In my last column, I predicted that 2015 would be an exciting year for the U.S. job market and offered five resolutions for better hiring in the new year. Focusing on these ways to improve your hiring is a great start. But it's also important to look at your overall hiring process and refine how you recruit and hire your workforce.
What's So Wrong With How You Hire?
Here's a question: Would you let the technology you use to run your business get outdated? In the same way you want to run your business with the best technology possible and in the most efficient and successful way, your hiring process should follow suit. Don't miss out on hiring great talent because your process simply doesn't allow you to find them.
The most common outdated technology companies are using in their hiring process is an applicant tracking system (ATS). Applicant tracking systems are no longer sophisticated enough to intelligently sift through applications and resumes and truly provide the best candidates. In addition, the workforce is getting younger and in a world where they can make purchases and complete tasks with a few taps on their smartphone, cumbersome job applications will lose you a great candidate in minutes. In 2015, would you hand someone a flip phone and ask her to send an email?
It can be hard to imagine a hiring process that doesn't include an applicant tracking system, especially if you're a recruiter that gets at least hundreds of applications for every job you post. In addition, many applicants are unqualified for the jobs they're applying for, creating a huge problem for hiring teams trying to efficiently find the best person for the job. Applicant tracking systems are generally regarded as a necessary evil for these and other reasons. But leaning entirely on ATS software to find the talent you need is like using a computer running Windows 95 to take care of business.
Today, 95 percent of candidates who are interested don't apply or don't complete the application process once they start. To truly bring your company into the 21st century and achieve hiring success, you'll have to move beyond outdated ATS software and cumbersome applications and toward a better way of hiring that benefits both hiring teams and job candidates.
What Should You Do About It?
There are a few simple things you can do to take your recruitment and hiring process to the next level.
1. Simplify your application
When applications are too long and cumbersome, candidates become frustrated and may consider abandoning the application altogether. Job seekers often view an application as an extension of the company itself. If they're turned off by the application, they associate that poor experience with your brand. In addition, applications that include questions that are too specific or restrictive and don't allow for variety in candidate experience and history make it hard for applicants to really express why they would be a good fit for your company. If you don't allow flexibility for your applicants, you'll lose your flexibility to hire good talent.
2. Use better software
A lot of companies will lose out on great talent before they even apply if the application system is slow, buggy or hard to use. Most ATS software providers have to modernize their outdated product by bolting on integrations for social recruiting, interview management and more. Just like you update the software on your phone or computer on a regular basis, make sure you're using hiring software that performs regular updates to keep up with advances in technology and the rapidly changing market.
3. Add a human touch
Job candidates aren't just another number. A human touch is crucial to finding the best candidates to fit the positions you're looking to fill. Applicants that feel like they're spending an hour to submit their resume into a black hole may start to move on, looking for a place where they are confident their resume is getting attention from decision makers. Computers help us in innumerable ways, but we can't rely on them to understand all the nuances to hiring the lifeblood of your business.
When we built the SmartRecruiters platform, we wanted to provide hiring teams with a system that provided all the benefits of an applicant tracking system without the clunky technology, piecemeal applications and faulty screening processes. We wanted to make it easy for recruiters and hiring teams to find and interact with job seekers. Finding the talent you need to run your business is critical to your success and relying on outdated processes can hold you back. The future of hiring success--and the success of your company--is in moving beyond outdated ATS software and toward a new way of hiring.