By Sarah Stanley, CEO of Hoyden Creative Group and Amy Bergman, President of Insight HRM
If you have been involved in hiring, you’ve surely seen some bumpy rides for both the new hire and the organization. Ready to do better? Call in the HR reps, you might think. Yes, but here’s when two heads are better than one. If you also call in your brand strategist, you can make some real magic happen. Allow them to work side by side so that your brand is alive and well throughout the organization, obvious to a new employee the very first day on the job. It’s good for you, the new hire, and the success of the organization as a whole.
There is so much that can be done. What’s not working for you, and how can you turn it around? Here are four areas where you can start making high-impact changes in your hiring process.
What’s Not Working: You are Hasty in Creating a Job Description
A quickly slapped together job description with pieces borrowed from many different sources will feel like just that. It leaves you with a hodge-podge of listings that lack the consistency and flavor of your organization. Absence of a fluid and accurate job description sets everyone up for failure from the get-go. You won’t be able to spot a well-qualified candidate because you don’t have the right baseline for evaluation in place.
Change it to a Job Description that Works
Take time to think about the role for which you are hiring. How does this role support the organization’s strategic initiatives? How will the new hire feel and contribute to the company culture? Identifying with the culture is how they will know they are engaged with the corporate brand, and employee engagement with the brand is critical for the brand’s external success. To evaluate for culture fit you need to define it. To do so, start with identifying your core values then create descriptions of what they mean. Define the behaviors that demonstrate what living your core values looks like. With these defined behaviors and values, you can engage in dialogue with candidates that provides them an opportunity to talk about examples from their lives that relate to your core values. Behavior-based interview questions designed with this in mind should produce the information you need to determine fit.
What’s Not Working: You are Making it Inconvenient to Apply
Is your hiring process stuck in the 1990s? Paper applications or cumbersome online forms are a thing of the past. If your candidate can’t upload a resume and have most of their data parsed into an applicant tracking system, then you’re going to lose qualified candidates who don’t want to be bothered with an organization that still operates in the dark ages.
Change it to an Engaging Experience
The application process is the first impression of your company for the candidate. Think about what you want that experience to be and align your process to reflect your culture. As a candidate searches for more information online, what are they finding that will create interest? Consider adding video clips to your recruiting pages on your web and social media pages to give a little more insight into who your company really is – even better, have some testimonials from your team on video. Make the application system one that won’t burn out the interest they have just built. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just easy to understand and efficient to use.
What’s Not Working: Your Interview Process is Lackluster
If the interview process is a burden to you, it will show to your candidates. If it is haphazard, it will disguise important cues from the candidate. If it is not an indication of your culture and vision, it will sabotage opportunities to find a match in someone beyond technical skills. Just as much as first impressions matter, remember that the entire process is like a first date. Please don’t tell someone you will be in touch and then ghost them. Ouch. That is not the kind of move you want associated with your brand.
Change it to Make a Strong Impression
Even if you are in a hurried spot, take a chance to walk through the process. Literally. Set up the interview area. Rehearse the interview questions. Be intentional with who will be in the room and objective with how you are ranking candidate responses. Know how you are going to greet the candidate and how long they will continue conversations – as well as what conversation triggers indicate the end of the interview. Have a plan for how long you will need before responding to the candidate and what that will look like. Pro tip: It’s better to re-interview a person for confirmations than it is to hire and quickly fire the wrong person.
But, focusing on the interview going well, remember this: if you love the candidate, others will too. You have to move fast in today’s competition for talent. Build your process and timelines upfront, keep them tight and don’t stray from them. Multiple levels of interviews can be too cumbersome and take too long. Your hot candidate could be stolen out from under you.
What’s Not Working: Your Onboarding Process is a Hot Mess
Hello, new person! Welcome to the team. Here’s your stuff and get to it! While that might fly in a few cases, don’t count on it as a way to go. Employees thrown into the fire with zero guidance might get put there with good intentions of letting them write their own ticket or spread their wings. Faith and freedom quickly mask the lack of a real plan for the role to be filled, though. Yes, the employee is there to contribute and solve problems. No, they are not there to be a mind reader and magician.
Change it to an Organized Integration as a Valued Team Member
Starting a few steps back with the job description, think about what tools the person needs to start their role successfully. More than hardware, software and SOPs, it’s access to the team and introductions beyond the team. By paying close attention to candidates’ personalities in the interview process, you’ll be able to build out a launch plan for their success. In fact, you could take it so far as having good indications of what the first 90 days of employment should look like. What better than to share the same expectations for that first official review. Consider pairing the new employee with a mentor – someone who can integrate them into the culture, familiarize them with the organization and its’ norms. It will help them to feel connected to the company right from the start. Also, get them on a team or committee right from the start so they can build relationships, start contributing, and feel a sense of belonging.
Once you have your new team member on board and in the swing of things, the final step to your hiring process is to get feedback. Circle back with your new employee within 60 days to gain feedback on their overall experience. Ask questions such as “is the job what you expected,” “what was your overall impression of the hiring and on-boarding process,” and “who has been especially helpful in your on-boarding and why.” You can tweak your hiring process based on the feedback received to become an even better hiring manager. Always be evolving!