Episode #12 – Creating an Effective Hiring Process

The Blueprint for Creating an Effective Hiring Process

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about creating an effective hiring process. Hello, Stacy.

Stacy: Hello, Sharita. I’m glad to be here today.

Sharita: Stacy, where exactly does the hiring process begin? I know there might be some confusion about that.

Stacy: The hiring process begins once an organization decides that it wants to hire somebody, and the first step is the creation of the job description. You must get the job description right if you hope to attract and then hire the right person for the position. Before the search is even started, the job description should be thoroughly analyzed and discussed by all those who will be involved with the new employee.

Sharita: So you mean that an organization can sabotage themselves right out of the gate if they fail to get the job description right?

Stacy: That’s exactly what I mean. Without a proper job description, it’s almost impossible to hire the proper candidate.

And to write the proper job description, you must first look beyond just what the person will do on a daily basis, their core tasks and responsibilities. You also have to consider who they will be interacting with and how they will operate within the organization as a whole. To accomplish this, you must ask a series of questions.

Sharita: What are some of those questions?

Stacy: I have a list of those questions. They include:

• With whom will this person communicate?
• In what capacity will they communicate?
• What information will be communicated?
• How much authority within the company will this person possess?
• Who will this person report to?
• Who will report to this person?
• How much decision making will this person be expected to do?
• What decisions will they be responsible for?
• Will this person interact with customers?
• If they will interact with customers, in what capacity will they do so?

Sharita: Once those questions are answered, what’s the next step in creating the job description?

Stacy: Now you must take the answers to those questions and address the essential elements associated with the job description. There are four of them.

The first element is the purpose of the position. This should be crafted from a business point of view, of course. Why does the position exist in the first place? What benefit is associated with filling this position?

Second are the duties of the position. You must identify the core responsibilities of the position, as well as the amount or percentage of time spent on each duty.

Third is supervision and direction. In addition to who this person reports to and who reports to them, their ability to make independent judgments and decisions must be determined, as well.

Fourth are the requirements. These include not just previous work history and skill sets, but also any necessary licenses, training, and certifications.

With a firm understanding of these essential elements, an organization is better able to create a more effective hiring process. But there’s a lot of information and analysis involved to do it the correct way.

And as you can see, creating an effective job description requires attention to detail.

Sharita: Does it require anything else?

Stacy: Yes, it requires writing a job description that actually generates interest. You can’t write an uninspiring description. You must also have the “sizzle” that will entice the right candidates. Does the description simply contain a list of duties, or does it cast a vision for both the position and the person’s role within the organization? You want to attract people, not just recite items like it’s a grocery list.

Sharita: Now that the job description is created, what’s the next step in a great hiring process?

Stacy: The next step is identifying the best candidates. As we’ve discussed before in this podcast, not all candidates are created equal. Some are a better fit for the position than others. The danger is when organizations treat all candidates exactly the same. If you want to hire an A-level candidate, would you treat them like a C-level candidate? That does not make any sense. Doing so will not attract them to either your opportunity or your organization.

Sharita: Companies often use job advertisements to attract candidates. But that doesn’t work well with top candidates, does it?

Stacy: No, it does not. Top passive candidates aren’t actively looking for a new opportunity. As a result, they’re not looking at online job ads. That’s why as an employer, you have to actively identify them, not hope that they reveal themselves. That’s also why organizations hire search consultants: to identify the best candidates in the marketplace and present the opportunity to them.

Sharita: Okay, so let’s say that the organization has written a great job description with a lot of “sizzle” and it has successfully attracted top candidates. Then what’s the next step?

Stacy: You must give these candidates a stellar experience. We’ve discussed in a previous podcast about the importance of continually “selling” both the opportunity and the organization to candidates throughout the process. You must do that and give them a stellar experience at the same time. That keeps them engaged and wanting to continue through the process.

That’s why those who are conducting the interview should be properly trained to conduct interviews. The problem with a lot of interviews is that they’re treated as a “one-way street.” Remember that those conducting the interview are representing your company. How they handle the process is of utmost importance. That’s why you have to make sure that they know what they’re doing.

Sharita: But the hiring process is still continuing even before and after candidates interview, is that right?

Stacy: That’s right, and that’s why employers should continue to keep candidates engaged even during times when those candidates not actively interviewing. That leads us to our next two steps in creating an effective hiring process.

The first step is to provide adequate feedback to candidates throughout the process.

The second step is to make sure that the hiring process does not drag out too long.

Sharita: Let’s talk about feedback first. Why is feedback so important?

Stacy: In a candidate’s mind, especially a top candidate, no news is not good news. If they don’t receive feedback from the organization during the hiring process, then they’re more likely to consider the worst-case scenario. That scenario is that the organization is no longer seriously considering them for the position. Even if the company IS seriously considering them, the candidate might think that they’re not being considered.

You can see why that would be a problem. The company could go back to the candidate at a later date, but the candidate could have already moved on. They “checked out” of the process and they never came back. And they have no plans to come back.

Keeping the candidate more engaged is just one advantage of providing consistent feedback throughout the process. Feedback also reduces the risk of miscommunication, it streamlines the process, and it increases the chances of hiring the right candidate and not suffering from a mis-hire.

Sharita: In light of not dragging out the hiring process, it would seem that streamlining it would be especially important.

Stacy: That is certainly the case. Not only must you keep candidates engaged, but you must also keep the process to a certain length. That’s because top candidates are at risk for receiving and accepting an offer from another employer. They’re also at risk for accepting a counter-offer from their current employer. The longer the process drags out, the greater the risk is for losing top candidates who are in the process.

As we’ve discussed before, the hiring process should not last more than between four and six weeks. And even at four weeks, you’re at risk for losing candidates. A great hiring process can rarely be a long hiring process. Not only are you at risk for losing top candidates, but the cost of keeping a position open for a considerable length of time is also costly in terms of lost money and productivity. A streamlined hiring process is good not just for the future of your organization, but also for the present, as well.

Sharita: Let’s say that an organization has done everything right to this point, so they hire the person they want to hire. Have they reached the end in terms of the hiring process?

Stacy: Absolutely not. The hiring process does NOT end until successful onboarding of the candidate has been completed. We’ve discussed the entire topic of onboarding during a previous podcast, but it definitely applies to today’s podcast, too.

Onboarding should be approached in stages. The first stage begins when the candidate accepts the offer of employment and ends on their first day of work. The second stage involves the candidate’s first two weeks of official employment with the company, and in actuality, it even extends beyond that. Once again, the key elements for onboarding are keeping the candidate and/or new employee engaged and making them feel wanted. That way, they’ll know they made the correct decision in joining your organization and they’ll be less likely to doubt themselves.

Sharita: Stacy, as we wrap up today’s podcast, can you summarize the key elements that make up an effective hiring process?

Stacy: Absolutely. For an organization to have an effective hiring process, it needs to include the following elements:

• A complete and comprehensive job description with plenty of “sizzle”
• A way to identify the top candidates in the marketplace
• A way to attract those top candidates
• Ways to keep candidates engaged throughout the process, including with consistent feedback
• Lasts no more than four to six weeks and the shorter, the better
• Effective onboarding that continues to keep the employee engaged and assures them that they’ve made the correct decision.

If an organization creates a hiring process that includes all of these elements, it will have much more success consistently hiring the type of people that it wants to hire.

Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!