A new year means a new start. And while many of us are resolving to eat healthier or exercise more, hiring professionals are no doubt entering 2019 with some ideas about how to make their hiring processes even better. Here are a couple of resolutions we could all strive for when it comes to hiring great employees this year.
Maximize your candidate pool
If your 2018 was anything like what 73% of other companies experienced, then you’ve felt the struggle of finding the right candidates for your open positions. 2019 will be no different – according to our own survey, employers anticipate needing to hire even more people this year.
What this means is that, after you’ve exhausted your sourcing and recruiting efforts, at a certain point you need to make the most of the candidate pool you already have. One way to go about this is by thinking a little outside the box when evaluating each candidate in order to identify the potential in “alternative” candidates who may not have caught your eye on first glance.
When it comes to evaluating a candidate who doesn’t have the exact skill set you originally had in mind, what you’re really looking for is some indication of that candidate’s potential to excel in that role. One of the best ways to identify potential is through pre-employment assessments that measure critical, but general, qualities. Cognitive aptitude, for example, is one quality that is the single greatest predictor of on-the-job performance because it is associated with things like critical thinking, problem solving, and learning ability. In other words, cognitive aptitude provides a strong signal for how quickly a candidate will pick up on training and grow in their role. Having a strong signal from a cognitive aptitude assessment could give you the confidence to take a chance on a stretch candidate whose resume wasn’t necessarily the perfect fit.
When looking at your current applicant pool, you might also consider being a little more flexible with your typical hiring practices if the right candidate comes along. For example, hiring remote workers can help you snag talent who might have been unavailable to you if, for instance, you require all your employees to be local. There are all kinds of ways to maximize the potential of your candidate pool by pushing the boundaries a little bit in ways that work for your organization.
Optimize your candidate experience
Within today’s tight labor market, candidates have more options when it comes to choosing their next job, which is why we’re starting to see more instances of candidates ghosting on interviews, rejecting job offers, or even failing to show up for the first day of work. One way to counter this is by enhancing the entire candidate experience.
There are a number of ways to improve your candidate experience, whether that includes simplifying the process, being transparent and communicative, being flexible, and not taking too long to make a decision. There are even some small tweaks you can make to increase your success rate when it comes to capturing the attention of your candidates – research shows, for example, that some days and times are more optimal for scheduling interviews to reduce the chance that your candidate is a no-show.
Strive to take bias out of the decision process
Many companies have diversity initiatives for the hiring process, and in 2019 we anticipate that these initiatives will evolve. One of the biggest reasons that a lack of diversity persists in a lot of industries is unconscious bias. The best way to combat it is by first admitting that none of us are immune to the effects of unconscious bias, and then by making the effort to reduce its impact in the hiring process. There are a number of ways that you can make the hiring process more equitable and objective for everyone – standardizing the hiring process, adopting structured interviews, and administering pre-employment assessments are all a good place to start.
You can even improve your ability to attract a more diverse applicant pool at the start by examining the way your job descriptions are written and rooting out any signs of biased language. The resolution to hire a more diverse workforce is by no means a new goal, and we’ve seen how difficult it is even for large companies with immense resources to see significant results. But taking small steps to at least reduce the chance that bias affects your decisions is a good place to start.
Invest in new tools
Every year, more and more new technological tools are developed to solve some type of need in the workplace, and this is especially true for HR technology. Not every company needs every type of new platform or tool that comes out, but it’s worth exploring what’s out there because chances are, your competitors are looking too. Technology has the ability to help you streamline your hiring process, organize your candidates, screen applicants, and evaluate them for critical abilities. Technology can even help you reduce bias in your hiring process and, by extension, improve your hiring diversity efforts. Be open to exploring the tools that are on the market; the ROI could be priceless.
Start tracking key metrics
Starting on January 1, we’re given a blank slate to write the story of 2019, and a company’s story is often captured by their metrics – things like revenue, headcount growth, and employee turnover can paint a certain picture about how the last year went. One of the best things about metrics (and especially hiring metrics) is that you can use them to compare your performance year-over-year or quarter-over-quarter. This information in turn can help you decide where to invest your efforts in the new year, and how to improve over time. But you can only do that if you’re already tracking those metrics.
This year, if you’re not already tracking the key metrics that matter to you (like employee performance, offer acceptance ratios, time to hire, cost per hire, etc.), then now is the best time to start. At the very least, you’ll be able to set a baseline that can set you up for even greater improvements in the following year.
These are just a couple of worthy hiring resolutions that just about any company can strive for in the new year. Ultimately it’s up to your organization to decide what goals you’d like to achieve and then to go after them with full force in 2019.