Perfect, granted, is a strong word. But, if ever there was a time for strength and conviction in hiring precision, it is now. As businesses and communities emerge from the weight of a year of pandemic losses, they are looking to rebuild their teams, and to do it well will take excellent hiring processes. Here’s why.
A Perfect Storm of Supply + Demand
Economists estimate job growth will exceed 500,000 per month in the near term and gain even more hiring momentum as the pandemic wanes. Jobs will be plentiful, but with unemployment still high, candidates will also be abundant. For HR and recruiters, it means a system flooded on both the supply and demand sides.
In addition, unemployment stimulus has increased the cost of acquiring talent while the worldwide embrace of remote work has numerous candidates seeking expanded work-from-home and flexibility options. That is a storm of recruitment challenges and tricky expectations best met with hiring processes that are evolved, tech-enabled and people smart.
Elements of an Evolved & Optimized Hiring Process
In my 20+ years building and supporting recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) solutions, I have seen the hiring process evolve several times alongside advancing technology and changing workforce needs. But this past year, the challenges of the pandemic along with the social justice awakening in the U.S. have added even greater dimension to today’s hiring process. To effectively rebuild or grow their ranks with strong talent, businesses today need a hiring process that meets all of the following criteria:
Business Aligned – An evolved hiring process needs to be mapped to strategic business goals and the competencies required to achieve those goals. If the hiring strategy is not aligned with where the business is going, an outstanding recruitment process will still fail in its most important job: driving business outcomes.
UX Positive – Is your hiring experience accessible, manageable, fair, and informative for both job seekers and hiring managers? Is there automation in the right places and a personal touch where human engagement is essential? Technology has made us all ultra-demanding when it comes to ease of use and service. Clunky, time-consuming hiring processes that frustrate and stymie candidates and hiring managers will shed good applicants quickly and often.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Forward – With more businesses committing to improving or upholding DEI programs and efforts in the wake of 2020’s social justice reckoning, hiring processes should reflect those pledges. From including diverse candidates and hiring managers to communicating values and equity efforts, recruitment plays a fundamental role in workforce diversity. That role needs to be more transparent than ever.
Surge Ready – Over the next 24 months, businesses should be prepared to manage an influx of candidate outreach across the board and in all forms: applications, resumes, emails, referrals, texts, chat outreach and phone calls. Hiring processes should be stress tested to ensure they can handle higher volumes of communications and engagement at all phases of the employment life cycle. This includes everything from application and interview to assessment and onboarding.
Ghost Proof – A surging volume of candidates and higher unemployment rate will not be enough to mitigate candidate ghosting realities. Ghosting continued throughout 2020, and it will certainly be part of the great re-hiring effort. In fact, as more individuals apply to increased numbers of job openings, the candidate drop-out rate will increase as well. Hiring processes can, however, be proofed for ghosting issues by increasing interview to hire rates and accelerating communications. The goal is to make sure the talent pipeline is structured to identify and retain several strong candidates, and respond to them with speed.
Compliance Smart – Data laws? Remote hiring rules? Visa needs? Plenty has changed in hiring, but the need for rigorous compliance isn’t one of them. Strong compliance protects businesses and talent, making it essential to rehiring right.
Mobile Friendly – Nearly 3.8 billion people around the world own a smartphone. In the United States, it’s almost everyone, with 96% of adults owning one according the Pew Research. It’s an essential life and communications tool that candidates use at all phases of the job search process. If your hiring process is not mobile enabled, it’s not simply out of date. It’s broken.
Efficient + Real – Long, drawn-out processes will flounder in an opportunity-rich environment. Ensure the hiring process leverages automation and tech in the right places to increase speed of engagement and communication. That said, don’t over automate. Efficiency is an important goal, but real human engagement will always be what anchors candidates to the job and culture.
Remote Ready – According to PwC, remote work is something many workers want to see continue with 55% of people surveyed in late 2020 saying they would like to remain working from home at least three days a week after the pandemic ends. Businesses also see a remote advantage. It’s an opportunity to cut back on real estate costs by reducing office footprints. For HR and hiring managers, that means ensuring the hiring process maintains or adds remote recruitment, assessment, interviewing, onboarding, and management.
Lower the Emotions, Raise the Efficiency
One disruptive element that will be hard, but important for many HR and hiring managers to remove from their hiring process this year, especially leading out of a global calamity, is emotion. The opportunity and pressure to bring in outstanding new team members can be overwhelming, and this is where that well-engineered process plays another critical role. The discipline of good, effective hiring processes can override emotional decision-making.
Take for example, hiring managers who decide they want to interview 10-15 candidates for their job openings. They want to ensure they find the best person for the job, which is the right instinct. Emotion is telling them to do their best by doing more: interviewing more people and increasing the rigor of their search. But that’s not how effective recruiting works.
For most roles, no matter the skill set or level, interviewing 3-5 of the most qualified candidates from the applicant pool in a timely manner will yield the best hiring results. It gives you time to get to know the top candidates while also leaving sufficient time to make an offer and hire from that group. Adding substantial interviews increases the recruitment timeframe, which means top candidates will drop off faster as they are identified and picked off by other employers. It is an emotional choice that limits recruitment to the mediocre layer of the candidate pool.
This same deceleration of process and insertion of emotional methodologies can happen in other areas of the recruitment life cycle, from resume reviews and assessments to final selection. Many well-intentioned business leaders might conduct their own LinkedIn reconnaissance to “see who is out there,” adding piles of new resumes to the mix. Another common example of process disruption is a manager asking the team to add an unvetted candidate who was “referred by a friend” to the late stages of the recruitment process.
Teach the Engineering, Tame the Emotion
If you have optimized your recruiting process for 2021 and beyond, take the time to share exactly how and why it works. Educate all participants as to why it delivers the results business wants: efficiently getting the best hires in the door and on their way to productive contribution. Let hiring manager and business leader contributors see how they play a specific and strategic role. If they imagine hiring as a loose and improvisational effort, that’s how they will treat it. Teach them the process, data, and strategy behind it, and win their support with efficiency and results.
Embrace the People Advantage of Process Excellence
With a job market “like no other” in 2021, chaos is always a possibility. Hiring process rigor is the best way to stay focused and effective. As the “Great Rehiring” reshapes the workforce, it’s the recruiting teams with strong and updated processes in place that have today’s talent advantage.
About Advanced RPO
Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) solutions from Advanced RPO can help you evaluate and improve your hiring processes to get the talent you need to succeed. Contact us today to learn more about our high-touch solutions. For help optimizing your hiring process, send an email to Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.