• May 2015

The Hiring Process Is Changing — Are You Ready?

By Barbara Mitchell
HR Expert and Co-Author of
The Essential HR Handbook and The Big Book of HR

It used to be pretty simple when a job opened up in your department.

You called your local newspaper and put an ad in the Sunday’s paper, then you sat back and waited for the mail to bring you resumes and cover letters. And then, you called a few of them in for interviews, made an offer to the best of the bunch and, two weeks later, you had your new employee. When the employee first showed up to work, probably gave him or her a stack of reading material and directed them to the conference room to “learn about the organization.”

Technology has changed everything about that process.

And now that the economy is back on track, organizations are finding the job market highly competitive — and the momentum has shifted from the hiring organization to the job seekers. Established organizations must compete with innovative start-ups for talent.

Savvy organizations are doing a lot more workforce planning and succession planning up front so they can anticipate when jobs will come open and have candidates in the pipeline.

Usually these planning processes work hand in hand with the budgeting process and look at planned expansions, potential product shifts, pending retirements, office relocations — anything that will impact the current and future workforce.

And, once you know the numbers of people you need, then you need to analyze what skillsets are needed to determine whether you need to add people, retrain people, or possibly layoff those who don’t have the necessary skills you need going forward.

Here’s how to stay up to date:

  • Post a website where your open positions are listed and where potential applicants can learn about your culture, your benefits, your community involvement, and more.
  • Stream video of the workplace so that candidates can see what it looks like. Consider doing video chats with prospective employees to answer questions before they apply.
  • Use LinkedIn since this is a tremendous way to find candidates, and there are industry-specific sites that are good to use as well as the more generic job boards. You should have an employee-referral program and a well-established professional network to bring in potential new hires when needed.
  • Think Applications 2.0 because the application process is where huge changes are taking place. I think resumes will be obsolete within a few years as more organizations have online applications or allow candidates to import their LinkedIn profile as their application. Be sure your application process works from mobile devices — people want to use their phones or tablets for everything. Whatever you do, be sure you are making it really easy for people to apply because if it isn’t easy, they won’t apply! It’s just that simple.
  • Stay positive since another major shift for employers is making sure applicants have a very positive experience all the way through the hiring process. Awards are now being given to organizations that offer the best candidate experience. Even when an applicant doesn’t get hired, you want that person to say good things about your organization and refer colleagues and friends to you. Applicants won’t speak highly of you if you do things like make it difficult to apply, or if you don’t do what you say you will do. If you tell applicants that you will let them know one way or the other by Friday, and then you don’t email or call by Friday, they will be really discouraged and unhappy. Take the time to close the loop even if it is to say that no decision has yet been made.
  • Be prepared to make a compelling offer in order to get the best candidates. This means that hiring bonuses are back on the table after disappearing for a few years. Applicants will be negotiating for salary, for time off, for flexibility, and maybe more, so you need to be prepared with responses that will attract the best talent while not upsetting your current employees, and be forewarned — this is a tough balancing act!
  • Be mindful and don’t neglect your current workforce — have engagement and retention programs so that you keep the great employees that you worked so hard to recruit! See The Big Book of HR for engagement and retention strategies that work.


About Barbara Mitchell

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and organization development consultant who is widely known in the areas of recruitment and retention. She has experience in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and has consulted for organizations around the world.

She has served in senior human-resources leadership positions with Marriott International and at several technology firms in the Washington, DC, area before co-founding The Millennium Group International, which she sold in 2008.

Her books include The Essential HR Handbook and The Big Book of HR.

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