You in HR juggle many tasks. Each of those tasks from recruiting through compensation, employee relations, organizational development to mergers, acquisition and “right sizing” have many parts. I’m no expert in comp or OD or M&A, but I’ve been recruiting for over 16 years.
Here is what I know about recruiting:
You have to know what you are looking for. None of us can read minds, especially those of hiring managers who are not sure themselves of what they need. Holding the hiring manager to reality and getting the details of the job can be simple or far more complex and difficult than it should be. Do you have a standard form for getting these details from your team leaders? Do you use the things desired to 1.) write the job description and 2.) do the performance review form for that job? Generic job ads tend to get generic applicants. You don’t need a generic employee, you need someone with specific skills to solve specific problems and you won’t get those unless you know what they are and ask for them.
Once everyone agrees on what the ideal candidates will be able to do (not simply have – we all have known PhDs who are not ready for industry) then you have to know how and where to look. You have many choices:
- Search your database of previously received resumes
- Post the job (and possibly pay a contingency recruiter)
- Ask your current employees for referrals
- Call into your competitors, call your network, do Boolean searches on the internet and look on LinkedIn yourself
- Hire an extra employee as a short-term contract recruiter to do the above.
- Give an exclusive to a contingency recruiter (who will do all of these things.)
- Hire a retained recruiter (who will have his staff do much of the “looking” and will do the pre-screening and initial face-to-face interview.
- Hire a boutique, a la carte recruiter or sourcer who will do only those parts of the search that you don’t have time for or expertise in.
(I’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each of these in a separate post.)
Once you have a flow of applicants and resumes and have acknowledged each one, then sorting them is the next step. It is remarkable how many people want “a job, any job” and will send a resume just because you posted a position, any position. So eliminating the generic resume senders will reduce the pile considerably. Studies have shown that as many as 99 out of 100 resumes are completely off-target.
Using an ATS (applicant tracking system) will also eliminate many of course, but beware that, unless you program in the synonyms for each of the keywords, you are likely to lose potentially great applicants. Smaller companies may not have an ATS and it is the responsibility of HR to sort the incoming emails and paper copies. Having a good list of keywords for each function can be a big help. This would also be done by any people you hire to help you – in-house or external.
Once you have eliminated the obvious “bad” resumes (and I know that you don’t have time to be the Job Fairy and figure out where any one particular person might fit into the company even if it is the Chairman’s grandson), then you and/or the hiring manager need to look at the screened resumes more closely. Is this person known to anyone on the team? What do they think? Does the experience shown make it likely that this person could actually solve the problem the team is hiring to solve? When that stack is reduced to just a few, then it is time to schedule phone screens or phone interviews to make sure that the person matches the resume if you have not hired someone else to do this. Because this screening takes time, it is good to have a process that tells the obviously “wrong fit” applicants that they are not being considered for this particular role in a timely manner. They are waiting for your response and the longer they wait, the less positive things they will have to say about your company (on social media and elsewhere).
If the screened candidate does seem to fit, then it is time to schedule a face to face interview. Do you sit in on these interviews or are you responsible for both phone screens and in person interviews? Is your hiring manager good at interviewing? Or does he or she simply want to hire the “likeable” person, rather than the one with the best skills and expertise? Do you need to train your hiring managers on interviewing? Most people have been the interviewee but not the interviewer and it can really stress the new manager. We don’t get any formal training in hiring, generally speaking and many managers “just go with their gut.” This can turn out to be a disaster. The less charismatic applicant could well be the better person for the job.
Interviewing by committee sounds like a good idea in that you get input from all the “stakeholders”, but it can make a bad interviewer even worse because he/she depends on the rest of the team to make the decision for him. Yes, input is good, but the first interview and the final decision should be made by the person who will be supervising the new hire. That is the relationship that needs to be strongest. If you think of interviewing like dating, having your date meet your parents on the first date is incredibly stressful and not likely to show him in the best or most realistic light.
Once the decision has been made, then all of the people who were not chosen need to be informed – it is just common courtesy (and it improves your company’s employment brand considerably). Don’t leave people hanging.
Onboarding the new hire needs to be well thought out. What steps do you take? Who is responsible for this step? Do you have a check list so that nothing gets forgotten or assumed?
Part of hiring includes performance evaluation and it really helps if you compare what was accomplished to what you said you wanted to have accomplished.
Do you have a checklist for all these steps? Do they vary depending on the level and function of the position you are trying to fill?