6 ways to make sure your hiring process doesn't suck

You might not want to hear this, but your hiring process is as much an opportunity for candidates to decide if they actually want to work for your business as it is for you to decide who you want to make an offer to. Get it wrong and wince as top talent take a hard pass on your business. Get it right and have your pick of the lovely lot.

Here are out top tips for making sure your hiring process doesn’t suck:

  1. Don’t rush into hiring.

We know what it’s like when you’re understaffed and overstretched: you just want more hands on deck, stat. But going to market with a vague specification, an unrealistic budget, or (shock, horror) a brief that isn’t signed off is only going to cost you time, money and kudos down the line.

So, take the time to assess where the gaps are in your team and what sort of hire/s you really need to plug them. Talk to adjacent team members to understand what needs to be on the job description. Work with the hiring manager to decide which skills and experience are a must-have and which (if you’re honest) are negotiable. Research the  market to work out how much that role is going to cost you. And, for goodness sake, get the role and the budget signed off by the powers that be before you advertise.

  1. But once you start, move quickly.

Dilly-dally over recruiting and you’ll not only miss out on the best talent when they get snapped up by a competitor; you’ll also damage your employer brand by making candidates feel you don’t respect them or their time – in fact, 49% of people said they’d drop out of the process and 26% said they’d leave a negative comment on review sites if they felt  they were being strung along.

Map out a timeline for the process, including an application closing date and set periods for each stage of interviews, along with a deadline for making offers. And make sure everyone involved – from the recruiter and line manager to your HR team and key stakeholders who need to sign off new hires – is aware and on board (take it from us: a key player going on a two-week jolly mid-process can be a real spanner in the works).

  1. Talk about salary from the start.

Advertising a “competitive salary” is bullsh*t. Yep, we said it. First off: surveys show job adverts without salaries listed get 25-35% fewer applicants – so you’re shooting yourself in the foot before you even get started. Plus, salary is an easy barometer for seniority, so failing to disclose it wastes both candidates’ and your time if/when one of you realises the role isn’t right for them.

You might be thinking leaving the salary out of job ads gives you more negotiating power, potentially allowing you to snap up top talent for a below-market rate. But, honestly, this attitude sucks. Not only will smart hires soon jump ship if (when) a competitor offers more, costing you more in recruitment and training in the long run. It’s also a total bummer for diversity and equality, effectively penalising less confident negotiators – who’re more likely to come from underrepresented groups – and compounding historical unfairness. So do everyone a favour and pay people fairly, yeah?

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Applying for jobs is stressful – days without hearing feel like weeks and weeks feel like months. Applying or even interviewing for a job and never hearing back can crush a candidate’s confidence and any respect they once had for your business. The stupid thing? It’s so easily avoided.

Keep candidates regularly updated with the application process – heck, even automated emails are better than nothing. Acknowledge their application. Thank them for their time after each interview and let them know when they can expect your decision, if you haven’t already made it. If for any reason there are delays in the process, actively communicate the new timeline rather than leaving people hanging. Regular updates are a common courtesy that’ll do wonders for your hiring process and, ultimately, your employer brand.

  1. Don’t ask for too much.

Endless rounds of job interviews disproportionate to the seniority of the role aren’t a good look. Aside from expecting some candidates to take time out of their existing job (raising eyebrows and stress levels in the process), you also risk giving the impression that your business can’t make decisions fast – and who wants to work for a sluggish organisation with layers of unnecessary bureaucracy? 

We also need to talk about mammoth assessment tasks. We’re all for testing skills, but remember many candidates will be doing this work alongside a full-time job, so you should consider whether the time and energy required is a) achievable and b) fair. Ask for too much and candidates might begin to suspect you’re after free work… #justsaying

  1. Remember: language matters.

We’ve written a pretty comprehensive article on this – if you haven’t read it, we thoroughly recommend you do, right now. But if you’re tight for time (or a lazy so-and-so), here are the headlines:

  • Remove coded language from job descriptions

  • Get used to introducing and asking for pronouns

  • Ditch male-centric titles and phrases

  • Scrap language that feeds oppression and cultural insensitivity

  • Set aside assumptions about people’s background and preferences

  • Avoid slang and confusing turns of phrase

  • Stop reinforcing ageism

  • Do away with language that promotes ableism

  • Think about what you say, as well as how you say it

Want to understand more about any of these points? All you have to do is click.

Need help designing your hiring process? From consulting on role specs, to advising on salaries, to making sure a successful candidate is all set up for day one, we’re here to help from start to finish. Get in touch to find out more.

Share this:

A profile picture for Thea Bardot

Thea Bardot

9th January

Career Advice Blog ED&I