In a world with automated bill paying, direct deposits and DVR, you may be thinking “what will they automate next?” If you’re a business owner looking for seasonal help or another employee, then I have good news for you. Automating your hiring process can not only save time and headaches, but it can also help identify the best applicants easier than ever.
Here’s how to pull it off without buying expensive software:
1. Create a dedicated email for hiring. Nothing is more obnoxious than an unending stream of email notifications from job seekers. When you set up an account, enable an auto-reply that alerts applicants that 1) their information has been received and 2) you will reach out to those you’d like to interview.
The initial hiring process can remain the same: post the announcement, job description and ask interested applicants to submit information.
2. Collect more than demographic data. If you do this correctly with your application, you can actually forgo the resume and cover letter entirely. In addition to asking an applicant to list their job experience and income expectations, you can also craft the application to enable longer situational responses.
For example, if you’re hiring a weekend customer service rep for the busy Christmas season, try writing a short scenario like this:
A customer would like to return a gift but has no receipt. Our policy is to give the lowest price in the past 90 days as in-store credit. Sue, the customer, is very unhappy. How would you respond to her? Write your response as if you’re addressing the customer directly.
Role-play questions give you great insights into how people think and communicate, and are not limited to client interaction. Consider using them to test industry-specific knowledge as well.
3. Maximize the thank-you page. Paid services like GravityForms allow you to customize the page after your applicant hits submit. This is the perfect place for one last instruction, such as “Email us with ‘I love coffee’ in the subject line at (insert email address) and let us know why would you love to join our cafe’s family.”
(Bonus: GravityForms can be used to collect lead and customer data online.)
Personally, I love this kind of test because it removes the question, “Is this person detail oriented?” and tests them before I even consider an interview. Those who submit the email get their application reviewed. Which brings us to…
4. Eliminate candidates efficiently. In a single screening you can identify applicants who did not fully complete the application or who failed to follow directions. Eliminate any candidate whose responses do not match your company culture - remember that it’s easier to train a newbie on tasks than on attitudes.
The last round of hiring we did resulted in over 400 applications, and 60 percent of those were incomplete. Huge time saver! From those who completed the application, at least 50% had responses that eliminated them from consideration.
5. Conduct group or virtual interviews. If you’re hiring locally, using a group interview can enable you to meet several candidates at once and gauge their interaction with each other. This is best used when you have limited time to devote to the hiring process. Set aside a few hours and make them count.
For virtual positions or to assess out-of-town candidates, video interviews via Skype or Google Hangouts are an ideal way to assess a candidate’s use of technology and presence.
No matter how you choose to interview, ask each candidate the same questions and consider grading on a scale. For example:
- 1 star – would not hire unless desperate
- 2 stars – solid candidate
- 3 stars – make an offer
- 4 stars – best of the best!
Finding the most time intensive aspects of your hiring process and automating them can make it much easier to find the right employees without taking up too much time.
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