How To Save Time And Generate More Qualified Candidates Through Recruitment Automation
VP of Sales & Marketing @ Outback Team Building & Training | Father | Dad-Joke Teller.
Recruitment is never easy, and it’s become increasingly difficult in this post-pandemic world. As hiring managers, we reap the benefits of being able to open up our doors to global talent—but this is as much of a challenge as it is a benefit because your candidates are no longer limited to local job opportunities.
I’ve been looking to welcome a new member to our marketing team since March. It’s been a time-consuming and challenging process. I constantly found myself pivoting and making adjustments. I came up with a system that worked well for me, and it might be of benefit to you. I’ll walk you through how I automated my recruitment process and generated more qualified candidates, but first, let me tell you about my challenges.
I hired a recruitment agency to help fill our open position and also posted the jobs through our own internal networks. While we ended up meeting with a lot of candidates who would have been a great culture fit, most applicants were either:
• Underqualified for the role.
• Overly confident in their skills.
• Spent little (or zero) time researching our business.
• Or all of the above.
Ultimately, I spent a lot of valuable time interviewing candidates who weren’t a fit for the position.
How To Overcome This Challenge
1. Taking A Long, Hard Look In The Mirror
Over the years, I’ve learned that I’m often the cause and solution to many of the problems I face. So, I started my problem-solving process by looking inward and asking myself:
1. Are my expectations too high? We reviewed job postings for similar positions and determined that the expectations aligned with similar opportunities in the market.
2. Is the job description unclear? We specifically asked candidates for their feedback on the posting and determined that the JD wasn’t the problem.
3. Are we not being competitive enough? While reviewing similar job postings, we looked closely at their benefits and found that our perks were in line with the majority of companies hiring for the same position.
After evaluating these questions, we made some pivots but kept experiencing the same challenges as before.
2. Coming To Terms With Reality
Were there measures I could take to improve our results? Absolutely. But I also had to swallow a reality pill and accept a few facts.
1. We aren’t the sexiest company to work for. We offer a niche service that many folks don’t even realize exists. And, candidly speaking, our brand could use a refresh (we’re working on it).
2. The job market is more competitive than ever.
3. Hiring for any position is going to be a lengthy and time-consuming process.
The last point was especially tough to accept. So, I didn’t accept it and focused on reducing the time I spent on the interview process.
3. Improving The Pre-Screening Process
As important as it was to fill this role, it was taking over my already full plate. I had to go back to the drawing board and decided to make the following changes to my pre-screening process.
• Asking More Pre-Qualifying Questions
I recognized that asking more qualifying questions in the application process is a double-edged sword. Doing so can help you narrow down your candidate pool but may turn off potential prospects. Ultimately, this was a risk worth taking.
I updated the application form to include:
1. Self-assessment questions: The application form included a section asking candidates to rate themselves on specific skills and proficiencies related to the job. I tried to keep this list as short as possible and only listed the top skills and proficiencies we were looking for in the role. I made note of what I would consider a red flag for their ratings. Because we were hiring for a junior-to-intermediate role, I was very cautious of progressing anyone who rated themselves a “5/5” across the board.
2. A trap: Not cool. I know, right? But “attention to detail” is one of the most critical skills needed in this role. I bet you’re wondering what the trap was. I asked candidates to upload their resumes and cover letters as PDF files with specific naming conventions. I’d rarely pass someone through if they rated themselves a “5/5” on attention to detail but didn’t follow the instructions above.
3. Mention of a quiz: To avoid wasting my time and the candidate’s time with a lengthy interview, I created a pre-screening quiz that candidates were required to fill out prior to scheduling an interview. On the application form, I asked if candidates were willing to complete a quiz prior to the interview. This was to ensure that they were genuinely interested in the position and that we weren’t just one of 100 applications they submitted on autopilot.
• Introducing Automation
We introduced recruitment automation for our job application forms. I also made use of it for my pre-screening quiz. JotForm is an easy-to-use form creator with lots of great features. My favorite feature? The automated approval flows. I was able to easily set up automated flows for the application form and quiz submissions.
1. Once an application is completed, I receive an email with the submission details, attachments and a button to approve or deny an applicant. Approved applicants automatically receive instructions to complete the quiz, while denied candidates receive a “thank you for your interest” email.
2. The quiz works the same, except approved applicants receive an email with a link to book a time in my calendar for an interview.
Thankfully, things went as planned and as expected.
1. We saved a ton of time on our pre-screening process.
2. The majority of the candidates we interviewed were qualified for the role.
3. As expected, the volume of applicants shrunk significantly, but I saw this as a good thing.
4. We found the perfect candidate. At the time of writing, we’re just waiting for her to accept an offer (fingers crossed).