Hiring managers are busy people, and they have a range of attitudes towards the recruiting process. A hiring manager may just want to get warm bodies into open positions as quickly as possible. Or he may only want to talk to top candidates and have the time and resources to wait for the “right” one. Or the hiring manager may be part of a focused top management team that knows they need to hire the best people to build the company.

Take your cue from Trina Spruance, senior talent acquisition specialist at The Recruiting Division, who says managers should treat the recruiting process as strategic planning exercise. Take an honest look at the results you’re getting from your current recruiting process and ask yourself if it’s a strategic planning tool for your organization. If it’s not, it’s time to take some steps to create a better recruiting process.

Step 1 – Clearly Define the Position and Requirements

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” applies perfectly to recruiting. If your recruiting process isn’t focused, you can’t get the results you need. You need more than a verbal summary of the job when recruiting for top candidates. Start by reviewing the job description before recruiting for any job requisition, ideally with hiring manager input.

Make sure it accurately describes the following:

  • Nature and conditions of the work
  • Most important job duties and how they are carried out
  • Candidate requirements, including education, experience, knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes
  • Soft skills and Values that will ensure Culture Fit

Use a clear definition of the position and requirements for successful performance when creating job ads, screening applicants, preparing for interviews, and evaluating candidates.

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Step 2 – Skills Testing and Reference Checking

You’ll be talking to experienced and qualified applicants during any recruiting process, but don’t be naïve. People lie. They lie on their resumes, they lie in the interviews, and they lie to get a job. Or they stretch the truth to appear more skilled and experienced than they really are. So you have to make skills testing and reference checking an integral part of your recruiting process if you want to know if candidates are giving you true information about what they can do and what they’ve done in previous positions.

  • Use written tests, skills testing software, or simulations. Ask candidates to come in for a working interview and have them spend a couple of hours in the job performing actual job duties.
  • Make reference checking an established part of the recruiting process by calling references for every candidate you interview. Ask more than dates of employment and job titles and ask references about what the former employee did for them, how often they received raises and promotions, and how they worked with superiors and co-workers.
  • Document all testing and reference checking as support for hiring decisions.
  • If you can’t do skills testing and reference checking yourself, use outside services such as Codility to evaluate developers coding skills, online skills testing for word processing and spreadsheet skills assessments, and background check services to verify references.

Step 3 – Include Stakeholders in Hiring

Getting more input and feedback about a candidate increases the odds of successful hiring. Include stakeholders in the recruiting process by asking others to evaluate candidates, including resume screening, interviewing, and evaluating final selections. By having candidates interview with those they’ll be working with in the position, both in the department or group they’ll be in and other departments they’ll interact with in the position, you’ll get a more thorough foundation on which to make a hiring decision.

If you’re not clearly defining the position and requirements, testing candidates’ skills and checking references, and including stakeholders in the hiring process, you’re not getting the results you want and need out of your recruiting process.


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