Recruitment best practices: The ultimate guide for hiring top talent

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Recruitment best practices: The ultimate guide for hiring top talent

Recruitment best practices: The ultimate guide for hiring top talent

Making the right hire is a challenge that recruiters and hiring managers face every day.

And since mis-hires can cost companies up to $240,000 in expenses, can you afford to hire candidates without using recruitment best practices? 

Use these recruiting best practices to hire the best

From sourcing to onboarding, this article covers several specific recruitment best practices for each stage of the recruitment process that will help you to make the right hires.

1. Writing a job description: Key tips for attracting talent to your workplace

It all starts with the job description. Your candidates will be searching through plenty of job vacancies to find “the one”.

Since your candidates may first become aware of your organization’s existence through your job description, it needs to stand out. It must reflect your company brand, implement a call to action, and feature seamlessly integrated keywords. Here’s more on these best practices for writing job descriptions.

Make sure your job description reflects your company brand

Indeed cites a perfect example of how to ensure your job description mirrors your organization’s brand. In this instance, the HR professional who crafted the job description opts for words such as “weirdness” to describe their company.

Note that “weirdness” and “spirit” are specifically chosen words that reflect the unique character of the organization advertising the role. They will catch an applicant’s eye as they search through a vast range of vacancies on job boards.

Alternatively, formal organizations must use appropriate language and words that will reflect the company brand. Present the culture of a formal organization with modest words and language to ensure your candidates form an accurate perception of your company.

Use calls to action as part of the job description

If you suspected that this was a content marketing approach, you are correct!

But a call to action (CTA) is also vital for a job description, serving the purpose of inspiring potential applicants to take action with enthusiasm by applying for an open position. 

The following examples are compelling call-to-action sentences that you can use as a model for your job description’s CTA (note that they all use an imperative tone of voice):

compelling call-to-action sentences for your job description

  • Join our marketing team 
  • Let’s join forces and work together
  • Apply straightaway
  • Make your application count
  • Reach out to learn more about our organization
  • Check out our social media for more on our awesome team!
  • Earn $X per hour and receive incremental increases as you progress

Use keywords in your job description

You might be thinking that this sounds like another marketing approach, and again you’d be correct—but it’s a crucial one.

Keywords are arguably the most important facet of crafting a job description. No matter how many hours you spend crafting an exceptional job description, you might not receive many applicants who suit your requirements without keywords.

What’s essential when using keywords is determining which ones to use for each open position. Human resources teams can begin their keyword research by writing the job description and then jotting down the words particularly relevant to the open role.

You can also compile a list of keywords and phrases that a job seeker will likely use when searching for a similar open position and use these in your job description to attract applicants.

2. Use social media channels for candidate sourcing and social media recruiting

Social media channels can facilitate the candidate sourcing process, which is great. But because it’s essential to get the communication right, a recruitment best practice to keep in mind is to know how to craft the right messaging on social media.

And since internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts, you’ll need to decide which channels to use.

Which social media channels should you use?

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are three of the most effective social media channels for candidate sourcing. Since these options are free, don’t miss the opportunity to use them in your recruitment process.

Recruitment best practices when using LinkedIn 

If you’re active in LinkedIn groups, you’re on the right track when it comes to sourcing the right talent for your organization. But you must first complete your company brand page, since it will appear in any searches your candidates carry out.

You can then search for candidates or reach out to them using personalized messaging, instead of repeating the same generic greetings used by thousands of companies that resemble yours. Do this by describing why your ideal candidate stands out from others and why they’re a good fit for your organization.

Best practices for using Facebook for recruitment

As Workable puts it, Facebook is one of the most powerful tools in your recruiting toolbox. It can even be seen as the perfect platform to effortlessly launch a diverse hiring strategy and widen your talent pool, because you can contact candidates located in different areas of the world.

Integrate this social media platform seamlessly into your recruitment process by first creating a company page and then uploading job posts to your organization’s Facebook page. 

But don’t stop there. Implement supplementary methods, such as company image promotion. Since your employees have the full inside story, use them to give potential candidates insights into your organization. Upload posts that show the fun side of your organization, as well as the camaraderie your team shares.

Finally, appoint someone to take charge of your Facebook page management and actively use it to communicate with potential hires. 

Best practices for using Twitter for recruitment

There are some super effective ways to source candidates on the Twitter platform. These are the key methods:

  1. Create a compelling Twitter business profile
  2. Target the specific type of candidates who are a good fit for your organization
  3. Communicate your company message with regular posts

The key is to create excitement about your company through Twitter and maintain this excitement with regular information and updates that appeal to potential candidates.

3. Use niche job boards to discover the right talent for your role

There are three principal advantages of using niche job boards: candidates are specifically looking for vacancies like yours, the quality of your hires will be better, and you can trim down your time to hire significantly.

Let’s go into a bit more detail on each of these points:

  • Source pre-matched candidates with the right skills. Since candidates will already be aware of the demands of your organization’s specific field, it’s also likely they’ll have researched the skills they need to be successful. This means some of your work as a recruiter has already been taken care of!

  • This improves the quality of your hires. Although niche job boards don’t attract the same number of applicants as general job sites, they attract high-quality hires. Through niche job boards, you’ll increase your odds of hiring candidates who know exactly what they want in an organization.

  • With a smaller candidate pool, it’s also likely that you’ll reduce your time to hire by focusing on fewer but more fitting candidates for your vacant position. A bonus is that your cost per hire is also minimized with niche job boards, since you can focus on a select few promising applicants in a short space of time without compromising on the quality of hire.

4. Use employee referrals and employee referral programs

Referral programs are a popular inbound recruitment approach that is beneficial to your recruitment strategy for several reasons. There are a few best practices to ensure this approach is successful. Here they are:

  • Outline the expectations of the referral program explicitly.
  • Give your employees an incentive for candidate referrals, which might include a bonus, a donation to a charity, or the chance to contribute to a corporate social responsibility opportunity.
  • Offer feedback on progress with the recruitment process to employees who make referrals. Keep your employees up-to-date on how the referral program is progressing.
  • Implement marketing strategies to promote the positive outcomes of the referral program among employees. This might include posting success stories on the company blog.

As Indeed puts it, top talent typically makes a habit of surrounding itself with other highly capable professionals. By giving employee referral programs a shot, you can unlock a potential goldmine of exceptional talent. 

5. Approach passive candidates the right way

Part of implementing recruitment best practices involves appealing to and approaching the 70% of applicants who are passive candidates. Passive candidates are candidates who are not actively looking for a job because they’re happily employed.

Some of the passive candidates you can target include former colleagues or candidates who are part of an alumni association, and some strategies can help you to achieve this.

What are the best ways to engage passive candidates?

Don’t just post job openings on social media, but also use your organization’s professional network to discover and approach passive candidates who might be available for an open position. When you approach passive candidates, your brand is critical: as a best practice, sell your company story.

You can also try building a system of external advocates for your organization’s brand who will provide and present valuable data on your company.

According to Roshan Jayawarenda of Elliott Scott HR, this strategy facilitates the process of building trust and credibility externally. As a result, you can reach and engage passive candidates more effectively.

And since giving back to your community is a strong brand endorsement, don’t overlook this best practice of engaging passive candidates. Go the extra mile, roll out a corporate social responsibility program, and show off the great things your company has done for your community. Then you can share it all via social channels to attract passive candidates.

6. Hire diverse teams 

Companies with diverse teams are 12% more productive, get better employee engagement levels, experience less turnover, and are seen as better employers than companies with non-diverse teams.  With this in mind, it’s crucial to diversify your talent pool. Use the following recruitment best practices to gain the benefits of diversity.

  1. Hire qualified underrepresented talent objectively and without bias with the assistance of a reliable skills-testing platform.
  2. Appraise or have someone else appraise the job descriptions you create to ensure you avoid using gender-exclusive language or language that is exclusive to candidates with disabilities.
  3. Provide ongoing training and conversations related to inclusion and diversity in your workplace.

Create a diversity and inclusion statement

Reinforcing your commitment to hiring diverse teams can be achieved by writing a diversity and inclusion statement. According to The Balance Small Business, it’s just a start, but it can be an effective way to set the tone for your company.

There are plenty of best practices you can use to write an effective diversity and inclusion statement.

  1. Begin the process by seeking the participation of your current employees at all levels. Take their input on board to help you understand their viewpoints and cultural perspectives.
  2. Refer to your company’s vision, culture, brand, and mission, and explain how diversity and inclusion link to your company values. The best diversity and inclusion statements will align with the mission of your organization.
  3. Refine and edit your first draft according to your team’s feedback and input.
  4. Share your diversity and inclusion statement on your company career page and your social channels.

7. Refining your company brand: Essential approaches to boost your reputation

Since 32% of those surveyed by Jobvite call company culture a reason for leaving in the first three months, enhancing your brand is an essential recruitment best practice. A compelling company brand has the potential to attract the right talent to your organization but can also increase the rate of retention in your business. 

Four steps to boost your reputation or build the right company brand are: 

Ways to boost your reputation

  1. Create a blog
  2. Feature employee testimonials
  3. Create videos
  4. Create regular content that describes your organization’s benefits and perks

Create a company blog

Your blog needs to be engaging and easy to read, so some of the approaches you must implement to create a compelling company blog include:

  • Breaking up text with images, graphics, or charts
  • Dividing the text of each blog post into sections with headers and subheaders
  • Keeping each paragraph no longer than four lines, to maintain the reader’s engagement
  • Using bullet points and numbered points to show the key points in a section
  • Using search engine optimization practices, including keyword research, to attract traffic

Feature employee testimonials

Aside from interviewing your current employees to get their testimonials relating to your organization, use the following approaches when you display employee testimonials on your website:

  • Describe the perks and rewards that employees receive at your organization
  • Feature information on the external buzz about the company and industry
  • Highlight how the company began and the direction it’s headed in
  • Mention the opportunities to develop a career with your organization
  • Integrate a testimonial that tells a well-structured story
  • Demonstrate how employees have completed a journey or progressed in their career
  • Present a set of Q&A testimonials that dig deeper into your organization’s development

Create videos that showcase your company brand

If a company brand video is in the pipeline, you’ll already be aware that it has the power to humanize your brand and create a unique selling point. To ensure you reap these benefits, as mentioned by Kartoffelfilms.com, when you create company videos make sure that you:

  • Plan the content of the video before you start recording
  • Produce a storyboard that outlines what will happen in each scene of your company video
  • Produce a script to give your video a coherent structure
  • Don’t use a smartphone — select sophisticated equipment to record a high-quality company video 
  • Choose the right type of video or videos to match your brand: this might be an interview-style video, a company presentation, or a video that features a company event
  • Incorporate the company logo to ensure your brand is unforgettable
  • Edit the video using good video-editing software, such as iMovie or Final Cut Pro
  • Since 61% of people will watch company brand videos shared by friends on social media, get the ball rolling by sharing your videos on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

Describe the perks and benefits of your organization

Dedicate a section on your company career page to the perks and benefits of your organization. To appeal to candidates, remember to entice and engage them with the right language when you describe these perks.

Ensure that you promote the culture of your organization. Because candidates can be swayed by an organization’s culture, your mission is to promote your values and vision, which can be done via a company mission and vision statement.

8. Candidate screening: How to evaluate skills and knowledge

Evaluating skills and knowledge doesn’t have to be complex or challenging—you can do it the easy way by using a skills testing platform. It is by far the most convenient method for evaluating your candidates, since it enables bias-free decision-making and makes it simpler to select candidates who best meet the role’s requirements.

Go beyond resume screening and use skills testing platforms

In the same way that you’d ask an actor or actress to attend an audition, you must incorporate skills testing in your recruitment process as a best practice if you want to evaluate your candidates’ abilities efficiently.

What are the limitations of resume screening?

A couple of reasons that resume screening isn’t the most effective candidate screening approach are:

  1. Highly skilled candidates are often overlooked because they didn’t include a keyword or two
  2. There’s every possibility that candidates who might seem like a good fit have lied on their resume

A more rigorous screening approach is critical to help you avoid expensive mis-hires, and skills testing is one answer to this.

What benefits do skills testing platforms offer that resume screening doesn’t?

As well as being created by experts in the fields you’re assessing, which enhances their reliability, skills tests offer recruiters who have limited knowledge in the field a more accessible option for evaluating candidates’ skills.

Other benefits that skills testing offers include:

  • Reducing time to hire
  • Increasing the quality of hires
  • Offering a prediction of candidate performance in the role

Use custom questions

There’s an extra component that can be used with good skills testing platforms: the custom question options. You can choose custom questions to ask your candidates and use their responses to instantly screen out candidates who don’t match your requirements. It’s handy and can speed up the recruitment process.

9. Interviewing: Critical ways to facilitate the interview stages

Interviewing is a crucial recruitment best practice, but if you’re pressed for time and need to focus on other critical parts of the recruitment process, you’ll need another way to schedule interviews quickly. If you can relate to this, now’s the time to use recruiting automation and artificial intelligence to schedule interviews effortlessly.

Use artificial intelligence and recruitment bots to schedule and reschedule interviews

Since you can integrate AI bots into your organization’s scheduling calendar, they’re a good option to consider when automating the interview scheduling process. Bots also facilitate interview rescheduling, doing the hard work for you. 

How else do AI bots help the recruitment process?

You should be aware of the paradox that, despite AI bots’ capability to learn from the data they’re fed, they can still make decisions based on human biases. Nevertheless, they can help the recruitment process in many ways:

  • They can greet candidates when they land on a career page
  • They can gather candidate data and prepare it for administrative processes
  • They are capable of conducting short skills-based interviews
  • They can respond to candidates’ inquiries 

Reach out to promising candidates with short initial emails

Alternatively, if you prefer a human touch instead of artificial intelligence, sending a short email is one ideal way to extend an invitation to an interview. It saves time, compared with contacting candidates by phone, so that’s why this is a best practice for interview scheduling.

Below, you’ll find a short interview email scheduling template that you can use to draft your own:

Email subject:

Interview for [job title] position at [name of organization]

Email body:

Hi [candidate name],

Thank you for applying to [name of organization] for the position of [job title]. Your skills seem like an excellent fit for our role, and we would like to invite you to an interview [via Zoom/at a specific location] to learn more about you.

The interview will last [X minutes/hours], after which we will introduce you to our team.

Please advise us which time best suits you out of the following options:

[Date and time option 1]

[Date and time option 2]

[Date and time option 3]

We look forward to meeting with you,

Best wishes [your name and company details]

Use structured interview processes instead of unstructured interviews

Structured interviews are an option for interviews that you should consider in order to dig deeper into your candidates’ skills and get to know them better. 

The efficacy of structured interviews surpasses unstructured interviews, because you’ll be asking all candidates the same questions in the same order. As Workable points out, you can then rate your candidates’ answers using a standardized scoring system.

What’s more, because you’ve put together a consistent set of interview questions for all candidates and planned for the interview, you can regulate the duration of the interview and standardize the candidates’ experiences with ease. 

What’s the best way to carry out a structured interview?

The three key steps you must follow to carry out an effective structured interview are as follows:

1. Specify the role’s exact requirements

Part of this involves clearly defining how the required skills will relate to the role. Instead of stating that communication is important for the role and asking for examples of a candidate’s communication skills, specify the types of communication skills they’ll require and look for evidence that they have the right abilities for the context of the position.

2. Create your questions

Put together a list of questions that might follow the STAR interview technique, or fall under the behavioral interview category or the situational interview category.

3. Create questions to follow up on the answers provided by candidates

Follow-up questions shouldn’t be invented on the spot during a structured interview. Instead, you need to plan these. For example, suppose you’re asking about a candidate’s experience in diffusing the tension in an agile team due to increased technical debt. In that case, you might plan to follow this up by asking what steps they’d take to resolve the situation and the effects such an action would have on the team.

Reinforce objectivity when scoring: Consider using a job scorecard

Create your scorecard by using different categories per column. Contract Recruiter explains that scorecards generally consist of a spreadsheet with four columns.

In your first column, state the skills or information you’re looking to assess. In the second column, stipulate the perfect response that you want from your candidates. In the third column, write down notes about candidates’ responses and qualities, and use the fourth column for a numerical score for each candidate.

Scores must correspond to your candidates’ levels of detail (out of five or ten) and how well they match the role and the organization. Once you have completed all the interviews, compare the scores to make candidate ranking easier and maintain objectivity when assessing them. 

10. Use the right tools, such as applicant tracking systems

Hiring well and saving time depends on being organized, and that’s why using tools is one of the best practices for recruiting employees. As well as the previously mentioned skills testing platforms and AI bots, tools such as applicant tracking systems, HRIS systems, and recruitment CRMs are worth looking into. 

How do applicant tracking systems make it simpler to hire well?

Talent acquisition and hiring well become effortless with the help of applicant tracking systems. They help to track the recruitment process and facilitate filtration and classification of your candidates’ applications, based on keywords and how many years of experience in the field each candidate has.

HRIS systems: How do they make hiring easier?

HRIS systems are perfect for keeping track of your existing employees’ data, but they’re also incredibly useful for the hiring process. They help HR professionals to:

  • Manage talent and monitor their applications
  • Automate the communication between you and your candidates
  • Onboard successful candidates by using the data to roll out training sessions

Why are recruitment CRMs important in the hiring process?

Recruitment CRMs (recruitment candidate relationship management tools) can make it easier for you to stay in contact and maintain your relationships, making sure that you don’t forget to reach out to candidates by using communication, automation, and reminder capabilities.

Recommended reading: Your hiring team’s guide to recruitment tools

11. Nurture relationships with candidates

There may be a time when you need to dip back into the talent pool to hire a candidate who impressed you the first time but was classed as a silver medallist, so nurturing relationships with your candidates is one of the best practices for recruiting employees. You can do this in two ways:

Nurture talent by sending a “checking in” email

Don’t just say “we’ll keep your details on file” if you think an applicant is particularly promising but didn’t receive the gold. Send them a “checking in” email if you have an evergreen open position that might tempt them in the future.

Keep talent in the loop with company marketing campaigns

You might do this through LinkedIn after you’ve connected with your silver medallists or via an email (with an email marketing campaign) that features updates about your company and its upward performance trajectory. Remember that candidates love to learn about your company’s brand and development, so to ensure you keep them in the loop, use a recruitment CRM to automate these emails.

Enhance the candidate experience with prompt feedback

One of the best ways to enhance the candidate experience is to deliver prompt feedback. This is a recruitment best practice because it helps you avoid negative feedback on your company from candidates who’ve had a poor experience.

If you’re wondering how to deliver accurate and prompt feedback, have a look to see how skills testing platforms like TestGorilla can help. They’ll give you specific scores relating to your candidates’ required skills for the role and the areas in which they need to improve, meaning you can provide specific feedback on these areas.

12. Retention: Crucial ways to retain top talent

Since retention is also an important part of recruitment, consider using recruitment best practices such as using top onboarding strategies, providing ongoing training, and establishing mentorships to increase your retention rates.

Which onboarding strategies are the most effective?

You can ensure that new hires thrive at your company with effective onboarding strategies, some of which include:

  • Tailoring the onboarding process to every hire you make. Employee engagement is important from the get-go, so tailor your onboarding process by encouraging employees to be themselves, motivating them, and checking in with them to make sure they have exactly what they need. 
  • Assisting new hires in settling into the company culture. Because culture trumps just about everything, teach your new hires about the vision of your company, its culture, and its values. Team bonding exercises can help with this, but you can also back this up by finding and telling the kind of stories that reinforce your culture
  • Setting up or encouraging employees to schedule coffee chat meetings with colleagues. This is an increasingly popular way to help new hires build and develop relationships with team members and the wider organization. Coffee chats might be virtual or in-person, depending on whether your company is remote or office-based.

Provide ongoing training and encourage employee development to boost retention

Despite the differences between employee training and employee development, both have the potential to boost retention and lead to improved performance. 

Training may not be continuous, whereas employee development is typically employee-driven and is characterized by seeking ongoing opportunities for progressive skill development. 

Nonetheless, each is a recruitment best practice that you must implement to reap the benefits and retain new employees.

How can skills testing make it easier to develop training opportunities?

You’ll need a baseline from which to build a training session for your new employees. You’ll also need to get a clearer picture of which skills are the priority for your training sessions. That’s where skills testing can help.

You can assess your employees to determine the baseline of their current skill sets, and since skills testing will give you insights into where your employees exceed expectations, you can determine which training sessions aren’t required.

For example, if you want to know whether keyword research should be a priority training session topic for your new copywriter, check their knowledge in this area with a technical SEO skills test before developing any sessions.

Establish mentorships as part of onboarding new hires

As John M. O’Connor explains in Forbes, you should assign your new employees at least one mentor who has a seasoned perspective of the organization. Even if the mentor is not in the same department or geographical location, they can still offer new employees advice on settling into the role.

13. Use critical employment metrics

No recruitment process is complete without implementing steps to monitor or evaluate how successful candidates perform in the role after being hired, which is why tracking employment metrics is one of the recruitment best practices to be aware of.

Employment metrics provide points of reference when you make comparisons between employees. They indicate whether your employees are content in their position and whether you need to implement other training sessions to help them better settle into the role.

What are the three key employment metrics that offer insights into your recruitment efforts?

Three crucial employment metrics that you should monitor are the rates of mistakes made, the rates of absenteeism, and the amount of overtime worked by recently hired employees.

  • Rates of mistakes or errors. This recruitment metric measures employee performance and how many errors or mistakes your employees make on the job. 
  • Rate of absenteeism. Use the rate of absenteeism to determine how motivated your new hires are and whether they are engaged at work. 
  • Overtime worked. Since there is a fine line between enthusiasm and employee burnout, use this metric to track the overtime worked and avoid a decline in morale (which can lead to a reduction in employee retention).

Use these recruitment best practices and hire smarter 

To recap, the following recruitment best practices can help you hire effectively, avoid mis-hires, and save your organization money:

  1. Research and write your job description well
  2. Turn to social media for candidate sourcing
  3. Go to niche job boards to discover the right talent for your role
  4. Have an employee referral program
  5. Engage with passive candidates
  6. Hire diverse candidates
  7. Take steps to improve employer branding
  8. Screen candidates' skills, not their resume
  9. Approach interviews with objectivity
  10. Use the right recruitment tools
  11. Build and maintain relationships with candidates
  12. Retain top talent with trainings and mentorship
  13. Track employment metrics

Use these recruitment best practices to source, vet, evaluate, and hire top talent for your organization, taking your recruitment to the next level.

Tools like TestGorilla can help you to streamline your candidate screening and enhance the effectiveness of your vetting process when compared with resume screening on its own. Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.

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