Ten Questions to Evaluate Your Company’s Hiring Process


It’s a new year, which means that it’s resolution time for many of us. If you’re looking for a resolution that has game-changing potential for your company, try this one on for size:

I resolve to treat my hiring process like the core and critical business process that it is.

I like to say that most organizations have a better process for ordering office supplies than they do for hiring new employees.  Yet, wages make up around 70% of a company’s cost structure, on average.  What’s up with that?

If you’re on board with exploring this resolution for 2017, here are ten questions that can get you started down the path of taking action to improve your company’s hiring process.

  1. Are managers held accountable for filling their own positions?

When managers aren’t responsible for filling their own open positions, the process can get bogged down. “HR hasn’t sent me any good candidates lately” is an example of the kind of excuse I never want to hear from one of my managers looking to fill a critical position (What are you doing about it?).  It doesn’t mean that managers don’t have recruiting support, but it does mean that the buck should stop with them.


2. Are managers held accountable for regrettable attrition?

Your manager just spent ninety days hiring that perfect person, but the person left the company six months later.  The team thought everything with this new hire was going well; they had a number of early wins, and impressed everyone with how well they “got it.”  Yet they still left for greener pastures.  That’s what’s referred to as regrettable attrition – losing good people who quit due to poor management.  Hold your managers accountable for retaining their best team members.

3. Have we documented the steps in our hiring process?

If your company doesn’t have a prescribed hiring process that’s followed for every candidate, how can you possibly produce a consistent, reliable decision when candidates interview? Most companies let their hiring managers wing it.  Best in class companies know that this is missing a huge opportunity to create competitive advantage and they manage it accordingly.


4. Do we train our managers on our hiring process?

The best hiring process and toolset in the world isn’t worth much if you’re not investing the time to train (and retrain!) hiring managers on how to use them to produce quality results. Managers who possess the ability to reliably make good hires for their team will almost always outperform their peers who are unable to make consistent, quality hires.  Imagine if every manager in your company was good at hiring because you actually taught them how to do it?

5. Are we actively managing and monitoring our company’s employment brand?

Have you visited your company’s career page on your website lately?  When you visit the page, what does it look like?  What does it communicate to a job seeker looking for their next great employer?  Does it describe a robust career path, full of opportunities for advancement? Does it talk about the WIFM – “what’s in it for me?” – for employees who stay with the company over time? Are you communicating your core values, and what it means to work at the company? Have you checked out your company’s rating on Glassdoor? Or are you just listing open jobs and hoping people apply?


6. Are we pre-screening job applicants in an automated way?

Managers cite “lack of time” as the top reason why they rush the hiring process.  Well, sure – if you’re forced to respond manually to tens or hundreds of individual job applicants, the process can be really overwhelming. Thank goodness for technology that responds to all inbound applications with an email that thanks them for applying, and asks them to take a specific next step like answering some pre-screening questions.  Or, you can keep doing it the other way.

7. Are we using job-specific interview guides?

There’s a reason that insurance companies make you fill out a standardized application when you apply for coverage. It’s because they know what pieces of information inform them as to your risk of getting sick (and costing them money).  Insurance companies don’t sometimes forget to ask you if you’ve ever had cancer.  If your company’s hiring managers aren’t following scripted interview guides, they’re leaving a lot to chance.


8. Are we using job-specific skills and competency tests?

It’s probably a good idea to find out that your new executive assistant has never worked with PowerPoint before he or she is on your payroll.  If the job requires specific technical or vocational skills, there’s a test for it.

9. Are we conducting reference checks with the candidate’s prior managers?

Resumes are simply marketing documents designed to land an interview. They are in no way to be taken as the gospel truth for the candidate’s actual results; one employer survey found that 56% of managers have caught someone lying on a resume.  The best defense against resume embellishments is to talk with the manager for whom the candidate actually worked.  Conducting a sanitized call with someone from HR that confirms dates of employment is NOT a reference check.  That’s lazy.


10. Are we following a documented new hire onboarding process?

Are you still making candidates fill out their tax and I-9 forms on paper on the morning of their first day?  Are you sticking them in a conference room with a giant three-ring binder and telling them that you’ll see them in a few hours?  Or are you wowing them with the best first day experience that they’ve ever had, such that they go home and rave about it with their spouse or significant other?


Here’s to your hiring success in 2017!