The HR Solutions category of the ExactHire blog discusses wide-ranging topics, trends, and best practices within the Human Resources and HR Technology industries.

How Do I Create an Online Job Application?

If you’re like most employers, the current worker shortage has you rethinking your hiring strategy. This is especially true in industries like construction, restaurant, and home service. Perhaps in the past you’ve been able to avoid implementing an online job application without sacrificing the quality of applicants you attract. But if you’re one of the thousands of businesses forced to shorten hours or reduce the number of customers you can serve because you don’t have enough workers, you can’t afford to not have an online job application.

But how do you go about creating an online job application? Even after you create an online job application, you’ll have other difficulties to puzzle out. You need to get the application onto your website. And as long as you’re going digital, isn’t there an easy way to capture all that candidate information and sort it to find your best new hires?

Benefits of Online Job Application Forms

Considering how complex creating an online job application seems to be, it’s understandable if you’re still handing applicants a paper form. But you’re missing out on great new hires if you don’t give job seekers a chance to apply online.

According to Pew Research, 77 percent of Americans own a computer. And 85 percent own a smartphone. Digital access means a majority of job seekers go online to find their next job. Online resources outpace other, more traditional ways to look for work, including personal or professional networks, job fairs and employments agencies.

You risk losing out if you require job seekers to open their email application, paste an email address, and attach their resume. The best candidates won’t bother hopping in their cars to drive to your location to fill out a paper form, either. Including an easy-to-complete online job application within your job ad will help you hook the right talent before they click over to your competitor’s job ad.

You’ll see the most benefits from your online job application form if it’s mobile-friendly. Pew Research also says that more than half of young adults use a smartphone during a job search. Overall, 41 percent of smartphone users have used their smartphone during a job search. Smartphone owners are even using their mobile devices for complex tasks. Half have used their smartphone to fill out a job application. These smartphone-wielding job seekers will pass over your job ad if you don’t create a mobile-friendly job application.

Job seekers prefer online job applications for obvious reasons. They don’t have to travel to your location to fill out a paper application. Applicants can take their time answering the questions on your online job application. And if your careers site is mobile-friendly, they can fill out the application almost anywhere. Workers who have multiple jobs or children can fill out applications more easily online than in person.

Simple Employment Application Form

Now that you’re convinced of the benefits of an online job application, how do you go about putting one together? A simple job application form format is your best strategy to get more job candidates. The online job application you create should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and should include fewer than 20 questions. Your online job application should be easy to find within your job ad with a link that says “apply online now.”

Just like with your paper application, you should examine your simple job application form for potential legal liabilities. Education requirements that go beyond the knowledge necessary for the job or questions about criminal history may make you vulnerable to discrimination claims.

Your online job application must be mobile-friendly to attract young people or candidates without computers. You can create a mobile-friendly online job application by including drop-down menus or check boxes where possible. To create a truly mobile-friendly form, you’ll need to understand tech-savvy issues such as responsive design and programming.

Simplicity isn’t just for your job applicants. An online job application should be easy to create and should make your hiring process easier. That inexpensive solution may be prohibitive if your team struggles for hours to understand it. Or a blank job application form in a Word document may not be all that convenient if you’re printing it and throwing in a stack just like your old-fashioned paper applications.

Online Employment Application Software

You’ll reap the most benefits when you choose the right online employment application software. Look for these benefits and capabilities.

  • Flexibility. Your company is exceptional, and you’re looking for a standout new hire. Run-of-the-mill application questions won’t cut it. You want the ability to create custom questions to find candidates that fulfill your unique needs.
  • Mobile-friendly. You’re missing out on a major benefit of a paperless job application if it isn’t mobile-friendly. A free online job application form may seem attractive until you try to complete it on your smartphone. Remember, a third of applicants—and half of young adults—will pass over your online application if it isn’t mobile-friendly.
  • Data-capture. What’s the point of going digital if you’re printing applications and sorting them by hand? When you capture applicant data and store it digitally, you’ll be able to sort applicants and find the people with the skills you need.

This final point is key, and the benefits of data-capture don’t stop there. Over time, you can build a talent pool to draw upon for future open positions. When it comes time to file compliance reports, a few clicks of your mouse will gather the required data. Pairing your online application with applicant tracking software will also help you hone your application process. You’ll know which sites net the best applicants and which online application questions most effectively narrow the field.

 

 

Applicant Tracking System or Online Application?

An online job application will improve the applicant experience and increase the number of applicants you receive. But without an applicant tracking system (ATS), you risk wasting time thumbing through applications or overlooking quality candidates altogether. When you use an ATS , you’ll easily be able to create an online job application and much more.

Create multiple applications with an ATS. Some positions only require a one-step application, while other positions should have multi-step applications. You can even create an internal application for current employees.

Work within an intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Our applicant tracking system allows you to choose from a library of application questions or create your own. You can also choose the best format for the answers, such as text box or multiple choice.

Direct applicants to a branded careers site. Don’t require your applicants to download a job application form or a Word document. Instead, improve your applicant’s perception of your brand with a careers site in which they can fill out your online job application.

Make it easy for smartphone users to find and apply to jobs. Chances are, at least a few of your positions are generally filled with a demographic that primarily uses their smartphone. ExactHire’s online job application is always mobile friendly, without any of the compatibility problems you’ll find with free online employment application software.

Easily sort candidates. With your current paper system, are you able to know at a glance why a candidate wasn’t hired? Using an applicant tracking system, you can create a list of applicant codes. Using these codes, you can always know what prompted a candidate’s advancement to the next step in the hiring process. And you’ll always know the reasons candidates were disqualified.

Final Thoughts on Creating an Online Job Application

Up until now, you probably considered digital job applications a costly addition fit for larger companies. But the current worker shortage has probably shown you that neglecting online job seekers is far more expensive. Don’t waste your valuable time trying to figure out complicated free online employment application software. Instead, let ExactHire create a customized, scaled solution for your hiring needs.

 

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

 

 

What Is Programmatic Job Advertising?

Have you ever wished your recruitment advertisement strategy could target your ideal job candidate with as much precision as Instagram when it showed you that goat-shaming Farmers Insurance ad? After all, if the internet can know you go ga-ga over baby goats and you’re insuring two teenage drivers, then why can’t it deliver your job ad to experienced IT candidates in the local area who know SQL?

The targeted ads you’ve been noticing—the ones that seem tailored-made for you—are the result of a thing called programmatic advertising. These nifty algorithms are traditionally the domain of tech giants and commercial marketers. But in recent years, the recruitment industry has been taking notice. Hundreds of job boards, along with crappy candidates crowding out the champions, leave recruiters wondering if there’s a better way.

There is, and the better way is called programmatic job advertising.

Programmatic job advertising brings targeted ads to job seekers. Using programmatic job postings, companies can create job advertising campaigns that zero in on the best candidates, wherever they may be on the internet. Job ads appear on the right site, at the right time, just when the right candidate will see it. But programmatic job advertising does so much more.

Programmatic Advertising

Advertising on the Internet is nothing new. We all remember the flashy banner ads on Myspace. What is new is programmatic advertising that uses big data, machine learning, and predictive analytics to target the right audience.

When your grandfather told you “Nothing in life is free,” he might as well have been talking about all those free apps on your devices. It’s no secret that everything we do digitally is stored in a cybernated profile. Programmatic advertising uses this information, collectively known as “big data,” to target consumers.

Don Draper and the rest of the “Mad Men” only had standard demographics to work with when creating audience profiles. Big data adds hundreds of input fields to create a complete analysis of an ad’s intended audience.

All those factoids are too much for humans to interpret and act upon. Enter machine learning. Software can analyze the data and match ads with users most likely to convert. The software will always make the best choices using algorithms that analyze all that big data.

The ad’s performance metrics are fed back into the algorithm. When this performance data is factored into the big data, the software can make better matches in the future. Predictive analytics is what happens when machine learning produces increasingly better results.

But the software doesn’t stop there. Programmatic advertising completely automates the purchasing and managing of advertising space. Programmatic advertising software can find sites and purchase or bid on space within a spending budget set by the user. Humans can always step in and make adjustments. Programmatic advertising platforms take the grunt work out of marketing campaigns while making them more efficient and effective.

Programmatic advertising is why you see an ad from REI for a mirrored sighting compass after you purchase “A Walk in the Woods” from Amazon.

Recruitment Advertisement

Despite the advantages of programmatic job advertisement, most companies still use traditional recruitment strategies to place job ads.

Traditional recruitment advertisement operates a lot like those old Myspace ads. Recruiters hand-select the job boards to which they wanted to post. They log into each one individually, then purchase space and upload their ad. They cross their fingers and wait.

Traditional recruitment advertisement doesn’t have the advantage of big data. Recruiters can’t know which job board has the most forklift operators or which ones have the most active users in their area. Traditional recruitment advertisements are basically a crap shoot in which recruiters hope they’re posting to the right jobs site at the right time.

Aptitude Research, a Boston-based advisory firm, estimates recruiters waste 40 percent of their advertising budget with traditional job advertising. According to Aptitude’s founder, Madeline Laurano, “Traditional job advertising is expensive, inefficient and, at times, ineffective.”

Applicant tracking software can help improve the efficiency of job advertising with one-click posting and single screen analytics. Recruiters who use an ATS can increase job seeker conversion with a branded careers site and a multi-step application. ATS can also streamline other recruitment-related tasks such as HR compliance reporting.

Pairing applicant tracking software with compatible programmatic job advertising software can help companies zero in on the best candidates, wherever they may be. The result is a recruitment juggernaut that finds and converts the best candidates, then streamlines and optimizes every step of the selection process.

Programmatic Job Advertising in Recruitment

Programmatic job advertising by definition will help you reach the right candidates, wherever they may be. With the help of programmatic job advertising platforms, your job ads will appear on the job boards where your ideal candidates are hanging out. Glassdoor and Monster cater to different types of job seekers. Your job ad will appear on the best choice, whether you are looking for an operations manager or a forklift operator. Your best job candidates aren’t spending all their time on job boards. Programmatic job advertising software will place your ads on sites you may not have considered.

HGS, a business process management company, pivoted to mostly programmatic job advertising from traditional job advertising in response to the pandemic. To keep their workforce safe and healthy, HGS closed their call center doors. Their newly remote workforce meant that HGS could recruit from almost anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, rather than the few physical locations they previously operated. Casting a wider net in a larger talent pool meant their job advertising costs ballooned. Programmatic job advertising helped reign those costs in while improving time-to-hire.

According to Trish Robb, the General Manager of North American Recruitment and Talent Management at HGS, “With some of the time that we’ve gained back, our team has been able to focus on other recruitment marketing strategies, like engaging with talent through our social media channels, creating virtual job previews, responding to employee reviews and improving our reputation as an employer.”

Affordable Programmatic Job Posting

In the aftermath of the pandemic and the current labor shortage, HR teams are looking to programmatic job advertising to save money and find great candidates. According to Aptitude’s research, companies that use programmatic job advertising improve their time-to-hire as well as the quality of their new hire. Filling open positions quickly with top talent is the first step to improving employee retention.

With hundreds of job boards available, both you and your advertising budget can get overwhelmed. Programmatic job advertising software will help you effectively branch out to the most effective niche sites without wasting money on ineffective job boards. The algorithms written into programmatic job advertising software will use real-time data to adjust the software’s recruitment strategy.

When you use programmatic job advertising in recruitment, you can rely on predictive analytics and algorithms to make the most efficient use of your recruitment budget. You can avoid wasting money purchasing paid advertising on sites or for open positions that perform well through less expensive posting options. Programmatic recruitment marketing platforms will identify the open positions that aren’t receiving enough applicants. The programmatic job posting software will then your recruitment spending into those positions by purchasing ads on the optimal sites.

Final Thoughts About Programmatic Job Advertising

Whether you’re hiring hundreds of high-turnover positions each year or searching for a unicorn with mad JavaScript skills, you can use programmatic job advertising to reduce your costs and free up your time for other recruitment activities.

After all, posting job ads are just one part of a comprehensive recruitment strategy. Rather than spending your time analyzing your recruitment ROI across dozens of job sites, let programmatic job advertising software send your job ads to platforms where your best candidates are hanging out. You can focus on boosting your employer brand and selecting the best new hire.

Are you ready to dive deeper into the cost-saving possibilities of programmatic job advertising? Contact our solutions team for a personalized demonstration.

 

Photo by Ricardo Arce on Unsplash

How to Make a Tough Hiring Decision

There’s a lot riding on your hiring decisions. Studies show, when companies make good hiring decisions, employee turnover goes down and productivity and profits go up. The reverse is true when hiring decisions go wrong. Employee retention and morale go down, customer service suffers and companies struggle to maintain a competitive advantage. Whether an employee leaves voluntarily or is terminated, filling the empty chair costs thousands.

It’s easy to see why the future of an organization depends on making great hiring decisions.

But so much of the hiring process seems subjective. Assessing education and work experience is the easy part. Hiring managers face difficult decisions when assessing for personality, culture fit, and soft skills. Abstract qualities such as these are difficult to quantify. Hiring teams that rely on intuition to assess these abstract qualities may find themselves making decisions based on personal biases.

When considering how to make a tough hiring decision, develop a data-driven hiring process that artfully mixes objectivity with sound intuitive judgement to choose the best candidate.

Making Great Hiring Decisions

The pressure is on to make great hiring decisions. Creating strong teams and reducing employee turnover are effective ways to reduce costs and increase profits. Great hiring decisions rely on three important factors.

  • The first of these factors is the quality of the data you gather. When applications and resumes come in, you should have an effective way to analyze and sort the information they contain. Recruiters often find the internet brings mixed blessings in their search for top candidates. The internet is an effective way to increase the radius of your search. But oftentimes, recruiters are faced with too many unqualified applicants. Stellar candidates can easily get lost in the mix. Use applicant tracking software to help you organize and sort the responses that your job ad garners.
  • The second important factor for great hiring decisions is an objective set of criteria against which to measure all the candidates. For this, you’ll need an updated job description. Resist the urge to just go with what you had when you were hiring the position three years ago. Supervisors and team member can help you make sure the job description accurately represents the role. From there, develop a list of necessary qualifications. Don’t let your anxiety over hiring the wrong candidate get the better of you. Don’t require a college degree for entry level positions unless it’s absolutely necessary. Personality traits like motivation and loyalty may be more important than oodles of work experience.
  • Your emotions will likely influence your final hiring decision. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That’s why sound intuitive judgement is our third factor for great hiring decisions. At some point, you’re going to have to “trust your gut.” But you’ll find your gut is trustworthy when you learn how to make emotionally intelligent decisions.

 

Distribute Hiring Authority

You can make the best data-driven, objective, and intuitively sound decisions when you rely on a hiring team. Avoid “group think” by including a diverse group of people from throughout the company. A variety of personalities with various roles and stakes in the organization can provide the well-rounded perspective you need to make great hiring decisions.

You’ll want to include the new hire’s supervisor and perhaps even a team member. These individuals are in the best position to assess the unique qualities required for this role. They’re also in the best position to assess how a candidate’s personality will mesh with existing team members. But be careful not to enable a toxic work environment if there’s conflict among members of the current team. In that case, look for a new hire with the positive attributes that will make the team stronger and address existing conflict separately.

The most successful companies are the ones with a strong, unifying vision. For this reason, you need someone on your hiring team with deep knowledge about the company’s culture, its goals, and values. This person can help you make sure the new hire’s values align with the company’s mission.

Finally, you’ll need someone unassociated with the department in which the new hire will be working. Departmental heads can sometimes be blind to the weaknesses within their own teams. An outsider can appreciate the strengths an introvert may bring to a team of extroverted members.

Consider Amazon’s Bar Raiser Program. Amazon proactively identifies star performers within their organization and then trains them to be skilled interviewers with a focus on hiring candidate’s who demonstrate 14 Leadership Principles. The program helps ensure objectivity during the hiring process and influences behavior centered around the company’s values.

Choosing Between Two Quality Candidates

If you find that you’re repeatedly forced to choose between two equally qualified candidates, it may be time to reexamine your hiring process. Ask the following questions to better describe how your hiring manager should decide to hire the best applicant.

  • Are you collecting enough data about candidates during the application process?
  • Are you quantifying the soft skills and personality traits required for the job?
  • Have you created an assessment against which to rate candidates?

No matter how well thought out your hiring process, from time to time you will be lucky enough to find yourself with two stellar applicants. The hiring process is no time to draw straws. So how do you choose between the two?

If you haven’t called all of their references, pick up the phone. You may get information that will sway your decision. Consider administering assessments to test for the personality traits that will make your new hire successful. If there is still no clear winner, don’t jump to consulting your gut instinct just yet. Develop some tie-breaker interview questions first.

Interview Questions for Every Stage

 

Tie-Breaker Interview Questions

Tie-breaker interview questions uncover hidden, but important, personality traits. The right list of questions can help you develop a personality profile for the candidate that gets underneath the mask they put on when they wear their best interview suit. You can gauge an applicant’s maturity level and emotional intelligence. You can find out what motivates them, whether they possess self-confidence, and whether they’re committed to personal growth. Tie-breaker questions are unexpected and, being unrehearsed, will give you the greatest insight into your applicant.

Examples of open-ended tie-breaker questions include:

  • Why are you interested in working for our company?
  • What are your short and long-term goals? Where do you want to be in two and in ten years?
  • What do you like best about your current job? Why do you want to leave it?

If there still isn’t a clear, logical choice, don’t be dismissive of your intuitive powers. Your marketing team will be quick to tell you most of our decisions are emotional. No matter how rational you fancy yourself to be, many of your choices are rooted in your emotions.

And using your intuition to make decisions isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Studies show your mind processes far more information than you can juggle in your logical, working memory. The conclusions your super-processing brain make come through as emotions. A decision feels right or it feels bad.

Make sure hiring decisions are rooted in healthy emotions. If the new hire’s department is known to be toxic, you may hire someone you think is tough enough to handle the negativity. In reality, you’re probably hiring a person who will contribute to the negative atmosphere. The better, and more difficult, solution, is to hire people with desirable traits while separately dealing with undesirable behaviors that have already taken root.

Final Decision on Hiring

You can avoid needing to make a tough, last-minute hiring decision if you develop effective strategies to determine how the final hiring decision is made.

Start with applicant tracking software that can scan resumes and pull the most qualified candidates for you to review first. Count on a diverse hiring team to provide different, yet valuable, perspectives. Recruit a specially trained person to assist with recruitment decision making who prioritizes the company’s culture and is also unaffiliated with the position’s department.

Incorporating tie-breaker questions throughout your entire application process can help you uncover each applicant’s true personality. When you’re still faced with a tough hiring choice, an intuitive judgement call from an emotionally healthy place can be your best tool for making a final employment decision.

Assign one person who will make the final hiring decision in the selection process if you find your team can’t agree on the best candidate. Remember one of Amazon’s Leadership Principles: a bias for action. As important as the hiring decision and selection process are, there are other equally important factors that can lower employee turnover and develop your team’s potential. Effective onboarding and training programs are useful tools that can help an average new hire become great.

Are you interested in developing better interview questions? Download our guide that shares best questions and advice from over 70 hiring experts.

 

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

 

 

How to Write a Job Description

Indeed.com, just one of many jobs sites, is home to more than 16 million job postings. How can yours stand out? How can you avoid underqualified applicants? Most importantly, how can you persuade the best candidates to apply to your company?

The answers to all of these questions begin with your job description. That small post of just a few hundred words has to do some heavy lifting. Your job description must be optimized for search algorithms. It must be clear and honest to help candidates self-qualify. Your job ad has to subtly communicate the awesomeness of your company to a small pool of coveted, well-qualified candidates.

Your job description must accomplish all these goals for one purpose: to convert only the best job seekers into a manageable pool of applicants. How can you write a job description packed with that much power?

Job Description Writing Guide

When thinking about how to write a job description, there are two things to keep in mind. First, you’re writing for the search engines. Second, you’re writing for the job candidates. Each of these “audiences” requires a different approach.

Search engine writing elevates your ad near the top of search results where applicants can find it. Writing your job description with keywords will guide algorithms to your ad. Keywords should appear in your job title and the description, especially the first paragraph. The meta title and meta description should also include keywords.

Keywords will get your ad in front of the applicant. But only clear and compelling writing will persuade readers to complete the application. When asking yourself how do you write a good job description, start by identifying your ideal candidate. Then create a job ad that appeals to that person.

Sometimes, a boss will ask employees to write their own job descriptions. Ideally, several stakeholders should be involved in crafting job ads. HR professionals should seek input from the supervisor overseeing the new hire and also the position’s co-workers. A marketing professional or content writer can craft a job description that is both SEO optimized and compelling for applicants.

 

Mobile Recruiting Guide

Best practices for Writing Job Descriptions

The best practices for writing job descriptions seamlessly weave SEO writing with persuasive writing. If you’re learning how to write your own job description, start by crafting a job description that clearly identifies the role. This description becomes the blueprint to which you add keywords. Finally, you’ll rework your description to persuade job seekers to apply.

What do you write in a job description? Things like the job title, pay range and shift should appear at the top. Next, include a brief summary of your company. Follow this by a summary of how the job fits into the goals of the company. You’ll want to include the most important or time-consuming duties and responsibilities for the position. Identify the minimum qualifications. Finally, identify unique requirements for the job, such as heavy lifting or repetitive hand motions.

Identify what words job seekers are using to find your position. These become your keywords. Use both general and specific terms. The first paragraph of your job description should contain all of your keywords.

Perhaps you’re writing a job ad for what your company calls a project manager. But many industries employ project managers. Someone searching for a position as an IT project manager would not be a good fit for a litigation support project manager. If your job description is for an industry-specific position, then include that information as a keyword.

Include keywords that specify required skillsets. “Java-Script Computer Programmer” or “B2B Content Creator” act as longtail keywords. They are more likely to appear at the top of results for applicants searching these terms. Being specific with your job titles will also help applicants self-qualify.

A Good Job Description Template with Job Responsibilities

When wondering how do you write an effective job description, consider your ideal candidate. What does this person want? For example, perhaps you want someone who works well with a team. This person wants to feel like a valued team member. Perhaps you want someone who can work independently. This person wants to feel trusted and empowered.

Notice that you’re writing to appeal to your ideal candidate’s emotions. In this way, writing your job description is much like writing content for customers. You want your candidates to feel good about applying to your company in the same way you make customers feel good about purchasing.

The best practice for writing the duties and responsibilities section of a job description will tap into a candidate’s desire to support a larger cause. Any job duties list can be written to tap into the applicant’s desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves. If you already track employees’ roles and responsibilities in an Excel or Word template, you can rewrite them from this purpose-centered perspective.

A job seeker’s decision to apply to your company is largely an emotional decision. In this way, applicant conversion is similar to customer conversion. However, you’re only hiring a few select applicants. Effective job descriptions will increase the number of preferable applicants while discouraging undesirable or unqualified applicants.

You can do this by highlighting the emotional benefits that the company values. For example, perhaps your open sales position requires travel. Enticing someone who “wants to see the world” may not attract the type of candidates you want. But you’ll appeal to more desirable applicants if you highlight the opportunity to “work with some of the most innovative and culturally diverse software clients in the world.”

Good Job Description Examples

Rework the key components of a job description to highlight the benefits applicants may enjoy.  The best job descriptions for 2021 will highlight benefits in relation to a purpose-orientated mindset.

Good job description examples of the duties and responsibilities for a receptionist may include answering the phone. A compelling description may be, “Be the friendly first point-of-contact for Esperion Therapeutics. Ensure a great customer experience by correctly determining callers’ needs and identifying the person or department best suited to meet those needs.”

Perhaps you’re wondering how to develop a job description for a service technician who will travel to repair equipment for clients. A persuasive job description may read, “Use your mechanical know-how to ensure a consistent customer experience. Keep client productions running smoothly when you travel to client locations nation-wide to diagnose and repair equipment or perform maintenance.”

What Job Descriptions Should Not Include

Now you know your job ad needs keywords and compelling writing. But what should not be included in a job description?

Overwrought Job Titles. Don’t include words like rock star, ninja, connoisseur, or anything similar in your job titles. Rather than creative, these words seem dated and desperate. Candidates aren’t using these terms to search anyway.

Unrealistic Qualifications. Ask yourself if you really need a branch manager with a Master’s degree. Or a receptionist who speaks Spanish. Or an assistant who can write Excel macros. Some qualifications aren’t as important as you may think.

Too Much Positivity. You also want to realistically assess the job. Is there something about the position that may be a deal breaker for some people? If the job requires overtime or working weekends or excessive travel, then clearly say so in the description.

Jargon and Abbreviations. Your words should be clear to a general audience and spelled out completely for search engines. Don’t use terms that only people in your industry or company would understand. Don’t use abbreviations.

Complete List of a Role’s Tasks. Your job description should not be an exhaustive list of the position’s duties. For legal purposes and to avoid wrongful termination suits, include phrasing that allows supervisors to expand responsibilities for the role.

Final Thoughts

Recruiters need to do more to attract top talent. With more than half of job seekers going to online job boards, the work of getting noticed by quality applicants begins with your job description. This small block of text must appeal to algorithms as well your ideal candidates.

But what happens when your amazing job description spurs a candidate to apply? The best job descriptions will fizzle if they end with email instructions. You can keep the momentum going when your job ad directs clients to a branded careers site where they can learn more about your company. You can sort and manage the data from the influx of awesome candidates when your branded careers site feeds into an applicant tracking system.

Do you want to know more about how to connect with job seekers online? Download our free guide, Connecting with Job Seekers in the Digital Age.

 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

How Much Does Onboarding Software Cost?

Companies may be breathing a collective sigh of relief now that the vaccines have arrived. The end of the pandemic is in sight. Economic recovery can begin.

Not so fast.

Have you thought about what the pandemic’s end means for your employees? A new survey says one in four of them will be quitting your company. Eagle Hill Consulting released a survey that indicates 25 percent of employees are planning to leave their jobs once the pandemic is over. The number climbs to 33 percent for Millennials and parents with children who are remote learning.

People will be leaving their jobs for a variety of reasons. But their departures will mean one thing for your company: rising employee turnover. Low employee retention can cost your organization thousands. As you prepare for future recruiting, you can also incorporate strategies to reduce employee turnover.

Effective onboarding increases employee retention by 82 percent.

You can prepare now for the new hires in your future. And by doing so, you can improve what may be the most important ingredient for creating high employee retention: your onboarding process. Effective onboarding increases employee retention by 82 percent. Onboarding software can further reduce your costs while improving your new employees’ experience.

Estimating the Price of Employee Onboarding Software

Before you can know the true cost of anything, you have to know the price you’re paying for not having it. You can’t calculate the ROI of best employee onboarding software until you know what your current onboarding process is costing you.

First, there’s the hours spent onboarding new hires. Someone in your organization is printing off those new hire forms and putting together the new employee packets. Your new hire is spending time completing the forms and handwriting the same information multiple times. Then the documents make their way to someone who inputs the information into a variety of software, databases, and spreadsheets.

Then there’s the not-so-straightforward hours spent onboarding employees. Someone is charged with chasing down forms when they’re not completed on time. That same person searches for forms that long-term employees completed on their first day. Has a sales person ever left your company for a competitor and there was nothing you could do about it because the non-compete form he signed a decade ago was MIA?

Next, consider the obscure number of hours spent training the new employee. These numbers are difficult to estimate if you’re not using employee onboarding software. Chances are, employees are stepping in to help when they can. Without onboarding software to outline a training plan, your new hire’s introduction to your company is an ad hoc assortment of good intentions and tedious forms.

Now you’re probably wondering, what does employee onboarding software do to improve the onboarding process? Software will streamline your onboarding process, saving both time and money. You’ll improve your new hire’s experience, increasing employee retention. Over time, you’ll collect data which can be used to further improve your onboarding process. You’ll find the cost savings and benefits make onboarding software essential to an effective and affordable employee onboarding process.

Factors that Affect the Price of Software

The price you pay for your new software will depend, in part, on how many employees you typically hire per year. As you consider what features you need from your employee onboarding software, also consider the current cost to onboard new hires at your organization.

New Hire Onboarding Packet: Your employee onboarding forms can be digitized for efficiency and to reduce errors. The information entered into electronic I-9 and W-4 forms can seamlessly integrate with your payroll software. Onboarding software also includes E-Verify integration, and electronic signatures are legally binding.

Company Policy Manual: Are you sure your new employees actually read your workplace and sexual harassment policies? You can integrate all of your new hire’s training into the onboarding software with training modules. These modules will educate your new hire on your company policies and ensure they have the necessary knowledge with short quizzes.

Assign Tasks with Email Reminders: With software, you can create a customized workflow for the onboarding process with tasks. You can assign each task to a stakeholder. This person will then receive email reminders to mark the task as complete within the software. Everyone will know their roles. You’ll always know where the onboarding process stands.

These are just some of the affordable onboarding software features to consider when you calculate the ROI of onboarding software. Onboarding software will also assist with various federal compliance tasks, such as reporting and security measures that keep information confidential.

Choosing the Right Onboarding Software for Small Businesses

When you decide to buy employee onboarding software, you may find companies that sell onboarding solutions cater to large organizations. Not only are these providers more expensive, they may not offer the level of HR support as a provider catering to small and mid-sized businesses.

Look for a provider that offers customer support for onboarding software tailored to SMB. A support team that is SHRM-certified will give you the detailed HR support small and mid-sized businesses need. And a realistic timeline expectation–or even a guarantee–for software implementation, along with a money-back guarantee, mean less risk for SMBs.

When considering how to choose employee onboarding software, look for E-Verify integration and comprehensive support features. In addition to HR-related support, you’ll want in-house technical support staff. And of course, software that is cloud-based means you won’t need to invest in IT infrastructure.

Get a Price Estimate for Employee Onboarding Software

Before you get a price estimate for employee onboarding software, make sure you find a provider that can handle your unique employee onboarding process needs. As an SMB, you’ll need unlimited onboarding software customer support at no extra cost. Many so-called top HR software vendors target large corporations and may not provide unlimited, personalized support.

Also consider how your employee onboarding software will integrate with your other HR systems. “Best of breed” onboarding software can readily accommodate payroll and other HR software systems. By creating a seamless digital onboarding experience, you save time, reduce errors and improve your employees’ experience.

Regardless of your timeline for HR software implementation, make sure your provider won’t tack on additional hidden charges. Look for a pricing structure that is straightforward, where you won’t need to pay extra for support or implementation. And finally, ask if you can try onboarding software risk-free for a couple months.  With guaranteed support, a risk free trial period, and a solid set of onboarding features, you’ll be ready to decide whether the cost of employee onboarding software is worth it.

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How Do I Write An Employee Application?

The digital age has transformed recruiting. From a branded careers site where applicants can search and apply for jobs to quick-as-a-click reporting that lets you see what works and what doesn’t, data-driven recruiting beats the old paper-pushing days of yore. But don’t toss your job application form in the recycling box just yet.

Far from being obsolete, the reliable questionnaire is still a heavy hitter in your recruitment toolbox. But if job seekers still need a pen to apply to your company, it’s time to write your employee application form for the Web.

The Basic Job Application Form

A simple job application form performs a straightforward role in your hiring process: gather enough relevant information to determine if the applicant should move forward in the next step of the recruitment process. A Web-based application form achieves this crucial task far more efficiently than a paper application as well as a number of other functions.

An online employment application form will transfer candidate information into an applicant tracking system (ATS). Capturing data through the application means your hiring team will spend less time typing and later correcting errors. It also means you can find and sort candidates easily using a search box. Later, you can file your EEOC reporting with just a few clicks rather than thumbing through file folders and creating a lengthy Excel spreadsheet.

An online employee application form is also more convenient for your applicants. When they find your job ad online, they can click over to your careers website and immediately fill out an application. You’ll benefit from a larger talent pool when your application process is user-friendly.

An applicant tracking system will allow you to create an online application form that can be customized for unique positions throughout your company. You’ll be able to ask applicants questions that are specific to their desired role or the location where they’ll work. If you simply make a PDF job application form from your current paper version, you won’t be able to tailor your questions to the applicant or sort through the resulting data.

 

Mobile Recruiting Guide

An Effective Job Application Form

A web-based employee application form is more effective than a paper, or even a downloadable PDF, version. Pairing your online job application form with an applicant tracking system will help you search through numerous applications to find the best candidate more quickly. But how can you write an employee application form in a way that encourages the best job seekers to complete it?

Consider the candidate experience during the application process. A slow or frustrating recruiting process can be a turn off for quality applicants who understand their worth. Take your application for a test run to experience your recruiting process from the candidate’s perspective.

A short, simple application form is almost always preferable to a long series of questions. Aim for an application that takes about 15 minutes to complete and has fewer than 20 questions. If you find that you need more information to narrow your choices, invite qualified candidates to complete a second, short employee application form.

Every iteration of your employment application template should be reviewed for potential legal issues. Not only will new legislation affect the legality of your employee application form, but so will recent case law. For instance, questions about education aren’t illegal, but a recent discrimination case may have been successful if the application unintentionally excluded a protected group.

Job Application Formatting Tips

Candidates are more likely to complete your questionnaire when you stick to a simple job application form format. The web page should tell the applicant at the beginning how long the application process will take. Use check boxes and drop down menus for questions with yes/no or predictable answers. If your employee application form has more than one page, include a page counter that lets the candidate know how many pages are left.

A job application formatted for mobile use will simplify the process for most of your candidates. Hourly workers, especially, are more likely to rely on their smartphones. But, professions with the lowest mobile job search rates—math and computer jobs—still see nearly half of candidates using smartphones to find their next job. Creating a simple job application form in a mobile-friendly format will increase the number of applications you receive from these candidates.

Creating even a simple job application form formatted for mobile use is a daunting task for IT departments in many small to medium-sized businesses. Fortunately, the best applicant tracking systems can take care of the numerous coding and capability issues that arise when creating an application for both Android and iOS. Applicant tracking software can offer a mobile-friendly employee application form that works with the most popular job boards and social media sites.

Drawbacks of Employment Application Form PDF

Quality candidates will skip your job application form if they need a pen to fill it out. Even if your employment application form is online, candidates will drop off if it’s too long or not mobile-friendly. But when you create an online employment application that’s easy to complete while still capturing the important information you need, you’ll benefit from an improved application to hire ratio.

Perhaps you thought a mobile-friendly, online employment application was out of reach for your business. In fact, an ATS that caters to your company’s unique needs will create your online employment application and give you the tools you need to mine the data for your best candidates. With your application form online, your business will be able to compete for the best talent.

If you’re thinking about ditching the pens and setting up an online employee application form, give us a call. We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you figure out if an online job application is right for you.

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What Are the Most Important Onboarding Forms?

If you’re paying closer attention to your onboarding process, congratulations. You’re one of the few employers that recognizes that turnover is costly and mostly preventable. An effective onboarding process—complete with the most important onboarding forms—is the first step to creating productive, long-term employees.

Employee separations are costly to a company’s bottom line. Work Institute estimates that the cost of an exiting employee is 33 percent of his annual salary. Turnover costs increase if an employee leaves before his first anniversary. Most employee separations are spurred by employees voluntarily quitting their jobs. For example, in January 2020, 62 percent of separations were voluntary quits. In 2016, voluntary separations cost U.S. employers $536 billion. The “productivity costs” can be even greater. Companies with high turnover simply don’t perform as well as companies that are able to retain their employees.

If your company wasn’t fiscally austere before, the pandemic likely created an urgency to reduce costs. Now that 2021 is underway, you’re probably considering the high cost of turnover and looking into ways to reduce it.

A comprehensive onboarding plan is the best way to start building a team of long-term employees. But as you ramp up your onboarding efforts, how do you organize all the pieces? Specifically, can modernizing your onboarding process help you keep track of the most important onboarding forms?

 

Download ExactHire's Employee Onboarding Checklist

Employee Onboarding

A good onboarding meaning is this: the process by which you introduce the new hire to the company and his role. But don’t be deceived by the simplicity of this onboarding process meaning. When planned well, your new employee’s initiation helps your company in countless ways. Those who quit before the first year likely do so because they’re unhappy with the job’s characteristics. Effective onboarding continues well beyond the first week and ensures your new hire gets support to meet the expectations of his position.

Onboarding paperwork is a crucial piece of your employee’s inauguration into your company. The data you collect will make its way into the employee’s personnel file. This information will inform everything from your employee’s direct deposit to her tax withholdings. Onboarding forms, like all employee-related files, will protect you in the event of litigation or audits. Your employee’s documentation must be correct and organized from the first day.

You put yourself at risk if you aren’t storing your onboarding forms and other employee documentation electronically. Your new hire may accidentally leave a form incomplete. Messy handwriting may increase data entry errors. Worst of all, you may find yourself on a scavenger hunt when you need the forms in the future. If key people leave the company, they make take the secrets of their ad hoc filing system with them.

Filing your forms electronically with onboarding software solves these problems. The software will alert the employee if she left any fields empty. You won’t need to decipher messy handwriting. You can ditch the data entry too. The data your new hire enters will transfer to your HR and payroll systems. And you can save the scavenger hunts for team building exercises. Your employee’s information is safe, secure, and accessible to only those who are authorized.

Employee Onboarding Process

A comprehensive onboarding process increases the return on your recruitment dollars. Your new hire will become productive more quickly. He will feel supported, without the frustration that commonly leads to high turnover in that crucial first year.

Onboarding is your chance to help your new employee become engaged in his new role. Her perception of your company begins with her first interaction and develops during that first year. Finally, onboarding is an opportunity to prevent cultural problems common in business: infighting, toxicity, and other problem behaviors that undermine the organization.

You’re probably considering what are the phases of onboarding. Remember, if your new hire leaves she will most likely leave before her first anniversary. Plan on continuing your new hire’s onboarding phase until at least the end of that first year. You can create an onboarding checklist to keep the process on track.

When considering what is the onboarding process for a new employee, think about the goals surrounding the position. Refer to the job description to create a timeline. Set the dates by which you expect the employee to be able to work independently on important tasks. Then, create a training plan to support the employee in learning her position’s responsibilities. Information about the new hire’s training plan can be organized and kept electronically with the rest of her onboarding forms.

If you use onboarding software, you can start with a training module introducing the employee handbook. The module can walk the new employee through the handbook and, when completed, she can electronically sign it. Onboarding software can present the next training module upon completion of the first to prevent overwhelm. You can set deadlines for completion of the modules that supports the overall training plan. If your new hire falls behind, onboarding software will send her reminders.

Onboarding Process Documents

Documents related to the onboarding process have far-reaching significance. These documents go beyond those required by state and federal governments. Your new hire’s onboarding forms shield you from liability. Items such as signed receipts for the employee handbook and harassment policies can be organized using onboarding software. Onboarding software ensures all the forms are completed and remain accessible for authorized staff.

Paperwork such as the I-9 and W-4 are obvious choices to put into digital form. But don’t forget about other onboarding documents. Non-disclosure and non-compete agreements are essential documents that should be digitized for safe-keeping. A completed application form contains verifiable information and the employee’s signature that the information contained is true.

There’s no need to use printed forms if you implement onboarding software. Electronic signatures are legally binding—as long as you follow the rules. Onboarding software will ask employees if they consent to electronic signatures. Employees will also be required to enter a password before signing a form. The consent and password will ensure your digital forms are legally signed and stored securely. Just as importantly, you always have the digital forms available even if key stakeholders move on to other positions.

Storing your onboarding documents electronically will help you adhere to the requirements surrounding these forms. For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires you to hold onto several onboarding forms for terminated employees. Onboarding software will ensure that items, such as drug tests and accompanying results, are stored in compliance with these regulations.

Electronic forms also help you adhere to guidelines requiring you to control access to certain forms. EEO-1 forms identifying employees’ race and ethnicity have more stringent security controls than other, less sensitive data. Onboarding software with multiple security levels is the best way to keep sensitive documents secure.

Free Onboarding Checklist

Are you ready to reap all the benefits of a well-organized onboarding process? We created a free onboarding template to get you started. Our checklist helps you organize your onboarding process. We divide onboarding into four phases with associated tasks and onboarding forms for each phase.

Our checklist is further divided into categories, so you know exactly how each task and document fits into your larger onboarding process. Tactical tasks take the chaos out of compliance. These administrative details help ensure that you’re ready for audits and EEOC reporting.

Our strategic and cultural tasks are designed to help you improve on key performance measures. These are the tasks that will improve your company’s employee retention rate and your new hires’ time-to-productivity. Cultural tasks are activities that boost employee engagement and foster support to help new hires make it to their first anniversary.

Onboarding begins before your new hire’s first day and continues throughout his first year. During each phase of onboarding, different stakeholders will take on tasks to support your new hire. Our free onboarding template will help you identify these individuals and identify the ways they contribute to the onboarding workflow.

Each position may need a slightly different onboarding plan. Additional factors, such as multiple locations, can complicate the onboarding process. Onboarding software can track these variables. Using the software, you’ll be able to create an onboarding plan for each position and corresponding location. Within each onboarding plan, you can include the most important onboarding documents. The software ensures these forms are completed.

Previously, you may have been hesitant to take on a comprehensive onboarding process. You may have been overwhelmed with the many tasks associated with onboarding. Our free checklist will help you create an effective onboarding process while ensuring related documents are completed.

Creating a New Hire Checklist for Your Company

Your new hire paperwork checklist should have several phases. Pre-boarding begins before the employee’s first day. During this phase, you can send your new hire important documentation via email. Documentation could include a complete description of the responsibilities for the new hire’s job. An organization chart, corporate mission, and values will help your new hire to familiarize herself with the company. You can include a link to online information, including the company website and the benefits portal.

During the first week, your new hire will complete standard employment paperwork. You may consider taking her photo and inviting her to complete a short biography to post on the company’s intranet. Now is a good time to go over the results of any employee assessments you’ve administered and the training plan you’ve developed.

During the first 90 days, the employee is becoming more familiar with her new coworkers and her role within the company. Providing her with information about the company’s past and its objectives for the future will help her see how she fits in. Now is a good time to provide her with information about any incentives for bringing on new clients or employee referrals. A scavenger hunt or Bingo card will make seeking out information fun and memorable.

Once your new hire reaches her one-year anniversary, she is more likely to stay and become a valuable long-term employee. It’s important to include in your onboarding a plan for support for the period from the first 90 days to that one-year anniversary. Provide the employee with documentation about benefits as she becomes eligible for them. Go over her training progress and perform an employee performance review. Create a plan for support to help her overcome any revealed difficulties.

Conclusion

The global pandemic made businesses reevaluate their fiscal responsibilities. Companies are thinking about ways reduce costs without sacrificing performance. Reducing turnover is the key to saving money while also improving revenue.

Employees initiate most separations in the first year of employment. These departures cost your company a third of the employee’s annual salary. Your business can spend thousands recruiting and training new hires. A comprehensive onboarding plan is the most effective way to stem the flow of exiting employees. Onboarding doesn’t just reduce turnover. Effective onboarding will help you curate a winning team.

Expanding your onboarding may seem daunting if you’re still using paper forms and filing cabinets. Onboarding software can help you develop an onboarding process customized for each position. You can ditch the piles of paper and effortlessly organize your onboarding forms.

Are you thinking about implementing a more efficient and effective onboarding process? Our team is happy to help you.

 

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How Text Messaging Fills Positions Faster

Move over Zoom. The pandemic has bumped up another mode of communication: texting. Overall, 50 percent of the population is using text more often since the pandemic began. And if you’re one of the few recruiters not using text messaging for hiring, I might be SMH (shaking my head) at you.

Texting has been on the rise since the first 10-year old Millennial received a cell phone—check that—since the first two 10-year old Millennials received a cell phone. Businesses have been marketing with text for years and have seen huge results. Success with text marketing is no surprise considering a read rate of 97 percent within 15 minutes.

Okay, so maybe every American sends and receives about a 100 texts per day. But does that really make text messaging effective for recruiting and hiring?

 

Leverage Text Recruiting

Text Messaging Is Effective

Just ask Home Depot. The home improvement giant saw a 50 percent increase in response rate for texting applicants versus other methods since implementing a robust text recruiting strategy.

Like working from home and Zoom calls, text messaging in business recruiting is here to stay. There are just too many benefits of text recruiting, including speed and efficiency.

Both the hiring manager and the applicant save time composing a text versus an email. And unlike email, nearly everyone reads their texts, oftentimes within 15 minutes.

And if you’re still wondering is email or text messaging more effective for response rates, 82 percent of people turn on notifications from their text messaging apps. That’s probably much more than email considering only 27 percent of those who primarily use their phone to check email do so as the emails arrive.

Busy recruiters can manage multiple conversations in less time. That kind of efficiency is especially helpful for positions that typically have a high turnover rate. If you hire for these high turnover jobs often, then pre-screening may become one of your favorite benefits of text recruiting.

Pre-screening applicants over the phone can be time-consuming. But what if you could start winnowing down your hiring choice with a text conversation? You could get a lot of common deal breakers out of the way, such as verifying the candidate is still looking for a job and has reliable transportation.

The speed and efficiency of texting can reduce your time-to-hire metrics, especially for your high turnover, hourly positions. If you’re still wondering is text messaging acceptable, just ask the 86 percent of Millennials prefer texting during the recruiting process.

Hiring Problems That Text Messaging Solves

Text messaging has grown from a vehicle for informal teen chats to a commonplace form of communication in all areas of life. Texting efficiently relays information without the time-consuming small talk of phoning. It’s only natural that texting has made its way into the recruiter’s toolbox as an effective solution to several problems.

Text messaging applicants is more efficient than phone interviewing. Phoning potential interviewees is time-consuming. You’re unable to do anything else while you’re dialing, waiting for an answer, and actually talking to the candidate. Multiply the process by the several calls required for each open position and you’re easily losing hours in the first step of the interview process.

When you text message job candidates, you can quickly narrow down your choices. Save time by text messaging screening questions concerning a candidate’s availability and access to transportation. When you’re ready, you can schedule candidate interviews with text messaging.

Text messaging will reduce applicant ghosting. Increasingly, job applicants don’t respond to traditional communications. Most email messages—80 percent—remain unread. Entry-level job seekers do not always have email. Most people don’t answer calls from unknown callers, and many voicemail boxes are full or not set up.

On the other hand, nearly all texts are read within 15 minutes of being sent. Millennials, especially, are open to responding to texts from unknown senders. Typing away on a smartphone doesn’t deter applicants who already use their phones to apply for jobs.

Phone calls and emails can’t match the speed and effectiveness text messaging offers. But if you don’t have applicant tracking software to manage your text messaging efforts, you risk appearing unprofessional.

How to Text Message Professionally

If you didn’t know what SMH meant before reading this article, don’t feel bad; I didn’t either. Luckily, neither of us needs to be as fluent as a teenager in texting slang. If you’re recruiting via text, then you want to keep it as professional as possible. Adhering to professional text messaging etiquette while recruiting will reinforce a positive impression of your company.

  • Ask for permission to text during the application process. While it may be convenient for you, it may be a hassle for your applicant. Think of asking first as the golden rule for any business wishing to communicate via text.
  • Identify yourself, your company, and the reason for your text. Candidates have probably applied to multiple companies. Clearly identifying yourself and your purpose prevents any confusion. Using a text messaging template for recruiting will help you keep it professional.
  • Avoid texting slang. Always spell the word rather than rely on acronyms. Use proper punctuation and capitalize the first letter of every sentence. Never, ever use emojis.
  • Be personable. Don’t let your applicant feel as if she is talking to a chatbot. Address her by name and thank her for her time. Remember, your text is her first indication of how the company will treat her if she becomes an employee.

You can use applicant tracking software to create a professional texting strategy. A custom online application can ask the applicant for permission to text. From there, you can create text messaging templates for your hiring needs. You can even set the text messaging time of day using applicant tracking software.

Develop a Text Recruiting Strategy

Incorporating text messaging as part of your talent strategy can improve your time-to-hire metrics. Applicant tracking software that includes text recruiting campaigns will streamline and organize your efforts. Your strategy should develop text messaging cadences to avoid overwhelming the candidate with too many messages. You’ll reduce applicant ghosting significantly when you combine text messaging with email and phone. Finally, text messaging templates for hiring will help ensure your text recruiting campaign reflects your brand’s voice.

Text messaging was rising long before the pandemic. Now, social distancing means people are texting 50 percent more than before. Covid made texting mainstream, much like remote work and Zoom meetings. It makes more sense than ever to use texting in your recruiting campaigns.

Are you unsure of how to start engaging applicants on their mobile devices? Download our guide, Leveraging Text Recruiting to Engage Job Seekers. You’ll learn how to measure and maximize your mobile recruiting effectiveness.

 

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Virtual Onboarding Ideas For HR

The benefits of onboarding can’t be overstated. Propelling your new hires to productivity, reducing employee turnover, and promoting a positive company culture are all a boon to your bottom line.

Chances are your company understands the importance of introducing a new hire to the organization. You probably already had an effective onboarding program in place before 2020. When COVID hit, you may have hastily reworked your current onboarding process into a virtual plan. It probably included ad hoc Zoom meetings and email blasts with links to scattered documents.

The dust has settled, so to speak, but the pandemic rages on. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of employees who have been working from their home prefer to continue doing so after the pandemic ends. And yours may be one of the many companies that are realizing the benefits of a more productive workforce and less rent for office space.

If your company is embracing remote work for at least some of your employees, it’s time to build a virtual-first onboarding experience.

Build a Virtual Onboarding Experience

COVID has given you a sampling of the difficulties around virtual onboarding and the new hire experience.

Working from home means missing out on the benefits of casual, in-person interactions. New hires have an even more difficult time bonding with their team members. Your virtual onboarding experience needs to help your new hire feel like part of the team.

Virtual onboarding during COVID may have left you disappointed with your new hires’ rate of productivity. It’s just tougher to get the new person up to speed when no one is near to see how things are going. You need to plan for more support for your virtual onboarding process.

One of the benefits of virtual onboarding is that you can steer your company’s culture in a more positive direction. Remote employees won’t have run-ins with the complainers or gossips at the water cooler. And you can facilitate virtual lunches and coffee breaks with the people who have upbeat outlooks.

Making your new employee feel welcomed, getting that person productive, and managing your company’s culture are all possible when you put together the right virtual onboarding checklist.

Best Practices for Virtual Employee Onboarding Process

Putting together a virtual onboarding process that accomplishes all of your goals may seem nearly impossible now. But since constraint is the key to creativity, you may find your best onboarding ideas in 2021.

One of the first things you should do is create a virtual onboarding email template that includes a quick rundown of important information and links to important documents. Onboarding software can help you organize all of your new employee forms. You can even include in your welcome email a link to training modules in the onboarding software.

When it comes to virtual onboarding, the best practices facilitate bonding between co-workers as effectively as in-person interactions. Virtual onboarding ideas that will strengthen your team include assigning multiple “onboarding buddies” to your new hire and planning virtual lunches for them. The virtual lunch gives employees an opportunity to get to know the new hire and offer to help orient them. Often, the casual feel of a lunch lends itself better to positive interaction among employees.

As mentioned, the idea behind these virtual employee onboarding examples is to encourage interaction. Assigning multiple onboarding buddies to your new hire connects her with helpful, relevant resources that will help her become productive more quickly. Remember also to task your buddies with checking in on the new hire and setting up virtual coffee breaks or lunches.

Giving your new hire several people to lean on for support spreads the weight. Introducing your new hire to people from different, but related, areas of the company will help her understand the big picture. And finally, assigning multiple onboarding buddies will increase the odds that one of them will be a good personality fit with the new employee.

Virtual New Hire Orientation

Your virtual new hire orientation is a chance for new employees to learn about the company and their role within it. Orientation is often a more formal process than some of the fun virtual onboarding activities we’ve discussed, however you can still make it memorable.

Consider sending a welcome mail package to the new employee. Company swag will help your new hire feel like part of the team. Include printed copies of the handbook, benefits information and organizational chart. Your new hire will often remember information better if she can take notes on printed materials.

A virtual welcome email from the new hire’s manager can get the relationship off to a good start. Encourage team members to send a “welcome onboard” email too. They can offer assistance for questions, set up a virtual get-to-know you meeting, or come up with their own unique onboarding ideas. In fact, getting employees involved in the creation of new hire orientation ideas is the best way to create a process that complements your company culture.

When brainstorming virtual new hire orientation ideas, you should aim to create activities that are fresh and engaging. There are plenty of creative new hire orientation ideas that acclimate your new hire to his role without putting him to sleep. Some engaging virtual new hire orientation ideas include creating a scavenger hunt that will have your new hire delving into information found on the employee portal and company website.

ExactHire has created an onboarding guide with 77 ideas to get you started!

You can rework standard new employee orientation games for a virtual world. Ice breaker games such as Two Truths, One Lie still work well on Zoom. Create a trivia game that pulls information from the printed information your new hires receive in the welcome package. A Door Dash gift card prize is both easy and suitable for social distancing.

Finally, send a new employee introduction email to team members with a bio that includes personal facts such as hobbies and pets to discover shared interests. Make it a group email including the new hire and encourage employees to respond with information about themselves. Again, it’s all about positive interaction–even if that interaction is virtual.

Conclusion

Effective onboarding can help your new hires become productive, long-term employees. It creates a better company culture. Lower employee turnover and a stronger team will reduce costs and increase profits.

At least some of the workplace changes the pandemic brought are here to stay. Done correctly, a virtual onboarding process for remote employees can be every bit as effective as an in-office orientation. Download our in-depth guide for more ideas on how to improve your onboarding process.

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