by Sarah K. White

5 keys to improving your hiring process

Feb 15, 2018
CareersIT LeadershipStaff Management

What to find the best fit for your open positions? Strong, open communication with recruiters and hiring managers help make sure your job listings attract the best talent.

cloud hiring
Credit: Thinkstock

Good hiring practices are vital to the success of any business. If you’re recycling job descriptions, especially ones that may be out of date,you run the risk of attracting the wrong talent for your business needs. Here, strong collaboration between hiring managers, recruiters, HR reps and department heads is essential.

“If the HR team understands what the team is trying to accomplish in filling the role, and the hiring manager can clearly articulate the business strategy, both teams can work together toward the goal. Ideally, HR partners are meeting regularly with the business on many talent topics and can perceive a hiring need before it becomes urgent,” says Julie Barker, senor director of global talent at Appirio.

An efficient hiring process that includes regular check-ins on changing job descriptions and job requirements can boost efficiency and hiring quality. Here are five tips for improving your department’s job descriptions by fostering better communication with HR and recruiters.

Understand the role and be proactive with HR

It sounds obvious, but make sure the person writing up the job description and requirements knows how to do the job. It’s easy to overlook small details in the day-to-day workload if you haven’t worked in the same position, so consider consulting current employees as part of the process.

“This discovery should be a partnership between the HR business partner and hiring manager, which dives deep into the current team’s skill set, business strategy and goals for future, which then is documented in a job description,” says Barker.

Related video: 7 IT hiring and salary trends for 2018

If an HR department or recruiter handles job descriptions and job listings for your company, take time to foster communication. A hiring manager or department head might understand the day-to-day duties and skills necessary for the job, but an HR rep or recruiter will understand the current hiring market and talent pool, says Don Robertson, chief people officer at Apttus.

“Bridging this gap requires a time investment, sometimes a substantial one, but it pays off in spades as effective, well-placed employees take your organization to the next level,” he says.

Keep descriptions updated — even when roles are filled

If you hired for a role just one or two years ago, you still want to reevaluate the job description. Things change fast, especially in the technology industry, so the skills and requirements you listed two years ago might already be outdated.

“Roles, and their requirements, evolve as a business does. Especially here in Silicon Valley, your entire organization may be in a different mindset than it was a year ago, or even a quarter or two. Job descriptions should always reflect both the present and future goals of the company,” says Robertson.

No matter how entry-level the role is, always check the job description before you post. Make sure the HR team understands what your department is trying to accomplish with its next hire, says Barker. Get past viewing job descriptions as an “administrative exercise,” and consider it your first step to getting the top talent in your doors.

Avoid the ATS black-hole

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have helped lighten the workload for HR departments — especially now that the resume submission process has gone digital. An ATS can easily sift through submitted resumes to search for keywords that might send a resume to the trash pile or get it through the door.

But, as with any automation, you risk missing out on candidates who are highly qualified but don’t fit the algorithm for whatever reason. Maybe they used a different phrase or word for a specific skill or terminology that went ignored by the ATS. This is especially true when it comes to rapidly changing high-tech jargon and skills.

“We recommend that both the hiring manager and the HR professional have access to the applicant tracking system to improve the process. It is very difficult to avoid resumes sliding between the cracks of the HR desk and hiring manager’s desk unless there is a very robust HR organization that has the IT subject matter expertise to identify candidates rather than just looking for keywords,” says Monika Dowal, senior director at Mondo.

And if you’re working with a third-party recruiting service, make sure they’re open to back-and-forth communication to help drive better leads on potential candidates. If they aren’t willing to let you tweak a keyword or update a job description mid-process, it might be time to find another recruiting firm.

Impress your candidates with your hiring process

Fostering communication between HR, recruiters, hiring managers and department heads isn’t just beneficial for finding the best talent. It also shows candidates that your company can get it together and cross-collaborate.

“If your teams have strong communication at every level, it will create a fluidity that makes your organization stand out from the pack and attracts the best candidates. Making sure everyone is heard and understood during the hiring process translates into a smooth start for your latest rock star — and everybody wins in that scenario,” says Robertson.

An efficient hiring process not only helps you zero in on the best talent, but it helps keep the hiring process moving quickly. And that’s important in the tech industry, where the skills gap is creating a competitive hiring market, says Dowal.

Keep in touch

The best way to be prepared for an open rec on your team is to view the department’s relationship with HR as a constant commitment, rather than just communicating during the hiring process. Dowal suggests hiring managers regularly schedule meetings with HR reps to check in on the “scope of the position, consistent touchpoints around candidate flow and interview scheduling.”

Barker suggests going into meetings prepared with “agenda-driven touch-points” for the hiring manager and recruiter to “review openings and candidate pipelines.” Hiring can be expensive — and it’s an investment in your company. So, it’s smart to take the process as seriously as any other business project in the organization.