Ah, yes. The recruitment process. That process by which organizations find new employees. Sounds simple, right?
Wrong! If it was simple, every organization would do it and they would do it well. The fact of the matter is that they don’t. That’s one of the many reasons they hire executive search consultants to help them. (Or at least they should.)
What is the recruitment process?
A recruitment process is an organization-specific model of candidate sourcing for the purpose of finding and hiring new employees. Typically, the ownership of the recruitment process resides within the Human Resources function, although companies also use third-party recruiting firms. Ownership can vary depending upon the specific organizational structure of the company carrying out the process.
Are the hiring process steps always the same?
Of course, every organization and company is different. What works well for one company may not work well for another. That’s why the ability to be self-aware is a crucial component of the recruiting process. You can’t do what sounds like it might work within your organization. You must do what does work.
One thing that organizations (your clients) must remember is that the recruitment procedure involves actual recruiting. That’s because these organizations should be going after top-shelf, A-level candidates. These type of candidates need to be recruited. Why? Because they’re not actually looking for a job! They’re probably already being paid well and treated well by their current employer. However, recruiting passive candidates is NOT easy.
That’s why a company’s recruitment procedure should not just consist of submitting a position to online job posting boards, sitting back, and waiting for the applications to roll in. That’s not going to result in the sourcing and hiring of the best candidates possible. It might result in the sourcing and hiring of the best candidates actively looking for a new job. It’s not the same thing.
When company officials examine their organization’s hiring process steps, they must have a proactive mindset. In other words, their focus should be on identifying, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and retaining the best candidates available in the marketplace. (Regardless of whether they’re actively seeking new employment). That—in a nutshell—is what the recruitment process is all about.
Recruitment process steps
But . . . there’s a little more to it than that, as you might imagine. Okay, so company officials must be self-aware and know what works for their organization and what doesn’t. They must also act proactively and have the proper frame of mind at the outset.
With all of this in mind, below are the 10 basic steps in the recruitment process. (Remember, the process in individual to each organization, meaning they might omit steps, add steps, move them around, or all three.)
#1—Identifying the hiring need
You can’t find what you need . . . if you don’t know what you need. It’s not enough to know that you need [insert position title here]. You must also know the complete job description. However, you must know the description as the last employee who left in the position left it, NOT the description when that person took the job. That’s because chances are good that they took on new/additional responsibilities while in the position. Now the job when they left is different than they job when they arrived.
Once you’ve identified exactly what you need (both in terms of hard skills and soft skills), then it’s time to put a plan together to find what you need. You know what they say: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Yadda-yadda-yadda . . . except it’s absolutely correct. Make sure that you get the “buy in” of everybody involved with the hiring process on the steps that will be taken and the communication channels that will be used. All it takes is one misstep to blow everything up.
This is a case where you need to be a “hunter” and not a “gatherer.” Too many companies are “gatherers,” thinking that superstar candidates are going to rain down from the sky like so much manna. No, they are not. Once again, this is why companies hire “headhunters.” They hunt, they do not gather. Not only that, but they’re good at what they do. Hiring authorities and even companies with internal recruiters often cannot match the expertise and connections of a recruiter who “works in the trenches” of the industry day after day.
#4—Identifying viable candidates
Finding candidate is also not enough. An organization (or its recruiter) must also find qualified candidates. Anybody can find candidates. They’re everywhere. But those high-level A-players, the kind of candidates your competition would kill for? They’re NOT everywhere. So searching for them, finding them, and identifying them will be more difficult if the first three steps in the process have not been undertaken.
#5—Recruiting of A-level candidates
Once viable candidates have been identified, they must be recruited. In other words, they must be sold on not only the opportunity, but also on the organization. Some organizations miss this important distinction. Top candidates are not just interested in a great new job. They’re interested in a great new job with a great new employer. If they like the job, but they don’t also like the employer, then they’re not going to take the job. As mentioned above, recruiting is a major facet of the recruitment process.
Sure, you have a batch of viable candidates, most likely passive candidates, who are interested in the position. But not every single one of them are going to make it through the process. That brings us to the first screening stage of the process, the telephone interview. Ideally, you would have a list of 10 to 15 very strong candidates, all of whom are interested in the position. The phone screening serves to whittle that list down, so that you can move to the next stage of the process, which is . . .
There are two important aspects of this part of the recruitment process:
- It can’t stretch out too long, or candidates involved will lose interest.
- Employers must communicate to candidates where they are in the process and what to expect in the near term or they will start looking elsewhere. This is a particular danger with top candidates, since they are more than likely interviewing with more than one organization.
Sure, there are other important aspects of the interview stage, but these are the two that companies neglect the most, with predictably dire consequences.
#8—Offering of employment
The offer stage is one of the most delicate stages of the recruiting process. A hiring manager should never take for granted that a candidate is going to accept an offer. However, if they’ve done all of the proper work beforehand and they’ve double and triple-checked everything, then the candidate should accept the majority of the time. Here’s an important note: if an organization is working with a search consultant, the hiring manager of that organization should let the search consultant extend the offer. That’s what the candidate expects, and that’s what should happen.
#9—Hiring of the candidate
Why are the offer step and the hire step not combined into one step? Because not every offer of employment is accepted. If every offer was accepted, then yes, we could do that. If a #1 candidate rejects the offer, then the company might extend the offer to their #2 candidate . . . or their #3 candidate, if #2 falls through. Once a candidate does accept the offer of employment, though, that’s when the official hire can be made.
#10—Onboarding of the candidate
What’s the point of hiring the best candidates in the marketplace if you can’t retain those candidates after you’ve hired them? A comprehensive onboarding process is perhaps the most crucial steps in the recruiting process. When we refer to onboarding, we’re talking about more than just new employee paperwork and knowing where the bathrooms are located. We’re talking about continuing to make the candidate/new employee feel wanted before they officially join the organization. Many a company has failed to do that, only to see their new employee never show up for their first day of work.
One of the best ways to make more placements is to speed up the recruitment process. Sure, there’s not much you can do about how fast your clients move. But your recruiting software? You’d better be using a recruiting applicant tracking system that’s simple, powerful, and designed to save time and energy during the process.
Because the faster you get the best candidates in front of your clients, the better.