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Archive for November, 2014

The Art of Turning Down Applicants

November 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Most companies are in a constant state of flux. One quarter you may be hiring non-stop, the next you’re flush with candidates with not an available position in sight. It happens.

Even if you aren’t hiring right now, it’s important to stay in the good graces of those excess applicants. You never know when you’ll need that one “freelance writer with expert banjo playing skills”. And you don’t want her to refuse a job offer because you laughed her out of the office.

Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it does make a clear point. The hiring process can be incredibly time-consuming and demanding on job applicants. The last thing anyone wants to do is make it worse. Doing so could not only damage your reputation as a manager, it could also sully the reputation of the company.

In a recent article on HBR.org (Rise of the Rude Hiring Manager, 2014), the negative affect of bad hiring experiences is discussed. From too-long processes, to unclear intentions, to just plain rudeness, applicants judge managers just as much as managers judge them. The article also gives an idea of “what not to do” during the hiring process.

But what do you do when you aren’t hiring and still have job applicants coming in? Disclosure is key. Job seekers hate being lead along. They need a job and don’t want to sit around for days, even weeks, thinking you’re considering them for a position you don’t actually have.

How you tell an applicant that you’re not hiring is just as important. It’s not as simple as saying “Thanks, but we’re not interested” as you shuffle them out the door. You want them to know that you value their interest in the company, and though you aren’t looking right now you will be sure to have their application on hand when you do.

This is where an Applicant Tracking System comes in. A good ATS will handle the storage of applications and turn them into a searchable database. This is why many companies have switched to an electronic applications process in the first place. Of course, this does not offer a lot of face-to-face contact with applicants. Luckily, many electronic application systems can alert potential applicants that the company is not hiring, but will store their information for any positions that open.

In short, be honest but cordial with new applicants. Tell them up front if you plan on keeping applications or not. They may be temporarily disappointed, but at least they won’t be in a rage after wasting their time. Finally, keep track of applications in an ATS database. You never know when you’ll need to use the filter function to screen for “mad banjo skills”.

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How Intelligent Is Your Current Hiring Process?

November 3, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s easy to be lured into hiring someone whose resume sparkles or who can furnish glowing reviews from some of the biggest companies out there. It’s equally easy to get sucked into the simplicity and cheapness of Craigslist hiring. Unfortunately, neither cost-cutting nor basing your hiring process on the shiniest prospect will yield the best results. Instead, hire smart using these ideas.

Match Prospects to the Job

When looking for new candidates, always ensure that you’re hiring the best person you can find for the job instead of simply targeting the best person you can find. The difference between an excellent candidate at a huge, well-established and wealthy company and an excellent candidate at a startup is significant, says Forbes Magazine. Instead of playing a narrowly defined role, a startup employee will likely have to wear many hats, including interacting with potential investors or clients. Look for friendliness and flexibility as well as on-the-job chops.

Work Smart With Staffing Agencies

Using staffing agencies can be a great way to find hidden talent and avoid the tedious process of weeding out unqualified candidates. They use streamlined technology and considerable connection to find the best prospect for any job. However, keep in mind when you sign up for services that staffing agencies keep a large chunk of what you pay, so for the initial period (often 6 months or longer), you will need to pay significantly more for that employee than you otherwise would. Because of the rules of most agencies, you cannot cut them out if they find your employee for you.

Use an Applicant Tracking System

Don’t rely on file boxes full of overstuffed folders. Instead, move your hiring process into the digital age with an applicant tracking system, or ATS. This is a piece of software that keeps all your hiring details in one place, from job description information to potential candidates. An ATS is a well-oiled machine that follows candidates all the way through the interviewing, screening and hiring process and even provides extras such as potential screening questions and resume processing abilities.

Find Good Advisors

You’ll only attract the cream of the crop if you offer what the cream wants. Forbes advises finding trusted insiders who can tell you how to snag ideal candidates by putting together a competitive compensation and benefits package. Instead of simply offering the moon, which you might not be able to afford anyway, target what each candidate will want depending on their job description and length of time in the workforce, then offer that.

The hiring process doesn’t have to be demanding, opaque or annoying. With some well-placed technology and a smart approach, it can be a breeze.

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