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How to Structure an Effective Recruitment Workflow

Creating an effective recruitment workflow is a critical step for any hiring professional. An effective workflow ensures better hiring and helps you manage hiring within your organization. However, before you can create a streamlined workflow you must first understand what your recruiting workflow is.

Your specific hiring process steps may vary based on the position you are trying to fill. For example, if you are hiring for entry-level positions you may include job fairs at college campuses in the early stages of your workflow, but you wouldn’t if you were looking to hire an executive. However, there are four steps in all recruitment workflows that remain the same:

  1. Identification 
  2. Investigation
  3. Communication 
  4. Evaluation

Identification

The identification step kicks off the recruitment process – it’s when you realize the need to hire for a position. Several events can cause this: an employee leaves your organization, you are growing and need to expand the number of employees in a given role, or you have discovered the need for a new role.

It is important to constantly evaluate the current roles in your organization so you know when to hire new employees. It’s easy to identify a need when an employee leaves, but knowing when to expand a role or create a new one can be much more difficult. Creating an org chart with every role clearly defined can help.

Typically it’s not the recruiter who kicks off the recruiting process. It’s most likely a business leader who will be best equipped to identify the need, but it is important to support their efforts and keep track of any trends or cycles of positions opening. Consistently tracking important recruiting analytics will make the identification process easier, and help you streamline your recruiting workflow.

Investigation

One of the most critical steps in the recruitment workflow, the purpose of this step is to define the open role. The investigation can be easily overlooked or rushed by anyone trying to fill a position quickly. Slow down and take the time to truly understand the role so you hire the right fit.

When expanding a role or replacing a recently vacated position, it is easy to rely on an existing job description. While it is possible that your existing job description perfectly suits your need, take the opportunity of a vacancy to review and evaluate it. Clearly define the day-to-day tasks for the job. Determine what programs, technologies, or tools this individual will be required to use as well as the people they will be in close contact with. Then determine the necessary soft and hard skills for this individual to be successful on the job. If you have people in the role currently, get info from them, or if it is a new role, rely on your expertise or someone who has been in a similar role previously. 

Communication

The communication step is where you effectively share your intentions for hiring with potential candidates. This step is a two-part process – compiling the information from your investigation into a compelling job description and then sharing that description with the proper audience. 

Part 1: Crafting a job description

If you did a thorough job in your investigation, you will have the proper information to communicate to potential candidates in a job description. It’s just a matter of documenting your findings.

When crafting your job description, remember that hard skills can be taught. You want to identify candidates who have the necessary soft skills to have the best job fit. Advertise for the soft skills your candidates need to succeed in your job requirements. Mentioning hard skills in your job description is a good practice, but it may be more beneficial to include that they are preferred but not required for the job. Or you can mention them in a section discussing the day-to-day tasks instead of the job requirements.

Part 2: Distributing your job ad

In this part of the step, you’ll need to choose where to share your job description to draw in the types of candidates you need. The channels you use to reach potential candidates may include posting on job sites, making an email announcement to your candidate pool, or asking current employees for referrals. If you know the most effective channels for each position, you can save yourself time and resources in the recruitment process by not having to go through every channel for every role. 

If you have access to existing analytics, look for the channels that typically drive the most or best applicants to your positions. If you do not have analytics in place, consider starting to track where your applicants are coming from to help you determine the most effective channels for you so you know where to focus your resources in the future. 

Pro Tip: Using Pre-Hire Assessments helps you screen out applicants as an initial step, so you can test non-traditional avenues of advertising your job and not worry about sifting through stacks of resumes. This is one great way to increase diversity in your organization.

The communication process doesn’t end with posting the job description. The application itself communicates your company brand and culture. How your application process is set up, and how it flows gives the candidate insight into how your organization is run. Be sure to evaluate your application process and do what you can to improve it. Small improvements can make a difference – one option is to use video introductions to give them a better feel for your organization.

Evaluation

The evaluation step begins once the application has been submitted. This final step makes up a large portion of the recruitment workflow and has the most variance of all the steps. It spans everything from reviewing submitted applications to making the final hiring decision. It includes interviews, assessments, any assigned projects, or shadow days. Deciding what steps to take in your process depends on two factors.

The first, and primary determining factor is the role that you are hiring for. As with the communication step, you will be pulling from your investigation step and the purpose of the open role. If the role will spend a lot of face time with clients, you may want to include more interviews to get a solid understanding of their people skills. If the job is technical then you should most likely include a hard skills assessment. Include the steps that will give you the best picture of how the candidate will perform on the job.

The second factor, which shouldn’t carry as much weight as fit for the specific role, is your company culture. For example, if your organization has a lot of collaboration among teams, you could look for candidates’ willingness to collaborate in a brainstorm with the team. Or if you rely heavily on individual work and need your employees to take initiative then assign a small project with limited guidance and see what the candidate delivers. 

It’s easy for implicit bias to sneak into the evaluation step. Find ways that technology can help you eliminate these biases, and work to create a workflow that is flexible enough to fit the needs of each group within your organization but consistent enough to allow for a fair evaluation.

Infographic - Ways to leverage technology in every step of the recruitment workflow

Technology can help with whichever of these steps you decide to use, whether by providing structured interview guides, online assessments, or video interviews. Test and integrate any technology you are planning to use in the evaluation step so you can be sure that it all fits smoothly into your workflow.