A hiring process is a series of steps that an organization follows to recruit, screen, and select candidates for employment.
How To Create a Successful Hiring Process
Written by: Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young is a writer with over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education.
Reviewed by: Keca Ward
As a seasoned HR professional with over 20 years of experience, Keca is an expert in various aspects of Human Resources.
Updated on July 14, 2023
How To Create a Successful Hiring Process
As any experienced HR professional knows, hiring is a challenging but essential aspect of maintaining a successful business.
Every step of the hiring process can have long-lasting effects on your organization, including company culture, employee retention, and overall profitability. Therefore, it’s important to be intentional with every stage of hiring and be open to making adjustments where necessary.
A well-designed hiring process can help businesses attract and retain top talent, reduce hiring costs, and improve workforce performance. It can also enhance the applicant experience and benefit your current employees by positively affecting company culture.
Recruitment is a complicated process, with countless factors that ultimately determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit for a specific position and the company as a whole. Sometimes it can be challenging to decide which aspects to focus on to improve your recruiting efforts.
Though this may seem daunting, you’ve come to the right place. This comprehensive guide will provide the tools and suggestions you need to make your hiring process an asset for your business, not a liability.
What Is a Hiring Process?
The process typically includes job analysis and planning, sourcing candidates, reviewing resumes and applications, conducting interviews and assessments, checking references and backgrounds, making job offers, and onboarding new hires.
The hiring process is designed to ensure that the most qualified and suitable candidates are selected for a particular job while ensuring the process is fair, efficient, and compliant with legal and ethical standards.
Though most organizations will follow a similar sequence of steps in their hiring process, the devil is in the details. How each step is carried out can significantly impact the overall result, so paying attention to things like communication and applicant sourcing can go a long way.
For example, suppose your organization is excellent at speeding candidates through the hiring process. You might be happy with that efficiency and not notice that the candidates you’re sourcing aren’t the best fit for the company culture.
In this case, the issue began with sourcing, as your applicant pool did not contain any top-notch candidates. If that initial stage goes poorly, no matter how efficient the hiring process is, your organization will still end up with sub-optimal hires.
What Are the Steps of a Hiring Process?
As recruiters and job seekers know, the hiring process can be complicated and time-consuming. However, there is a good reason for its many steps, as hiring and recruitment significantly impact all aspects of the organization.
1. Identify a Need
The hiring process begins with the identification of a need. This most commonly occurs due to employee turnover, from an employee deciding to quit, being asked to leave, or hitting retirement age.
Alternatively, sometimes growing organizations realize that they have more work than can be accomplished by their current team. Expansion opportunities mean that the company is growing, but selecting new members who will contribute to that vision is vital.
2. Write a Job Description
Though writing a job description may seem like a relatively straightforward part of hiring, it has significant implications for the entire hiring process.
It takes time to sort through applications, so you’ll want to make the job description as specific as possible to avoid receiving many applications from underqualified applicants.
3. Recruit Candidates for the Open Position
Once your job description is created, the next step is to share it with potential candidates. There are several ways to source candidates for an open position.
Traditionally, recruiters would create a job description, post it to relevant platforms, and wait for applicants to come to them.
This approach can still be successful, but if you’re looking to fill a higher-ranking position that requires a lot of experience, you may want to take a more active role in candidate sourcing.
Possible methods for sourcing highly-qualified candidates include contacting them through professional networks, sending recruitment emails, or initiating another form of outreach.
This kind of more involved approach is usually necessary for passive candidates, or people who may be open to a new role but are not currently looking.
4. Review Applications
Once you’ve received some applications, it’s time to review them. Especially if your team has a lot of applications to read, you’ll need to develop a procedure to ensure that each application is weighed fairly against the same standards.
If you’d rather not leave room for human error, consider using an ATS. An ATS, or applicant tracking system, is a type of software that can help organize applications and make it easier to reach hiring decisions.
For example, an ATS can measure applications against the job description and select the ones that best match your organization’s needs. Though this software won’t make any final decisions, it can be a powerful tool in the hiring process.
However, software applications can’t address the human aspects of hiring, such as assessing cultural fit or considering extenuating circumstances.
If you choose to use an ATS, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t automatically exclude candidates with potential who may not show up well on paper.
5. Conduct Interviews
Once you’ve narrowed down your stack of applications to a few exceptional candidates, it’s time to reach out to them.
Sometimes, an initial phone call can be useful in weeding out less impressive candidates without spending time scheduling a formal interview.
These calls should be about 15-30 minutes long and allow you to ask general get-to-know-you questions and learn about the candidate’s professional experiences and future goals.
Screening phone calls are a good place to notice any obvious red flags, such as lack of enthusiasm, poor preparation, or low people skills.
Use the same questions for every candidate you interview during these calls to ensure fairness and equal treatment. After a round of screening phone calls, it’s time to schedule formal interviews with the top candidates in person or over a video call.
Interviews are often the most stressful part of the hiring process for candidates, as they must demonstrate both professional abilities and a friendly demeanor.
Stressed people often can’t put their best foot forward, so allow candidates to make their best impression by establishing a respectful environment that allows for a back-and-forth conversation.
Of course, you’ll need to ask them the necessary questions to learn about their experience and goals, but also make space for them to interview you.
After all, employment is a two-way relationship, and taking steps to ensure both parties will be satisfied can save you time and money that would be spent on further recruiting.
Depending on your organization’s needs, you may conduct several rounds of interviews with different interviewers to ensure a good cultural fit with all teams as well.
6. Conduct Assessments
If the position you are hiring for requires a specific skill set, assigning assessments to candidates is an effective way to make sure they can hit the ground running.
Some organizations may include assessments during the early hiring stages so they don’t waste time interviewing underqualified applicants.
However, assessments can also be an excellent final step in the hiring process. If a candidate has passed all rounds of interviews, the last step is ensuring they have the skills they say they do.
Whether giving a mock assignment to a writer or asking a computer engineer to solve a technical problem, you’ll be glad to see the skills listed on their resume in action before making a final decision.
7. Confirm References and Run a Background Check
Even if a candidate has excelled in the hiring process up to this point, it is still wise to conduct a background check and contact their references.
Because a bad hire can have so many negative consequences for your organization, ensuring there is nothing criminal in their history is an important step before making a final decision.
Background checks allow companies to gather the facts regarding candidates’ criminal, educational, and job history so you can ask the appropriate questions during interviews.
Background checks are intended to ensure candidates have the legal right to work but can sometimes reveal other aspects of a candidate’s past. If this information is irrelevant to the position they’re applying for, it should not be included in the candidate’s profile.
Still, if you also discover something that may keep them from doing their job well, such as someone with driving infractions seeking a delivery driver position, it is reasonable to use that information in the hiring decision.
8. Make a Decision
Now it’s time to gather all the information you’ve learned about the candidates and make a decision. Collaborate with the interview team to ensure the new hire is a good fit for the whole organization.
Remember, cultural fit is important, but be careful not to make decisions based on biases or “gut feelings,” which are often forms of discrimination.
Since it’s impossible to completely rid your team of implicit biases, implementing a standardized process is essential to create as fair a process as possible.
9. Extend an Offer
Once you’ve made a decision, ask your HR department to draw up a job offer. Do this as quickly as possible to avoid qualified candidates accepting other offers.
Not all candidates will accept the first offer, so be prepared for some negotiation surrounding salary, benefits, and scheduling.
10. Onboard the New Employee
If the candidate accepts the offer, congratulations! The hard part is over. Still, it is important to make the onboarding process as pleasant as possible to keep the new employee’s hiring experience positive and start them off on the right foot.
As soon as possible, share relevant paperwork and information regarding company policies, benefits, and training with the candidate. Recruiting software can make this process easier by enabling e-signatures and letting new hires file all their paperwork from home.
How To Improve Your Hiring Process
If you’re a business owner seeking to improve your hiring process, remember what it was like to interview for your current position and consider making improvements accordingly.
Even without exact recruiting metrics, you can begin improving your hiring process by considering several different factors.
1. Invest in Your Employer’s Brand
A positive employer brand can be very helpful in attracting the kind of candidates your business needs to thrive. If job seekers know you have a reputation for treating your employees well, you’ll be more likely to receive a lot of high-quality applicants.
Taking good care of your current employees may encourage them to refer other excellent candidates to open positions and will boost your organization’s reputation as a desirable workplace.
2. Provide Information
Most candidates are pressed for time, whether due to applying for multiple positions or managing the workload of their current role. To avoid frustrating applicants and wasting their time, try to provide as much information as possible upfront.
For example, if a role is described as hybrid but requires in-person attendance three days a week, it might not be suitable for someone who would prefer primarily remote work. If you specify schedule requirements up front, you’ll save time for yourself and ill-fitted candidates.
Accurate information about salary, schedule, benefits, and room for growth can help you attract candidates who are the right fit from the get-go and avoid miscommunication or disappointments down the road.
3. Be Efficient
Again, don’t assume that yours is the only offer your top candidate has received. To avoid losing them to a competitor, be as efficient as possible in sending offers and responding to any questions they may have about the process.
Even if they had a positive interviewing experience, qualified candidates are likely to accept other offers if you take too long to lock them down. On this note, efficiency also plays a crucial role in job offer negotiations.
If your candidate makes a counteroffer in light of another job opportunity, taking too long to respond may encourage them to take the higher-paying position and cause you to settle for someone besides your top choice.
4. Recruit the Best Candidates with Social Media or Referrals
Candidate sourcing is integral to the hiring process, as even the best hiring strategy can’t make up for sub-optimal candidates.
Savvy recruiters will use social media to identify and contact impressive candidates and approach them with job opportunities. This is a more active approach than sitting back and waiting for candidates to come to you.
Referrals are another excellent way to boost the quality of your hiring pool, as your current employees are familiar with workplace culture and standards and can make informed recommendations for candidates who will fit in and contribute positively.
5. Consider the Culture
Though professional skills and qualifications are essential in making a good hire, you can improve your hiring practices by accounting for a new employee’s ability to mesh with company culture.
Though sometimes overlooked, company culture plays a prominent role in the company’s overall success, as it directly impacts morale, retention, and productivity. Therefore, if you want to improve your hiring process, don’t neglect to consider the candidate’s cultural fit.
6. Be Open to Feedback
Whether or not they are offered the job, candidates will probably have something to say about the interview process. Once interviews are concluded, it may be beneficial to send out an anonymous survey to all candidates asking for suggestions on improving the hiring process.
This could be especially valuable in cases where someone felt discriminated against or deprived of a fair shot to demonstrate their abilities, as these responses will alert you to blind spots or biases in your hiring process.
How Does Your Hiring Process Affect Your Business?
Gauging business success typically involves statistics like total revenue, annual profits, and customer satisfaction. But advancement in these areas is generally impossible without a company’s most valuable asset, its employees.
A business is only as good as its employees, so making quality hires is critical. Thus, HR is key to maintaining a strong workforce and business success.
No matter what kind of business you run, you probably sympathize with the old saying, “Good help is hard to find.” Facing a shortage of good employees, many firms end up hiring people who are a poor fit or are underqualified.
Recruitment ultimately ripples out to all aspects of your business, so it’s wise not to underestimate the importance of investing in smart recruitment strategies. Installing good hiring practices can avoid all this and yield major benefits for years.
Attracting the Right Candidates
Recruiters often make first contact with candidates by reaching out directly or posting job ads online. Unfortunately, attracting ill-fitted candidates wastes time and money by slowing down the hiring process or even leading companies to make less-than-optimal hires.
Additionally, hiring over or under-qualified candidates can lead to high turnover. Under-qualified candidates will likely have a difficult time performing required tasks, while over-qualified hires may become frustrated at the limits of their position.
Good recruiters will instead ensure they get good candidates by being active on social media and sharing accurate and appealing job ads that attract appropriate applicants.
To prevent false expectations, job descriptions should be transparent about qualifications, compensation, responsibilities, and duties. Recruiters can also conduct background checks and make sure candidates have the legal right to work.
While filling vacant positions, recruiters are also connecting with talented professionals and developing a sizable pool of passive candidates they can tap into whenever a job opens up.
HR representatives also monitor employee relations to ensure staffers are satisfied and won’t suddenly quit, undermining production and morale.
If an employee does leave unexpectedly, recruiters can help minimize the disruption by turning to their pool of talented candidates and picking out a few qualified candidates.
On the other hand, internal recruiting is a good way to incentivize employees to perform and work toward possible promotion.
Productivity and Efficiency
Workplace culture significantly impacts productivity. Happy employees generally perform better, so ensuring new hires embrace your company culture is crucial.
In addition, recruiters and HR representatives can address questions of future growth, such as how many employees will be needed to accomplish goals and how to maximize the productivity and efficiency of the current team.
If you hope to have a dream team of motivated workers, don’t underestimate the importance of HR recruiters in making the right hires and onboarding them effectively.
Recruiting is about more than finding qualified candidates, as a new hire’s fit with company culture can impact team morale. Every workforce is different, and new hires will always exert some influence, for better or worse.
Great new hires can improve a workplace, while poor choices can drag down the whole ship.
Satisfied employees are nearly a third (31%) more productive than dissatisfied employees.
Thus, monitoring employee relations and satisfaction enables HR managers to address issues before they result in reduced productivity or even loss of staff.
Recruiters play an invaluable role in finding candidates who share the same values as your current team and may even improve workplace conditions for their new colleagues, boosting morale and productivity.
The costs of constant hiring and recruitment can really add up, so effective recruitment is crucial to staying within your hiring budget. Recruitment is an expensive process, and hiring people who are the wrong fit can rack up unwanted costs.
On the other hand, the right hires often yield financial benefits, as high-quality employees may bring new ideas and boost morale and productivity. Effective recruiters can also save money by hiring loyal employees who remain with the company for years to come.
A transparent and professional recruitment process can boost your reputation as an employer, increasing your company’s appeal to potential candidates.
Investing in recruitment is investing in the future of your business. Without a strong base of trustworthy employees who embrace company values and vision, sustaining growth is challenging.
If recruiters are slow to respond to candidates or miss appointments, candidates are likely to share their experiences with fellow job-seekers, discouraging them from applying in the future.
How you treat candidates indicates how you treat employees, so positive recruitment practices will organically help attract new talent.
Diversity also drives worker satisfaction and often impacts employee retention and morale.
A diversity recruitment strategy can improve workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion and attract a more diverse talent pool.
These factors contribute to reduced employee turnover, higher morale, and a reputable company reputation in the job market.
Creating a successful hiring process is essential to your business’s success.
Strategic hiring will help you attract and retain top talent and ensure that the most qualified and suitable candidates are selected for a particular job, leading to better job performance, increased productivity, and reduced turnover rates.
A successful hiring process can also help businesses reduce hiring costs by minimizing the time and resources required to identify and recruit top talent.
Finally, strategic hiring can help businesses maintain legal and ethical compliance by ensuring that hiring decisions are based on objective and non-discriminatory criteria.
Creating a successful hiring process is critical to building a strong and effective workforce that can help businesses achieve their goals and objectives.
Successful Hiring Process FAQs
Conducting background checks and checking references can help businesses verify a candidate’s qualifications, work history, and character and protect against potential legal liabilities.
Some best practices for conducting effective interviews include preparing a list of structured questions, asking open-ended questions, listening actively, avoiding bias and discrimination, and evaluating candidates objectively.
Businesses can improve their onboarding process for new hires by providing a comprehensive orientation program, setting clear expectations and goals, providing ongoing training and development opportunities, and fostering a positive and supportive workplace culture.
The most effective job descriptions will have clearly defined roles and responsibilities, specific required qualifications and experience, and an informative statement about company culture and values.