Take stock of the hiring process before speaking with candidates to identify potential improvements
Whether you have a small company with a relatively low employee turnover rate or a larger company with employees coming and going more frequently, one of the realities of running a business is that at some point, you will need to hire new employees.
The ultimate goal is, of course, to select the most competent and productive candidate from the pool of applicants -- not to mention a person who will fit into and complement the company culture. It's quite a challenge to determine, over the span of an interview, if the candidate has what it takes to succeed at your company. Plus it takes a great deal of effort, time and money to find that candidate in the first place.
In order to fill positions successfully, hiring managers should first review and streamline their processes for identifying and interviewing promising candidates.
Finding and Screening Candidates
The first step of an employee search is to get word out to jobseekers that your company is hiring. Fortunately, methods for finding candidates are constantly evolving, allowing companies to more efficiently target the best audience for a position. Social networks are increasingly rivaling traditional options, such as print ads or online job boards, for recruiting effectiveness.
In fact, according to a study by employment software company iCIMS, today 92 percent of companies use platforms such as Twitter, Linkedln, and Facebook as recruitment tools.
Options for advertising a job opening include:
* Online job resources, such as Monster.com and Indeed.com.
* Social networks such as Linkedln, Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter.
* Internal postings.
* In-house referrals (some companies offer incentives to current employees for referrals).
* Community and local college job boards.
* Local free shopping/circulars.
* Military reserves.
* Job fairs.
* Local job service company.
* Tax credits/local unemployment offices.
Before you interview potential candidates, consider the important components of the job description to determine exacdy which skills and competencies you need to look for and which ones you are able to train on the job.
These qualities can be divided into three categories:
Technical skills: Objective and measurable skills that may include things such typing speed requirements and familiarity with certain computer programs.
Performance skills: How or how well a person gets a job done, such as problem-solving skills.
Qualitative traits: Cultural traits that would make a successful candidate-such as the ability to interact and work with other department personnel.
Conducting the Interview
While preparing for the interview, don't overlook the logistical details, such as the company's policies regarding visitors to the office and how to set up the room for an efficient, productive interview.
Candidates will be taking stock and developing a perception about the company throughout the interview process-including what your interview space looks like. Make sure it is welcoming and inviting, and makes a good first impression.
Before the interview, managers should review the job description and identify the characteristics that make a good collector. This will help them craft interview questions to determine whether or not a candidate has the required characteristics and skills.
Write down all interview questions before the candidate arrives. To better compare candidates' responses-and remain compliant with various legal requirements-interview questions should remain uniform across all potential candidates.
Interview questions usually fit into three categories:
Open-ended: "How do you feel your previous experience relates to the position you are applying for here?" "Tell me about a time when you influenced someone to change his or her mind. What approach did you take and what was the outcome?"
Probing: "Why are you looking to leave ABC Company?" "What are your goals, and where do you see yourself in five years?"
Rapport-building: "I see on your resume you have several volunteer positions in your community. What do you enjoy most about volunteering?"
Use a variety of types of interview questions to learn as much about the candidate as possible.
No matter what the response to your job posting, you won't interview everyone who applies. Companies can screen candidates through initial phone interviews or by having a human resources representative speak to the candidate before passing the person along to the hiring manager.
Phone interviews can be particularly valuable when companies are hiring for a position that uses the phone as a primary tool. Hiring managers can use the phone interview to screen for the person's vocal tone, pitch and speaking ability.
To help determine the candidate's fit for the position, many collection agencies also use personality and candidate scoring tests prior to or as part of the interview process.
During the interview, don't take notes direcdy on the applicant's materials. Instead, take notes on a separate piece of paper that can be attached to the application and resume. This helps if a second or third interview is conducted. Additional interviewers should develop their own objective opinion without being "tainted" by the notes of the previous interviewer.
At the close of the interview, give the candidate a clear timeline of the next steps and offer your contact information in case the person has any questions after the interview. Don't make any promises.
If appropriate, offer to give the candidate a tour of the office as you close the interview. This establishes rapport and shows that you're proud of your team and office space.
After the Interview
After the interview, evaluate the candidate's responses objectively. Document your impressions and consider the applicant's nonverbal behavior. Did the candidate seem sincere?
Measure how closely the candidate's responses matched the job description, as well as your "must-have" and "nice-to-have" lists for the job. Use an interview scorecard to help rate the candidate.
If you're ready to make an offer to a candidate, be creative. Sell your benefits program, especially if it has a special differentiator, such as tuition reimbursement or free health club membership. Clearly present the commission structure and bonus plan, and describe your company culture.
You'll also need to contact candidates who are not being offered the job. How you do this will depend on your company's policies.
Many companies have a stock letter or e-mail they send out, politely thanking the person for their interest and for taking the time to interview for the position, but noting that the company has offered the position to another individual. Wish them the best in their job search.
Anne Rosso is associate editor of Collector.
Original headline: Streamlining the Hiring Process
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