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How Keeping a Human Element in Your Hiring Process Sets You Up for Success

Smart companies engage top job candidates by making a personal connection and finding ways to move more quickly on key decisions.
How Keeping a Human Element in Your Hiring Process Sets You Up for Success
Image credit: g-stockstudio | Getty Images

Companies spend more time than ever before finding talent and making good hires. Glassdoor's 2015 Why Is Hiring Taking Longer? report revealed that between 2010 and 2014, the average time it takes to hire an employee in the United States increased from 12.6 days to 22.9 days. How can companies compete for talent as the time to hire continues to rise?

Employers need to maintain a human element during the hiring process. Just as important, they must provide a positive candidate experience that moves quickly enough to keep top talent engaged. Robert Half's Time to Hire survey found that nearly one-quarter of workers lose interest within one week of the first interview.

Related: 3 Benefits of a Better Thought-Out Hiring Process

Here's a look at how employers can move forward on a compressed timetable while maintaining a more personal approach. 

Start an employee referral program.

Employee referral programs are an effective tool to reduce hiring time, but that's just one of their many benefits. Of the 107 human resources (HR) professionals surveyed for the iCIMS Impact of a Successful Employee Referral Program study, 63 percent reported their companies have a documented referral program. Most HR specialists know the advantages that referrals bring: More than half said referred employees are better cultural fits, stay longer and are more satisfied.  

Related: 5 Ways to Determine Which Applicants Will Be Loyal Employees

A robust social-recruiting strategy is part of any successful employee referral program. Posting photos and content that communicate your workplace culture can emphasize the human element behind the company and your employer brand. Encourage employees to make the most of their social-media networks. They can share job openings on their personal accounts and make connections on LinkedIn. Focus on creating employee testimonials and posting them online so job seekers can see real-life accounts and success stories directly from the organization.

Related: Use Referral Bonuses to Find Top Entry-Level Talent

Get talent moving.

Create a talent-mobility program that provides employees opportunities to grow and advance within the organization. When companies invest in professional development for staff, they're prepped to hire from within. This has the added perk of making succession planning a lot easier. Scrambling to fill positions takes resources away from what's needed to maintain daily operations. When an executive or manager leaves the company, employers need a pipeline of qualified workers who are ready to move up the ladder.

This is precisely where talent-mobility programs shine: They prepare top talent to advance when the opportunity presents itself. HR saves time and money by bypassing external job postings. Plus, the HR department's hiring professionals know which internal candidates are the best fits to embody and convey the company's culture. Onboarding and training also move along more smoothly because the employee already is acquainted with the company.

Related: Don't Bid for Prima Donnas When You Can Develop In-House Talent

Make the most of your applicant tracking system.

An applicant tracking system (ATS) can be your best tool for managing a fast-moving and intelligent recruitment process. If you have an ATS in place, consult your software provider to learn how the system can coordinate communications scheduling. 

It’s crucial you maintain communications with all job seekers -- even passive ones. Schedule follow-ups to target previous candidates who showed talent but perhaps were underqualified for past opportunities. The same is true for applicants who fit your company culture but might not have been right for a particular role during earlier hiring processes. 

Related: 4 Technologies That Free HR to Work With People Instead of Just Their Paperwork

Keep a database of these contacts so it’s easy to reconnect. When you have a need that matches their skill sets, personalize your messaging. It's important for recipients to know they're hearing from someone in their network and not a bot within an automated system. They'll sense your genuine interest and be more apt to consider beginning the process anew with your company. 

Use interactive screening techniques.

Technology has enabled companies to cut down on screening time without sacrificing a human touch. Consider interactive screening procedures that engage job seekers. Phone interviews are fine, but video interviewing adds another dimension.

It’s best to provide candidates with a sampling of company information before setting up a video interview. Include an introduction clip that briefs them on the company's founding and current position, its most influential core values and its employee and brand culture. These cues help them see beyond the surface of your organization's website or social media posts and learn enough to determine if they might fit in well.

Related: Which Type of Interview Is Best for Your Company?

Video interviews provide flexibility for candidates and hiring teams alike. Because applicants can respond and record at their own convenience, they're primed to project their best selves This eliminates some stressfulness and relieves nerves. Applicants know they'll have the chance to provide a clear, articulated answer that truly represents who they are and what motivates them. This technology also gives hiring professionals a way to share responses with other qualified company employees. When hiring teams do convene, members come ready to discuss their impressions and can collaborate in more informed ways to reach decisions.