11 Ways to Improve Your Recruitment and Selection Process
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11 Ways to Improve Your Recruitment and Selection Process

Post Author - Mile Živković Mile Živković Last Updated:

With the current unemployment rate in the United States at a very low 3.9%, the best candidates are off the job market in just a few days.

Simply put…an effective recruitment and selection process is no longer a luxury but a necessity. It’s the key to seizing the window of opportunity and ensuring you hire the right people quickly and efficiently (and in a way that reflects well on your employer brand).

You’ve got a lot going on, though. We get it. That’s why we’ve created this quick guide to show you how to level up your recruitment and selection process.

By implementing these practical strategies, you’ll learn how to reduce your turnover rate, improve the quality of your hires, and create a stellar candidate experience.

TL;DR — Key Takeaways

  • Depending on how you structure your process, there are usually between six to eight stages of the recruitment and selection process. Understanding each one is key to hiring better candidates more quickly.

  • The most common mistakes when hiring include: neglecting soft skills, rushing the hiring process, and letting unconscious bias creep in.

  • To improve how you recruit, start by creating better job descriptions. Then, streamline the application process. Make it easy to apply and quick to get through to avoid wasting candidates’ time (or yours).

  • Expand your search across the right social media channels. These platforms are also great for building your employer brand.

  • When interviewing candidates, try structured interviews. Use screening tools like automated resume screening and skills tests to lighten your workload and save time.

  • Use AI tools…but not too much. Instead, focus on creating the best candidate experience.

Understanding the recruitment and selection process

Recruitment and selection are two sides of the same coin. The first is all about attracting the right candidates and getting them to apply. The latter deals with the processes you have in place to narrow down your applicant pool and select the best talent for the job.

To improve your overall recruitment and selection processes, you first need to know their basic elements. Depending on how you structure your hiring cycle, you might include the following steps:

  • Application: Create the job description and job ad, and promote it on relevant job boards, online communities, and your website or careers page

  • Resume screening: Use screening tools to effortlessly filter through numerous resumes and find the right candidate more quickly

  • Screening call: Get to know multiple candidates and build a first impression about them

  • Assessment test: Determine if the candidate has the right skill set to do the job, including soft and hard skills

  • In-person interviewing: Interview several potential employees to find the one candidate that fits the bill

  • Background and reference checks: Check whether the candidate has been honest about their previous employment, academic background, and other details

  • Decision and job offer: Choose the right candidate and send out a job offer letter

Stages of the recruitment and selection process
Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

Once you’ve gotten to the assessment portion of your recruitment process, read through our guide on the 8 Steps to Create a Better Employee Selection Process.

Common mistakes hiring managers make during the selection process

Before going into some of the most typical mistakes to avoid in the recruitment and selection process, understand what it looks like for your company. Take a look at your recruitment metrics to see where most candidates drop off and figure out why.

Even the most experienced hiring manager can make mistakes when trying to find suitable candidates for their open roles — errors that can be costly. Mishires, poor team dynamics, and a high hiring cost can all affect the bottom line.

So, look for these common mistakes before they become big issues.

Overlooking soft skills

Typically, the average job description will focus mostly on hard skills (i.e., the ability to get the job done). For example, a job description for a marketer will include things such as paid ad management, on-page SEO, social media management, and others.

Testing for soft skills gives you a complete overview of a candidate's profile.

While important, it’s always worth adding a range of soft skills to the mix. For example, a marketer will need great communication and teamwork skills in addition to their technical abilities.

List out your desired soft skills in the job description and choose how to test for them. We recommend using skills assessment tests (obviously) to help you identify those candidates with the right soft skills. Then you can get a closer feel for who to choose in an interview, while also assessing for culture fit.

Rushing the hiring process

The average time to fill a position in the United States is 44 days.

Each additional day that your job ad remains open costs your company money, including job board fees, hiring managers’ time, screening software, and more. It’s no wonder that many hiring managers are tempted to hand out the job offer quickly to save time and money.

However, rushing the candidate selection process can lead to massive problems that will cost you more in the long run. It’s not worth saving pennies on recruitment if it means making a bad hire, increasing employee turnover, and making other costly errors.

How long candidates wait for job offers statistics

Instead of rushing the candidate selection process, work to optimize it. By using the right screening tools (with AI features) in combination with a human touch, you can reduce your time to hire and make better hiring decisions at a fraction of the time and cost. But more on that in just a second.

Bias in the selection process

Unconscious bias happens to everyone.

For example, it’s not unusual for a hiring manager to favor a candidate because of an elite academic background or because they’re a smooth talker. However, when unconscious bias creeps too far into the process, we risk focusing on the wrong things.

This can not only eliminate your most promising candidates but can also, in extreme cases, result in legal issues.

To find the best candidates and avoid the risk of unconscious bias, you need the right tools and processes in place. For example, anonymous hiring tests, a structured interview process, diverse panels for in-person interviews, and, most importantly, a strong set of standardized criteria for evaluating candidates.

11 ways to improve your recruitment and selection process

Each company faces its own unique challenges when trying to find qualified candidates, so it’s best to look closely at your company to find the best ways to improve your hiring process.

At Toggl Hire, we’ve been helping businesses with their employee selection process for years. Based on our experience, we’ve come up with our very best tips to help you recruit and identify candidates — handy for all hiring managers looking to make their final candidate selection faster and land a better quality of hire.

Let’s get to it.

1. Define a clear job description

It can be tempting to look at online job boards and simply copy the job descriptions for your own job openings. While this can be a good starting point, these descriptions will still need considerable work to be attractive to job seekers.

Example of a clear job description summary

When you accurately list out the desired (and nice-to-have) hard and soft skills, the clear responsibilities of the role, and the tools, processes, and people the candidate will be working with, it becomes easier to find candidates.

Besides details about the job, have your HR department cover details about the company culture, background, mission and vision, and overall values. In a competitive industry, this can be a game-changer.

Last but not least, always include the salary range. If you wait until the job offer to tell the candidate what the compensation package is, the chances of the candidate accepting are slim.

2. Expand your social media reach

Social media platforms can be a great way to share details about your company culture and what goes on behind the scenes. But beyond building your employer brand, social media sites are also exceptional platforms for reaching the right candidates.

You can also participate in relevant groups on LinkedIn and Facebook where your potential employees hang out. On X, research and use the right hashtags as part of your recruitment strategy.

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

Paid ads are another way to get the attention of top candidates in your field with hyper-focused ad targeting.

3. Use structured interviews

Structured interviews involve asking the same interview questions to everyone. They’re a great way to score candidates fairly and assess whether they will be a good fit for the role. However, choosing between structured and unstructured interviews depends on what you’re looking for.

  • Structured interviews work best when you need to compare lots of people or test certain skills

  • Unstructured interviews are handy in cases where you want to dive deeper into a person’s character or thought process.

Structured vs. Unstructured Interviews

To make the most of a structured interview, try following these best practices:

  • Have the same set of interview questions for each candidate to ensure a standardized interview process.

  • Use a candidate scorecard to assess each candidate more fairly and support your hiring decisions with real, quantitative data.

  • Mix behavioral and situational questions for a broad overview of candidate performance.

  • Use interview panels, where different members of the hiring team are present during the interview, for a more balanced assessment.

  • Record the interview if you need help with decision-making later on.

4. Focus on employer branding

75% of applicants consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job. However, building a strong employer brand is much more complex than putting together a great job description.

Everything that speaks about you as an employer is a part of your employer brand, from how you hire and work to your mission, culture, and values to the benefits you provide to your employees.

Social media, your website (especially the Careers and About Us pages), and recruitment and industry events, such as job fairs, are great places to showcase your employer brand.

What is your employer brand

5. Streamline the application process

92% of applicants never finish their job applications, and it’s not because they lose interest. In most cases, it’s because the process is too long or complicated. The great news is that you can troubleshoot this process by trying to apply for your own job openings.

Here are some ways to make the application process simpler and find the perfect candidate:

  • Make cover letters optional (gasp!)

  • If a candidate can apply with LinkedIn, let them use Easy Apply

  • Set expectations right from the start by explaining what each stage of the hiring process will look like

  • Use hiring tests such as the ones we offer at Toggl Hire in the very first step of the hiring process. This makes the application more engaging and gives you and your potential candidates immediate results

  • Regularly update the candidate about their progress — to keep them in the loop

  • Make the application mobile-friendly

6. Use the right screening tools

There is a lot of recruiting software out there, and we encourage you to seek out the best options for you to make the employee selection process smooth. But if you’re looking for an all-in-one ATS with competitive pricing that candidates love — try Toggl Hire. We have a solid track record of ensuring the best candidate experience with our products:

  • Hiring tests are the first stage of the recruitment process, and they help determine whether candidates have the right soft and hard skills.

  • Resume screening tools can go through thousands of resumes in minutes, helping you remove unqualified candidates quickly

  • ATS (applicant tracking tools) help you manage the entire application process, from application forms to resume screening and handling customized communications with your applicants.

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

Toggl Hire’s recruitment software combines automation with AI to supercharge the employee selection process and remove even the most tedious bits, letting you focus on one thing: making great hiring decisions.

7. Don’t rely too much on artificial intelligence

AI can definitely help your sourcing strategy, but just like any other tool, it needs a human touch to be effective.

For example, AI can help determine the right skills for the role and search for them through resumes, but it can’t tell if candidates are being honest about their proficiency in those skills. As advanced as they are (and becoming), AI and machine learning can’t do background checks or personality tests to determine if a candidate is what they claim to be on paper.

To have a strong recruitment process, use AI in moderation. Never rely solely on machine learning algorithms to make an important hiring decision for you. That’s worse than going with a gut feeling.

8. Prioritize candidate experience

For 78% of candidates, the experience they get in the hiring process is an indicator of how your company values your people. So, before introducing new tools and stakeholders to your employee selection process, make sure you’re prioritizing the most important element: your candidates.

Some ways to create a candidate-first application process include:

  • Clearly communicate what the process looks like: the stages included and when they can expect to hear from the hiring team.

  • Be transparent about the salary, benefits, and future career progression.

  • Make the application process simple and straightforward so they can apply in minutes.

  • Send feedback about their application quickly and, if possible, with details on why they are (not) going forward.

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

Can’t seem to figure out why candidates are less than impressed with your company’s hiring process? Take a look at these common drivers of a poor candidate experience to see if you’re making the same mistakes.

Common drivers of poor candidate experience

9. Rely on experts for skills assessments

Skills assessments speed up your hiring and ensure you get a better fit from the start. With tools like Toggl Hire, you can test for hard and soft skills to get a better idea of actual job performance and not just the contents of their resume.

At Toggl Hire, each test in our rich library is created by a team of vetted subject matter experts. When you send these tests to your applicants, you know that the results reflect their skills and knowledge.

10. Encourage team participation in the selection process

Two heads are better than one, as the saying goes. In hiring, having a few heads involved in the decision-making process helps you gain different perspectives and prevents you from making biased or poor hiring decisions.

For example, you can work in an ATS where your team has access to all the candidates in the final rounds of hiring. They can make and read comments in real-time. During the interview, you can have a few HR team members present or have them review the recording later.

Of course, there are cases where just one person has to do full-cycle recruiting, and in these cases, you can use tools to aid instead of coworkers.

Tips to improve your full-cycle recruiting strategy

11. Be open to feedback about your hiring process

Hiring is a two-way street. Each open position means that you review potential candidates, and they review you as an employer. To become a more desirable employer, seek out and listen to feedback from your applicants.

You can do this proactively by asking them to write a few quick lines about their experience in the employee selection process. Alternatively, you can review your key hiring metrics: time to hire, quality of hire, application completion rate, turnover rate, and many others.

Improve your hiring process with Toggl Hire

If you want to improve the way you hire, you’ll quickly see that there are countless candidate selection tools that promise to make things easier. Making the wrong choice can not only prevent you from hiring someone great, but it can also impact your employer brand.

At Toggl Hire, we have an all-in-one hiring tool with everything needed to go from job description to offer letter. Not only will you make smarter hiring decisions, but you’ll also provide candidates with an exceptional experience in the process.

Create your free account and get started with Toggl Hire today!

All in one hiring tool
Mile Živković

Mile is a B2B content marketer specializing in HR, martech and data analytics. Ask him about thoughts on reducing hiring bias, the role of AI in modern recruitment, or how to immediately spot red flags in a job ad.

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