Recruitment Process: How to Hire Better with the Right Tools

Recruitment innovations and AI recruiting are here to stay! Explore how to leverage them to make your life easier throughout the entire recruitment process.
recruitment-process-how-to-hire-better-with-the-right-tools
Wendy Ng
Wendy Ng
Content Lead for Recruitment & Recruitment Technologies, FlexOS
A Recruitment Tool Content Lead with a devotion to people-centric practices and a passion to help people make hiring better and more enjoyable through insightful, research-driven guides.
May 23, 2024
12
min read

Recruitment is one of the most crucial aspects of Human Resources and a strategic function for organizational growth.

As you may feel it so well, the recruitment landscape is rapidly evolving with the rise of remote work, gig economy, and talent marketplaces. This means we have multiple avenues for bringing talents on board to do the job, but it also pose challenges in doing it right, with a staggering 75% of companies struggling to recruit effectively in today’s market.

Almost all best-in-class companies are utilizing some form of recruiting software. Many are even gearing towards AI-enabled solutions to accelerate their hiring processes and recruiting efficiency. Companies relying on manual or outdated recruitment methods just cannot keep up!

That’s why I’m here to help you navigate through the challenges and identify areas where you can do better (and easier) with the right tools and best practices. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll find suitable adoptions to untangle the blockers for your recruitment success.

Don’t worry; we'll explore this through the whole recruitment process, stage by stage, that you're likely familiar with so that you can focus only where you need most:

  1. Identifying hiring needs
  2. Preparing job descriptions
  3. Candidate sourcing
  4. Screening applications
  5. Conducting interviews
  6. Background and reference checks
  7. Sending job offers and securing talents 
  8. Onboarding new hires

Let’s dive in!

#1: Identify Your Hiring Needs

As a foundational step in the recruitment process, identifying new hiring needs requires proper workforce planning. The shift towards a skills-based approach stands as the mega-trend in the HR field, as companies now need to adapt and prepare themselves for the future.

This involves understanding the specific skills and competencies required for your organization to thrive.

Lars Schmidt, founder of Amplify Talent and HR community leader, highlights the importance of starting with the current gaps in your existing workforce: 

"If we're not creating environments specifically within the people function, we're not thinking about our strategy from a talent, mobility, and development standpoint, how we're identifying future skills, how we're identifying those skills that are expiring, how we're identifying skills in people in different teams from a talent mobility standpoint." - Lars Schmidt, founder of Amplify Talent and HR community leader

That's why emerging HR solutions like Beamery and Eightfold AI are gaining widespread adoption and making it to the top 5 AI HR tools. Their future-proof approach helps companies transform their talent management.

Beamery for skills-based workforce planning.
Beamery for skills-based workforce planning.

You may want to have the best-fit people on the team rather than the best candidates on paper to complement team dynamics and drive mutual growths (companies and individuals) in the long run. Lars Schmidt aptly states:

“We have to be better at being able to hire people that are maybe 70% of the way there, but have room to grow and room to expand and have a hunger and a passion to do that than hiring people who are 90% or 100% there. And sure, they could do that role, but they're not going to be challenged or not going to be engaged. And they're probably not going to be sticking around that long.” - Lars Schmidt

Once you focus more on skills and less on roles, you join dynamic organizations with flexible ways of filling in positions:

  • Cross-border hiring - tapping into global talent pools for the skills you need no matter where they’re based. Employer of record services can facilitate this by taking care of the complexities of international employment laws and allowing you to hire without establishing a legal entity.
  • Contractors - accessing gig economy talents for projects with contractor management software.
  • Internal hiring - upskilling and reskilling existing team members to match new requirements for jobs and newly-formed roles, as proven success by companies like Unilever, Schneider Electric, HSBC, and more.

#2: Crafting Effective Job Descriptions

A job description is the first touchpoint that shapes a candidate's perception of your company and the role they are considering. But it can also be a “source of bias, confusion and frustration for job candidates and employees.

As I discussed in the other guide on best recruitment strategies in 2024, your JDs should:

  • Focus on outcomes and skills: Rather than listing rigid responsibilities, craft job descriptions that emphasize the desired outcomes and the skills required to achieve them. This approach better aligns with the flexible nature of modern work and helps attract candidates who can adapt to evolving roles.
  • Reflect your company's culture and values: Write job descriptions in a way that gives candidates the right impression of your team's vibe and working environment. This transparency helps attract individuals who resonate with your organizational culture.
  • Be more inclusive: When job descriptions are free of gendered terms, age biases, or other exclusionary language, you encourage a diverse pool of applicants to apply based solely on their skills, supporting a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion from the start. We love using Textio to refine JDs with inclusive language and maintain a consistent voice across other recruitment materials.
Textio to avoid bias languages in JDs
Textio

#3: Broaden Your Talent Pools

With the job description in hand, the next step is attracting and reaching potential candidates. You probably know many tactics to increase job exposure: placing job ads in multiple boards, leveraging employees’ networks, attending job fairs and events, or improving the employer brand on social media. Yet, here is how you can streamline your sourcing strategies and get more out of it:

  • ATS software: automatically distributes job posts on different sites, including legacy job boards, (some) niche job boards, social channels, etc., manages pour-in applications, and gives insights on ROI.
  • Recruitment CRM: provides user-friendly, ready-made tools to activate various initiatives such as career page optimization, employee referral programs, and recruiting events.

This is also where AI recruiting software for candidate sourcing can be a game-changer as examples of Eightfold AI, Fetch, Pro5, and others leveraging machine learning and LLMs in their proprietary systems to suggest only candidates that well-matched your needs.

Pro5 AI recruiting software
Pro5.ai

But the search for talent shouldn’t start only when you have new job openings. Prepare a future-ready candidate pool of your own, too! Start from today by:

#4: Screening, Assessments, and Shortlisting

a. Initial Screening

Screening and assessments are different things, but I put them in the same group because they both lead to a similar goal of narrowing down the pool of candidates to a manageable number who will be invited for interviews.

Screening can be executed manually by a dedicated HR professional or, more efficiently, through automated systems.

This step often involves reviewing resumes, experience, cover letters, and other required application materials to assess candidates’ qualifications and fit for the role. Or in my interpretation, to filter out candidates who do not meet the basic job requirements.

If you handle high application volumes, having an application tracking system is a must for efficient management and insightful recruitment metrics.

ATS software like Manatal, SmartRecruiters, Lever, and Pinpoint have advanced features, including AI capabilities, to help you screen candidates faster, keep track of progress, summarize key result metrics, follow up with potential candidates, and store everything in a centralized database. (No more multiple spreadsheets or paper files, yay!)

For those who only need a helping hand with resume screening, tools like Skillate can be your assistant. It helps automatically extract information from resumes in any file type and evaluate them against the JDs.

Skillate AI screening
Skillate

This way, you save significant time on manual work and also minimize unconscious bias.

b. Candidate Assessments

Often, resumes do not provide the complete picture of a candidate, and you may need to conduct further rounds of screening interviews or practical assessments to gain a better understanding of their skills, knowledge, and abilities, as well as their personality and potential cultural fit.

Typically utilized after initial screening, recruiting assessments are a deciding factor before candidates are invited into the final interviews.

They can take various forms:

  • Personality Assessments: These evaluate behavioral traits and tendencies, helping to understand how a candidate might fit within a team or company culture.
  • Cognitive Ability Tests: These measure a candidate's problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, and ability to learn new information quickly.
  • Skills Assessments: Often tailored to the specific job, these tests verify a candidate's proficiency in necessary technical skills or knowledge.
  • Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs): These present hypothetical, job-related scenarios, assessing a candidate's judgment in resolving work-related challenges.
  • Job Simulations: These provide a realistic preview of job tasks, allowing candidates to demonstrate their ability to perform in actual work conditions.

Giant firms like Google, Amazon, and IBM, with their vast resources and dedicated teams, have the luxury of designing and implementing their own recruiting assessments. However, SMEs and startups now also benefit from the availability of pre-built assessment software to evaluate candidates effectively.

For example, platforms like Pymetrics, Glider, and HireVue (all ranked among the top 20 most-used AI HR tools) can help you quickly conduct online assessments, from game-based and skill-based to technical ones.

Pymetrics' game-based assessment.
Pymetrics' game-based assessment.

c. Text-based interview and asynchronous interview

With the rise of remote work and the need for more flexible recruitment processes, I've seen companies replace traditional methods with text-based interviews and asynchronous video interviews.

Text-based interviews (also known as chat interviews or asynchronous text interviews) involve candidates responding to interview questions via a messaging platform, a recruiting chatbot, or a dedicated portal.

Asynchronous video interviews (or one-way video interviews) involve candidates recording video responses to pre-determined interview questions. The questions may be presented one at a time or as a set of questions that candidates can answer at their convenience within a given time frame.

Bard Hyman, founder of leading AI-powered chat-based interview software Sapia, captures why recruiters need this new kind of solution:

​​”It's really quite simple in its conception, which is the best way to interview people, and this is meta-analysis. Academics that are validating this are through a structured interview. A structured interview is where a human asks all candidates the same questions. And measure them against a really clear rubric of what they're looking for. But the problem is that we humans don't scale. So we never interview everyone, and we certainly can't do that consistently and without bias.” - Barb Hyman, founder of Sapia.ai

SparkHire, a leading player in this field, said they helped their customers save 438 hours over 900 interviews and $91,000 annually with this approach.

This does mean that you need provide proper communication and guidance for your candidates to avoid any confusion, which might results in drop-outs and lower candidate experience. 

SparkHire one-way video interview.
SparkHire one-way video interview.

#5: Conducting Final Interviews

There you have it: a shortlist of very potential candidates who have passed the initial screening and evaluations and are ready for the next round of interviews.

Depending on the role and the company's resources, interviews can take different forms, such as one-on-one's, panel interviews, or group interviews. Each type has its own advantages and should be chosen based on the role's requirements and the company's culture.

To get the best out of face-to-face interactions, besides preparing what to ask during these interviews, it's important to stay organized and align all the efforts made during the previous stages.

Streamline communication and collaboration. Ensure everyone involved gets alerts and reminders. Keep all candidate information organized and pass it on to the next person in charge.

Workable's side-by-side view of the candidate's resume and interview scorecard.

Almost every recruiting software comes with automated scheduling and reminders, and many modern ones facilitate collaborative interviewing with tools like interview guides, candidate scorecards, centralized notes, and more to ensure a consistent and well-documented evaluation process.

If you have remote interviews, it cannot be without reliable, engaging, and effective virtual meeting platforms to ensure an undisrupted and positive experience for both you and candidates.

#6: Background and Reference Checks

Background checks involve reviewing a candidate's criminal record, employment history, educational qualifications, and other past activities to ensure they are qualified and safe to hire.

If you need a dedicated solution to automate background-checking tasks, Checkr and GoodHire are top-rated.

Checkr for automated background checking.
Checkr for automated background checking.

On the other hand, reference checks involve contacting a candidate’s professional and personal contacts to gain insights into their work ethic, character, and abilities.

With positions that involve handling sensitive information, financial responsibilities, working with vulnerable populations, or operating in a highly regulated industry typically require thorough vetting, these steps are very crucial to ensure no potential risks for the company.

We used to conduct reference check calls, which often took up a lot of our time and limited the number of people we could speak with. Requesting references via email or surveys can be an alternative method, especially if you have to do it for most candidates.

Software like Xref and iCIMS help simplify reference checking by sending customized surveys to references, providing dashboards to review, and analyzing reference feedback for you.

Xref reference checking processes.
Xref reference checking processes.

#7: Sending Job Offers and Securing Talents

Once the final candidate is selected, extending a job offer is the next crucial step. This involves negotiating compensation, benefits, and other terms of employment to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. To ensure clarity and transparency, your offer should include key elements such as the job title, start date, salary, benefits, and any additional perks or conditions.

A well-crafted offer letter should also outline the next steps, including the acceptance deadline and any pre-employment requirements. This helps set clear expectations and facilitates a smooth transition for the candidate.

Ensuring you don't have to start the hiring process all over again after finding a top candidate starts with providing an offer that is competitive. Forbes’ HR experts suggest:

  1. Initiate Compensation Discussions Early: Address compensation, benefits, and evaluation procedures during the interview process to remove uncertainty and ensure candidates understand the offer upfront.
  2. Build Strong Relationships: Maintain open communication with candidates throughout the hiring process. Building trust can lead to more effective and transparent offer negotiations.
  3. Tailor the Offer to the Candidate's Needs: Understand what motivates your top candidate beyond salary. Customize the offer to include benefits and perks that resonate with their personal and professional goals.
  4. Highlight Culture and Growth Opportunities: Emphasize your company's culture, innovation, and career growth prospects. Today's top talent seeks holistic job experiences with meaningful impact.

This once again underlines the benefits given by EOR services for remote hiring, as they can help you define and deliver not only must-have employee benefits in local countries but also additional support like work permit visa or remote-related job perks.

For more details, check out our full guide on Employer of Record, EOR benefits, and our top-picks for EOR services in 2024.

#8: Onboarding New Hires

Employee Engagement expert Christie Hoffman shared in our interview:

"If your onboarding is terrible, your employees start in a disengagement hole because they bonded over your bad onboarding. And now you're trying to pull them out of that and demand performance. People will feel they made a terrible decision by joining this company." - Christie Hoffman, employee engagement expert

The recruitment process isn't complete until the new employee has been successfully onboarded because this impacts an important recruiting metric: the first-year turnover rate. Worryingly, only 29% of new employees feel fully prepared after onboarding.

To have better onboarding, you may need to work on pre-boarding welcome materials, a customized plan like 30-60-90 day plan, and even an onboarding "buddy" to ease transitions.

Engaging new hires early with managerial check-ins reinforces their importance and fosters strong working relationships from day one.

HR software like Lattice, Workleap, Workable, or Hibob has helpful onboarding features that allow for customized plans, automated processes, sentiment capture, and result analysis so that you can deliver a smooth and effective onboarding experience to newcomers.

Workable for onboarding new hires.
Workable for onboarding new hires.

Recruitment Process: Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are recruitment processes?

The comprehensive recruiting cycle would involve: identifying hiring needs, preparing job descriptions, sourcing candidates, screening applications, conducting interviews, performing background and reference checks, sending job offers, and onboarding new hires.

But accept for the first and last stages, the approach to recruitment and in-between stages vary significantly depending on your organization's unique factors, such as the size, industry, work culture, and job’s nature.

2. What are the best recruitment strategies to follow?

The world of work is changing, and so does recruiting. Best recruitment strategies that will drive more impact in the coming years include:

  • Focusing on skills and outcomes rather than rigid responsibilities in job descriptions.
  • Broadening your talent pools by utilizing various sourcing methods and building future-ready candidate pools.
  • Leveraging internal hiring and upskilling existing employees.
  • Employing AI-enabled recruiting tools to enhance efficiency.
For more, check out my comprehensive guide: From Good to Great: Top Recruitment Strategies to Level Up Your Talent Game

4. What tools do I need to improve the recruitment process? 

There are a lot of recruiting software that can jump in to help you improve every stage of your recruitment process. And actually, there are more and more GOOD ones that change the industry and the way we approach talent management.

What are your most painful challenges? And what recruitment goals you’re trying to achieve?

Think about them first, because recruiting technology will follow. Then, start exploring my below top-pick collections:

Choose those that fit your budget, with the most features you need, and be in-line with your approach. I also have a dedicated guide on recruiting software for small business because we should all benefit from technology (and also AI at work)!

5. Does AI replace my roles in recruiting?

People who built these AI-enabled recruiting solutions think the opposite:

“AI has unlocked a lot of technology to scale that up [workflow automation], and there's a lot of companies building in that space. There's the second approach, which is building human-led AI-assisted software. We fall into that second approach, and so that means humans are the decision-makers. They decide what search to write, what job description to use for a search, what direction to take it in, which profiles are the right fit, and which profiles we want to shortlist and reach out to. And the AI acts as an assistant in those workflows, making you 50% faster, 80% faster, even 90% faster, but still leaving you in the driver's seat.” - David Paffenholz, founder of PeopleGPT
“You can use us as a fully automated application to determine the qualification process. Then you always have a human, which is usually the hiring manager, who makes the final decision. But we're making sure that, up until that point, everyone's had a fair shot at the opportunity. Everyone's received this incredible experience because they all learned from it. And the whole process is efficient, fair, and actually very empowering for candidates. That's the difference between a chat, an interview, a video interview, or playing a game.” Bard Hyman, founder of Sapia.ai

AI does not replace your human roles but rather implements them. AI tools can automate repetitive tasks, reduce unconscious bias, enhance candidate journeys, provide data-driven insights, and much more. (For a deep-dive, check out our guide on AI recruiting applications.)

This free up your time and mind to focus on what matters most: giving data-driven decision and emphasizing the truly human aspects.

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