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

Powerful Questions to Ask During an Interview


Recruiting the right team is every business leader’s top priority. More important than your products’ marketability or the size of your customer base, hiring first-rate talent will drive your company to the top of your industry. The opposite also holds true. A bad hiring decision can cost your company thousands in lost productivity and do irreparable harm to your company’s culture and reputation.

Making great hiring decisions is so important that it’s no wonder companies do all they can to get it right. As you’ve developed your own recruiting strategies, you’ve probably considered everything from offering competitive pay to improving your employer branding. But you’ll never be successful at recruiting top talent if you don’t know how to ask powerful interview questions.

The Importance of Interview Questions

Everybody wants a great job. And that’s why interview questions are so important. Your recruiting efforts will yield quality applicants, but also some not-so-great candidates. Powerful interview questions are your most effective tool to weed out undesirable candidates.

Job seekers have an overabundance of tools to help them during the application process. Professional resume writers, mock interviews, and even Google aid candidates trying to make a great impression. And while being prepared is a plus for any potential new hire, your job as the interviewer is to uncover shortcomings that would prevent the candidate from being successful in the role.

If you’re like most hiring managers, your interview process isn’t as effective as you think. In 1979, the University of Texas Medical School was compelled to admit an additional 50 students long after the admissions board had selected what they considered to be the best candidates. The additional 50 applicants were initially rejected largely based on their performance in unstructured interviews. Researchers later assessed the performance of these late-comers and found they performed just as well as the first round of accepted applicants. In other words, the interviewers’ impressions were wrong.

Researchers conducted a group of studies to find out how well volunteers could predict students’ GPA based, in part, on their interview performance. In each study, the researchers found that interviews were the least effective tool for predicting future performance. The interviewers were unable to tell when the students being interviewed were providing random or false answers. Furthermore, volunteers were more accurate when they made their predictions without interviews, relying on previous GPA and the student’s course schedule.

Of course, you wouldn’t want to hire someone you haven’t interviewed in person. But how can you conduct an effective interview that avoids the perils of poor judgement and gut instinct?

Good Interview Questions

Good questions to ask when interviewing someone begin with a thorough assessment of the qualities and skills required for the job. You already likely did a version of this assessment when you wrote the job description for the purposes of placing job ads. Revisit that assessment and dig deeper.

Evaluate the position and develop interview questions based on the following key competencies, according to the University of Portland.

Experience. Open-ended questions that ask applicants about their accomplishments, disappointments, or ongoing skill development will help you assess their current skills and their willingness to learn new skills.

Teamwork. Even employees that work independently need to see their contributions as part of the larger organization.

Communication. Teamwork is only possible if employees are able to communicate clearly and listen well.

Problem Solving. The whole team is more effective when employees take initiative to solve problems. But if they aren’t competent problem-solvers, their efforts could create even more complications.

Leadership. Not just for management, leadership skills include the abilities to motivate others, be assertive when necessary, and be self-disciplined.

Motivation. Employees motivated by an internal drive to do well will be more consistent than those motivated by pay or recognition.

Organization. The abilities to plan their time, prioritize their tasks, and organize their workspaces will help employees complete their work. A high level of organization will also help anyone who may need to step in if the employee is sick or on vacation.

Mission Alignment. Don’t overlook the importance of every employee working to promote your company’s mission. A company’s values, mission, and culture combine to create the standard for all of your employees’ behavior.

For each role, assess how these competencies are demonstrated. Then, create questions tailored to the open position to gauge the applicant’s mastery of these key qualities.

Fun Interview Questions

Weird and fun interview questions to ask an interviewee have been trending since reviewers on Glassdoor revealed that Google challenges its applicants to estimate how many piano tuners there are in the entire world. From there, it came to light that some of the biggest companies in the world use weird and fun questions in an attempt to reveal the applicant’s true self.

These questions attempt to circumvent the candidate’s research and preparation to elicit a candid response. Interviewers want insight into a candidate’s ability to think quickly, logically, or creatively. There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. But if interviewers are discerning enough, weird and fun questions can reveal personality traits that are otherwise difficult to spot in an interview.

The key is knowing why you are asking the fun interview question and what you are looking for in the response. While unusual interview questions can be useful, be careful to not give undue weight to applicants’ responses. Even Google admitted that their brainteasers weren’t a predictor of employee success.

Best Interview Questions

When it comes to predicting employee success, researchers and business leaders agree on a few best practices for creating powerful questions to ask during an interview.

The evidence supports using structured interviews. These interviews rely on a format and a pre-made list of open-ended questions focused on key qualities. And unlike an unstructured interview, the interviewer doesn’t improvise based on the candidate’s response.

Interviewers should use the same questions for each candidate, along with a scale to evaluate each response. By using the same questions, interviewers can compare all the candidates fairly. And by using a scale to measure their response, interviewers avoid relying on their intuition, memory, or even the candidate’s likability.

Questions should focus on the candidate’s past behavior. Experts agree that past behavior is a powerful indicator of future behavior. Ask the candidate to describe situations in which he or she demonstrated key qualities required for the job.

Interviews should be done by teams or panels, with the final decision resting on one person. By inviting more than one person to interview candidates, hiring managers get the benefit of multiple perspectives. Hiring team members should include at least the position’s immediate supervisor, a member of the new hire’s team, along with a final decision maker.

Final Round Interview Questions

Ideally, by the time candidates make the final round of interviews, they have already demonstrated they have the skills and experience to perform the job. At this point in the interview process, you’re looking for personality traits that will drive or hinder their success.

The knockout questions in the final round are behavioral questions. These questions seek to determine if the candidate has character weaknesses that would make her a poor fit. An inability to handle pressure or a tendency to become angry will make even the most qualified candidate difficult to work with. For these questions, use the same format which asks the candidate to describe how she overcame challenging situations in the past, but focus on character traits.

Supplement Interview Questions with Assessments

Interviews can be notoriously poor predictors of employee performance. By using proven strategies, interviewers can increase the likelihood of choosing the best candidate through the interview process alone. Using a structured format, a consistent scale to evaluate performance, and the input of a hiring team, companies can make the best use of powerful interview questions.

Employee assessments can fill the gaps that even powerful interview questions leave. Consider using assessments to objectively measure job skills, personality, and leadership potential. The team at Exact Hire can even help you develop a custom assessment specific to your industry.

By combining assessments with proven interview question techniques, you can further take the guesswork out of hiring. Avoid the costly headache of bad hires. Call us today to find out more about how assessments can improve your hiring decisions.

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash


How to Negotiate Salary

There’s no denying that some people are not comfortable negotiating their salaries after the job search is over and they’ve already landed an opportunity. Some applicants find negotiating salary as a jeopardizing move to the opportunity they’ve gained.

A survey by showed that 38% of people negotiate their salaries while 18% never do. Worse yet is that 44% of respondents acknowledged they have never brought up the topic of a salary raise during performance reviews and appraisal exercises.

When exploring the leading hindrance towards negotiating for a salary raise, we realized it was fear. Most people were afraid of losing the opportunities they worked for. Worse yet, most employees are afraid of getting embroiled in arguments and corporate politics that they’re bound to lose.

Regardless of the reason, failing to negotiate for a salary is bad, but fearing to do so is even worse.

Tips on How to Negotiate Salary

Below we list some strategies and best practices you can use to negotiate your salary.

1.) Know your value

Knowing your value is the first step in negotiating your salary or payment. Always ask for a fair salary for a fair effort. To get the salary you deserve, you need to identify the pay scale of your specific position, in a specific industry, and geographic area.

If you walk into a salary negotiation table without a specific number, you’ll be at the mercy of an experienced HR manager who’ll control the conversation.

So, it’s always advisable to do your due diligence and research keenly to know how much professionals in your specific sector and position earn before negotiating salary.

2.) Talk to recruiters

Another way to research salary negotiations is to pick calls from recruiters. Recruiters know how much people in your industry and position are worth. Recruiters work with a diverse network of professionals, applicants, and job seekers.

So, if someone engages you with a job offer, inquire about the duties, responsibilities, and pay for that position. While you may not obtain a specific number, a pay range is helpful.

3.) Build your case

It’s advisable to demonstrate why you need a specific salary or pay range than just simply quoting figures. That means that once you receive a salary offer, don’t just counter the offer with a higher amount.

Instead, let your research, inspiration, and reasons for a specific salary center on why you think you deserve a particular sum. List your strengths, experience, and qualifications. Build a solid case for why your salary should be reviewed to a higher figure.

4.) Set the bar higher

While negotiating salary, you may be tempted to pick an average offer that seems fiscally convenient or affordable to your employer and great for you as a starter. Don’t be afraid to ask for the best offer.

5.) Know the exact number

Researchers at Columbia Business School say you should ask for a specific number when negotiating your salary – say $75,667 instead of $75,000. It turns out that when job applicants or potential employees ask for a specific salary, they’re likely to get the final offer closer to what they’re hoping for.

That’s because the employer will think you’ve extensively researched salary and pay range to reach that specific figure. So, quoting salaries instead of offering particular ranges gives the impression that you’re aware of salary ranges for specific positions.

6.) Be willing to walk away

When negotiating your salary, set a quote that represents a minimum figure that you’re willing to forego the position if this figure is not attained. This salary figure could be based on market conditions, financial need, or even a desire to feel good about what you’re bringing home. While walking away from a seemingly lucrative offer may not be easy, it’s critical to know when to do it – and always feel powerful to say ‘no’

7.) Make sure you’re ready!

Ask yourself a few questions before asking for a salary raise.

Have you taken on a few responsibilities since employment? Have you been at work for a year? Do you have a culture of exceeding expectations rather than just meeting them? What special qualifications, skills, or experiences do you have that set you apart?

The answer to all these questions must be ‘yes’ when negotiating for higher pay.

8.) Plan right

It turns out that timing is the perfect thing to do. However, most employees wait until performance review seasons to ask for a pay raise, but by that time, your boss has already decided and outlined what raises will be doled out to specific employees.

Start talking to your boss about salary increments three or four months before appraisals. The bosses decide the budget three to four months before they dole out any pay increments.

9.) Perks and benefits

It’s advisable to factor in perks and benefits when negotiating your salary. That’s because salary negotiation often includes some give-and-take on employee benefits. It’s less costly for an employer to offer flexible work schedules, vacation days, and work-from-home benefits than higher salaries.

So, negotiating your salary goes beyond negotiating your financial or fiscal status. It involves identifying non-fiscal factors like schedules, plans, and programs that best fit your lifestyle, interests, hobbies, and continued professional development.

10.) Know when to wrap it up!

Lastly, know when to wrap it up during salary negotiations. While a reasonable employer or boss won’t withdraw an offer just because you tried to get a higher deal, dragging out the salary negotiation process may disgruntle the hiring manager and begin the relationship on a poor note.

So, if the company can’t meet your salary requirements after a few negotiations, it’s advisable to withdraw and seek better opportunities that meet your compensation expectations.

Otherwise, dragging out salary negotiations may prove counterproductive and potentially jeopardize your offer – no matter how lucrative.


ExactHire is a leading provider of  best-in-class hiring solutions. ExactHire provides robust and versatile hiring and onboarding software to help employers manage the recruitment and onboarding process easily.

ExactHire Full Service Hiring is a great option for employers who don’t have the time or resources to manage an internal hiring process–let our team advertise your open positions, manage applicant communications, screen candidates based on your criteria, and then deliver you qualified best-fit candidates.



3 Ways to Improve Employee Retention

Employee retention is the secret ingredient for long-term growth and competitive differentiation. Employers that hold fast to their best talent can wade off any storms, including pandemics, market competition, and even regulation.

For these reasons, retaining best talent must be a priority for employers.

Why is Employee Retention Important?

Organizations that successfully retain employees experience benefits beyond the saving of training and hiring costs. High retention helps attract the best talent as a company grows. This is because high employee retention rates contribute to:

  • Consistency in operations leading to efficiency and growth
  • Better customer experiences
  • A strong company culture that fosters employee engagement.

When you think about the importance of retention, don’t just consider long-term savings and benefits. High turnover can be costly by leading to financial deficits and the inability to fund required operational expenditures.

Statistics show that turnover alone costs the United States $1 trillion annually. This figure represents a trillion reasons companies must prioritize retention.

But many may ask, why such a high price tag?

Well, that’s because when employees leave a company, there are some costs to consider.

These costs include:

  • Lower morale levels for those left behind
  • Money and time to replace employees, including recruitment and onboarding costs
  • Reduced concentration and productivity
  • Lost knowledge and expertise that lead to inefficiency

Gallup estimates that replacing an employee may cost almost twice as much as hiring them.

So in order to avoid the costs of turnover and reap the benefits high retention, improve employee retention before the first day in these three ways.

Ways to Improve Employee Retention Before the First Day

1.) Write a great Job Description

A great job description should not only attract the best candidates, it should set accurate, positive expectations. This includes laying out company mission and values and, importantly, how current employees live them out.  Don’t hide company values as bullet points near the bottom of a description, as applicants are likely to gloss over them or view them as unimportant. Instead, tie your values to the job requirements.  Writing a great job description that tells a job seeker what to expect–beyond the job duties–is the first step to landing the best candidates.

How to write the best job descriptions?

  • Get the job title right. Ensure you capture the right title for the right job. Avoid fluff and be straightforward as to the nature of the job.
  • Short and sweet. It’s advisable to start with a succinct and straightforward job description. Give an engaging overview of the job, its history, role, and requirements.
  • Modifiers. It’s advisable to avoid extreme modifiers or superlatives. Superlatives include over-the-top languages like ‘best-of-the-best’, ninjas, Rockstars, and world-class tend to prevent potential candidates from applying. Instead, be straightforward.
  • Align responsibilities with growth. Ensure that the roles and duties captured in the job description align or reiterate the candidate’s possibility for development. Match the job requirements with the candidate’s expectations for continued professional growth.
  • Involve current hires. It is advisable to involve current employees in drafting job descriptions. Too often, job descriptions remain hidden in an HR department. Involving current employees may help provide a compelling illustration of the organization that best highlights a workplace.
  • Create urgency. There’s no denying that even if you’re not in dire need of workers or employees, you still want potential candidates to feel obliged to apply now. So, your job description must show urgency.

2.) Center Hiring Process Around Culture

Culture is a critical component of the hiring process. Unfortunately, many recruiters don’t realize how culture impacts recruitment and retention.

Have you ever encountered an organization that claims to have ‘respect’ as a core value, but then doesn’t promptly follow up with its applicants? This is an example of an employer that enshrines the opposite of what they exemplify in behavior. Any good candidate will quickly run away from the process.

Employers must promote values and culture that they can actually backup. This works both ways by attracting the right candidates and discouraging bad-fit candidates from applying. Organizational culture is at the center of the hiring process when everything reflects your culture – from the application process to conducting your interviews, negotiating offers, and onboarding new hires.

3.) Mentorship Programs

Employees want to feel appreciated. Most importantly, they want to grow with the company. The best way to retain employees, even when others are leaving, is to help them feel that they are important part of the company and its success.

Mentorship programs are a classic way of engaging employees and building long-term loyalty and trust. Employees who feel part of  a culture will remain loyal to an employer even when things get tough.

Mentorship programs help new hires feel part of the company by clarifying values and onboarding the employee–physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Mentorship programs achieve the following:

  • Extend opportunities for professional and career development
  • Improved productivity and onboarding
  • Building diversity
  • Leadership development
  • Creates opportunities for reverse mentoring
  • Supports and sustains a learning culture

There’s no denying that pairing up a new hire with a mentor is a great addition to the onboarding experience – particularly in a highly technical role, or when the hire is working remotely.

Mentors can welcome new hires to the company, offer guidance, and act as role models. In addition, hires can learn the ropes from experienced employees, creating a culture of continuity and momentum in workload processing and workflow activities.

ExactHire – Improving Your Employee Onboarding and Retention

ExactHire believes that the onboarding process begins long before hiring an employee–with proper planning, resources, and a strong work culture. We work with professionals from multiple industries – finance, insurance, legal, healthcare, education, administrative, and many more –to help them hire and onboard best-fit talent for their organization. Contact ExactHire to leverage recruitment solutions that breed the highest retention levels.

How to write a rejection email for job candidates

A rejection email for job candidates is not always easy to write. And informing an applicant that they were not selected for an open position is definitely not the highlight of a human resources professional’s day. The task is one of the hardest to complete, as no one wants to deliver disappointing news to others. However, rejection is inevitable, even for individuals with a stellar background and coveted skills.

It’s important to keep in mind that we have all experienced rejection at some point in time. Whether it was not being selected for a lucrative job opportunity, or being passed over for a particular award or acknowledgment–we’ve all felt the sting of rejection. Recalling how that sting affected oneself can often lead an HR professional to take extra steps to buffer the disappointment when delivering rejection messages to job applicants. Kindness truly matters.

Can You Kindly Reject Job Candidates?

Jobseekers want to know their status in the application process. Even if it’s a “no”, applicants need to know their status so they can have closure and shift their job search direction. Receiving feedback, even if it is a rejection, is especially instrumental for those applicants who have had some form of interview. Imagine the confusion that a jobseeker might have if they never hear back from an organization after spending time discussing their qualifications and how they seek to contribute to a prospective employer.

A paramount function of HR is to build relationships with individuals. This goes not just for current employees, but also  for prospective employees. What type of relationship can be built if an employer does not update applicants on their application statuses, or let applicants know that they are no longer in consideration for a position?

Starting the rejection conversation is hard, but it demonstrates professionalism within the organization’s HR department and gives the two parties, HR and the jobseeker, an opportunity to form a connection. While this jobseeker might not be the best fit for the particular role in which they applied, that same person might be the person best qualified for a future opening, so don’t burn bridges

Candidate Rejection Letter Template

In the rejection email template sent by an organization, craft the content with sincerity. The sincerity genuinely shown in the rejection email can help the jobseeker stay motivated and interested in your company. Also, this will help mitigate the chance the jobseeker will spread negativity about their applicant experience to others. Word of mouth can be the best or worst recruitment marketing for an employer, so strive to leave applicants with a positive experience.

Time is of the essence in the HR world. Using personalized mass emailing within your ATS will help make the communication process quicker and easier when communicating with applicants. ExactHire HR Software offers the ability for users to create communication templates for immediate and future use. This templates streamline communication with applicants, and allows users to view the communication flow between your team and the applicants.

When crafting communication templates, it is helpful to use personalization tags (AKA shortcuts that personalize content) to customize your message. Personalization tags in a communication template allow the sender to specify items such as name, job listing, company name, etc. This ensures a more “personal” feel with less work.

When writing a rejection email, be concise. Longer emails, at first glance, can imply favorable news. Also, it is more personable for an actual employee to sign the message.  However, if there are safety concerns after sending a rejection email, do not include specific names or direct contact information.

Example of Candidate Rejection Letter

Here is an example of a sample rejection message for your use. Words between the # symbols indicate variable content found in the candidate record. CAPS indicate customized content (based on hiring manager or company).

Dear #first_name#,

Thank you for your interest in the #job_listing# at #company_name#. Your time is valuable, and we appreciate your effort in applying. (Use interviewing if an applicant has interviewed.)

We are grateful to have had many qualified applicants for the role. We carefully evaluated candidates’ qualifications and skills. Although your qualifications were impressive, we are moving forward with another candidate whose qualifications best fit the requirements of the position.

(If an interview has been conducted, consider including: Although your interview itemized your skills, we did not proceed because of REASON FOR REJECTION. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email address or phone number.)

Please visit COMPANY JOBS PAGE to explore opportunities to join our organization as we encourage you to apply again in the future if you find a job opening better suited to your qualifications.

Again, thank you for your interest in working with us!


Personalized Candidate Communication

HR professionals can simplify a challenging task by using personalized candidate communication templates to soften news of a rejection. By delivering personalized updates to job applicants, even if it is a rejection, employers promote a positive employer brand. In return, employers will enjoy a larger applicant pool and succeed in providing clarity around what their organization’s needs. Creating personalized communication templates in ExactHire HR Software can help streamline the communication process. Click here to learn more!

5 Considerations for an Applicant Tracking System Vendor

If your organization is exploring the use of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), or if your company has taken the first step towards internal efficiency by approving the investment of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), it might seem like a daunting challenge. Many questions resonate as implementation can be a bit overwhelming even for the most seasoned tech users. What should I do next? Where do I go from here? How does this product work?

Don’t let fear get in the way of efficiency. Implementing an ATS into your organization is an investment of time and financial resources. As HR professionals explore the caveats of an ATS, it is essential to find the tool that works best for your organization with a support team that defines ongoing value.


When evaluating a system, here are five items to consider:


1) Applicant Tracking System Support

If you are asking yourself, “How do we use this new product?”, that’s an essential question that needs to be answered in depth, in addition to other questions centered on product support. What type of training will we receive from the product vendor? Is training personalized to meet our organization’s needs? After training, if we still have questions, will we be able to contact someone in the United States?

Best-in-class vendors offer personalized training by a Client Success team composed of professionals who are genuinely vested in your organization’s success. Training is provided to your team, and follow up questions, which are expected, are supported by the Client Success team. The Client Success team lives up to its name; they are a bonafide, dedicated team who wants to make your lives easier by using employment software solutions. Relationships are important, and those are built here. Tap into their wisdom and expertise to help guide your use of the ATS.

2) The Applicant Experience

Applicants won’t waste time. Can job seekers apply quickly on mobile devices? If a job seeker finds more than one job to which they want to apply, do they have to start over again?

Convenient for the job seekers you are attracting, look for an ATS that is mobile responsive so that your applicants experience a seamless application process. No passwords should be needed by the applicant; the applicant can use their contact information, such as an email or phone number, to access their applications.

More than one job of interest to your job seekers? Not a problem – top of the line HR Software will offer multi-apply where the applicant can apply to more than one job at a time.  And since the best HR Software offers an organization the ability to use different applications to collect data essential for screening, the applicant will complete the questions you specify in one experience without interruption even if the applicant is applying to multiple jobs based on different application templates.


3) ATS Job Board Integrations

Visibility of my jobs is important in this competitive job market. What type of boards are available? To which boards are my jobs automatically sent? Does the ATS offer diversity and niche job boards?

The best HR Software offers the ability to automatically push jobs to free boards like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Snagajob, Job Inventory and indexed for Google for Jobs. No effort needed on your part for those job boards. Interested in other job boards? Some of the best ATS software offers other options to automate job postings to various boards such as diversity boards, niche boards, and many other options.

4) Building Applicant Pools

An applicant today might be the fit for tomorrow’s opening. How can I search for applicants’ talents and skills for my current and future roles? When I find applicants that meet our requirements, how do I communicate with them?

As you screen your applicants, you can “tag” your applicants’ skills and talents using keywords of value to your organization. Best-in-class HR Software offers ways to navigate your view of applicants and jobs to filter to the criteria you are seeking at the moment.

As you find applicants you want to move forward, you’ll need the option to communicate with them via texting  (ideally without additional fees). But not all applicants will want to be texted, so integrated email with customizable communication templates will be required as well. Be sure that your vendor allows you to attach the files with your email communication as well.  Finally, you’ll want to find a software solution that provides communication history displayed on the applicant’s record; however, be sure that HR Managers can restrict access to this area if necessary.

5) ATS Compliance Reporting

Subject to Affirmative Action reporting? Compliance to EEO guidelines and internal company parameters is crucial. Will I be able to analyze data?

You absolutely should! Whether an organization is subject to governmental reporting requirements or simply if they want to keep track of data to fulfill internal parameters, Best-in-class HR Software will offer robust Affirmative Action Plan reporting and reporting compliant with Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines. Whether you are seeking reports for formal reporting, or if you are looking for data specific to particular job(s), top HR Software allows users the opportunity to delve into data using distinctive insights.

An ATS is meant to make HR, hiring managers, and other system users’ lives easier. ExactHire HR Software offers the ability to effectively screen applicants, communicate with those of key interest and identify the talent you seek to fill existing vacancies. ExactHire HR Software can save you time and money through automation and simple quick clicks to perform tasks confirming that an ATS is not an expense but an investment that yields a plethora of rewards.

To see a demo of ExactHire HR Software, click here.


Photo by Timothy Muza on Unsplash

What Is Your Onboarding Data Telling You?

An effective onboarding process can have a positive impact on nearly every aspect of your business, from improving retention and engagement to strengthening your company’s culture and employer brand. But to create a stellar onboarding process, you need to understand where you’re currently falling short. That’s where your onboarding data comes in.

Data and KPIs will help you identify ways you can improve your onboarding process. Over time, you can see how your onboarding improvements contribute to your company’s success. In this article, we’ll show you why onboarding data is important, the most important onboarding data you need to track, and ways you can improve your onboarding process.

New Hire Onboarding Statistics

Half of new hires leave in the first 18 months of employment, according to onboarding statistics by SHRM. And that turnover is expensive. SHRM onboarding statistics in 2022 also say filling that empty chair costs up to nine months of that position’s salary. Yet many new hires leave before the company ever sees a return on their recruiting investment.

According to statistics, the importance of onboarding is the key to guiding new hires through those potentially sticky first months of employment, when they must merge their enthusiasm for their new role with its realities. Onboarding is also the company’s opportunity to deliver on the employee value proposition (EVP) they promoted during the recruitment process.

In fact, not delivering on promises is the fastest growing cause of voluntary turnover. According to The Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report, the percentage of those who cited disappointment with a job’s characteristics as a reason for leaving more than doubled since 2013.

Good onboarding can prevent all of the preventable reasons for turnover cited in the Retention Report. Yet most companies do a bad job of onboarding according to statistics. According to onboarding statistics by Gallup, only 12% of employees think their company hits onboarding out of the park. That means 88% of companies need to improve their onboarding process.

Important Employee Onboarding Data

Your company can improve its onboarding process by collecting and analyzing onboarding data. But which data, exactly, can help you improve your onboarding process?

How to Measure Employee Turnover

Turnover measures how many people leave your company over a given period, usually annually. Measure turnover by dividing the number of employees leaving by the number of employees at the start of the given time period. Compare your results with the national average for your industry or region using the annual total separations compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You can also break down your turnover measurements further by separating voluntary from involuntary turnover or by focusing on new hire turnover.

How to Measure Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is one of the most important predictors of company growth and can be improved significantly with an effective onboarding process. You can measure employee engagement by conducting a company-wide survey based on Gallup’s Employee Engagement Survey.

You can use the results of your employee engagement survey to make focused improvements to your onboarding process. Then, by conducting the survey periodically, you’ll know if your onboarding process is improving employee engagement.

How to Measure Time to Productivity

Time to productivity is more difficult to measure but essential to improving your onboarding process.

First, develop measurable, time-bound KPIs for the new position. These KPIs are tasks which you expect the new hire to accomplish independently within a predetermined time.

Then, divide the number of days it should take the new hire to accomplish the tasks independently by the number of days it actually takes the new hire to achieve the KPI.

For example, perhaps you expect Susan to operate the telephone switchboard independently after 5 days of training. If Susan masters the switchboard within 3 days, then her rating for time to productivity is 1.66, or 166% of the goal KPI.

Employee Onboarding Experience

You can use your onboarding data to know the effectiveness of your onboarding process and to identify areas of improvement. But what makes a great onboarding process?

A great onboarding process emphasizes the employee, rather than paperwork and processes. It’s an onboarding concept in HR by which you focus on providing the new hire with the 4 Cs.

  • Compliance: These are the basics and include paperwork, policies, and rules. While your safety and harassment policies are crucial, it’s the other four Cs that will help you improve employee retention.
  • Clarification: A great onboarding process provides the new hire with clarity regarding her role and responsibilities.
  • Culture: Forbes says, “a strong company culture is the best retention strategy.” Your company’s culture reflects the values from which decisions are made. Including culture in your onboarding process ensures new hires align themselves with the company’s values.
  • Connection: To understand how important connection at work is, you only need to take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. After our physical needs are met, a “feeling of belonging” becomes the most important ingredient to happiness. The best onboarding processes recognize the new hire’s need for belonging and use creative solutions to foster connectedness.

Best Onboarding Practices

Your onboarding data may have revealed shortcomings in one or more of the 4 Cs of onboarding. The following best onboarding practices for new employees will help you improve every aspect of your onboarding process.

Improve Compliance

  • Use an applicant tracking system and onboarding software to digitize your data and forms. Companies with the best onboarding practices in 2021 take full advantage of technology. When applicants and new employees fill out their information with the software, the data can be automatically transferred to a variety of HR forms and files.
  • Create online training modules and assessments to ensure new hires understand important policies and rules in the employee handbook.

Improve Clarification

  • Document every position’s duties and responsibilities.
  • Using this document, create a comprehensive training timeline.
  • Assign a stakeholder who will be responsible for each item in the training timeline.
  • Provide opportunities for new hires to ask questions.
  • Schedule periodic check-ins to ensure the new hire stays on track.

Improve Culture

  • Create a training that introduces your new hire to the company’s history, values and mission.
  • Connect your new hire’s role to the company’s larger purpose.
  • Recognize your new hire’s accomplishments.
  • Communicate frequently with your new hire and provide frequent feedback.

Improve Connection

  • Assign a long-term employee to act as a buddy to your new hire. The buddy should help the new hire learn the unspoken rules of the company and be available for questions.
  • Introduce your new hire throughout the company. Introductions within the team should be more personable. Introductions to the larger company can be made via a posting on the company’s intranet or other common area.
  • Send your new hire to work a day in different departments. Doing so will enhance relationships as well as dismantle silos.

Employee Onboarding Checklist

An employee onboarding checklist is a great way to make sure you don’t forget anything when onboarding new hires. The checklist can include everything in the onboarding process throughout the first year.

You can use employee onboarding data and software to create custom checklists for each position. Stakeholders can update the checklist within the software as the new hire completes the onboarding process.

You can also download ExactHire’s “The Essential Onboarding Checklist.” We’ve created a comprehensive new employee onboarding guide pdf to get new hires up and running. Our checklist is an onboarding strategy divided by time frame and category and breaks down everything you need to do within the new hire’s first year.

Download ExactHire's Employee Onboarding Checklist

Sample Onboarding Plan

A sample onboarding plan for new employees can solve a host of business problems. Everything from high turnover to low engagement and poor productivity can be turned around by a great onboarding plan. But to craft that plan, you need to measure key onboarding data. When you measure the most important KPIs of onboarding, including onboarding experience surveys, you can begin to create a plan that will ultimately improve business outcomes.

The improvements you make should address the 4 Cs of onboarding: compliance, clarification, culture and connection. The onboarding tips for new employees we’ve listed are a great start to revamping your onboarding process. You can further improve your onboarding for new employees for maximizing success when you download our checklist.

Using onboarding software can automate many of your onboarding action items. By having a centralized place that tracks onboarding efforts, stakeholders will always know the next steps and you’ll always know the status of a new hire’s onboarding process.


If you’re ready to learn more about how onboarding software can improve your business, contact ExactHire today.



Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

5 Signs You Need to Automate Your Hiring Process

Has your hiring process grown unmanageable? Evolving technology, burgeoning job sites, a shrinking labor pool and the widening skills gap are just a few of the reasons hiring is a lot tougher than it used to be.

If you’re receiving resumes in your email or logging into each job board individually, you’re spending even more time hiring candidates. And, as if hiring wasn’t a towering task already, not hiring effectively can have damaging effects down the road.

If hiring the right candidate has ballooned into an HR headache, streamlining your hiring process may help. In this article, we’ve compiled 5 signs you need to automate your hiring process.

You Don’t Know Your Recruitment Metrics

Understanding your recruitment data is the first step to taming your hiring process. The best applicant tracking systems can help you easily access the most important metrics. Below are some common recruitment metrics you should know:

  • Time-to-hire is calculated by counting the number of days between a candidate applying for your position and accepting the job. Learn how effective the changes you make to the hiring process really are by benchmarking this number.
  • Cost-per-hire is the sum of external and internal hiring costs divided by the number of new hires in the same time frame. Your cost per hire may be more useful if you calculate it for type of positions, e.g., you expect to spend more to hire a mid-level manager than you would an entry-level employee.
  • New hire turnover rate is the percentage at which new employees leave within a given period of time–you can decide what qualifies as “new” based on your organization, but many consider it to be under one year. By looking at how frequently new hires leave and why, you can uncover ways to improve both your hiring and onboarding processes.
  • Retention rate is the percentage of employees staying with the company over a given time period. Calculate retention rate by dividing the number of employees remaining in the company or department by the total number of employees present at the beginning of the time period being measured.
  • Job application completion rate can tell you how often job seekers complete your application, and it can reveal whether changes need to be made to your online job application. Reducing the number of abandoned applications (or your applicant drop-off rate) will improve your hiring success.

A hiring process overrun with manual processes is difficult to measure. Automating your hiring process can help you track its effectiveness.

You Need to Reduce Your Time-to-Hire

Time-to-hire varies widely across industries. According to DHI Group, hiring in the health services takes 49 days, while construction industry’s time-to-hire is the shortest at about 12 days. Whether your time-to-hire is longer than your industry’s average, or you just want to shorten it to avoid lost productivity, automating your hiring process can help fill those empty chairs more quickly.

Here are some ways applicant tracking systems can reduce your company’s time-to-hire:

  • Automate time-consuming tasks. Logging into multiple job sites individually to post the same job is slow work. And it takes even longer if you push tedious tasks like this to the bottom of your list. Post your job opening with a click of a button to multiple sites at once.
  • Adopt mobile recruiting. You can speed up the application process for your candidates by adopting mobile recruiting methods. A mobile-friendly application brings the candidate to you more quickly. And text messaging avoids voicemail delays. You can further simplify the recruiting process by inviting applicants to apply with their phone number or by using a QR code on print or other display media.
  • Use programmatic job advertising. Don’t wait for top talent to come to you. Use programmatic job advertising to put your job ad on the same sites your top candidates visit.

You Need to Hire Better Quality Candidates

Your recent new hires have been disappointing. They seemed qualified, but six months on the job and they still seem lost in the software. They interviewed so well, but after their first run-in with a customer, you can see they’re lacking soft skills. Whatever it was that made you hire them turned out to just be a mirage.

Automating your hiring process with an applicant tracking system can help you make better hiring decisions. Here are a few ways automation can help:

  • See the best candidates first. An applicant tracking system can use your application and the candidate’s resume to rank applicants. The most qualified applicants will go to the top of your list.
  • Create deal-breaker questions on your application. Willing to work weekends? Certification updated? Reliable transportation? Whatever the dealbreaker, start screening for it right away. An applicant tracking system can automatically filter out candidates with dealbreaker traits.
  • Use assessment tools. Peel away the polished interview skills and test the resume claims with assessment tools. From people skills to software proficiency, assessment tools can uncover a candidate’s real traits.

You Hire for a High-Turnover Industry

Some industries just have high turnover. Hospitality and retail are notorious for their low retention rates. For some job seekers, these jobs may be seen as steppingstones to higher paying jobs. Even after improving your employer brand and doing what you can to increase engagement, the nature of these jobs means you’re always hiring.

You can make your hiring process more efficient and still have time for other, pressing HR responsibilities by automating these hiring tasks:

  • Use message templates. Write messages once and send them automatically to applicants. The ATS will fill in the applicant’s name and other details to personalize the message. Save time by letting the ATS automatically send interview requests, rejection letters, and receipt of application confirmations.
  • Conduct initial interviews by text. An applicant tracking system can make interviewing by text easier and safer. Interviewing by text saves time. And by using an ATS, hiring managers don’t need to use their personal cell numbers, and the text conversation is automatically documented and saved.
  • Schedule interviews more easily. Sometimes, there’s a bit of back and forth when it comes to interview scheduling. You can automate the interview scheduling process with an applicant tracking system. The system will integrate with your calendar. You can send the candidate multiple choices for interview times. If the candidate needs to reschedule, he can just click on a link in the confirmation email.

Increasing HR Responsibilities Leave Less Time for Manual Processes

Once upon a time, human resource professionals spent most of their time hiring, managing benefits, and increasing workplace safety. Not anymore. Today, companies understand that employees are their most important asset. They know that having a healthy company culture, strong employer brand, and highly engaged employees increases their bottom-line.

Of course, these workplace values make working in human resources more exciting and more rewarding than ever. But the work of developing those workplace assets falls on human resources. If increasing HR responsibilities are leaving you little time to make high quality hiring decisions, then automating your hiring process may help.

There are probably a dozen reasons the hiring process has become unmanageable. If the increasing chaos of the recruitment process leaves you little time for calculating recruitment metrics, much less time to improve them, an applicant tracking system can improve your results. Automating recruitment tasks will leave you time for finding creative solutions to your pressing HR issues.

Are you interested in learning how automating your hiring process with applicant tracking software can improve your recruitment outcomes? Contact ExactHire today.

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash





Avoid HR Headaches with these 25 Tips

The expectations business leaders place upon their human resource departments are increasing. Years ago, the role of HR centered around filing employee paperwork, navigating benefits, and a range of activities meant to avoid compliance fines and lawsuits. Of course, human resource professionals came into their roles with a higher calling: cultivating the company’s human capital, its employees.

The times have caught up with the nobler side of human resources. Even the most profit-focused executive understands the high cost of low retention. And much of the business sector embraces concepts like culture and employer brand after witnessing the tech industry wield them successfully. As a result, business leaders expect much more from their human resource professionals.

Throw in COVID and the ever-increasing labyrinth of laws and regulations, and any HR professional may start measuring their dedication in aspirin. But you needn’t suffer migraines to chase your HR calling. We’ve identified 5 common causes of HR headaches and compiled a list of 25 HR tips to avoid these issues.

Eliminate Workplace Discrimination, Promote Diversity

  1. Elevate your training beyond a blurb in the handbook. Create a comprehensive anti-discrimination training plan using how-to videos and assessments to ensure understanding.
  2. Create additional, in-depth training programs for managers. When a potential HR discrimination issue arises, it will likely be brought to the attention of one of your managers first. Make sure they know how to handle discrimination situations to avoid making the company vulnerable to further legal action.
  3. Address the anti-discrimination HR issues unique to remote workers. Virtual meetings are a fact of work life, whether employees are in the office or at home. Likewise, in the absence of physical proximity, employees rely on email and other forms of communications more often than ever. Make sure your anti-discrimination policies take into consideration the increasingly virtual nature of work.
  4. Avoid claims of hiring discrimination by using applicant tracking software (ATS) to thoroughly log hiring decisions. Keeping an electronic record of interviews, impressions and the reasons behind your hiring decision will protect you in the event of legal action resulting from a hiring decision.
  5. Create a diversity plan in your hiring process. Remove excessive educational or other onerous job requirements. Advertise your job openings to marginalized groups.

Avoid Wage and Hour HR Issues

  1. Take advantage of the training modules in your onboarding software to educate workers about expectations regarding working during off hours. Clarify that they are not allowed to work beyond their scheduled hours without approval, and tell them to approach HR if they feel their manager is pressuring them to perform unpaid work during their off-hours.
  2. Know the wage and hour laws in each state where remote workers or contractors reside. For example, California updated its employment laws regarding the classification of independent contractors. Even one remote worker in a state may make your company liable for franchise taxes or a different standard of workers’ compensation insurance.
  3. Require employees to sign-off on any changes to their time worked or their paycheck. Sometimes payroll mistakes will happen. When they do, provide documentation explaining the error and require the employee to sign it before corrections are implemented.
  4. When hiring, the role should be clearly designated as being exempt or nonexempt. Be consistent with your job descriptions and training for jobs. Utilize your ATS and onboarding software to help keep track of the details. Don’t recreate the wheel every time the chair is empty.
  5. Classify bonuses correctly for nonexempt employees. The overtime rate for your nonexempt employees is “one and one-half times the regular rate at which they are employed.” When you give nonexempt employees bonuses, that bonus amount most likely needs to be calculated into their “regular rate” for overtime calculation.

Avoid HR issues and Turnover by being Proactive

  1. Use your onboarding software to create employee training plans for each position. Rather than relying on the same onboarding process for every new hire, tailor your onboarding plan for each position. Include training modules as well as peer training.
  2. Create a career development plan for employees. 65% of employees expect their employers to provide resources for continued learning. You can increase engagement and reduce turnover by supporting your employees’ career development goals.
  3. Create a mentorship program. Pair current leaders with your star employees to form a mentorship program. Upskilling your current workforce is less costly and more effective than hiring new employees. Current employees who show potential but lack training already understand the company, its culture and its mission.
  4. Consider sponsoring employees for paid certifications and workshops.
  5. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach by conducting a performance analysis to pinpoint the source of performance issues. Employee surveys, accident reports, customer feedback and other tools can help you determine if the problem is specific to an employee, a manager or the entire team. They can also help you uncover company-wide inefficiencies that contribute to performance issues.

Avoid Employee Conflict

  1. Encourage inter-departmental communication early. During your onboarding process, assign new hires to work in different departments for a day. They’ll learn how their role affects the company, and they’ll form working relationships with their colleagues.
  2. Respect personality differences and adjust for employee strengths. Often, a perceived weakness is masking a corresponding strength. An introvert struggling in a team setting may excel if given the opportunity to work independently. Use personality tests and strength-based assessments to ensure everyone can thrive in their role.
  3. Foster team relationships with company-sponsored events. Whether it’s a company-wide baseball game or a smaller outing to a comedy club with the team, give employees a chance to get to know their colleagues beyond their work role.
  4. Incorporate relationship-building and social needs into your onboarding process. Get new hires off to a great start by encouraging workplace friendships. Ask your new hire to write a short biography, including information such as hobbies or pets. Post this biography in a prominent place on the company intranet. Assign a peer buddy to each new hire to help them learn the company’s culture and unwritten rules, and schedule lunches with team members.
  5. Reexamine your incentive and rewards program. Make sure to revise employee incentives that may encourage too much competition and create conflict.

Improve Your HR Recruitment Results

  1. Use an ATS to automate repetitive tasks such as posting to multiple job sites, texting candidates and tracking progress. By doing so, you’ll have more time for creating a strategy that improves your hiring process.
  2. Harness the power of data. Your ATS can tell you important information, such as your time-to-hire ratio, drop off rate, how long it takes applicants to complete an application and more. You can use your ATS to find out where you can make improvements in your process.
  3. Implement an employee referral program. Employee referrals result in more new hires than any other method. And they tend to stay with the company longer.
  4. Use a team approach to make better hiring decisions and avoid unconscious bias.
  5. Make it easy to attract top talent by developing your employer brand.

Take the Headache Out of Human Resources

The causes behind the most common HR issues are increasingly complex. Discrimination, once confined to the office, can now happen across great distances. And greater social awareness is bringing a wider range of claims to the courts. Wage and hour laws, always notoriously complex, can be downright perplexing when it comes to remote workers.

Training has become a key expectation from top talent. Employee conflict, which affects your productivity and culture, is even more damaging in the tight post-Covid labor market. There are a lot of factors that support the current labor shortage and the Great Resignation phenomenon we are experiencing. Unfortunately, neither are going to change in the near term.

Without a doubt, a career in human resources can be a wild ride. On the one hand, you’ve got a pile of new laws and regulations to decipher and an executive team demanding more metrics. On the other hand, you get to help people reach their potential and assist them when they need support along their work journey. If you want to reclaim part of your workday and throw away your aspirin bottle, I suggest you work with companies that are truly interested in partnering with you and your success versus just selling you software.

If you are ready for real help from real people, check out our applicant tracking system and onboarding software. Contact us today to find out more.

Photo by Vinicius “amnx” Amano on Unsplash

Can an ATS Really Help You Find Your Next Candidate?

It makes more sense than ever to pay as much attention to the way you treat candidates as you do your customers. After all, the pandemic and the resulting Great Resignation arrived at about the same time as the long-expected skills gap and talent shortage. When it comes to netting top talent, hiring managers in 2022 are caught in the perfect storm.

That perfect storm is why businesses are paying close attention to concepts like candidate experience and their employer brand. But now that we’re finally thinking about the humanity behind our human capital, where does that leave our use of applicant tracking systems? Isn’t there something antithetical about reducing applicants to a data set while working to create a hiring process that makes them feel valued?

True enough, early applicant tracking systems were built to improve the recruiter’s experience. I think we can all agree that writing Excel macros should never be part of a hiring manager’s job description. ATS freed us from Excel and from a leaning tower of paper resumes and applications.

But the best applicant tracking systems in 2022 can take your candidate’s experience to the next level, too. In fact, the right ATS can boost your employer brand and make your company a place top talent wants to work. Read on for 4 reasons an ATS can really help you find your next candidate.

An ATS Can Make Your Branded Careers Site Do More

Your next new hire can find your job opening in a number of ways. Whether they start their application process at one of the top job sites, a niche job board, or from your social media page, an ATS will take them to the same place: your branded careers site.

Why is a branded careers page important?

To start, job seekers can read about your company’s mission and values. They can see photos of smiling employees and an enjoyable workplace. You can even include a virtual tour of the office. Your branded careers site is where you set the stage for a welcoming place to work.

But when it comes to applying, simplicity is key. A single webpage–or applicant portal– linked from your careers page (and integrated with your ATS) puts the focus on your job opportunities and encourages job seekers to do one thing: Apply!

Applicants should be able to browse all of your job openings. They may find a position for which they are better suited than the one that initially caught their interest. And you should make it easy for them to apply for more than one job without re-entering the same information multiple times.

Applicant Tracking System Makes Applying to Your Job Opening Easier

Online applications are great for recruiters because the information candidates enter goes directly into the ATS. But if your applicant tracking system is outdated and old school, you may be giving your candidates a headache. Manually entering information like work history and education only to also upload a resume will drag down your candidate’s experience.

The best applicant tracking systems will allow for custom job applications that provide applicants the the option to upload a resume or provide just the basic information needed to start the application process. Now you can save your candidate time and also include some screening questions that can’t be answered from the resume. You’ll have fewer abandoned applications and a greater wealth of data from which to screen applicants.

Many candidates prefer to fill out applications on their smartphones for a variety of reasons. Younger candidates tend to prefer smartphones over laptops for just about everything. And many applicants for hourly positions may only have access to a smartphone. That’s why an applicant tracking system that includes a mobile-friendly careers site and application is so important to improving your candidate experience.

ATS Lets Your Candidate Decide the Best Way to Keep in Touch

Text message? Phone call? Email?

Letting your candidate decide the best method to communicate isn’t just about prioritizing their preferences. If your candidate already has a job, a phone call during business hours may not be possible. Or if an hourly worker has multiple jobs or commitments, getting that first screening out of the way by texting can make background noise less of an issue.

Using an ATS lets you ask applicants up front which mode of communication works best. And it also protects your company. When managers reach out with a text message, they’re doing so from within the ATS rather than their personal phone. And all messages, including email, are stored with the candidate’s information regardless of who was sending the message.

Use an ATS to Craft an Organized, Seamless Candidate Experience

Part of creating a positive candidate experience is reassuring the applicant that your company is run well. A well-planned hiring process that is free of drama is a great place to start. An applicant tracking system will allow you to create a hiring process complete with tasks assigned to different stakeholders.

You’ll always know which step of the hiring process is next, and you can clearly communicate a timeline to the candidate. With all of the candidate communications in one place, you can avoid calling twice to schedule an interview or phoning an applicant at their place of work when they clearly prefer a text message. You can also create email templates for each point of communication. Your emails will always hit the right tone without typos no matter how hectic your day is.

All of these features found in the best applicant tracking systems certainly make your job easier. But they also create a smooth, orderly experience for the candidate. After all, the hiring process goes both ways. And when you make that offer to a stellar candidate, you want to make sure you’ve put your best foot forward each step of the way.

Keep the Positive Candidate Experience Going by Building a Talent Pool

By the time you get to your final round questions, you’ve got two or three high quality candidates. But you can only choose one–for now. You know you can count on another position opening up. And when it does, you’d love to call those great candidates back.

You can easily call up past candidates’ information when you use an applicant tracking system. But if you’ve also used your ATS to improve the candidate experience, you’ll increase the odds those top applicants are still interested. And if they’re not, they’re likely to refer a friend if you’ve used your ATS to treat your candidates as great as you do your customers.

Find Your Next New Hire When You Use an ATS to Improve Candidate Experience

If you’re using an old school ATS from the early 2000’s or still writing macros in Excel, you’re probably spending a lot of time reading through resumes or scrolling to find that one highly qualified applicant that piqued your interest–if only you could remember her details. And if the hiring process is a headache for you, chances are it’s miserable for your prospective applicants.

You’ll win the talent war when you treat your candidates (and employees) as great as you do your customers. And that’s where the real power of the best applicant tracking systems shines.

An applicant tracking system can improve your candidates’ experience at every step. Your branded careers site can put your employer brand on display, while also providing a simple, clean interface to apply for multiple open positions. Mobile-friendly, custom online applications make the application process shorter and friendlier. You can put the candidate first starting with the initial contact. Your entire hiring process will sell your company as a great place to work. And if that candidate isn’t the one, they’re more likely to point their friend in your direction.

Ready to modernize your hiring process with a top-rated ATS? Give ExactHire a call today.

Photo by João Ferrão on Unsplash