The Recruitment Process (Part 7) - Applicant Tracking image

The Recruitment Process (Part 7) – Applicant Tracking

Staff Squared date icon29th November 2019

Tag iconOperations

In Part 6 of The Recruitment Process series, we spoke about the importance of fair and objective interviewing. This instalment looks at why you should have a reliable applicant tracking system in place. 

An HR genie grants you three wishes. What do you ask for?

“I wish I didn’t have a deadline to find the perfect candidate.”

“I wish I had an unlimited recruiting budget.”

“I wish I had fairies to do my HR admin tasks.”

Sadly, genies don’t exist (or they do and I’m just not looking hard enough!) and you obviously can’t use magic tricks as a recruiting resource – as wonderful as it sounds. So, when thinking about how you’ll fill your open roles, you need to look at the full picture and consider the limitations that you have.

Hiring isn’t just about ticking boxes or following a step-by-step guide. Sure, at its core, recruitment might be as simple as publishing a job ad, screening some CVs and providing a shortlist of good candidates – but overall, hiring is a business function that’s critical for the entire company’s success and health. 

After all, a business is nothing without its people, and it’s your job as an HR professional to find and hire stellar performers who can make your business thrive.

How the Hiring Process Affects a Company

Hiring Costs Money

Recruitment costs can include: 

  • Advertising – i.e. job boards, social media and careers pages etc.
  • Recruiters’ salaries – whether in-house or external.
  • Assessment tools.
  • Background checks.
  • The time taken to advertise, screen, interview and onboard. 

However, there are other cost factors that often get overlooked as they are generally more difficult to measure. For example, the loss in productivity because of a job vacancy. An open role can be expensive, so reducing time to hire is absolutely a crucial business objective.

Hiring is not Down to One Person

While it might usually be down to a recruiter to do the heavy lifting of recruiting (advertising open roles, screening applications, contacting and interviewing candidates and the like), this doesn’t mean you always work entirely independent of other people. 

For example, as a recruiter, you’ll work closely with hiring managers, executives, HR professionals and/or the office manager, finance manager etc. Different people will be involved in each hiring stage

Hiring is not a One-Size-Fits-All Solution

While this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a process in place, you have to be able to be flexible in the process and quickly customize it to address different hiring needs on the spot. 

Let’s take a look at the following scenarios:

  • An employee hands in their notice a week after a colleague from their team was fired, so now you have to replace two employees instead of one in the same time period.
  • Your company undertakes a big project and you have to quickly grow your engineering team by hiring eight developers over the next 30 days.
  • While you’re in the middle of the hiring process for an open role, the hiring manager suddenly decides to promote a member of their team to that role, so now you need to freeze the first position and open a new one to fill the position just vacated as a result of that promotion.

The success of the recruitment process lies in your ability to quickly tackle these challenges. It also requires a holistic view of how the company works. For example, you might need to speed up the hiring process for sales roles because there’s usually a high turnover rate, whereas for tech roles you might need to include additional skill assessment stages, therefore making for a longer time to hire.

Turn your Recruitment Process into a Well-Oiled Machine

Hiring Proactively, Not Reactively

Hiring shouldn’t be an afterthought, particularly when your teams scale fast. And while you can’t predict every hiring need that will come up in the next few months, there are some benefits of designing your recruitment process steps in advance.

Having a hiring plan in place will help you to:

  • Compare forecasts with actual results  – i.e. how fast did you hire for ‘X’ role compared to your predicted time to hire?
  • Prioritise hiring needs  – i.e. when you know you’re going to need one designer in November, you don’t have to start looking for candidates until July.
  • Understand current and future needs in staff and budget for the entire company – i.e. when you track how much you spend on hiring, you can also forecast the next year’s budget more accurately.

Everyone should be in the Loop

You can’t hire effectively if you work in isolation. Imagine this: You need the VP of Marketing to sign an offer letter before you send it to the candidate you’ve decided to hire for the Social Media Manager role. But that VP is either on a trip, in endless meetings, or otherwise AWOL. Time goes by and you lose this great candidate to another company.

The VP of Marketing – along with anyone else who’s involved in the hiring process – should know ahead of time what’s needed from them. They probably don’t have to see every CV in your pipeline, but they should be prepared to get involved in the hiring process when they’re needed.

Hiring will only work like clockwork if you keep tasks, roles and data organised. This way, you’ll be able to communicate well with everyone who has a crucial role in your company’s recruitment process. 

Start by writing down hiring guidelines in a detailed recruitment policy so that everyone in your company is on the same page. Consider training hiring managers on the interview process and techniques, particularly those who are less experienced in recruiting. Lastly, when there’s a job opening, schedule an intake meeting with the hiring team to set expectations and agree on a timeline.

Automate when possible

When you’re hiring for only 2-3 roles per year, it’s easy to calculate recruitment metrics manually. It’s also easy to keep control of all the candidate communication. But things get a bit more complicated when hiring at high volume. Spreadsheets get chunky, emails get lost in an inbox pile and simple questions like “How much did we spend last quarter on hiring?” will be difficult to answer.

That’s when you probably need HR tech that offers some kind of automation. One centralised system that all stakeholders can access will do miracles in your recruiting. For example, you can keep track of all steps in the recruitment process – from the moment a hiring manager requests to open a new job until the moment a new employee comes onboard.

You can use the time you’ll save on more meaningful recruiting tasks, such as writing creative job ads or sourcing candidates, while being confident that your hiring runs smoothly.

Check out part 8 of The Recruitment Process series to read about reporting, compliance and security.

Written by Clarisse Levitan

Lead Customer Support Agent - Staff Squared

Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Support Team to provide all of our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.

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