Talent Matters: Improving the Hiring Process
Talent Matters: Improving the Hiring Process

Talent Matters: Improving the Hiring Process

Leadership Development, Company Culture, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Employee Well-being   — 4 MIN


“How do you hire?”

Asking this question to HR leaders can garner several unique answers, but there are best practices for finding talent that come into play for every industry, from farming to pharmaceuticals. In a job market where employees have more choices in the jobs they accept, it is crucial for companies to have a streamlined hiring process.

Change up the standard interview and decision timeline

Skip the office or conference room. Instead, find new ways to understand how the candidate thinks. Put interviewees in situations where they can show their true selves by inviting other employees to meet them (in-person or virtually) and advise on the hiring. After all, they will work with them and may have good insight into their personality. For instance, one CEO said giving an office tour provides her a good sense of whether she wants to work with a candidate. Another said she takes candidates to lunch to see how they act when ordering and conversing with others.

Here are some additional considerations to look for in these types of interviews:

  • Is the candidate curious?
  • Does the interviewee treat everyone as equals and with respect?
  • Does the potential hire seem genuinely interested in the organization’s work and in their potential teammates' work?

Search for interview questions, and you will get the traditional asks of “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?” and “Where do you see yourself in three years?” Most interviewees have rehearsed their answers, and the response may not say much about the person. Instead, try some of these questions:

  • Degree aside, what is your natural strength?
    This question gets beyond their education and training to tell you about the responsibilities they might excel at organically.
  • What kind of animal would you be and why?
    This question may seem inconsequential, but with around 8.7 million species of animals, the answers will vary. The “why” part is most important as it alerts you to the person’s self-awareness. For example, if you need a project manager who works well with different teams, you may want to focus on someone who says they would be a social animal instead of someone who is more of a lone wolf.
  • What is the biggest misperception people have about you?
    This question also shows you how self-aware the candidate is. Do they know how they come across to others?

The average time to hire from the initial application to a job offer is 43 days. Even though some positions require several interview rounds and clearances, communication with your potential hire is crucial. A survey by Robert Half found that 62% of applicants lose interest in a role if they don’t receive an update within two weeks. The number jumped to 77% if three weeks go by without a response.

Before you extend an offer, have the applicant do some homework by answering questions such as “how do you plan on being successful in your first 100 days?” or “how would you implement X strategy?” Then, let the candidate set the deadline for answering. This alerts you to how well they manage their time.

Utilize the talent you already have

When hiring talent, many organizations think they should either find someone externally or promote someone currently on the team. However, a third option is to hire a current employee who works in another department. Someone from legal may not have a degree in marketing or hands-on experience running a social media channel, but they may have extensive knowledge about the organization’s mission and a deep list of contacts. In a survey, SmartRecruiters found that 38% of companies don’t promote jobs internally, losing out on many potential candidates.

Pros of Hiring Internally

  • It builds loyalty and retention; promoted employees tend to stay longer than outsiders.
  • You’ll already have a good feel of if the person fits in with the organization’s culture and values.
  • It lowers the costs of talent acquisition.

Cons of Hiring Internally

  • Managers don’t like losing great team members to other departments because they will be left with a hole to fill.
  • It can create conflict and hurt feelings if one person gets the job over another.
  • For the employees thinking about moving to different departments, it can create a sense of fear of being seen as disloyal to their current boss if they apply but don’t get the job.

Making Internal Talent Acquisition Easier

To help your current employees, Jerome Ternynck, CEO of SmartRecruiters, suggests that organizations create and maintain an internal job portal. He also says to set clear policies to ensure equity and remove bias while protecting employees who want to apply for other jobs within the company. He also recommends four strategies:

  1. Ensure internal candidates are treated the same as external candidates and experience the same process.
  2. To help employees broaden their careers by moving throughout the company, nurture them by providing career counseling, leadership development programs, and challenging projects and assignments.
  3. If the internal candidate did not get the opportunity, give them direct and meaningful Without it, they may feel undervalued, resentful, and confused about how to reach the next level.
  4. If a manager has a vacancy due to their employee transferring, recognize and even incentivize the manager’s valuable skills in hiring and developing great talent for the organization. 

SmartRecruiters’s survey also found that changing an employee’s responsibilities without changing pay or title boosts retention over three years by 20%. Another way to maximize your internal search— consider offering top interns full-time employment. Their internship period gives you an idea of how they mesh with the team, their work ethic, and how their strengths could benefit the organization.

Companies with the right people know that interviewees are analyzing their experience with you as much as you are deciding if they are a good fit for the role. To help make a good impression on them, ensure that talent acquisition understands their impact on organizational growth and is part of strategic planning conversations. Without an efficient plan for bringing people in the door or providing them new opportunities once they get there, you lose the ability to attract and retain top talent. Building a high-performing team and a strong talent pipeline takes time, but a well-rounded hiring process is the first step.