Hiring Process Steps

Hiring Success Glossary

Table of Contents

What is a hiring process?

Hiring a new employee requires an organization to proceed through a step-by-step process to identify its needs, recruit and eventually hire the most qualified candidates. Most companies have their own hiring process. What follows are the most common steps in the hiring process across industry and regardless of company size. Keep in mind, however, that the specific details of the hiring process are unique to each company.

15 Steps of the Hiring Process

1. Identify the hiring need

The hiring process begins by identifying a need within your organization. This need could vary from filling a vacated position, better managing a team’s workload, or expanding the reach of organizational tasks. Positions are, in other words, either newly formed or recently vacated.

2. Devise A Recruitment Plan

Once an organization identifies a hiring need, it should begin recruitment. In the case of newly formed positions, organizations should clearly identify how the new role aligns with its goals and business plan. Organizations should also keep relevant internal teams and employees apprised of the new position at each stage of the hiring process. It’s important that all those involved in the hiring decision agree to the hiring process, steps, and appropriate communication channels. Recruitment also includes strategizing how to publicize the new position, both internally and externally; criteria for initial candidate screening; what the interview process will look like; and who will conduct interviews.

3. Write a job description

The hiring staff should start by generating a job description that includes a prioritized list of job requirements, special qualifications, desired characteristics, and requisite experience. The job description should also include information regarding salary and benefits.

4. Advertise the Position

Identifying highly-qualified potential candidates begins internally. Start, therefore, by notifying current employees of the opening. Advertising the job may stop there, if you are determined to fill the position internally. If, however, you are interested in external candidates, you should include this information when you notify internally. External publicity will likely consist of utilizing a combination of the company’s website and social media platforms, job posting sites like LinkedIn, job fairs, industry publications and events, local newspaper advertisements, and word-of-mouth recruitment. Publicity will likely consist of utilizing a combination of the company’s website and social media platforms and job posting sites like LinkedIn, industry publications, and local newspaper advertisements.

5. Recruit the Position

Beyond simple job posts, the hiring staff should reach out directly to desirable candidates via LinkedIn, social media, and job fairs. Active recruitment will help generate applications from potential candidates who are not actively searching for new jobs but may be perfect for the available position.

6. Review Applications

Your organization likely already has a mechanism in place to receive applications--via email, an applicant tracking system (ATS), etc. In many cases, the review process begins with Human Resource representatives who review the applications and eliminate any candidate who does not meet the minimum requirements for the position or the company more generally. In other instances, the hiring team or hiring manager may prefer to review each application. Once a batch of qualified applications are assembled, the hiring staff should review the remaining candidates and identify those they want to interview.

7. Phone Interview/Initial Screening

Initial interviews typically begin with phone calls with HR representatives. Phone interviews determine if applicants possess the requisite qualifications to fill the position and align with an organization’s culture and values. Phone interviews enable organizations to further pare down the list of candidates while expending company resources efficiently.

8. Interviews

Depending on the size of the organization and hiring committee, one or several interviews are scheduled for those remaining candidates. Interviews include:

  • Early interviews are typically one-on-one, in-person interviews between the applicants and the hiring manager. Early interviews conversations typically focus on applicants’ experience, skills, work history, and availability.
  • Additional interviews with management, staff, executives, and other members of the organization can be either one-on-one or group interviews with the hiring committee. They may be formal or casual; on-site, off-site, or online via Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. Additional interviews are more in-depth; for example, in interviews between a candidate and multiple members of the hiring team interviewer, each member of the hiring team focuses on a specific topic or aspect of the job to avoid redundancy and ensure an in-depth conversation about the role and the candidates qualifications and experience. Note: at this stage, you should also inform the candidates you elect not to request an interview that the search has moved forward and they are no longer under consideration.
  • Final interviews often include conversations with the company’s senior leadership or a more in-depth discussion with an interviewer from an earlier stage in the hiring process. Final interviews are typically extended only to a very small pool of top candidates.

9. Applicant Assessment

Once the interviews are completed, or during their completion, company’s often assign applicants one or more standardized tests. These exams measure a wide range of variables, including personality traits, problem-solving ability, reasoning, reading comprehension, emotional intelligence, and more.

10. Background Check

Your initial job posting should indicate that all candidates are subject to a background check. Background checks review candidates’ criminal record, verify employment history and eligibility, and run credit checks. Some organizations also check social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to make sure potential employees are likely to represent the company in a professional manner. Drug testing may also be warranted, depending on the position.

11. Decision

After conducting background and reference checks, the hiring staff identifies their top choice. The hiring staff should also select a backup candidate, in case the top choice declines the offer or negotiations fail to produce a signed offer letter. In the event that no candidates meet the hiring criteria, the hiring staff should determine whether or not to start the hiring process over. If so, the hiring staff should discuss whether or not to adjust or alter the hiring process in order to yield more favorable candidates.

12. Reference Check

Reference checks should verify any pertinent information shared by the candidate about previous employment--job performance, experience, responsibilities, workplace conduct, etc. A typical question to ask references is “Would you rehire this person?”

13. Job offer

Once a top candidate is identified, the organization should extend an initial offer. The offer letter should include the position’s salary, benefits, paid time off, start date, potential severance pay, working remotely policy, included company equipment and other terms and conditions of employment. Negotiations are likely to follow. Therefore, the hiring staff should determine internally which elements of the offer letter are negotiable, and which are not. It is typical for terms like salary, flexible work schedule, and working remotely to be negotiable.

14. Hiring

After negotiations, once the candidate accepts the job offer they are hired. An accepted offer letter begins a process of filling out and filing paperwork related to employment. Forms and paperwork might include:

  • Form W-4
  • Form I-9 and E-Verify
  • State Withholding and Registrations
  • A checklist with all required paperwork to be completed by new employees
  • An organization’s employee handbook

15. Onboarding

Hiring a new employee does not conclude the hiring process. Onboarding your new worker in a welcoming and professional way will help integrate them in a manner that lays the groundwork for a long-term productive relationship between them and your company. A welcome letter is strongly advised. From there, relevant management should reach out to the employee before their start date to welcome them to the organization. Their work space should be prepared, cleaned, and equipped with the necessary credentials and equipment before their first day. If an orientation is part of the onboarding process, make sure your employee has a clear understanding of the expectations and scheduling of those events. Lastly, consider assigning your new employee a mentor, which will help them settle in to their new position and organization, and set them up for long term growth and success.

Plan Your Own Hiring Process

A detailed hiring process is a necessary element for organizational success. Devising and implementing a consistent hiring plan will help optimize your ability to identify the strongest candidate while also create a clear understanding of your hiring process in the event you need to improve it. Moreover, hiring does not end with a signed offer letter. The transition from the accepted letter through the onboarding process and into the early period of employment are vital to long-term organizational growth.

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