When to invest in an Applicant Tracking System

Small business owners champion the definition of the “entrepreneurial spirit”. They are resourceful, intuitive and resilient. They are wise to know that success is built and maintained upon the formulation of a cohesive, talented team. Finding employees who integrate fully into the small business culture can be a challenge.

Organizations of all sizes are fiercely competing for prime talent. While big businesses might be more flashy and visible with offerings to attract talent, small businesses can successfully compete. To yield the best talent, small businesses need to demonstrate what all they have to offer. They can do this through a unique, personalized employee value proposition.

When small businesses boldly communicate exciting duties, growth opportunities and a welcoming, inclusive culture, that message will resonate loudly to applicants. Applicant tracking systems allow you to complete this in an effective way.

How do I hire the best employee for my small business?

As a small business’s needs evolve, it is important for the owner and leaders to assess hiring needs first. Identify the specific knowledge and skill set(s) missing for increased productivity. Analyzing which skills are sought, and where there is room for growth, allows decision makers to accurately identify the role(s) needed. While small business leaders often explore internal talent  to determine if anyone else can assume extra duties, it is crucial to first discuss assigning extra responsibilities with employees in order to acquire their feedback and determine the risk of burnout. Overwhelming current employees with additional responsibilities can lead to turnover, and small businesses cannot afford to lose contributing talent.

Once small business leaders have identified the need to hire, examine what kind of employee will best meet the company’s needs. Is the best fit for the company a full-time employee with benefits (most expensive)? A part-time employee less than 30 hours weekly without benefits (not as expensive)? Or an independent contractor who does not utilize benefits or training (least expensive)? Comparing projected income and costs between these classifications will help identify the type and number of employees a company can afford to hire.

How do I get employees for my small business?

Filling vacancies is a fiercely competitive challenge in the current market. Employers of all sizes are increasing pay hoping to attract employees. This puts more of a challenge on small businesses whose budgets are tighter. While it is important to keep salaries in alignment with market rates, money is not everything. Offering a quality benefits package helps. Consider including employee perks such as flexible and/or remote schedule. Unlimited or enhanced time off andvolunteer opportunities during the workday help too. Fitness opportunities, and a casual dress code to attract additional interest can help sway candidates to your company too. Professional development opportunities? Yes, please!

Any opportunity for additional skills development or professional certification is a motivator. It is also an investment in employees that funnels back into the company. Adding unique perks positions a small business to stand out from other businesses. Additionally, it shows a commitment to employees’ social, mental and physical wellbeing. Promote benefits and perks online and in job listings. Small businesses tend to have a close-knit culture. Highlight team activities on the company’s website and social media channels so applicants can view the fun.

Job descriptions are often the first impression of a company to a jobseeker so it is crucial that those descriptions are magnetizing. Pinpoint particular skills in the job description. So the applicant has an accurate idea of daily duties, list realistic and specific job responsibilities. While it is important to give a thorough description, too much information is overwhelming. Keep the info amount to what is expected for daily performance.

How much money do you need to hire an employee?

According to LinkedIn, small businesses spend an average of $1,600 annually on hiring. That money is often spent on direct job postings and manual efforts by hiring personnel. Small businesses seek to utilize Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to streamline the hiring process by automating numerous manual functions. Time saved by using an ATS provides small business leaders a way to spend more time on strategic functions and addressing small businesses’ needs.

If business is slower during a specific time frame, use that off-peak time for ATS purchasing and implementation.  Evaluate ATS features thoroughly, and work with the provider’s support team to use the tool efficiently to solve the unique needs of a small business. Having a resourceful ATS support team receptive to questions will favorably enhance ATS users’ experience. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, small business leaders need to consider using available budget funds to invest in an ATS to start the new year with increased simplicity, organization and efficiency.

What features do Applicant Tracking System’s possess that help small businesses?

Often, small business employees juggle many different roles. Human Resources, Marketing, Training…the list goes on. Time management is the name of the game in small business life, so when options exist to automate functions, it not only saves time but also money.  An applicant tracking system redefines internal organization. Using an ATS eliminates file folders of confidential material helping to support recruitment compliance objectives.

An applicant tracking system can securely house data, and decision makers can customize access levels of the platform. Jobseekers are constantly on the go so having an applicant tracking system that offers texting helps reach individuals quicker in a fast-paced world. Job searching needs to be mobile friendly so an applicant tracking system must have the capabilities to be navigable on mobile devices. QR codes offer quick ways for applicants to apply. For employees and jobseekers on-the-go, an ATS delivers information within a few clicks anywhere and everywhere. Complete convenience for everyone involved in the recruitment process.

What needs does a small business have that an Applicant Tracking System would solve?

An applicant tracking system provides a buffet of job board options to meet small businesses’ needs and enhance visibility. Integrating with major job boards to automate the job posting process saves time and money for a small business. Use social media sites, niche job boards, and state job boards offered within an ATS to reach an expanded audience. An ATS offering the ability to filter applicants through screening questions and disqualification filters eliminate unqualified applicants, saving time in the screening process. For small businesses subject to EEO/AAP reporting, an ATS will simplify reporting as data is collected electronically and securely stored.

How do I hire the best talent?

As small business leaders examine applicant data, ideally using an ATS, examine the applicants’ data closely. Rate and rank preferred applicants based on qualifications for the role. Interview those top candidates who show a sincere desire to work in the small business culture. Bring finalists back for a group interview to gauge soft skills.

Upon conclusion of the group discussion, make a decision based on qualifications and feedback. Do not delay in offering the position to the first choice applicant as that person might be enticed by a different employer. After the role is filled, ensure that all applicants have received some form of communication letting them know they were not selected. Receiving an update, even if a rejection, gives applicants a sense of closure. Explore the use of mass communication options within an ATS when sending a rejection or other forms of communication.

As small business leaders journey through the hiring process, collect data and evaluate the process. Setting benchmarks and using data to identify success points and areas for improvement will make the next hiring process easier and less expensive. A robust ATS will offer automation and reporting tools to assist small business leaders analyze metrics such as time to fill and time to hire and identify the source of applicants. Having the ability to create unique reports within an ATS to track measurable data is essential in strategic planning.

Talent sourcing for small business can seem like a daunting task, but finding the right ATS for small business will make the hiring process easier. Using an ATS to automate tasks will close existing gaps in a manual hiring process improving productivity and enhancing the company’s brand. An ATS is an investment that will increase a small business’s competitive edge against large companies when recruiting stellar talent

Photo by Startupstockphotos on Pixabay

Post-COVID Hiring: Job Candidate Motivations

Recently, I was fortunate to spend several days, in-person, at the HR Indiana SHRM conference in Indianapolis. Those three days consisted of learning, collaboration, communication of forecasts and trends, networking, and sharing of best practices in the human resources world. HR colleagues, I highly recommend attending your state SHRM chapter’s annual conference. It is enlightening, engaging and fun!

One of the overarching themes of the conference is that HR has changed since COVID evolved into a global pandemic. Throw supply chain deficits, cost-cutting, and increased employee vacancies into the mix, and that developed a storm that HR has had to weather together.

HR’s goals of finding and retaining essential talent, improving employee development, and fostering a collaborative, productive work environment has not changed. However, the methods through which HR professionals seek to attain those goals have changed dramatically.

As HR practitioners have witnessed, recruiting key talent has evolved. Job candidate motivations–their wants and needs–have changed, and candidates are leveraging those wants and needs as companies seek to fill numerous job openings from a tiny, ultra-competitive applicant pool.

Job Market Statistics

A few key stats before delving into a couple job candidate motivations that HR must evaluate to attract talent…

  • In the US, an average of 4 million people per month have quit their jobs since January.
  • In the US, almost 48 million employees quit their jobs last year.

Your Playbook for Activating Non-Traditional Talent Acquisition Channels, HR Indiana 2022

  • About 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 each day until 2030.
  • There will be a shortfall of five million workers over the next few years.
  • 40% of workers reported they are unlikely to stay with their organization post-COVID.
  • 57% of Baby Boomers have shared less than half of their knowledge needed to perform their jobs when they retire.

-The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: HR Lessons Learned, HR Indiana 2022

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

This blog post is not meant to scare or discourage HR professionals; it is meant as a proactive resource to help increase HR’s awareness of these ongoing and upcoming hurdles. Additionally, any HR team–from teams of 1 to 100+, can use this information to strategize and identify strengths that align with job candidate motivations. Then, with this alignment in place, hiring managers can more easily make the case that their company is the right company for top job candidates.

Job Candidate Motivations

What are job candidates’ wants, and in particular, needs? There is no “one-size-fits-all” compensation package for employees. This fact has become blatantly apparent since COVID cemented adaptability and flexibility as needs for both employers and employees.

  • 95% employees want flexible hours.
  • 78% employees seek location flexibility.
  • 72% of workers reported they are likely to seek a new opportunity within the next year as a result of their employer’s current level of flexibility.

-The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: HR Lessons Learned, HR Indiana 2022

Tough crowd with unrealistic expectations? No, not really. COVID became the driver for employees of all levels to reevaluate their life, family and work responsibilities. Early retirements soared. COVID changed the way many industries and individuals’ roles were performed. Roles that were thought as necessary to be onsite were validated otherwise.

Remote Work and Flex Schedules

It did work for people to do their work at home. Of course, there are professions that are legitimately challenged to work full-time or part-time remote–such as teachers, mechanics, and healthcare practitioners to name a few. But overall, many roles and professions that were originally required to be onsite no longer must be onsite.

According to a Gartner survey, if a remote organization were to go back to a fully onsite arrangement, it would risk losing up to 39% of its workforce. Organizations cannot erase the past 2.5 years. Remote work increased, and many employees thrived personally and professionally with that option.

An organization must look into the mirror deeply and reflect on what remote and/or flex options they can offer employees at all levels that help with retention. Not all employees seek to work remotely, but multiple surveys show that the ability to be remote and/or flex is paramount to the majority. Here are a couple other items to consider as companies seek to reevaluate the employee value proposition.

Look at Internal Talent as a Candidate Source

Internal mobility is up 20% since the onset of COVID-19, according to LinkedIn data. This talent pool is readily accessible and often willing to explore new, challenging opportunities for internal growth. An organization’s HR department must start crafting plans to facilitate their employees’ mobility towards existing openings, leadership positions and newly created roles.

Encourage managers and employees to actively recommend teammates for internal openings. According to a Gartner survey, only 27% of active job seekers agree that their organization makes it easy for them to find job opportunities that suit their interests. Now, more than ever, employees must easily access internal openings and find opportunities that correlate to their skills.

Make Mental Health a Priority for Job Candidates

Many current employees are now feeling the negative effects of stress from attempting to balance personal and professional responsibilities during the pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy (World Health Organization, 2019).

  • $23 billion spent annually in the United States on work productivity loss due to depression.
  • $16 trillion in loss output by 2030 due to mental illness.
  • 200 million workdays are estimated annually due to depression.

-The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: HR Lessons Learned, HR Indiana 2022

Research is showing that the cost of implementing a workplace health and wellness system is significantly less than the cost of doing nothing to formally address and resolve workplace mental health issues. Loss of productivity and absenteeism will continue to rise if channels of assistance are not readily available to employees. And addressing mental health in the workplace cannot only improve employee morale and operations, it can attract new talent.

So HR should broadcast the details and goals of wellness programs to job candidates. In this way, the candidates understand the company’s commitment to physical and mental health without having to ask about it. Wellness programs are an investment in employees and should be rightfully included in employee branding. This will help an organization stand out among the competition and better align with important job candidate motivations.

HR Strength Post-COVID

In addition to change, a recurring theme at the HR Indiana SHRM conference was strength. Even in the midst of the chaos internally and externally, HR professionals will continue to rise to the challenge and overcome adversity successfully. Craft your plans and goals, then seek assistance to fulfill those goals from your support channels–resources in your senior and C-level management to help with funding, implementation and buy-in from your hourly workers who can voice support of new initiatives.

You can do this!


Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Screening Applicants for Soft Skills

Soft skills are interpersonal skills that enable you to communicate and interact. Soft skills emanate from your personality or your attributes. These skills help you interact effectively and pleasantly with others, enabling you to navigate complex relationships.

Soft skills are critical in the workplace. That’s because organizations are looking for individuals who are not only good at their work, but who can interact, connect, collaborate, and manage across diverse cultural lines. Job candidates with good soft skills can excel in contemporary workplaces because they can learn and adapt.

Soft Skills Examples

Some key examples of soft skills include:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Listening
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Decision making
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Stress management
  • Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Organization
  • Persuasion
  • Resourcefulness

Soft Skill Benefits

There’s no doubt that when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, most people who work outside their homes found themselves thrust into the work-from-home lifestyle. This unexpected change brought about anxiety around what was to happen next. Most employees found themselves wondering about the murky future of their jobs and workplaces.

Indeed, while it’s difficult to predict what the future holds, there’s no doubt that soft skills remain a key highlight in business leadership. Organizations that remained intact and successful throughout the pandemic were those whose employees and leadership had strong soft skills to survive and adapt.

Knowing the roles that soft skills play in contemporary workplaces, there’s no excuse for employers to ignore the many benefits that soft skills bring. Let’s delve deep into those benefits.

  • Improved adaptability.  A key highlight for all competitive organizations is that their workforce and leadership are adaptable and flexible. The pandemic has revealed first-hand how the most adaptable organizations can get through while others drown or close doors. While adaptability is not new to businesses, it’s become altogether critical in recent years. Adaptability means that employees have strong critical thinking skills to pull through a crisis. Adaptability also implies that the workforce has collaborative and meaningful research skills to survive difficult situations.
  • Improved feelings of belonging. Soft skills help nurture feelings of belonging, often thanks to leaders who can practice active listening. There’s no doubt that work-from-home directives have led to increased feelings of loneliness and isolation for many employees. And as months continue to go by with employees unable to return to the workplace, listening and communication skills are becoming increasingly important for leaders. Therefore, leaders who have developed soft skills in this area are better prepared in adapting to changes in the work environment, and are able to make distanced employees feel more at home through communication, listening, and interaction skills.
  • Excellent communication. Excellent organization-wide communication is a critical element of leadership. Organization-wide communication captures many different types of communication, including how we communicate the words we speak, written communication, verbal cues, and even Zoom meetings. Although the importance of communication in the workplace cannot be overstressed, still almost 60% of employees report not receiving clear instructions at work. Soft skills provide management personnel with excellent communication skills to convey work requirements.
  • Enhanced teamwork. As the pandemic unfolded, most organizations likely sent out an internal memo reading “we’re all in this together.” Perhaps this message was reinforced throughout and after the pandemic. Well, why send out such a message? The answer is simple: to promote feelings of togetherness and empathy. Soft skills are critical as they help individuals and teams to overcome difficult and trying situations.

Examples of Jobs that Require Soft Skills

Organizations of all sizes and complexity require different soft skills. Soft skills are sought by organizations of all sectors and industries – from manufacturing to mining, sales, administrative, healthcare, education, technology, and retail.

But soft skills are especially required, and vital, in the following industries:

  • Communication services
  • Information technology
  • International relations
  • Healthcare
  • Real-estate
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Finance and accounting
  • Law
  • Human resources
  • Business

How do you Test for Soft Skills?

There are many ways to assess applicant skills, including sift skills. Some of the ways are discussed below:

  1.  Watch for physical and social cues. One way to assess soft skills is to look out for physical and social cues. Now, we are not asking you to spy on your candidates when they’re reporting for interviews. Rather, we’re asking you to examine their behavior and interactions with other people when they arrive at the workplace. Do they greet the receptionist – do they talk or interact with other candidates, and are they curious to learn more about the work? All these things are critical in assessing soft skills in job candidates.
  1.  Inquire from the candidate about important soft skills. Ask the candidate what core skills they perceive as important. Instead of telling the candidate the soft skills you think are crucial for the job, inquire from them about what skills they think are crucial. At the very least, this inquiry will help you know how well your candidates understand the job. And if you’re lucky enough, their list of soft skills will likely match yours. So, actively interacting and obtaining feedback from your job candidates is a great way of learning about their core skills.
  1.  Ask for scenarios and examples. Ask candidates to demonstrate scenarios where soft skills are used. Now that you’ve obtained their list of  top core skills, ask them for examples where they’ve seen or used these skills in action. Get your candidates talking about their previous work experiences and look for what they were most impressed with. By constantly talking and engaging with candidates, you can identify their soft skills based on their previous performance and experience.
  1.  Test them using job simulations. Test candidates through a real-life scenario to identify their soft skills. If you ask a candidate whether they think they are a good leader, you’ll get a “yes” nine out of ten times. Put candidates to the test. Create a situation or a real-life job audition and see if the candidates take the lead. Also, look at whether those who take the lead listen to others and take feedback seriously. It’s only by simulating job duties that you can obtain genuine feedback on your candidates’ soft skills.

Why Test for these Skills?

Testing for soft skills helps you evaluate job candidates not based on their technical or hard skills, but based on their ability to adapt and cope. Soft skills provide an end-to-end view of candidates, providing an extra layer of information beyond just experience and qualification. So, testing for these skills provides you with a comprehensive understanding of prospective job candidates, streamlining and improving your selection process.

Soft Skills Assessment Questions:

Most talent acquisition managers create assessment questions that help them evaluate soft skills. Some common soft skill assessment questions include:

  1. When people are arguing, I can understand all their viewpoints whether or not I agree with them (T/F).
  2. I can make sense of complex and ambiguous situations (T/F)
  3. When someone speaks to me, I think of open-ended questions to ask them (T/F)
  4. When someone talks to me when I’m doing something, I stop and give the person full attention (T/F)
  5. I quickly de-escalate myself when arguments become serious (T/F)
  6. Discuss a time you had to manage your team through a hard situation…
  7. How do you prioritize your time and tasks when you have too much to handle?
  8. What’s the most serious problem you’ve ever solved at the workplace?
  9. Tell me your most challenging situation and your solution to it?
  10. Discuss positive contributions you’ve made in school and beyond…

Why do Job Candidates Need these Skills?

Job candidates need to have good soft skills to excel in what they will be asked to do on the job. Training for these skills can be very difficult and time-consuming–more so than training for hard skills. And by only having technical skills, it’s impossible to meet the changing work requirements. Job candidates who bring soft skills with them are better prepared for changes, enabling them to learn and adapt on the go.

Here again is a quick summary of the key reasons job candidates need these vital skills:

  • Customer service. Improved customer service based on their day-to-day interactions with customers
  • Employee self-confidence. Interaction and communication increase an employee’s confidence in themselves and their hard skills.
  • Better client retention rates. Employees who make clients feel valued and respected create return business for themselves and their organizations.
  • Higher job satisfaction. Communication, listening, interaction, and negotiation skills improve job satisfaction because employees can openly talk, be listened to, and feel as if they belong.
  • Customer loyalty. Communication and persuasion skills can increase loyalty in customers, especially when customers feel their pain, concerns, and issues are taken into account.
  • Better team dynamics. Employees can interact and collaborate with others and improve relationships through teamwork.
  • Greater adaptability. Core skills like listening, communication, curiosity, and feedback provide greater adaptability to employees who know how to use them.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect candidate for your open position, soft skills are critical. Indeed, the best hiring processes are balanced in identifying and evaluating a combination of soft and hard skills.

To learn more about how to test the core skills of your candidates, or how an ATS can do it for you, contact ExactHire to learn more!

Job Descriptions that Attract Diverse Job Candidates

Attracting diverse job candidates is essential to finding high quality talent for your positions. That’s because trying to find the right person to fill a vacant position is challenging, especially in our current job market.

In the past, companies mostly competed against similar industries for talent; however, that has distinctly changed. Today, workers are expanding their interests and education along with examining how to transition into different fields. The competition for essential talent has never been more fierce. Companies must compete with competitors in and outside their industry.

So when an organization has a job to fill, it is crucial to examine the content advertised to ensure that all qualified individuals feel welcome to apply. Making your company an inclusive organization–ready to recognize and appreciate diverse skill sets–should be a huge priority.


Companies with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to experience greater financial returns than their respective non-diverse counterparts. –Forbes


Why is Attracting Diverse Job Candidates Important?

According to an article published by Forbes, diverse teams are better decision makers 87% of the time as compared to non-diverse teams. Approximately 35% of applicants will not apply to a job if the listing and/or the company do not seem to support diversity. Companies with a diverse workforce are 35% more likely to experience greater financial returns than their respective non-diverse counterparts. Diversity and inclusion help expand the knowledge, insight and social connectivity of an organization so it is a priority that needs consistent support. But how can companies ensure that they are attracting talent from all backgrounds?

Unbiased Job Description Content

Often it’s department managers who create job descriptions for their areas. They know the intricacies of the functions they oversee, so this makes sense. But this might also lead them to create or revise job descriptions with the only the current employee(s) in mind.

And while that’s a good starting point for identifying tasks and responsibilities, that exact employee will not be in that role permanently. So it’s imperative to avoid biased job description content because the next person to fill that role will likely have distinctly different, individualized attributes.

How can my Job Postings be More Inclusive?

In the “relay” to fill job vacancies, Human Resources can take the baton from other internal departments and thoroughly examine job descriptions. This provides a clear and bias-free interpretation and, if necessary, revisions of the content. Doing this helps ensure that job descriptions reach diverse populations and offer a sense of inclusivity to all applicants.

To help with consistency of verbiage, Human Resources can create an inclusive style guide available to all departments. This ensures that consistent language is used when communicating job description content with external and internal audiences.

Here are some key items to evaluate when reviewing job descriptions:

  1. Avoid Gender Coding which is assigning traits, characteristics or behaviors to a particular gender. Curious as to how the organization’s job description’s content passes or fails in gender coding? Check out Gender Decoder to scan content, and learn about the purpose of the tool here along with a list of feminine and masculine perceived words.
  2. Check pronouns. Are the pronouns “He” or “She” used in the job description? Not all individuals identify with “He” or “She”. Using “You” in the job description will leave the reader more focused upon themself and the characteristics they personify to help give the reader a better opportunity to picture themselves fulfilling the duties of that particular role. “You will lead the success of your clients…You will assist senior management with strategic planning…etc.” To the reader, hearing what “You” can do is motivating!
  3. Include the organization’s EEO statement. Job seekers need to know the organization is committed to equal opportunity and supports hiring for all individuals. Personalize the company’s message to all audiences that they are truly welcome.
  4. To accommodate readers of all levels, keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use verbiage that the reader would not have to look up in a dictionary to define. This is a job description to attract interested, qualified applicants; it is not a dissertation.
  5. Approximately 10% of the population is dyslexic. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects written and comprehended language. Individuals with Dyslexia are also part of a protected population by the EEOC. Using fonts that help language processing such as Arial, Comic Sans Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Trebuchet, Calibri or Open Sans, are easier to read because they are are sans serif. Crowded text makes it more challenging for readers with language processing challenges so avoid the use of italics and underlining and go bold instead.
  6. Stop buzzing around! Using buzzwords and jargon can be confusing and overwhelming. Job seekers want the job description to be to the point and simple to follow without the need to go search the online dictionary for acronyms or jargon translation. This site, Milkround, helps scan for jargon and gives a good resource of what to revise. Keep in mind, the site is based out of the United Kingdom so there could be a bit of difference between UK and US English.
  7. When discussing benefits, focus on generalities. “Parenting” leave as compared to maternity or paternity leave. “Parents and Guardians” as compared to “Mothers and Fathers”. “Partners” as compared to “Spouses” or “Husbands and Wives”.
  8. Individuals with disabilities have skills to offer. Review the job content for items that could isolate individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities. Does the person have to actually “lift” an item to move it, or could the person move the item in an alternative way? Does a person have to read instructions, or could that person listen to an audio recording instead? One size does not fit all

Commit to a Diverse, Inclusive Culture

Creating diverse content in job descriptions is an important step toward attracting diverse job candidates. But they are only words if the organization’s culture does not embrace diversity and inclusion initiatives. Make sure that what is written in the job description regarding the warm welcome for all qualified individuals to apply is sincere.

Human Resources is a champion for diversity and inclusion. Taking time to inspect job descriptions and promoting inclusive language and actions within the organization will save time in the long run. And crafting content to reach diverse audiences will become a norm as time evolves. Diverse, inclusive job descriptions will help organizations yield an opportunity to fulfill its main goal – supply the organization with talent for company growth.

Click here to learn how ExactHire HR Software can help your team create a library of diverse job templates that can be used to help save time posting jobs, screening applicants, and attracting diverse job candidates.


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

What Should a New Employee Do for the First Week?

Are you interested in increasing new hire retention by 50 percent? How about boosting your team’s productivity by 62 percent? Then, you need a solid onboarding plan. One study found that companies with an effective onboarding plan retained 91 percent of their first-year hires. And those that just wing it when it comes to onboarding? Their new hire retention rate is an abysmal 50 percent.

Now that you know how much is riding on your new employee onboarding process, how do you go about designing the most effective onboarding plan? While the best onboarding plans extend to the new hire’s first anniversary, it’s your employee’s first week that will make or break the effectiveness of your onboarding plan.

Welcoming New Employees During the First Week

Onboarding provides new hires with the support, encouragement and foundation they need to become successful, long-term employees. The first week of onboarding, when excited new hires are most vulnerable to second-guessing their decision, plays a pivotal role in the success of your onboarding process.

According to The Work Institute’s 2021 Retention Report, the average quit rate among new hires during their first year is about 34 percent. One study found that 40 percent of new hire turnover happens within the first month. So, the first week is all about reassuring the new hire that he or she made the right choice.

Several factors help determine employee longevity. Clear expectations, meaningful work and great friendships are just a few of the reasons good employees decide to stay at their jobs. Making meaningful efforts to engage your new hire on these points during their first week will dispel any lingering doubts they may have about you as an employer.

On the other hand, leaving new hires to fend for themselves will increase their apprehension. The more your employee is left questioning the basics, such as where to park or what she should do next, the more she will feel like an outsider. Instead of integrating with the team, she’ll be scouring the job sites with her cell phone while eating lunch alone.

New Employee First Day Agenda

The first day at a new job isn’t unlike the first day of school. We all remember that mix of nervousness and excitement when you desperately want something to go well but you’re not sure that it will. Your paperwork and training are important. But even more important is ensuring that when your new hire goes home and is asked by his friends and family how his first day went, he can answer with a resounding “Great!”

Before New Employee’s First Day

Your new employee first day checklist sets the stage for your new hire’s great first day long before you greet him at the door. A series of emails to welcome your new employee before her first day eases first-day jitters. Emailing the following information will help your new hire prepare for his first day:

  • Links to digitized new employee forms for 2022 and policy documents. Provide these links several days before the new hire’s start date.
  • An organizational chart and bios of team members, if available. Invite the new hire to write a brief bio as a way of introduction. Or create a “Get to Know You” questionnaire.
  • Basic information, such as parking, possible road construction, and dress attire.
  • Let him know who his first point of contact will be and also that he will be eating lunch with the team. Be clear about whether the company will provide his lunch.
  • An email of introduction and welcome from the new hire’s supervisor and others on the leadership team. An email from the CEO will help the new hire connect his role to the company’s mission.

Basics of a New Employee’s First Day

When your new hire arrives for her first day of work, the following strategies will help her feel welcomed and integrate more quickly in her role and within the team.

  • Make sure her workstation is fully set up, with all the tools and network access her role requires.
  • Make sure her point of contact introduces her to the team before leaving her.
  • Provide her with tasks. New employees need to be told what to do. You can set her up with training modules or assign her to shadow a fellow employee for the day. Just make sure she has something to do.
  • Plan a team welcome lunch for the new employees to set the stage for collaboration and friendship.

New Employee Checklist Template for the First Week

Your new employee first week schedule template needs to accomplish a few objectives during the first to help ensure your new hire will go on to become a successful long-term employee. These objectives are related to the Four C’s of onboarding: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.

Compliance deals with the documents required for the new employee as well as the necessary safety and anti-discrimination training. Clarification means the new hire understands her new role and how it connects to the company’s mission. Culture loosely refers to the company’s values and how those values translate into its daily operations. Connection refers to the emotional bonds and friendships your new hire will form with her colleagues and the company.

We like to suggest a fifth C: check-in. It’s important to periodically assess how things are going. During check-ins, the feedback the employee provides is just as important as the feedback she receives.

Below is a new hire schedule template for the first week to help you cover all five C’s.

New Hire Checklist Template Before the First Day:

  • Send a series of welcome emails to your new hire.
  • Have new hires fill out digitized paperwork.
  • Set up a workstation with necessary tools, devices and access.
  • Make sure IT sets up all necessary accounts and logins.

New Employee First Day Agenda Template:

  • Make a new employee announcement on the company’s intranet and social media pages.
  • Introduce the new hire to the team and supervisor(s).
  • Provide a tour along with interdepartmental introductions.
  • Introduce the new hire to the executive leadership team, who can then share words of advice for the new employees.
  • Provide a team lunch.
  • Give the new hire a prepared set of tasks.
  • Assign a peer mentor to assist the new hire.
  • During the first week:
  • Send the new hire to work for a day in different departments to help him understand how his role connects throughout the company.
  • Schedule lunch for the new hire with the peer mentor.
  • Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the new hire’s supervisor to help her gain clarification on the role.
  • Assign training modules to the new hire.
  • Give the new hire a “real” work-related project to demonstrate your confidence in his abilities. Make sure it’s a project he can accomplish with his current company knowledge.
  • Give the new hire a list of coworkers he can contact regarding various issues, such IT or HR related questions.
  • Schedule an orientation during which the new hire learns about the company’s history, mission, values and future direction.
  • Schedule an end-of-the-week check-in to answer any lingering questions or concerns.

Design an Onboarding Day by Day Plan

Providing the best onboarding experience for new hires will improve your employee retention.

Your new employee’s first week is pivotal to your onboarding plan. Anxiety and lingering doubts threaten your new hire’s long-term success. By designing a first week onboarding plan, day by day, you can welcome your new employee to the team and increase his engagement and productivity.

Your first week onboarding plan begins long before you greet your new hire on her first day. By sending out informative and welcoming emails, as well as ensuring her workstation is complete prior to her start date, you help ease her anxieties surrounding a significant life change.

Then, by organizing onboarding first day ideas in which she is enthusiastically welcomed to the team and immediately assigned tasks, you reassure her that her new role is meaningful to the organization. Finally, by creating daily onboarding activities to orient your new hire to the company’s culture, mission and values, you lay the groundwork that will boost your new hire retention rate. And always remember to include opportunities for onboarding experience feedback and answers to questions.

ExactHire’s employee onboarding software, OnboardCentric, can help you create an effective, streamlined and consistent onboarding process for new employees. Take the hassle out of coordinating the moving parts of your onboarding plan digitized paperwork, reminders and more. Schedule your free demo today to find out how ExactHire’s OnboardCentric can increase your new hire retention.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Job Posting Struggles? 40 Tips to Streamline Your Job Posting Efforts

What’s the trouble with job posting?

Sometimes, life can only be understood through an 80’s cult classic. Remember Gremlins? All those fiendish little imps devolved from a single sweet and cuddly creature.

The role of HR is much like the movie…stay with me. An HR professional’s responsibilities once centered around advocating for employees in a corporate climate bent on profits. Luckily, many companies came around to the idea that their human capital is their most valuable asset. But with that realization, the HR department’s roles multiplied.

Take job posting, for example. From navigating legions of job sites to promoting your employer brand, even posting entry-level job ads can be a pain in the neck. We’ve got you covered with the following 40 tips to streamline your job posting efforts.

How to Write an Optimized Job Posting

Your job posting has to accomplish quite a bit. It needs to be clear, yet appealing. Optimized for search engines, yet written for humans. Your job description must also communicate your culture and employer brand. As powerful tools for your diversity goals, job postings must reflect your company’s awareness of marginalized groups and inclusion efforts.

Preparation Is Key to Writing a Job Ad

Before you set pen to paper, use these following tips:

  1. Meet with team leaders to update the job description.
  2. Identify the core characteristics of your ideal applicant. Note, focus on values rather than experience or educational requirements, e.g., independent worker or team player, etc.
  3. Now identify the minimum experience and educational requirements for the role. Puffing up your requirements just to avoid sifting through too many applications often has the unintended effect of discouraging marginalized groups from applying. Below, we have tips to help candidates self-qualify to prevent an influx of junk resumes.

How to Write a Job Ad to Attract the Best Candidates

  1. Write a job description that appeals to the qualities you identified in your ideal candidate in step 2. Check out this job ad from Taco Bell that appeals to their ideal employee, while also encouraging others to just keep scrolling.
  2. Include the salary range. The transparency reflects well on your employer brand. You’ll help candidates self-qualify. And including salary ranges helps fight the wage gap for women and minorities.
  3. Purge these terms from your vocabulary: superstar, rock star, anything ninja. These terms are dated and really do nothing to help you connect with the right candidate.
  4. Highlight the benefits of working at your company, from actual benefits to work environment.
  5. Use gender-neutral words.

How to Write a Job Posting Optimized for the Search Engines

  1. Use a clear job title. Don’t create a job title that reads “Receptionist/Administrative Assistant.” Doing so confuses the Google job search engine. Instead use one and sprinkle the other one in the job description.
  2. Search for the job title on the top job sites, such as a Glassdoor job posting. Count how many times the keyword is used in the job description for the top results, not counting the sponsored ads that appear first. Aim to use the keyword at least that many times.
  3. Include the location in both the location field and within the job description.
  4. Pro tip: ExactHire ATS optimizes job postings for you in many way.

Tips for Posting to a Job Board

With countless niche job boards, paid job boards and options for sponsored job postings, keeping it all organized can be a chore. These tips will help tame the digital clutter.

  1. Create a secured document or spreadsheet with links to job sites and your company’s login. You’ll have a quick reference for yourself and also a means to delegate the posting of some jobs.
  2. Group your list of the job sites you use with all open positions at the top. Then create separate groups according to job type, such as paid sites for management positions or niche sites for welding positions.

Creative Job Ad Examples

If you’re still itching to post a job ad for a superstar, we have some tips to help you get creative using the best job posting examples.

  1. Focus on how the role improves the world, even in a seemingly small role. For an online job board example, everyone has experienced a rude or incompetent customer service representative. Turn that experience into a job ad in which the candidate can “be the change he or she wants to see in the world” by speaking to that universal experience.
  2. Take a picture of your team having fun. Then post it and your job ad to your social channel–consider looking at your competitors for other social job posting examples.
  3. Create a humorous compilation of the non-awesome qualities you typically see, and write a job ad that calls out the slackers. Just one of the many job board examples using this technique, a job ad for a server read, “Please do not apply if you need nights off because your band has a gig.”
  4. You can flip the humor around and write creative job ad examples that are really, really honest about why your place of work is awesome. Another server ad read, “looking for someone well-versed in the subtle art of sarcasm.”
  5. Create a video on your branded careers page, but don’t be generic to avoid being the butt of the joke in this recruitment video by Fiverr.

Job Board Posting Software

Don’t have a branded careers site? Oh… yikes. That’s too bad because a branded careers site can do some heavy lifting in your recruiting efforts. It can be the place all the job sites send your candidates, where they can fill out an application or view other open positions at your company. Your branded careers sites can also showcase your company’s culture and highlight your employer brand.

A branded careers site is just one advantage of using applicant tracking software (ATS). An ATS is job board posting software that can help you streamline your job posting efforts and help in other ways too, like:

  1. Post to multiple job boards and social media with just one click. An ATS will remember all your favorite job sites and their passwords.
  2. Access a dashboard that analyzes job ad performance across sites on a single screen. Stop wasting time and money on job sites that don’t perform for your company.
  3. Receive recommendations, tailored to your company, for sponsored job posting and programmatic job advertising. Take the expensive guesswork out of paying for job ads.
  4. Increase candidate conversion with mobile everything. Text messaging, QR codes, or even applying with a phone number, going mobile will streamline your recruiting efforts.
  5. Organize your job candidates. An ATS will sort applicants and push the best to the top of the list.
  6. Master compliance reporting. An ATS will also track all the applicant details and create reports to help you stay compliant.
  7. Use an online employment application linked from your branded careers site (hey, it’s worth repeating).

Tips for Top Job Posting Sites

Most applicants go to top job posting sites Indeed, LinkedIn or Google for Jobs. These tips will help you reach them.

  1. Claim your company page on Indeed, perhaps the best job posting site for employers. This is where former employees and interviewees can leave reviews for your company.
  2. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s premium membership to scout out the best passive candidates and send them an Inmail.
  3. Stagger your job postings across sites to remain on page one of Google for Jobs Search. Google’s job post schema is a search engine that pulls together listings across job sites.
  4. Make sure your company’s LinkedIn page is updated.
  5. Make sure the personal profile of whomever is named as the contact in your job ad is updated in LinkedIn.
  6. Join LinkedIn groups where your ideal candidates are.

Tips to Find Free Job Posting Sites

Recruiting isn’t cheap. SHRM estimates it takes six to nine months of a position’s salary to recruit and onboard a new hire. Save some money using these tips for finding free job posting sites.

  1. Start with LinkedIn and Indeed, both are top job search sites and have options to post jobs for free.
  2. Edit the HTML of your job posting on your website to integrate with Google for Jobs API. Hint: Your ATS provider will do this for you.
  3. Handshake is a free platform to help employers connect with college students at hundreds of schools.
  4. If you’re one of the thousands of companies going remote, check out Hubstaff Talent, a free job board for remote job listings.
  5. Check out local institutions and niche job boards. Universities, high schools, and state employment sites often offer options to post a job for free online.
  6. Post jobs for free on Craigslist.
  7. Use Monster for free job posting.

Final Tip

Posting job ads can be a bit chaotic. And if you don’t do it right, you risk keeping that chair empty longer than necessary. These tips will help you tame the chaos and organize your job posting efforts. We have one tip that cut the work in half. You ready?

  1. Use an ATS.

Really. It’s the best way to organize and track your job posting efforts. When you use an ATS, you do more than tame the job posting gremlin. You elevate your efforts by harnessing the data that will shorten the time it takes to fill your empty positions.

Ready to learn more? Sign up for a demo of ExactHire today.



Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Remove Friction from the Application Process

In a challenging job market where job seekers have the leverage, employers need to ensure that their hiring process is “candidate-centric” —and that starts with a frictionless application process.










The biggest challenge that companies are facing today is talent. They can’t fill open positions, and it’s having a huge effect on their revenue, their profits, and their service.

  • We need to make the process more candidate-centric versus employer-centric.
  • We need to remove the friction from the process, make it easier, and we need to use applicant tracking systems to streamline the process both for the candidate and the company.
  • Trim the question fat–that’s in essence, what that means is just reduce the number of questions that you’re going to ask people–there’s way too many.
  • Change your approach to applications. There’s a lot of things here you can do, like first one is you could use two-stage apps, and that is just ask questions of people, get some information, figure out if that’s a good candidate for you, and then flip over to the second set of questions once you reduce that number to more manageable number.
  • You need to know what your candidate drop-off rate is.
  • You need to know how long it takes for your candidates to complete an application. If you haven’t taken your own application, you should do that to give you a baseline to know what that is.
  • Track and measure your success so you can see if you’re making any improvements, and how it’s working.

And with that, happy hiring!

Present Your Employer Brand Differently

The biggest challenge that companies are facing today is talent. They can’t fill open positions, and it’s having a huge effect on revenue, their profits, and their service. What’s worked in the past isn’t working today.










The biggest challenge that companies are facing today is talent. They can’t fill open positions, and it’s having a huge effect on revenue, their profits, and their service. What’s worked in the past isn’t working today.

We need to make the process more candidate-centric versus employer-centric. We need to remove the friction from the process, make it easier. And we need to use applicant tracking systems to streamline the process both for the candidate and the company. Present your company differently.

  • You need to think about it as you would if you were marketing your product. You need to sell your company. You need to sell your brand.


  • Change the title and the first few sentences of your job ad. You need to focus on exactly what would interest that particular person, as opposed to burying it somewhere down–if they have to read too far in before they get excited, they unfortunately, will probably click off your ad and go somewhere else. So if it’s remote work or overtime or whatever it is you’re trying to push, and of course diversity equity and inclusion is an important equation today– it needs to be mentioned as part of your of your deliverable as a company.


  • And last, you should you should use videos, employee testimonials– people love those as opposed to just reading ads. It makes it more exciting and differentiates you from your competition.


And with that, happy hiring!

How Do You Announce a Job Posting?

Everybody likes something new and shiny. Babies, Tesla’s newest innovation, or the latest iPhone. New gets all the buzz. Job seekers, too, have a predilection for the latest and greatest. A new job posting looks more appealing than one that’s been languishing on online job boards.

For all these reasons, your job posting has more traction during its first few days of life. Search engines rank new job postings higher. Job seekers show more interest in recent job postings. You can maximize the momentum of a new job posting with a strategy that attracts quality candidates quickly.

Ways to Announce a New Job

Your strategy for attracting quality job candidates quickly begins before you announce a new job. Start by identifying your ideal applicant. Go beyond the basics. You know your machinist needs an eye for detail. Or your new server needs to be friendly. Dig deeper to understand what motivates your ideal employee. Highlighting opportunities such as overtime or advancement will attract motivated individuals while helping less enthusiastic applicants disqualify themselves.

With your ideal employee in mind, think about your application process. Keep in mind most job seekers use their mobile device to apply to positions. Assess your application process using both mobile and desktop technology. Keep applicants engaged with text and email responses that communicate the next steps in the application process.

Applicant tracking software can help you in each step of your strategy to attract quality candidates quickly. Using ATS, you can create a branded careers site optimized for both mobile and desktop applications. You can also communicate with applicants via email or text from within the ATS. When it comes time to publish new job, you can streamline the process by posting to multiple online job boards at once. Then the ATS will monitor your online job ad’s performance so you can improve applicant conversion with each new job opening.

Creative Job Postings Examples

With your profile of your ideal applicant and your applicant tracking software in place, you’re ready to write brilliant job ads. Start with a unique job title. If your company has more than one job opening for evergreen jobs, such as server, or machinist, or data entry clerk, then create a distinct title for each open position. Doing so will prevent job boards from tagging your open positions as duplicates.

Pay attention to keyword density. Use your job title throughout your description. Avoid uncommon or gendered synonyms, such waitress in place of server, or journeyman in place of machinist. Use the job title—or words closely associated—to describe actions of the job. Words such as serving, operating machinery, or entering data will all help the search engines pick up the job posting.

Avoid catchy phrases for sample job posting ads on sites such as LinkedIn or Indeed. We all know you’re not really looking for a rock star or a wizard. Endless guitar riffs make it difficult for your other employees to concentrate. And what if your wizard accidentally turns your receptionist into a houseplant? My point is that these overused words have lost their pizazz. Avoid worn and tired words, and seek fresh ways to describe your job.

If you’re looking for examples of creative job postings, check out this recruitment video from Fiverr. Or this job ad from Bud Light for a “Chief Meme Officer.” Both job ads use humor. But they’re effective because they also show applicants what their company is like. In other words, both companies authentically represent themselves in their job ads.

Internal Job Announcement

Your best quality job candidates already have a job. But don’t despair. Around 70 percent of the workforce is open to better opportunities, including your own employees. The best recruitment strategies use internal job advertisements and expansive external recruiting to target these passive job candidates.

Go beyond the job boards. Scour LinkedIn and Facebook profiles connected with companies that employ similar talent. Don’t dismiss old resumes on your favorite job boards. Job seekers often leave their resumes online after they’ve found a job. If you use applicant tracking software, you can create a talent pool of previous applicants who might be a great fit for your current opening. You can start contacting candidates from your talent pool in the first few days your job posting goes online.

Stand out when you reach out to exceptional talent. Send a message that emphasizes your company’s strengths and advancement opportunities. Be aware many people experience online scammers. So be transparent and provide information the applicant can verify.

Leverage your current employees’ connections by creating a referral program. Referred candidates perform better and stay longer than other applicants. Develop a process to determine how closely connected the applicant is to the referring employee. Close connections result in better referrals.

Internal Job Posting Announcement Sample

Current employees can be your best quality job applicants. They already fit into the company’s culture. They understand your industry and your products. Most importantly, they are fully productive more quickly that an external candidate who would need to go through the entire onboarding process. Companies with internal mobility programs understand that advancement opportunities reduce employee turnover.

You can start your internal job posting by reaching out to departments or teams that have the talent and skills you need for your open job. Supervisor and management feedback can be important. But you can avoid favoritism by creating an internal job posting announcement throughout the company.

Employees should easily find samples of internal job postings. Consider creating an internal job posting announcement on the company’s intranet homepage. Post internal job postings on bulletin boards throughout the company.

Final Thoughts on How to Announce a Job Posting

Your job ad loses effectiveness as it ages. Create a strategy to maximize your job ad’s potential before it goes live on job boards and internal job announcements. Writing a creative and effective job description to your ideal client, recruiting passive candidates, and engaging current employees in your search will help you fill your position quickly.

Applicant tracking software can help you synchronize all these steps so that your new job posting is most effective right out of the gate. Post to external job boards with one click and monitor your job ads effectiveness on one screen. Create a seamless careers site that optimizes mobile and desktop applications. Sort the resumes that come rolling in and apply custom status codes to keep it all straight. Build a talent pool you draw from for future positions and create an internal job application process all from within the ATS.

Are you ready to stop hunting rock stars and instead start engaging with your ideal candidates? Give us a call today.


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