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6 ways to make your hiring process more efficient: Experts share their tips

Inefficient recruitment is the bane of many a candidate. Candidate drop-out rates are growing for a number of reasons: a lack of adequate information from hiring teams, lower-than-expected salaries, a lengthy recruitment process, and much more.

We’ve seen it on Reddit and everywhere else – it’s a candidate-driven market now, and employers need to ensure their hiring process is as efficient as possible if they want to stay ahead of the curve and attract top candidates to their open roles. Hiring efficiency is crucial – and recruiters and hiring teams are looking for solutions.

So, we partnered with AI-fueled background check software Checkr for a webinar to talk about ways in which you can make your hiring process more efficient.

More than 930 people signed up for the event, titled, aptly, 6 Ways to Make Your Hiring Process More Efficient. The event took place on Thursday, May 12.

Panelists included:

ZeShaan Shamsi, Partner at the People Collective, was scheduled to speak on behalf of People Collective co-founder Matt Bradburn, but was unable to attend.

A video of the hour-long chat is below – if you want just the digestible highlights, read on to learn the key takeaways on how to make your hiring process more efficient:

Table of Contents

  1. How do you prioritize when hiring for multiple roles?
  2. How do you make your job descriptions match reality?
  3. How do you make the most of each interview?
  4. How do you shorten feedback loops?
  5. How do you keep candidates engaged?
  6. How do you prevent delays in background screenings?

1. How do you prioritize when hiring for multiple roles?

Most companies hire for more than one role at a time – a quick glance at Glassdoor or LinkedIn proves that. But when you’re an SMB and you have just the one recruiter – or even just a single HR practitioner – in your entire company, you need to prioritize your job openings.

Emily was quick to the point: it’s about what’s most important for the business at that point in time – and she meets regularly with her executives to determine that.

“I think there’s always a fight for the prioritization across leaders, and the way I start with it is: ‘What is going to get the business farther?’” she says. “What do we really need right now as engineers, as sales folks? What is going to help us move farther faster?”

“I think there’s always a fight for the prioritization across leaders, and the way I start with it is: ‘What is going to get the business farther?’”

She cites an example from Red Canary where there’s currently a big push to hire more software engineers.

“How do I potentially deprioritize and have some of those conversations with leaders – so that my recruiters can stay focused on what is the true need with the software engineers, and make sure that we’re dedicating enough recruiter screening time and sourcing time to get those candidates in the pipeline?”

Scott talks about the annual operating plan or AOP which is in place at most organizations – and how that’s a major factor in prioritizing which roles to fill. Details such as investments for an upcoming period can dictate priority.

“If you are looking to make big investments in, let’s say product-led growth, then certainly you’re going to have to invest in engineers and folks that are building product. If you’d like to expand into new markets, you’re going to have to look at the go-to market team and understand, okay, there’s sales, there’s marketing, there’s customer success. What are the investments that we need to make in order to get to the outcomes that we plan for in that AOP?”

Much like the hiring plan, the AOP serves as a prime directive – and a tangible one, too, Scott says.

“It’s a physical planning document that everybody should be using as the North Star. And as a result of that, it’s a more objective way to have a conversation with leaders within the organization that all want their reqs prioritized. And of course, then you want to revisit that plan on a regular basis as it changes.”

2. How do you make your job descriptions match reality?

In the above-linked Reddit article, the lack of symmetry between job descriptions and the actual job is a major gripe among candidates.

With that, Scott emphasizes the importance of clearly describing what you’re looking for in your ideal candidate because simply asking for an A player or a rock star doesn’t tangibly nail what you’re looking for.

“Of course,” he emphasizes, “everyone wants an A player.”

Instead, be clear and deliberate in your job descriptions.

“What are the basic tenets of what you have to have experientially in order to deliver on the role?” Scott asks. “Make sure that those are front and center, and that you’re not necessarily laundry listing every single thing that you need.”

Also, consider what qualifications you really need.

“Chances are you don’t need a PhD for most jobs. So if you list it there, that can be a little intimidating and perhaps keep people away from that role.”

Emily agrees.

“I always encourage my recruiters to look at the position description and probe on some of those pieces in the intake meeting as well. So if you know, it’s often [that] you can get an outdated position description or maybe the requirements are not as stringent as they initially were.”

And at Emily’s company, the emphasis is on skills rather than background.

Salary is another component – and being based out of Colorado, Emily’s company is directly impacted by the recent salary transparency law. This requires companies in Colorado to post salary ranges within the job description – and that’s something she welcomes.

“I have loved that because it’s been an incredible opportunity to be transparent up front and also allow candidates to self-select in, or self-select out based on that and have very transparent conversations right off the bat around compensation and motivation as well.”

Scott, meanwhile, warns against over-templatizing job descriptions – especially in rapidly updating times.

“Boilerplates can be really dangerous in particular as the business changes. So you start out with this framework that maybe worked, I don’t know, 24 months ago. And then all of a sudden you have all these new roles and you put this framework out there and it doesn’t really match what you’re doing in 2022.

“If you’re using that 2019 boilerplate, it’s time to revisit it and stop trying to copy and paste and put a little bit more legwork in making sure that the roles that you have not only reflect what you’re looking for, but also sound exciting based on real world scenarios in 2022.”

“If you’re using that 2019 boilerplate, it’s time to revisit it and stop trying to copy and paste and put a little bit more legwork in making sure that the roles that you have not only reflect what you’re looking for, but also sound exciting based on real world scenarios in 2022.”

3. How do you make the most of each interview?

In what moderator Damien calls a “candidate playland”, it’s crucial that the time to fill a job quickly but at the same time being comprehensive.

This means it’s important to get as much out of every interaction you have with a candidate. So we asked the panelists – how do you do that?

Emily stresses the importance of prep work to identify what’s needed from those interviews – including identifying skill sets and other elements to support a hiring decision.

“Align with the hiring manager on what those needs are, the information that they really need, to feel comfortable moving forward with the candidate so that we’re not wasting anyone’s time.”

“Align with the hiring manager on what those needs are, the information that they really need, to feel comfortable moving forward with the candidate so that we’re not wasting anyone’s time.”

And it’s also important to be respectful of the candidate’s time and futureproof any potential issues – Emily cites a rhetorical example of getting to the fourth interview in the process only for the candidate or employer to learn that they’re not a great match or they don’t have the right skill set.

“How do we fix that a little bit further upstream?” she asks.

Scott doubles down on that message.

“How do you get to where you need to be, having the fewest steps possible, with the most efficiency possible?” he says, adding it does become difficult when bringing C-level employees or VPs in for the executive interview especially when hiring at scale. When there are a few jobs to be filled or a number of candidates who make it to that executive interview stage, that can clog up that executive’s calendar and this ultimately bottlenecks the entire process.

“In today’s market, I don’t even think that makes sense. There has to be a way of doing more with less, and that’s getting the right people involved in the process to evaluate the skills that are important for that particular role.”

This is crucial for the candidate experience and decision as well.

“We’ve all probably been there in some way, shape or form where there’s two companies you may be interviewing with. And in the end, you end up going with a company that out-executes the other one, because they were quicker about it,” he says. “Not necessarily because they were better.”

4. How do you shorten feedback loops?

Likewise, endless feedback and communication can slow down the recruitment process. So, how do you shorten those feedback loops between recruiting, hiring managers and cross-functional stakeholders?

Scott emphasizes the importance of having a quick sync right after an interview – especially when doing numerous interviews in a short time.

“Number one, you want the freshness of that feedback to be correct. Otherwise you’re going to get very generic and unhelpful feedback. Number two is if you kind of rally everybody together, you’re going to get a pretty good consensus pretty quickly.”

Tech is a huge boon here as well, especially for those who can’t participate in these quick syncs.

“There’s a way to reach out to the interview and say, ‘You just had the interview. Put your feedback in here. Please attend this meeting.’ And if all of that can be managed within a technology ecosystem, I think you are increasing your likelihood of success.”

“There’s a way to reach out to the interview and say, ‘You just had the interview. Put your feedback in here. Please attend this meeting.’ And if all of that can be managed within a technology ecosystem, I think you are increasing your likelihood of success.”

The other important benefit is that you can circle back to the candidate quickly.

“At the end of the day, you want to make sure that that feedback is shared, good, bad, indifferent in some way, shape or form. And I think that quick feedback loop, the very quick sync and then having technology to fill in the gaps is the right way to go.”

Emily has other strategies in place at Red Canary – including a kickoff meeting to set expectations on collecting feedback and when.

“Just defining those SLAs up front, I think also getting the buy-in of how important their feedback is and why they’re a part of the interview panel so that they feel like they are an important part of the process.”

And then, after that, establish a recurring sync for the hiring team.

“[It’s] having that weekly cadence to connect with the hiring managers. So if they’re having one offs, we’re collecting that information and understanding when the debriefs will be so setting those up, scheduling them ahead of time so that there is if schedules change and things happen as they always do, you at least have that defined time to connect with everyone to gather that feedback pretty quickly.”

5. How do you keep candidates engaged?

Of course, there are breakdowns in the process and there are inevitable delays – which means the candidate is potentially left hanging. You don’t want that happening, but if you do, how do you keep those important candidates engaged between stages in the hiring process?

It’s all about setting expectations from the get-go, says Emily.

“You can’t always define the timeline in which things will happen, but you can say, ‘Hey, here’s what the process looks like today. And so they know how many interviews there will be and, and they can start to plan throughout that process.”

“You can’t always define the timeline in which things will happen, but you can say, ‘Hey, here’s what the process looks like today. And so they know how many interviews there will be and, and they can start to plan throughout that process.”

Regular email or text updates throughout are important as well – even if it’s not a direct update about the candidate’s status in the process, says Emily. It’s about keeping candidates engaged with the brand.

Again, proactivity is important – including reaching out to the candidate before the final interview for a quick connect.

“If there are any outstanding questions, concerns, or things that have come up, they feel incredibly prepped going into that final meeting to succeed.”

Scott agrees, and points to technology as a huge differentiator especially since it’s difficult to maintain connections with each and every candidate in the funnel.

“[It’s] to have some type of capability to reach out to the candidates, keep a pulse on the candidate and then have some form of AI wrapped around those techs, where there can be some interactivity without necessarily having to have a recruiter engaged.”

“Because without that communication, there’s going to be a lack of transparency. And without transparency in the funnel, there’s going to be candidate fallout.”

And it doesn’t matter where a candidate is in the funnel – or even whether they’re ultimately hired or not, Scott adds.

“If you keep that pulse with a candidate, there’s going to come a time, your company’s scaling [and] you might need their skill set. So the more communication, the better.”

Emily points out the importance of letting candidates know that you’re available at any time.

“It is a two-way street. Just because I’m not reaching out, please don’t take that as a lack of interest or a lack of excitement about your background. … I think that’s helped me be successful because it truly enables the candidate to reach out.”

The consequence of not keeping in touch is pretty significant, Scott notes.

“This is just the concept of ghosting. Employers ghost candidates, and candidates ghost employers, and it’s extraordinarily frustrating. So whatever you can do to provide that feedback and transparency, you should do [it].”

“Employers ghost candidates, and candidates ghost employers, and it’s extraordinarily frustrating. So whatever you can do to provide that feedback and transparency, you should do [it].”

6. How do you prevent delays in background screenings?

Background checks have long been a standard element in the recruitment process and are usually intended to check a jobseeker’s criminal record, educational background, employment history, and other areas before extending a job offer. There are times when it can unnecessarily delay a job offer – and lead to anxiety on the part of a candidate.

So, a speedy background check process is crucial. As a representative of a company that conducts background checks as a service, Scott knows more than most.

“It’s a very scary process for a candidate who is looking for a position to pay their bills and live their life. With all of that in mind, you want to have the ability to properly set the candidate’s expectations on what a background check is.”

A speedy background check is crucial, he adds.

“I assure you if it takes, you know, five, 10, however many days, that candidate is going to be in several other hiring funnels – and they’re going to get hired by the time that background check [comes] back, because so many organizations are looking to hire quickly.”

“I assure you if it takes, you know, five, 10, however many days, that candidate is going to be in several other hiring funnels – and they’re going to get hired by the time that background check [comes] back, because so many organizations are looking to hire quickly.”

He notes that Checkr offers a modern AI-supported background check process – including the ability to predict when a background check is scheduled to come back to the employer. That’s a huge benefit in setting expectations.

Scott also urges employers to consider how important it needs to be to check someone’s background.

“If [a candidate’s record is] not relevant to the job, filter it out because the benefit for the business is that you open your candidate pool because one in three Americans has a criminal record. […] There’s your hiring shortage right there.

Emily agrees on the overly stringent emphasis on background checks. Still, if you do need to carry out checks, it’s important to choose the service wisely – because you don’t want any avoidable delays in the process.

Plus, you’re evaluating a person who is juggling other priorities – including their current job, where they need clarity on whether or not they can give their notice.

“If you do have delays because what was expected or needed upfront, [and] wasn’t communicated appropriately, then the candidate has given their notice and now you’re stuck feeling like you might need to compensate them for a week or two that they’re not working because you’re simply waiting on their background check and they’re like, ‘Hey, I’m losing money now. Like I’ve given my notice. I’m done. This is not my fault.’”

Again, she’s grateful for Scott’s company.

“Thankfully, we have a great partnership with Checkr. We’ve not had any challenges with turning those [background checks] around really quickly and have the appropriate level of monitoring.”

Frequently asked questions

How do you prioritize when hiring for multiple roles?

Focus on what's crucial to the business at that point in time. If you're focused on product-led growth, prioritize engineers and those who build product. If you're focused on selling, prioritize the hiring of salespeople. And pay close attention to the annual operating plan at your company.

How do you make your job descriptions match reality?

Don't rely on abstract terms such as "We want an A player". Focus on the tangible elements that are crucial to the job instead of laundry listing. Make sure they're tied closely to the actual day-to-day work – and consider that not all qualifications are necessarily dealmakers or dealbreakers.

How do you make the most of each interview?

Pre-plan the process with the hiring team before you even get started. Set expectations with each interviewer – and interviewee. And be tight and deliberate – don't bottleneck hiring managers' calendars with numerous interviews.

How do you shorten feedback loops?

Follow up quickly after interviews to collect feedback while it's still fresh. Arrange regular syncs (i.e. weekly) with the hiring team to ensure everyone's on the same page. Use technology (i.e. an ATS) to query for and collect feedback all in one place.

How do you keep candidates engaged?

Set expectations from the first engagement with the candidate. If the hiring process schedule isn't 100% nailed down, be forthright about that. Keep them regularly updated via text and email messages, especially during gaps in the process. Be transparent, be diligent and consistent in your followups, and use technology (i.e. an ATS) as needed.

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