By Neelie Verlinden

Hiring new people is hard. Hiring great new people is even harder. In fact, it’s one of the biggest headaches for HR professionals. Unfortunately it’s also something that never stops, because companies will always be in need of fresh minds. The good news is that we’re here to give you a solution for your recruitment issues, wrapped up in a 15 item checklist. Every element of the five-tiered recruitment funnel has its own challenges, we’ll tackle 3 of them per category.


I. Employment Branding

#1 The Job Ad

This is where it all starts. Not too put any more pressure on you, but the applicant experience is very important, both for the candidate and the company. Here you can read how a great applicant experience can turn applicants into brand ambassadors.

The first thing most job seekers will see from a new employer is a job description on a job board. Use this opportunity to show them what your company is about. A few aspects to keep in mind here are:

Tone of Voice

The language you use in the job description should correspond with your culture. If you are a young, fast-paced Fin tech company, don’t write as if you’re a traditional, family-run law firm. You want your words to reflect the organisation’s philosophy so that applicants get a feel for the culture of your business straight away.

Mobile or Desktop?

Mobile recruiting, mobile rules. A job ad that is meant for an App or a mobile website, should be written differently than one that appears on a ‘normal’ website. Generally speaking, text wise you need to keep it to the point. Explain clearly why someone should apply and include an obvious call to action. It doesn’t end there however; mobile recruitment is something that needs a solid strategy. Here you can read more about mobile recruiting and 5 things to focus on when setting up your mobile master plan.

#2 Programmatic Advertising

Once the job ad is written, it needs to get out there. No more manual uploading on countless different job boards though. Let   HR-tech do the tedious work for you instead.

Last week we spoke about programmatic advertising, but for those of you who missed it we’ll do a quick rerun. Programmatic advertising is customised advertising: the right message, at the right moment, to the right person. The main advantage of this type of software for HR practitioners is that it saves them a lot of time and money. You can find out everything you want to know about the relatively new concept of programmatic advertising in HR here.

#3 Employee Referrals

There’s no better advertising than worth-of-mouth. Especially if it’s coming from your own employees in the form a new applicant. Not only does this mean your employees have turned into preaching brand ambassadors, there’s also a fair chance that their referrals will fit perfectly in your company culture. Why? Because employee referrals know the type of person that has recommended the company to them and it’s likely that they are similar characters.

II. Sourcing

#4 HR Software Tools

From job ads we hop to applications, plenty of them hopefully. You don’t want to go through hundreds, or thousands of applications manually however. This is an area where HR software can come in handy again. An Applicant Tracking System
– or ATS – for example, can help you with resume collection and screening. Here you can read more about Applicant Tracking Systems, their benefits and pitfalls.

#5 HR Professionals

As advanced as today’s HR-tech is, a human element remains crucial for the process. Certainly, an ATS can be of great use, especially when you have to deal with a huge amount of applicants. An experienced HR professional will still have to go over the resumes selected by the ATS though, and someone has to check the ones that the system has discarded to make sure no good candidates have accidentally been rejected.

#6 Reply & Stick to Your Deadlines!

Here’s a shocking stat for you: over 70% of online applicants never gets a reply, not even an acknowledgement of receipt. Now try and put yourself in their shoes for a second; think of the time and effort they have laid into the application they’ve sent out.

The very least you can do, is send the applicants a nicely written email in which you thank them for their time, saying you’ll be in touch within a certain period. Of course you want to make sure that you – will – indeed be in touch afterwards, whether it is to congratulate them on getting to the next round of the application process, or to wish them the best of luck in their future professional endeavours. Reply and stick to your own deadlines, those are the two things to keep in mind here. Again, there is great ATS software out there to assist you and automate (parts) of this process.

III. Candidate Experience

#7 From the Ad Onwards

The candidate experience really begins from the very first moment an applicant encounters your company. This can indeed be while reading a job ad, but it can also be via social media or simply when buying one of your products.

No matter how or where someone gets in contact with your brand first, it will leave a certain impression on them. It’s up to you to decide what exactly you want that impression to be. But ideally it reflects your company’s culture, the very heart of what your organisation is about.

A good example of this is Apple. The company wants its products to be highly innovative and at the same time so aesthetically beautiful that they almost become works of art. The philosophy of Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs was exactly that, to combine cutting-edge technology and art. Every product that Apple produces breaths these two core company values. So when Apple offers you a job, it sends along a job-offer package that looks like one of its products: “Well designed, great unboxing experience and super high quality materials,” says Jeremy Foo, who got a job at Apple and wrote about the process on Medium.

#8 Preselection Tools

We are living in a technology era, so you might as well enjoy the benefits of it. That doesn’t mean you need to use HR-tech software for everything, but for certain parts of the process you’re simply better off by doing so. Take candidate selection. Our own TalentPitch gives you analytic insights that can support you with this. As a consequence, you can back up your hiring decisions with data rather than just gut feeling. All fully automated.

By implementing predictive analytics in your preselection process, organisations bring down the percentage of bad hires, unwanted employee turnover and culture misfits. Predictive analytics are used to make predictions about unknown future events, in this case the suitability of an applicant for a specific role. Here you can find more information about both predictive preselection and predictive analytics.

Back to the candidate experience, because what does one have to do with another? Well, automating parts of your selection process allows you – once more – to show applicants your company culture. Look at it as yet another way of making sure they know what to expect if they do end up working for your organisation.

#9 Feedback

People want to know how they’re doing. Especially if they didn’t get the job. What went well, how can they improve themselves and why weren’t they suited for this role?

Give candidates feedback they can work with and do so in a timely manner. Yes, there is software available to assist you both with the feedback part and with the timing part. If you use a preselection tool it’s very likely that it will provide you with a detailed feedback report for every applicant that went through the process. Don’t underestimate the importance of giving people feedback, even rejected candidates can turn into brand ambassadors if they had a positive applicant experience!

III. Candidate Selection

#10 Compensation

This is no rocket science really, you want the compensation you’re offering to be in line with market standards. If you can, you want it to be slightly higher even.

Make sure you gather data on compensation packages in the industry so that you have a good idea about current standards. Obviously you’ll have to repeat this process about twice a year. Another thing you want to review at least once a year, is the compensation of your employees. Check if it’s still in line with the rest of the market and if necessary, adjust it accordingly.

#11 Quirky Benefits

If for some reason you can not offer the applicant the standard industry salary, don’t panic. There are other ways of getting them to work for you. Millennials, but people from other generations just as much, are finding other things equally as important while choosing a company they want to work for.

The beauty of quirky benefits is that you can go as crazy as you like. Think of unlimited holidays, flexible working hours and game time for example. Here you can find a few more ideas. It’s worth giving your unusual benefits some serious thought, they can truly make the difference when a candidate has to choose between a competitor offering a higher salary on the one hand and your organisation on the other.

#12 Regular Reviews

We’ve mentioned it briefly already, but once the new hire is in, schedule regular compensation pack reviews. This is not purely a matter of money, it’s about showing your people you value them. Rather than a simple salary update, it is an opportunity to hear what’s new in your employee’s life.

Let’s take an example. During his 6 month review John, who’s joined the company about a year ago, tells you his girlfriend is pregnant. You were about to give him a modest, market conform, salary increase, but instead he says he’d rather work one day less so he can take care of his baby once it’s born. This example shows why it’s important to regularly sit together with your team to review their situation and to create an environment in which people can be open and honest with each other.

IV. Insights

#13 Onboarding

If you’ve been following our blog posts, you know how we think about this one. A well-structured onboarding process is a crucial part in keeping your most recent hires. The lack of one often is the main reason employees leave shortly after they’ve joined a new company.

With the right HR software, it is relatively easy to create an automated onboarding program that engages new employees and makes them feel welcome. Just give them a profile and let them run through the process independently. Think about the social onboarding part as well, you don’t want people to feel lonely.

#14 Employee Happiness

However cheesy this may sound, it’s of the utmost importance. If your employees aren’t happy, they become less motivated, less productive and in the end they will leave for greener pastures.

There are many, many different ways to create an environment in which your workforce is happy. Every person is different of course, but certain things count equally for all employees; flexibility, appreciation and commitment for example. Here you can find 21 ways to increase employee happiness and hence reduce employee turnover.

#15 Mistakes Happen

Despite the top-notch HR software you have in place and the experience you have hiring people, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. No system is completely bulletproof, so every now and then a mistake will happen. The job turns out to be not everything the applicant expected it to be, or you new hire doesn’t fit in the company culture. While you might be able to work something out regarding the former, the latter will cause problems eventually. Accept your loss, and know when to cut someone loose to avoid a disaster from happening.

That’s a wrap! Our 15 item checklist, although not exhaustive, should give you something to work with the next time you encounter a recruitment issue.

Hungry for more? We’ve got more!

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