10 Ways We Could Improve the Hiring Process

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This Week’s Question:  Is the hiring process in need of some tweaking? Is it keeping up with the times? Are there ways to make it better? Let us know what you think needs to change about the hiring process!

“Here’s something I’d like to see change in the hiring process: helping people gain experience versus only hiring people who have experience!

“I tend to seek out college students when I’m doing small projects that need things like a short video or some graphic design work. I do it for several reasons:

“1. College students need experience working on real business applications.

“2. College students are inexpensive. Sometimes they’re happy if you just buy them dinner!

“3. There are some gifted college students who have done much better jobs — in terms of ideas and service — than so-called experts I have hired.

“But the real reason I do it whenever possible is the conversations I have with frustrated college students who tell me they’re having trouble finding a job because most organizations want experience, but they’re not willing to train someone (a.k.a., give them experience).”

– Rich DiGirolamo
Author, Speaker, Consultant, and the Founder/Creator/Implementer of “Recess at Work Day”

“Speed is the name of the game these days, and in trying to identify [candidates] and quickly close jobs, I find that people are relying on gut instinct and less on science. Many are so focused on finding someone with the right skills that they are willing to ignore — or don’t notice at all — the behavioral or cultural fit red flags that present themselves. The old adage, ‘Slow to hire and quick to fire,’ has somehow been flipped in recent years, resulting in headaches, personnel issues, costly turnover, and decreased performance. Companies must begin hiring the whole person, rather than just the skills.”

– Kathryn Prusinski
V.P., Integration and Development
Vision Alignment, Inc.

“The hiring process needs to be adaptable and new every single time. You can think of the hiring process a bit like the weather: constantly changing and requiring us to put on our sunglasses, get out our umbrellas, or — in extreme cases — take cover! Much like checking on the weather before starting your day, you should be constantly checking on your hiring process to make sure it matches the current climate. You can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach and expect the best results.”

– Penny Queller
Head of Sales
Alexander Mann Solutions

“When hiring, keep in mind that some applicants have the potential to be amazing employees with a little skills training incorporated into their onboarding. Many employees can grow into their roles with patience and development.

“Employers can choose from a number of online course platforms — SkilledUp is one example — that bridge the skills gap between employees and the careers or jobs they’re after.”

– Crystal Richard
Director of Media Relations

“An employer can spend a sizable amount of time sifting through and screening unsuitable applicants from sources that don’t truly understand the client or the prospective employee’s requirements. Even then, a candidate can look fantastic on a resume, but what are they really like to work with?

“I strongly believe in the power of personal recommendation, as it minimizes the unknowns and saves time. Candidates drawn from professional networks are in many ways prequalified, as trusted sources know your company and know that their recommendation will fit in.

“Recruitment consultants and employee referral schemes are limited by the sizes of their networks, so the problem many organizations have is where to find these personally recommended candidates.

“Organizations need to have the foresight to realize these limitations, acknowledge the value of a professional’s personal contacts as intellectual property, and engage with new networks to ensure they have pipelines of the best and brightest talent.”

– Richard Weaver
My Expert People

“I strongly believe that there needs to be a paradigm shift in corporate recruiting from a culture of weeding out candidates in a largely passive, inbound recruiting pipeline to a culture of wooing/enticing candidates like top Division I athletic programs do.

“The legendary recruiting coaches at Division I schools proactively scout talented players in advance so that, when it comes time to recruit these players, the coaches have already decided (or largely determined) that they really want them on the team, and the coaches go after these players with everything that they have!”

– Thomas M. Blanco
No Pineapple Staffing, LLC

“Technologies such as Skype need to be utilized by companies to grasp larger, more remote talent pools. By doing so, top talent can become more accessible to organizations.”

– Bronwen Hann
President and CEO
Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting

“In order for the recruiting process to improve, it’s important that candidates on the opposite side of the hiring desk use every advantage that they have to improve their chances of landing the job. Here are a number of insider tips that will help them do just that:

Be responsive: When a recruiter calls you, please do everything in your power to call them back in a timely manner. I realize people may be working and cannot talk at work, but the level of communication has to be there. My clients need help immediately, and a candidate’s chances of finding a position are much greater when we have open lines of communication.

Present a clean work history: If you have held a lot of short-term positions (less than two years), be prepared to provide an explanation as to why you only worked somewhere for less than two years. Short-term assignments are red flags in the hiring world. More often than not, there is a valid explanation — the company lost funding, was acquired, or went out of business — and that’s what we need to know. Our industry is so small that the majority of time, someone at a company will know someone at a company where a candidate worked and will call them to get a backdoor reference.

Don’t use the third person: Sometimes I’ll get a resume where the individual refers to him- or herself in the third person. This is a huge sign of an ego gone amuck. I am extra careful with these types of individuals.”

– Dean Le
SoloPoint Solutions

“There are typically two reasons why a company is hiring: one, to create a new position based on new needs or growth; two, to replace someone who has left the organization. If the reason for hiring is to replace a position, too many organizations take the approach of backfilling the role. Backfilling is quite literally replacing the role with someone who brings the same capabilities.

“What needs to change is that organizations need to reconsider the role from a forward-looking perspective. How should the job duties and responsibilities be rewritten? Should the new hire possess a different background and skill set? What caused the previous employee to leave or to be fired? At Groove Management, we refer to this process as ‘forwardfilling’ roles. Forget backfilling and start forwardfilling open positions. Just changing the language you use to address open positions in an organization will lead to a change in approach.”

– Brian Formato
Groove Management, LLC

“I would say it’s less about tweaking and more about flipping the script. Many employers focus on building large applicant pools, and then hiring managers complain that they don’t have time to review all the resumes. Plus, we’re often surprised when the people we hire don’t fit like we thought they would when they were just job candidates. We need ways of using predictive analytics to narrow the pool of applicants to those who really fit the environment, and then focus our selection strategies on them.”

– Kurt Kraiger,
Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University
Cofounder of jobZology™

Ask Away is Recruiter.com’s weekly column. Every Monday, we pose an employment-related question to a group of experts and share their answers. Have a question you’d like to ask the expertsLeave it in the comments, and you might just see it in next week’s Ask Away!

By Matthew Kosinski