candidates who haven’t made it to interviews. Provide a great candidate experience by only inviting those applicants who you are serious about hiring. Have a strict protocol about communicating with failed candidates, and give people the respect they deserve.