5 Ways to Improve your Hiring Process

Mary Kay Ash, the successful entrepreneur and founder of the Mary Kay cosmetics brand is famously quoted as saying “People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.” Some organizations see this cliche as simply that:  a cliche. Others understand the real meaning behind such words and make it a part of their recruiting, hiring, and retaining efforts.. Yet, the very process intended to attract the best people for an organization is far too frequently broken – those entrusted with these important and impactful decisions may perceive hiring as a necessary evil, overestimate how well they’re handling the process, or mismanage the process for lack of knowledge and training.

Let’s consider some simple tips to improve your hiring process and set your organization up for long-term growth and success!

First, you should actually have a Hiring Process!

Far too often we’ve seen organizations of all sizes make the mistake of allowing individual hiring managers take responsibility for critical components like the job posting process, recruiting, interviewing, and candidate selection. In some situations, we’ve even seen where a hiring manager was unavailable for an interview and asked another employee to fill in last-minute (without any previous involvement with or intimate knowledge of the position being filled).  A basic hiring process should, at minimum, standardize job postings, recruiting media, interview preparation, and metrics for candidate selection.

Identify common resources, practices, and tools for sourcing and hiring and use them in tailored strategies for each hiring campaign.

Employer branding, social media recruiting, and marketing your job postings are crucial to your ability to connect with the people you need on your team. Keep a healthy working relationship with your colleagues in marketing, PR, and related areas, so you can coordinate efforts to design social media visuals, print materials, and/or digital marketing campaigns.

Also consider recruiting strategies such as virtual job fairs, pre-hire assessments, and attendance at industry events as ways to build strong candidate pipelines. If you’re considering an employee referral program then be sure to educate your employees on the skills, abilities, and qualifications for each position so you can reduce the risk of getting candidates simply based on their relationships with your employees and not based on their ability to do the job.

Of course, you’ll likely use some combination of these efforts as needed so you don’t become reliant on just one method.

Take each hiring opportunity to strategically evaluate current hiring processes, resources, and methods. 

Each hiring situation provides you the opportunity to honestly assess what works and doesn’t work so be sure to evaluate key aspects such as the job description, job posting verbiage, recruiting efforts, and social media strategy. 

If a change is needed, then make those changes with the very next hiring opportunity.  Some in your organization may resist changes to the process so it’s important to help them understand the critical nature of hiring and the exorbitant costs of making a bad hire.  Allow for training and introduce tools as described below.

Ensure that your hiring process includes objective, reliable, and relevant screening methods.

Be sure to have a well-vetted arsenal of validated, justifiable screening methods and resources that all hiring managers and hiring team members are fully trained to utilize. These include: resume review methods, candidate application forms, supporting documentation (e.g. portfolios), pre-hire assessments, relevant interview questions, and reference checks.

Pay attention to the recruiting and application methods that appeal to your candidate pool. Applications, interview scheduling, and candidate notifications are often done digitally and instantly via smartphones so be sure your formats are compatible with mobile applications. Your ability to anticipate and react to the changing environment impacts your ability to attract qualified candidates so be sure you methods are relevant in today’s world.

Follow your own processes!

Having well-intentioned and fully-compliant procedures in place is simply not enough – what you’ve established on paper has to become the norm across your entire organization.

To get there, make sure that anyone in your organization who plays any role on a Hiring Team has had training on the hiring process, tools and resources, and methods before being granted full authority to hire (even if this means a one-hour orientation session).

A key element of this training should provide a clear understanding of the role pre-hire assessments play in the hiring process. A reliable, validated pre-hire assessment helps the hiring team evaluate candidates in an objective and consistent way.

We recommend that your HR resources maintain an active presence on every hiring team – not in a policing role but instead as a mentor or coach guiding the process. The HR professional is also there to reinforce training and encourage proper use of tools and resources. After all, even the best tools are ineffective when they’re not used as intended.



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