The better the set-up and organisation of the recruitment process, the more professional the recruiting looks to the outside world — and the more successful talent can be attracted. In this article, we present the most important must-do’s for a professional recruitment process — and also provide you with best practices making your recruiting even more successful. Optimise your recruitment process now!
5 common recruiting mistakes
Before finding a solution, let’s take a quick look at the problem: In some sectors, such as the IT industry, it is indeed difficult to find — and even more so to retain — suitable talent right now. However, if the lack of recruiting success keeps repeating itself or if suboptimal recruiting decisions are being made constantly, this could be an indicator for fundamental mistakes within your hiring process. These mistakes are particularly common in recruiting:
Poor job advertisement
A surprisingly large number of advertisements are vague, impersonal, and woolly. However, a good job advertisement should clearly show who you are (company profile), who you are looking for and what you expect in terms of qualifications and experience (applicant profile). And — most importantly — it should clearly show why it is advantageous to choose your company and how candidates can apply.
Using unsuitable channels
But it’s not just the wording and content of the job ad that have to be on point. All too often, employers also fail because they rely on the wrong channels or even exclusively on their careers page. But as the saying goes: nothing comes from nothing! In general, it is advisable to publish your career site, social media and job boards at the same time (multiposting). However, the more specific the requirements, the more targeted the advertisement should be — for example on specialised job boards.
Schedule too tight/too generous
Time management also plays an important role in recruiting. If you plan too much/too little or no time at all for the hiring process, you quickly run the risk of missing out on the really good candidates — either by waiting too long or hiring unsuitable candidates too hastily. Apart from that, every day that a position remains unfilled still costs the company a lot of money. A realistic, workable and efficient timetable for the recruitment process can save time and money instead and professionalises the candidate experience.
Reaction times too long
If you receive good applications from qualified candidates, you have to react quickly. Don’t forget: other companies are also on the hunt and good skilled workers are fiercely contested. A candidate who has to wait longer than a few hours for a first response after submitting his application will decide in favour of another company in no time.
Recruiting process considered complete with hiring
Another common mistake in recruiting is to think that the hiring process is complete once a candidate has been hired. In fact, onboarding is still part of the classic hiring process. It is actually only complete when the new employee has integrated well into the team and the given processes, is satisfied, and performs his/her area of responsibility independently.
Best Practices for your hiring process
Today’s qualified professionals know that they are valuable and sought after, and want to be properly courted before they choose a particular employer. The courting process starts as soon as the job ad is published, with a professional candidate experience. But this can only work on the basis of a well-organised and structured recruitment process. With the following must-do’s and best practices for your recruitment process, you can ensure an excellent candidate experience and optimise your recruitment success:
Define stages of the hiring process
The recruitment process can generally be divided into four phases: Preparation Phase, Search Phase, Decision Phase and Onboarding Phase. Each phase again contains several steps. How many there are depends on the individual preferences and needs of each company, but roughly speaking, the step-by-step plan of a hiring company can look something like this:
Phase 1: Preparation
- Specification of the decision-makers
- Needs assessment & creation of an applicant profile
- Defining & releasing a budget
- Setting up a hiring schedule
- Creation of a strategy
- Selection of suitable channels
Phase 2: Search for personnel
- Creation of job advertisement as per applicant profile
- Publication of job advertisement
- Carrying out social sourcing if necessary
- Screening and shortlisting of incoming applications
- Initial short interviews
Phase 3: Decision
- Conducting multi-stage interviews
- Carrying out assessments
- If applicable, social media and reference checks (ensure GDPR compliance!)
- Final assessment
- Submission of an offer
- Contract signing
- Dispatch of rejections
- Supplementing the talent pool if applicable
Phase 4: Onboarding
- Sending the personnel questionnaire
- Furnishing of the workplace incl. technology
- Creation of an onboarding schedule
- Carrying out the training
- Obtaining feedback
Schedule multistage interviews
In many companies, job interviews already take place in several stages, i.e., several interviews take place for each candidate. This makes perfect sense, because if only one interview is done, there is hardly any time to go into greater depth. Especially if there are several decision-makers, they can concentrate more specifically on different focal points in the individual interviews (hard skills, soft skills, situational behaviour, leadership style, etc.) and compile their impressions at the end to form a more in-depth picture of the candidate.
Do you need help conducting interviews? In our guide on how to conduct an interview, we have already compiled the most important steps and best practices for you.
Set a reasonable schedule and stick to it
Time is money. And to prevent the costs of the unfilled position from mounting to infinity, a realistic and achievable target must be set for when the position should be filled. The necessary work steps defined in the first step must then be integrated into this schedule. The better the process is planned, the smoother it will run.
Since it can sometimes take a while for applications to arrive, it is advisable to plan a small buffer for this as well. At the same time, a deadline and a backup plan should be set so that in an emergency there is still time to adjust the strategy without having to completely change the schedule.
Involve decision-makers at an early stage
To ensure that the recruitment process can be planned as efficiently as possible, all those concerned — especially the decision-makers — should be involved as early as possible and ideally already when the schedule is being set up.
In this course, dates for the respective interviews can then already be blocked, and important questions can be clarified; for example, who will be given the supreme decision-making power in controversial cases, who will be the contact person for the applicants, whether the use of a photo is agreed to and much more.
Find useful tips for planning and appointment creation in our practical guide for calendar management.
Define demand as precisely as possible
The next step is to understand as clearly as possible what you are looking for. The respective team or department leaders can usually tell you best. Get together with the decision-makers, clarify the exact needs and create a clear job description and profile of the role, the tasks and the required qualifications and experience in close cooperation. The job advertisement will later be created based on this.
It is also important to discuss where there is a willingness to negotiate a compromise, where it may be possible to renegotiate (e.g. the salary) and to what extent this should/should not be communicated.
Create a barrier-free application process
Did we mention that the successful recruitment process is built on a good applicant experience? To ensure this, the application process should be designed to be as barrier-free as possible, i.e., without time-consuming hurdles such as a required registration or repeated requests for the same data and information. After all, it is a fact that every hurdle makes candidates more likely to drop off — simply because good applicants don’t have to put up with complicated application processes.
In addition, the application process for candidates must not only be simple and feasible in as few steps as possible, but ideally also accessible from anywhere and on any device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, PC). This requires a mobile-friendly user interface. Most job boards already offer this optimisation, but does your career page? This is an important statement about the attractiveness of your company as an employer …
Good news: JOIN comes with a device-optimised career page (job widget) free of charge. And we also added another cool feature to combat the complicated and annoying registration process: Registration via Magic Link!
Create & multipost job ad
The talent search is basically nothing more than marketing: the key role is played by the target audience you want to target and convert into new team members. Find out what appeals to your desired candidates and create a compelling job advertisement.
By the way, your job ad will be much more attractive with details about salary, employee benefits (not the obligatory fruit basket and coffee on the house, please!), a “real” contact person (with name and photo), and good picture and video material about your company. You can find a detailed guide to writing job ads on our blog – including useful tips and best practices – and even a list of job ad templates as a practical working aid.
Once a strong job advertisement has been created, the next step is to publish it on the strategically favourable channels (generalist and/or specialised job boards, job search engines and social media). The best practice here is to publish your attractive job advertisement on as many suitable channels as possible at the same time (multiposting), in order to significantly increase your visibility and reach to the desired candidates.
And how much time must be scheduled for posting and managing the channels? That depends a lot on the tools you use. With JOIN, for example, you save valuable time through efficient 1-click multi-posting of your job ad on relevant job boards and on your free mobile-optimised career page. Incoming applications are collected and managed almost effortlessly in our tool.
Communicate quickly and efficiently with talent
Another important part of the applicant experience is communication by the potential employer. Anyone who has made the effort to send an application wants to know promptly where they stand. To ensure that the candidate doesn’t drop off while waiting for a response, contact must be maintained with professional and quick communication.
Sending applicants an acknowledgement of receipt as soon as they submit their application is a good start, but don’t miss providing them with further feedback as soon as possible (within 1-2 days max.) — either with a friendly rejection or an invitation to a first short interview in order to define the common objectives and interests.
Since a lot of time can quickly be lost by manually sending corresponding mails, we recommend automating this process with prefabricated personalised auto-messages as a best practice. This workflow is already integrated in JOIN and only needs to be adapted to the language of your company.
Carry out short interviews with qualified talents
Serious job interviews require time — valuable time that you do not want to waste on non-suitable candidates. To ensure that the basic suitability is not only revealed during the in-depth interview, it makes sense as a best practice to first invite qualified applicants to a short telephone call to get to know each other (phone screening).
In this process, the candidate’s professional aptitude, experience, professional goals and, above all, expectations should be clarified. If all these key points fit the job profile, and the candidate seems to be a good cultural fit (although you may want to avoid hiring for cultural fit), a further interview with the decision-makers can be quickly planned.
We have another useful tool for this: our interview question templates for many sought-after jobs, which contain questions on all the above-mentioned points.
If the applicant proves to be less suitable in the telephone interview, a rejection letter can be sent (possibly with an invitation to join the talent pool) and the focus shifted to better candidates. And maybe these other candidates will bring the cultural add that your team is still lacking?
Communicate deadline for decision
One of the most unpleasant things about the final application round for candidates is the often quite long waiting time before a final decision is made. The time that some companies take with this and the uncertainty in which candidates hover for so long can quickly result in accepting another job offer in the meantime; simply because it was not clear how long it would take to get a final response.
We therefore recommend that you inform candidates of the planned date for the decision. Firstly, it looks very professional and well organised if you can tell candidates the expected date of the decision already within the first interviews. At the same time, it ensures that interested candidates are more likely to take the time to wait for your feedback.
Onboarding = Employee retention
Many companies believe that the onboarding of new employees starts with their first day in office. In fact, onboarding starts from the point of signing the contract and is an integral part of employee retention.
After all, talent should not only be attracted, but also retained (employee retention). Consequently, onboarding does not only consist of filling out paperwork, providing equipment and introducing the new employee to his or her area of responsibility.
It is much more about making new team members feel welcome in the new company even before their day of joining. For example, invite the new team member to team events in advance to get to know their teammates better. Send a small welcome package before the first day, for example with a shirt, a mug, and stationery in the corporate design, an overview of the team, an organisational chart, and some information about the first day.
And don’t forget to add a couple of nice lines. It is important that your new hire feels part of the team even before day 1 and is looking forward to the new beginning. And, of course, that this feeling continues after the training.
In addition, we recommend getting feedback on the application and onboarding process from your new employee. Also ask specifically for negative feedback, listen carefully and learn what you can possibly improve in your recruitment process to be able to act even more successfully in the future. And don’t forget to thank the employee for their feedback …
To summarise …
Successfully attracting and hiring talent takes time and a professional hiring process. Often, however, start-ups and SMEs have neither sufficient resources nor capacities for a thoroughly professional recruitment process. The result: poor applicant experiences, high bounce rates and suboptimal recruiting decisions. But this is not the way it has to be! JOIN has already dealt with this problem extensively.
With our must-do’s and best practices listed above, and our free and powerful applicant management system, we offer a simple solution to optimise your recruitment process; and thus support you in convincing good candidates of your company in the “war for talents”.