A company is only as exceptional as the people in it, and to get great people. Building a robust recruitment process is a necessity. Whether you’re building a recruitment process for the first time or want to optimize a current one, here are some guidelines and additional resources.

Understand your needs

Are you writing a job description? Stop right there!

Before you even think about putting metaphorical pen to paper, the first step in any recruitment process is to figure out what exactly you need. Which candidate skills and qualities are a must? Nice-to-haves?

Do you know the role like the back of your hand? 

Please don’t give us that look; this step isn’t exhilarating, but it will make you a more effective recruiter during every other part of the process. It will help you:

  • Write a differentiated job description that gets the right talent engaged and excited.
  • Proactively source qualified candidates.
  • Set realistic expectations with your hiring manager (because no candidate is perfect)
  • Sell candidates at every touchpoint.
  • Pass appropriate candidates to onsite and save your entire team valuable time
  • And all in all, reduce your time to hire while increasing your hire quality (yes, you CAN have your cake and eat it, too).

Write a job description.

72 percent of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions, while only 36 percent of candidates say the same.

Job descriptions, or impact descriptions as we call them at Lever, shouldn’t just collect resumes. They should be tools that get candidates excited about a role and that recruiters can use as sales ammunition throughout the recruitment process.

The average job description is an undifferentiated bucket list of skills. On the other hand, compelling impact descriptions should be unique to your company and highlight results and impact rather than requirements, so you get the right talent excited to jump into the challenges of the role. Paint a picture of what the role entails and what success will look like, remove arbitrary requirements (like pedigree, years of experience, and skills that you can learn on the job), and don’t be afraid to strike a casual tone, so your candidates perceive you as friendly and human.

Build your talent pipeline

There are many ways to build your talent pipeline. Traditionally, recruiters attract applicants via their company careers page or through job boards. As the market for talent has intensified, companies have dedicated more and more resources to employee referral programs and proactive candidate sourcing.

Our recent recruiting benchmarks research showed that almost half of all hires are either proactively sourced (31 percent of hires) or referred (16 percent).

Careers page

Is your careers page dressed to impress? Every interaction with a candidate – even before a recruiter is in touch – is a chance to convince them that your company is the place they want to work.

Here are a few ways to make your careers page work as a tool to attract top talent:

  • Make it mobile optimized. 9 in 10 job seekers report that they are likely to search for jobs via mobile.
  • Make it easy to apply. Does your applicant tracking system make candidates jump through a million hoops before hitting submit? Candidates, especially the best ones, might lose patience and abandon your process.
  • Showcase your culture. Candidates want to know what it would be like to work at your company. Help them see photos, videos, information about your mission and values, fun employee facts, etc. This is where you get creative! Some careers pages we like: CloudlockEventbriteLyft.

Job boards

Companies use job boards to post their openings and increase visibility to candidates. Two of the most well-known are Monster and Indeed, but there are dozens more, including specialized ones, like Dice for tech talent or eFinancialCareers for jobs in finance, banking, accounting, and insurance.

And there are hundreds more. The Muse is a modern job board geared toward younger talent that works with employers to showcase each company’s employer brand. Hired works like a reverse job board and lets companies approach candidates who have profiles on the website about offers. AngelList, a job board for tech talent, facilitates introductions for companies and candidates who express mutual interest.

It’s worth doing some research and experimentation to find out which job boards are the best for your company. Don’t assume more is better: if you choose job boards that don’t yield quality candidates, you’ll have more noise to deal with.

Employee referral program

We recognize that employee referrals as the top source of hire for their faster hiring, lower cost per hire, and higher retention than other sources. If you invest in building a strong employee referral program, it’s reasonable to expect your offer and offer acceptance rate to go up, and your attrition rate goes down. 

Candidate sourcing

Candidate sourcing means proactively finding and reaching out to qualified people for a role. Today’s top talent is less commonly “actively” on the job market and applying to jobs but quite likely to be open to a conversation if approached, making sourcing an essential component of any successful recruiting strategy.

If you’re not sourcing candidates, you’re missing out on huge swaths of potential employees. While only 36 percent of the workforce identifies as “active,” an entire 90 percent of global professionals are interested in hearing about new job opportunities.

There are two main ways to source candidates: online and offline.

Online sourcing means finding candidates through information on the web. You can search for talent through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, for example, along with many other websites. Offline sourcing means taking your efforts into the real world and meeting potential candidates in person – at a conference or meetup, for example, or another professional networking event.

Conduct interviews

The interview process will vary from company to company and role to role. In a standard interview process, candidates go through a phone screen, onsite interview, reference checks, and the offer stage. Here’s how to navigate each.

Phone interview

The recruiter typically conducts the initial phone interview for the role. For high-priority candidates, however, it can help to have the hiring manager take the call. The purpose of a phone interview is to make sure that you advance appropriate and qualified people to the next stage. Are there any glaring red flags? Do they have the right motivations fit? Do they meet the baseline “must-haves” that you and your hiring manager decided upon at the beginning of the process? Are compensation expectations in the ballpark?

Always leave time for questions, but keep in mind that the way you conduct a phone interview should vary depending on the candidate. Sourced candidates, for example, will need to be sold more heavily than those who applied.

Onsite interviews 

Onsite interview is perhaps the most make-or-break moment of the entire recruitment process. When you get the information, you need to say goodbye to a candidate or extend them an offer to become part of your team. It’s critical, therefore, to structure your interview process. 

Interview feedback and decision

It’s crucial to collect interview feedback quickly. Right after an interview is when information is freshest in everybody’s mind, and the ability to make a quick decision and get an offer out is a competitive advantage. Ask interviewers to take notes during their interviews and submit feedback via your chosen tool.