How to set up an effective HR recruitment process in 10 steps

Last updated:
February 8, 2022
July 25, 2022
min read
Adrie Smith
hr process
Table of contents

After being offered a role, every hire needs to work their way through some type of HR recruitment process. That said, the majority of companies still offboard it to hiring managers, allocating only admin tasks to Human Resources. If it works for your business, great. But we ask you to consider: is it really working? Is it helping move your business forward? It may feel like a knee-jerk reaction to say ‘yes’. But, think about it. Really consider it. 

How many bad hires and conflict have you had over the past few years? If you can think of quite a few, but can’t say precisely how many, it suggests you’ve experienced this too many times. It means you’re definitely still stuck back in the day. As recent as a few years ago, reactive recruitment was considered the norm, and ultimately, it worked. But the key in that sentence is worked. Past tense. Reactive recruitment is an approach of the past, and the truth is it just doesn’t work anymore. We’re living in an era of constantly evolving technology and adjusting employee expectations that have permanently altered the hiring landscape.

As the world grows and evolves, so does the world of recruitment. It is simply not good enough to use the same methods and approaches as recent as 10 years ago. If the hiring space is changing, so should your HR recruitment process. 

No company, large or small, can afford to be without an HR hiring process. Why? Because your competitors have already embraced HR tech. Your business can’t afford to keep bleeding money with your poor hiring decisions.

What are the different types of recruitment? 

Industries, businesses, and people are completely unique. With that in mind, the way we recruit and our HR recruitment process should support that uniqueness. Therefore, there are various types of recruitment methods that will all yield success depending on the industry, business, and people involved.

However, no successful hiring process can be a slap-dash affair that differs from one hiring manager to the next. How can you possibly measure the success of your recruitment process if everything is disjointed?

While data is an aspect of business that many shy away from out of fear,  it is one of the pivotal elements of an organization. When it comes down to it, it’s simple: anything that isn’t measured can’t be improved on. More often than not, perception in the workplace is the complete opposite of the reality of the situation.

Measuring the success of your recruitment doesn’t need to be time-consuming or complicated. No matter how you run your business and prefer finding new hires, centralizing all functions via an ATS immediately gives you more control. An ATS can not only be optimized to meet your unique requirements; it also provides you with HR metrics that allows you to make better hiring decisions.

Is HR technology worth it?

No one can survive without a spine. Think about it! The spinal column houses the spinal cord that controls every aspect of our physical existence. The spinal cord communicates our every action and needs to-and-from the brain.

In HR tech, an ATS is the spinal column. It houses all hiring data and automatically sends out critical information to all role players in the HR hiring process.

Even in startups and small businesses that don’t have an HR department, an ATS fills that crucial role so that you can implement an HR recruitment process.

Who are the role players in an HR recruitment process? 

Before we consider the steps in the recruitment and selection process in HRM, it’s important to identify the role players. These are all the people and third party service providers who work together to fill a role.

In smaller organizations, one person might represent more than one function. Let’s look at a typical example of the role players in an HR recruitment process:

  • Hiring manager: the person whose department needs the new hire.
  • Line manager: sub managers within the same department.
  • Recruiter: usually affiliated with HR and responsible for the HR recruitment process.
  • Service providers like job boards and programmatic advertising and pre-employment assessment tools.
  • Applicants: people who respond to job postings.
  • Candidates: suitable applicants that are converted to the candidate shortlist.

Relevant: The importance of cybersecurity for HR teams

What factors need to be taken into account when creating your HR recruitment process? 

We’ve already explored the impact of data in the world of HR recruitment. We now know that measuring an effective standard operaturing procedure is fundamental to being a good recruiter, gaining successful candidates, and thus transfering them to effective employees for the growth of your company. 

When you’re creating your HR recruitment process, it’s important to consider the key factors of your organization so you can shape your HR hiring process around them. Consider the following factors:

  • What is the size of your company? 
  • What industry does your organization fall into? 
  • What type of business do you work for? 
  • What are the company’s long-term and short-term goals? 
  • How can you hire based on those goals

External vs internal recruitment: which is better? 

Depending on the answers to the questions above, you may be considering which is the better route for you: external recruitment or internal recruitment. 

What is the difference between internal and external recruitment? 

First, we must understand the definition of internal and external recruitment, following with their differences.

Internal recruiting is when your company attempts to fill a role from their already-existing base of employees. Promotions are an example of internal recruiting. 

External recruiting, on the other hand, is when your organization tries to fill a vacancy with candidates who don’t currently work as an employee at the business. 

You don’t need to pick only one style of recruiting when a role crops up. You can offer it internally and externally, but it’s worth doing so in order to monitor the impact. Essentially, releasing a job description internally and externally at the same time may be tricky to stay on top of. So, it’s worth scheduling enough time for each method, and you can then compare the results. 

What are the benefits of internal recruitment? 

If you think internal recruitment is the best fit for your business and you’re ready to shape your HR recruitment process around internal applicants, you’ll be reaping the benefits. The advantages of internal recruitment are:

  • As a rule, internal recruitment is faster, improving your time-to-hire rates. 
  • This method is cheaper as you’re reaching out to existing employees without the need to involve a recruiter, job boards, and so on, so forth. 
  • Internal recruitment enhances employee morale and loyalty, as it comes across as a method of reward and positive reinforcement. 
  • Internal recruitment lends itself to cheaper and faster training, as the employee already knows how the company works and it’s ethos. 
  • Recruiting internally will reduce employee turnover.
  • You already know the candidate, so you’re able to play match-maker more effectively.

What are the benefits of external recruitment? 

If internal recruitment isn’t working out for you, you’ll need to build a HR recruitment process for external candidates. Here are the advantages of recruiting externally:

  • Sourcing new employees means a fresh outlook and new ideas
  • You’re able to interview a wider range of candidates
  • External recruitment heightens the chance of finding the perfect match, allowing you to recruit someone with the best experience and qualifications

Why is having a structured HR hiring process in place so important? 

Having a strong, structured HR recruitment process is the key to success for any and every company. Whether it’s a startup business with less than 10 employees or a multi-million dollar company with workforces all around the world. 

The truth is, if you’ve not maximized the impact of your HR recruitment process, you’ll find money is just being thrown out the window, and the impact of your employees aren’t reaching the mark. In other words, high costs and low effect. 

With a well-thought-out HR recruitment process, your company can:

  • Obtain the right knowledge, skills, and characteristics to meet required levels. 
  • Allow supply to meet demand requirements. 
  • Expands your pool of potential candidates.
  • Betters your selection process by eliminating candidates that don’t match the requirements for a role. 
  • Improves your chances of the right candidate accepting the job offer.
  • Heightens organization levels.

Set up an HR recruitment process from scratch in 10 steps

If you’re still working on disjointed manual hiring processes, it’s time to implement new systems and procedures so that you can remain competitive in the race for talent.

Here’s is a step-by-step guide to help you set up your HR recruitment process from scratch. 

It’s like a recruitment process flowchart we’ve designed for you that you can integrate with your ATS.

1. Know your job requirements

Many people don’t think about the job requirements enough when they need to fill a vacancy. Often it’s because they’re pushed for time, or because they use an outdated job description template.

This vital first step in your HR recruitment process will make or break the success of your hiring.

You must reevaluate every job description when you need to hire. Consider how the job has changed and is likely to evolve in the future. Also, have the management and group dynamics changed?

Technology has probably impacted the skills requirements as well. If your job description is incorrect, you’ll attract the wrong type of applicants.

2. Selecting the hiring team

The benefits of collaborative hiring are indisputable. It not only eliminates bias but offers different viewpoints on candidates’ suitability, strengths, and weaknesses.

Ideally, the hiring team should comprise of the hiring manager, line managers or team members, a recruiter, and often a specialist in the field. This makes a great mix to see if the candidate is an excellent cultural fit, has the right skills, and will boost the team dynamics.

In smaller companies, you might not be able to select a hiring team within the same department. In that case, include employees who understand the requirements of the job and who know the company and buy into the vision.

3. Put yourself into the new hire’s shoes

Now that you know what the job responsibilities are and the type of person you’re looking for, you have to figure out how you’re going to find them. The best way to do that is to step into your ideal candidate’s head and think of how they might approach job hunting.

Ask yourself:

  • Are there plenty of people in the market with these skills and attributes? Entry-level, unskilled, or semi-skilled, and basic support and admin jobs.
  • Is this a specialist role with scarce skills? Both hard and soft skills shortages are on the increase globally.
  • Does this role require a particular kind of personality? Ability to work under extreme pressure, make unpopular decisions
  • Where would this type of person be looking for new opportunities? Social media, online searches via job boards, likely a passive candidate
  • What will draw (and hold) this person’s attention? Probably unemployed, looking for more money, challenge, authority

4. Get the word out that you’re hiring

This is much easier done now that you’ve worked out where your best candidates can be found.

If you’re opting for job boards, choose those that suit your industry and requirements. Tap into your talent pool and get active on social media. If you have a careers site, make sure it reflects your employer brand and integrates with your ATS.

If your potential candidate is not actively looking for a new job and also falls into the short skills category, you’ll have to become very innovative to find them. Advertising widely on job boards will be a waste of money. You’ll have to search via social media and also trawl industries and companies where they work and approach them directly. Headhunting isn’t for the faint-hearted and has to be very well planned and approached with proficiency and professionalism.

5. Refine your application process

Be readily available and approachable. Ensure that your application process is easy and interactive. Automation saves the day here. Set up automated responses that acknowledge every application, and integrate a chatbot to answer FAQ. This works wonders for your employer brand and makes applicants feel appreciated.

Always remember that you initiated the process; you invited applications! You don’t want people responding to your invitation and then being ignored or spending excessive time trying to get their info through. If you neglect the application process, you’ll lose out on top-quality talent.

6. Candidate shortlist

If you’ve followed the above steps, you should be able to come up with a candidate shortlist quite quickly.

Shortlisting candidates must be done while they’re still interested in the job. If you ignore applicants and candidates for weeks and then suddenly contact them, they’ll probably have lost interest.

Compile your shortlist, conduct a quick screening interview (by phone or online) and then set up interview dates. Communicate all dates, times and details with the candidates and everyone on the hiring team. Advise candidates what they can expect during the interview and how much time to set aside. Remind the hiring team to compile their individual interview questions and share them so that everyone’s on the same page.

7. Interviews

Whether an interview is conducted by video conferencing, conference call or face to face, always make the candidate feel welcome and introduce them to the hiring team.

Interview questions should’ve been compiled beforehand, and someone on the hiring team must be responsible for the interview procedure to make sure that it doesn’t run overtime or deviate from the purpose.

After each interview, the hiring team should confer as soon as possible to decide if the candidate moves on to the next round of interviews, gets declined, or is made an offer. Always advise candidates who are unsuitable that their application was unsuccessful. Do that with empathy and ask if you can add them to your talent pool.

8. Employment references, assessments, and verifications

When you’re impressed by a candidate during an interview, it’s tempting to overlook this step, but don’t! Unfortunately, people are not always what they appear.

Securing the job of your dreams can be a motivator to misrepresent yourself and con your way to a job offer. The more senior the position and the more responsibility the job has, the higher the risk for your organization.

Contact past employers and ask them if they’ll give a reference. The best way to do it is to make a brief introductory call and ask them if you can send them an email with your questions. Most people gladly comply and give honest references.

Skills assessments are essential for technical roles, and psychometric assessments are excellent when you need to understand personality specifics.

9. The job offer

You can lose an excellent candidate if you approach this stage wrongly.

The most critical thing is to ensure that everyone on the hiring team is in unison about the best candidate and the salary and benefits on offer. If there’s hesitation, it must be ironed out beforehand. If a candidate wants more money than you budgeted for, come up with some creative job offers to keep them interested.

Think carefully about who will make the offer because they must be able to negotiate with the candidate if they raise concerns. Not every candidate who looks keen during the interview process will accept an offer. Don’t be overconfident and always try to have another candidate to fall back on.

10. Onboarding

This is the one almost everyone forgets in the HR recruitment process.

It’s not necessarily a case of “yay, they’ve signed and accepted so we’ll see them next month”. You need to keep in contact with the new hire regularly and ensure that they have all the prerequisite documentation before they start. Staying in touch regularly tells the person that you’re looking forward to welcoming them as a new employee. It can also serve as a warning to you if they lose interest and decide not to start after all.

The best way to go about it is to create an employee onboarding checklist. That way, nothing falls through the cracks. On the starting date, make sure that you are there to welcome the new employee and introduce them to the rest of the team.

The world of recruitment in HRM has changed radically and has to be structured to attract the best talent. With a well-defined HR recruitment process in place, you’ll make better hires and stop your competitors from bagging the best talent.

Additional reading: The 15 hiring process steps—plus 5 critical actions you might be missing out on

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