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HUMAN RESOURCES

Troubles Managing Hiring? Software That Can Help

Most small business owners don't interview often, so sometimes a bit of technology can help you make better hiring decisions.
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It would surprise many job seekers, but if you've ever hired someone, you know that most hiring managers dislike the interview process almost as much as candidates do.

In 30 minutes to an hour, a manager is supposed to be able to figure out not only if this person can do the job, but if the candidate will fit the culture, work hard, and be worth the offered salary. Often, in order to get different perspectives, multiple people will conduct interviews. It's time consuming and complicated and add to that, most hiring managers don't conduct interviews all that often, so they don't know what questions to ask.

Two relatively new companies are on the scene, aiming to help managers make better hiring decisions using the benefits of technology and information sharing. Here's how they stack up.

The first, Sparcin, started with the recognition that there are all sorts of high tech resume tracking systems, but people were asking either questions they thought up on the spot or working off a list that a predecessor wrote in 1995 that has little relevance to the job at hand. So, Sparcin created a system that can not only help you track your applicants, but can help you with the questions.

The company offers a database of questions for various job types, and you can add your own. Indeed, one of the key interesting features is the option to crowdsource questions. You can even rate the effectiveness of a particular question. You also have a record of what was asked and if you have multiple people conducting interviews, you can divide the questions, allowing you to learn more information about the candidate as well as not forcing the candidate to answer the same three questions five times. Interviewers can record the answers the candidates give, which makes sharing easy.

You can also use the system when working with a recruiter or headhunter in order to ensure that they are screening according to the questions you want asked.

Pros: Having and easily sharing questions and answers makes interviewing a lot easier, especially for people who don't do it often. The cost is small, starting at $50 month.

Cons: You don't really need a system to come up with great interview questions nor to share answers with your fellow decision makers.

Overall recommendation: If you don't find interviewing enjoyable or you've made hiring mistakes in the past, it's worth the small price. Additionally, if you regularly have multiple people interview the same candidates, keeping track of what has been asked can be well worth the money.

The second, RecruityBy, is for hiring managers who are busy. Coordinating schedules between candidates and your team can be complex--especially if the candidate is currently employed. RecruitBy conducts a virtual interview. You record yourself asking the questions. Then, you email the job candidate and the candidates make videos in response. As long as they have a webcam and microphone they can record their answers. You can send out the same questions to multiple candidates and then compare the answers to each question side by side.

Pros: This is a great screening tool, especially when you are looking at out of area candidates. Your whole team can see what you see and you can help make decisions. Seeing how seriously someone takes this interview can also give you insight into a candidate.

Cons: Job candidates can record and re-record their answers until they have it just right, which may make their answers not entirely reflective of their true knowledge and personality. Additionally, because it's as easy to send the questions to one candidate as it is 100, you may be tempted to interview far too many candidates, giving you data overload. And in order to make the final decision, I would recommend still bringing in the candidates for face to face meetings.

Overall recommendation: For out of area candidates it is a huge cost savings. (The standard cost is around $520--prices are listed in euros.) Additionally, it has the potential to be a big time saver. In these situations, it's worth the money. For people without scheduling problems, who are local, I'd probably forgo the software and stick to face to face screenings.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: May 29, 2013

SUZANNE LUCAS | Columnist

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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