Improve Hiring: Thin the Herd

Improve Your Hiring Process: Thin the Herd

As you might gather from the title above, this is the first blog in a seven-part series about core concepts your organization can use to improve the efficiency and overall results of your recruiting and hiring process. While not the most glamorous topic out there, I think the majority of people involved with recruiting will agree that doing it right, and with as little wasted effort as possible, is critical to the ultimate success of any organization.

To be clear, this blog series isn’t about “process change” or anything nearly that advanced. Instead, I’ll be writing about simple concepts that are easy to incorporate into your existing process and can dramatically improve results. So, off to our first suggestion — thin the herd efficiently.

Screen Employment Applications

I don’t mean to imply that your applicants are a herd of animals, although you may disagree in some instances! However, this analogy holds true for most organizations when you look at what chronically-high unemployment rates have created. We’ve all read the stories about hundreds or thousands of applicants lining up when career fairs are held for new job opportunities. The simple fact is there are a lot of people continuing to look for work, so open positions attract larger volumes of applicants than they did 10 years ago. The “herd” of applicants is typically pretty big depending on the role.

On the one hand, that’s a good thing for you as an employer. There are more options from which to choose and a more diverse pool of potential hires available. On the other hand, it creates a dilemma many of you have encountered…”how do I possibly review all of these applicants for this opening?” That’s usually followed by…”I don’t have time for this AND my actual job!” So, how can you thin the herd?

Screening Questions Are Your Friend

The easiest solution I’ve found is to develop job-specific screening questions for your different positions. While there is initially a little time involved in creating these questions (including making sure they are legal & non-discriminatory), they can allow you to separate the clearly-unqualified job candidates from the possibly-qualified individuals much more quickly than the traditional option of reviewing resumes and applications individually.

It’s possible to do this with existing paper applications or downloadable PDF applications, although these options take away the ability to have the screening done in an automated fashion. Similarly, some of the more prevalent job boards allow you to require applicants to answer screening questions before they can submit their information for your job openings.

More commonly, organizations are looking to automated applicant tracking software tools to help with screening. If implemented properly, web-based recruiting solutions like these can automate this screening process significantly. In many instances, you can automatically “score” applicants’ answers to your unique questions and designate certain responses to mark applicants as not qualified for a given position.

Download our hiring process questions guide


Streamline and Improve the Hiring Process

An applicant tracking system shouldn’t be viewed as a way to “automate” hiring — in an impersonal sense. Rather, it’s merely a tool, that when used properly, can help you quickly identify which applicants merit further consideration for your particular job openings. Once you’ve “thinned the herd” initially, you will then be in a position to focus more time and effort on engaging with the shorter list of qualified applicants moving forward.

Be on the lookout for the next blog in my series where I relate the concept of comparing apples to apples to the recruiting process.

Could you use an ATS solution to help streamline your applicant screening process? Contact us to discuss our applicant tracking system.

Image credit: Stampede by Gopal Vijayaraghavan (contact)

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