Recently, more than 50% of CEOs surveyed said that they were looking to increase their company’s headcount this year. At the same time, they identified the availability of skills as one of the top three threats to their organisation’s growth.1 With the labour market increasingly candidate-driven, and unemployment at near record lows, it’s more important than ever to get your hiring right.
Easier said than done? No doubt – but here are seven steps to follow to help get you on your way.
The first step in hiring is to plan your approach so you have the time and resources you need to find the best candidates for your roles. Start well in advance: map out your timelines with milestones that include closing dates for applications, interview dates and decision points. Make sure you include communication touchpoints too - so anyone thinking about applying for the job will know exactly what to expect from you and when.
Once your plan is in place, the work can begin. Write the job description in a way that attracts the kinds of candidates you want, seeking input from other members of the team you’re hiring for to help give an accurate description. Check out our ‘9 Things Every Job Ad Should Have’ guide for more helpful tips. Give thought to the most appropriate promotion channels for this role and remember, a wide recruitment funnel doesn’t necessarily mean a successful hire. In fact, the advice from HBR is quite the opposite: “Create a smaller but better-qualified applicant pool to improve the yield”.2 Glassdoor is a great place to find informed candidates who apply thoughtfully and do their research.
The third step is to screen your candidates - verifying the information provided in their application and assessing basic competencies, allowing you to focus your in-depth interviews on a smaller pool of candidates. Pre-screening typically involves manually reviewing applications or a quick phone call with the candidate, but don’t be afraid to put technology to work and communicate with candidates in ways they’re familiar with - consider using chatbots,3 or try asynchronous video interviewing, where you set standardised questions and candidates have a set period to submit their video responses. Our checklist for candidate screening will help you here, whether you do this via phone or using new technology.
Now you have your shortlist of great candidates, you’re ready to interview. You should already have the basics, so focus your interview in three key areas: the candidate’s emotional intelligence, known to predict workplace success;4 how they have behaved in different situations;5 and cultural/team ‘fit’. Brief your interview panel in advance, so everyone is on the same page about the job role, the company and its culture. Check out your company’s Glassdoor reviews and prepare thoughtful responses should the candidate ask about them. Don’t shy away from difficult questions - rigorous interviews have been shown to lead to more successful hires.6 Consider including non-Q&A elements, like testing for specific skills or presentations and role plays. Check out our ‘How to Conduct Better Interviews’ and ‘How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence’ guides for more helpful tips.
If you’ve carried out the first four steps effectively, then step five will be relatively easy. Each person on your interview panel should rate candidate answers against a set of objective criteria to avoid bias - then make a considered choice based on the results. If there are disagreements, get the interview panel back together for a debrief. Once you have informed your successful candidate, you’re likely to go through a process of negotiation to agree specific terms of their contract. Take this part seriously - if you’re trying to attract a superstar, treat them like one. According to the research, this approach will pay dividends: an employee’s sense of belonging, purpose and achievement has been linked to better retention, effort and job performance.7 Remember to communicate with unsuccessful candidates too; you want to create a positive brand impression, and those who don’t receive an offer are more likely to apply again in the future if they have a positive experience.8
Once you’ve agreed your offer, you might think the process is over - but think again. Onboarding is a vital step in your recruitment process. Effective onboarding has been shown to increase retention, reduce time for employees to be effective and enhance employee engagement.9 Think about onboarding as all of the activities and resources that are made available as soon as your new hire accepts the position and continue until they are fully integrated into the team – with a clear focus on organisational culture. Check out our ‘New Hire Onboarding Checklist’ for advice on how to get started.
Our final step might be unexpected, but the value of all this work goes beyond your successful new hires. Learn lessons from your approach and build these into your recruitment strategy. Review what has worked well and what could have been more successful. Look at the data you’ve collected: the time to hire, the number, cost, and relevance of the applications you received, the channels through which they arrived, the screening and the interview processes. Ask your new hires for candidate feedback on the interview and onboarding processes and encourage them to leave reviews on your Glassdoor profile. Make sure you reflect honestly on your strengths and weaknesses, and what can be done to improve next time around.
So that’s it - in seven steps. There’s no doubt that recruiting is getting tougher, but following our guide will put you in a better position to attract and retain new hires.
If you want to dig deeper into any of these steps, Glassdoor has a wide range of guides to help. Check out our Resource Library to build your knowledge and stay informed.
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Behavioural Interviewing Questions and Templates >
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1. PWC 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey
2. Cappelli, P. 2019. ‘Your Approach to Hiring is All Wrong’. Harvard Business Review, May 2019.
3. Deloitte. 2019 Global Human Capital Trends. ‘Accessing Talent’.
4. Glassdoor. ‘How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence’.
5. Glassdoor. ‘Behavioural Interviewing Questions and Templates’.
6. Glassdoor. ‘Do Difficult Job Interviews Lead to More Satisfied Workers?’
7. MIT Sloan School of Management. ‘How to attract superstar talent without going bankrupt’.
8. Zhang, H. and Feinzig, S. ‘The far-reaching impact of candidate experience’. IBM Analytics White Paper.
9. Work Institute. Essential Guide to Conducting Onboarding Studies.