Understanding the Recruiting Process
Although companies may have some variation to the way they hire people, the recruiting process has many similarities among all companies. Understanding how companies hire people will make you familiar with the process and know what to expect. From when you first apply to a position to when you begin working, this article will present the primary steps along the way from the candidate’s and company’s perspective.
The initial step for a company recruiting a new candidate is to identify a need for a role. This can be based on a number of factors including an expanding department/company, a newly created position, a vacancy created from an employee leaving the company, gaps in the department that the current staff cannot manage, restructuring, mergers, and others. Human resources is then notified and tasked with bringing on a new candidate for the position.
Next, the company will need to clearly define the position, articulate the requirements/skills, list the job duties and essential job functions, establish performance objectives, the purpose for the position, how it contributes to the company, and include preferred qualifications to attract the best candidates. This will be listed in the job description that a candidate views and applies for.
The recruitment plan outlines the strategy for ensuring that the best candidate is hired. The recruitment plan encompasses the posting period for how long the job will be open, methods of advertising for the job vacancy (job boards, company website, social media, job fairs, etc.), using outside recruitment agencies, a method for attracting internal candidates, and any other criteria for locating candidates for the specific position.
The first step for a candidate in the hiring process is applying for the open position. This can be accomplished in a myriad of ways including applying online through a job board/company website, using LinkedIn, contacting an executive recruiter, emailing/physically mailing your resume to a hiring manager, applying in-person, going to job fairs, submitting your resume to someone in your professional network, or expressing your interest to your manager for an internal position.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
ATS are simply the systems that companies use to screen the vast pool of resumes they will receive for each open position. The average job opening gets 250 resumes according to Glassdoor (2017). ATS are designed to help streamline the selection process for employers by using technology to choose the best resumes through a variety of methods. An HR person can input specific keywords to only pull up resumes with certain criteria to separate the wheat from the chaff. Additionally, ATS can send automated messages to candidates to show that their resume has been received, administer online assessments, schedule interviews, email rejection letters, and integrate the candidate into the payroll system if hired.
The interview process can differ significantly from company to company. For example, the ABC Company may have an initial phone screening interview, followed by an in-person interview with HR, followed by another interview with the direct hiring manager, followed by an interview with the department head, followed by an interview with a senior executive, and finally a panel interview of several peers! Phew! One the opposite end of the spectrum, Company XYZ may only have a phone interview with only a single interview before accepting/rejecting a candidate. Most companies will fall somewhere in the middle.
After a candidate has been interviewed and chosen to move forward, most companies will conduct a background check. Like the interview process, a background check can vary significantly depending on the company and position. For example, if you are seeking to work in finance, you can count on a credit check being conducted. If you were looking to work for the government with a Top-Secret clearance, you can expect a very lengthy background check examining every aspect of your life including a credit check, criminal check, drug testing, reference check, interviews with neighbors, and so forth. At a minimum, expect most companies to perform a verification check with your former employer substantiating your position, time at company, salary, and reason for leaving.
A job offer is the final step after you’ve applied for the position, been selected for interviewing, gone through the taxing interview process, and passed the various background checks. The job offer can occur via phone, email, by letter, or a combination of them. Ensure that you fully agree to the terms of the offer including salary, necessary travel, location of work, relocation package, type of employment (part-time, full-time, contract), and the start date.
While technology continuous to flourish, the recruitment process hasn’t changed in lockstep. A company will still need to determine a need for a position, outline the job description, determine the strategy for recruiting candidates, conduct interviews, perform background checks, and finally make an offer. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (2016), it takes $4,129 and 42 days to fill an open position. As a candidate today (2018), you will still need to apply for a position, have your resume selected to move forward, go through the interview process, and pass the background checks before getting an offer.