CEO Insider

Five Steps to Refine Staffing and Recruiting Departments

Rachel Neill, CEO of Carex Consulting Group.

Hiring the right person is always a bit of a gamble. They’ll either become a valued part of the team that offers insights and collaboration, or they’ll slow down innovation and disrupt the customer experience. Increasing the odds of finding the right people is vitally important because most ventures survive or wither due to the quality of the people. Finding the right people for your organization requires refining your staffing and recruiting processes to save time, operate efficiently, and build a great team. Here’s five steps to make it happen:

  1. Streamline Candidates More Effectively
    Most of the work for improving interviewing processes occurs on the front end before any interviews occur. It takes about 24 days for the interview process, according to data from Glassdoor, which underscores the time company’s waste on scheduling and interviewing too many unqualified candidates. Firms can improve this process by performing more comprehensive screenings before selecting interview candidates. They can measure a candidate’s likely fit with the organization, their growth potential, and their overall aptitude, which are all considerations that go beyond simply reviewing educational background or past employment. Focus on hiring for someone’s attitude, not their technical skill set.
    Streamlining this process involves multiple steps such as structuring interviews properly so they’re aligned with the broader company culture. Firms should also consider virtual interviews to screen candidates quickly and efficiently, especially when hiring across geographic barriers. Video interviews allow your teams to coordinate sessions with team members in different locations and enable you to quickly assess multiple candidates.
  2. Focus on the Candidate’s Future over their Past
    Many staffing and recruiting departments focus too much on what the candidates did previously, whether that’s prior work experience or their educational background. Your company of course wants software developers to have a track record of successful development, but you also want people that can grow and conquer your company’s problems. As a C-suite leader, you need to find these types of people that spur innovation, they aren’t just task managers. Encourage your recruiting and staffing teams to ask candidates about how they would approach certain problems, how they felt about past issues they overcome, and if they speak with passion. Your department heads want a sense of how the potential new hire thinks and if they’re motivated to excel, not just hear them rehash their past work accomplishments.
  3. Work with a Partner that Curates Talent
    Outsourcing some of the recruiting process to a qualified consulting organization allows them to curate your talent for the right fit. An experienced firm will take a relationship-driven approach that involves understanding potential candidates’ motivations and preferences and determining these align with a given company. It’s not a transactional arrangement, but one built on functional transparency and trust where both sides of the process respect each other’s needs. A recruiting consultancy can also provide firms with access to candidates they wouldn’t otherwise see, due to a narrow focus on past work or educational credentials.
  4. Improve the Job Descriptions
    Attracting top talent often requires job descriptions that get noticed. A well-written description that’s the result of careful analysis pulls in the right people and discourages those from applying that are not the right fit. If your firm is working with a consultancy/staffing firm, ask for their assistance during this process as they’ll have insights about what stands out in job descriptions. Here are some key tips for your teams to write engaging job descriptions that get results:

    – Don’t include every single candidate requirement because this will delay receiving qualified candidates.
    – Avoid using industry jargon and terms unless they’re related to specific technologies. Discuss the ways candidates might use different technology, to paint a picture of the worker’s average day.
    – Use clear and direct language to describe the job in a professional manner. Don’t attempt to be clever or use the description as an opportunity to present your firm’s “cool” culture.
    – Understand people want to work at places that make them feel special. Capture this desire by writing descriptions that present excitement and growth without going overboard.

  5. Look for and Streamline Process Gaps
    Commit the entire team to cleaning up processes. Assign specific duties for staff to review candidate selection processes, interviewing, and eventual onboarding. What technology tools do your currently use for these processes? Are there new solutions that are easier to use and more collaborative? Do you really need five people to interview a candidate when two of that group’s opinions are the ones that really matter? Asking these questions helps disrupt embedded and outdated processes.
    Ask your team to consider their “dream” process and then think about the ways an outside firm or technology tools could help you reach that dream. Maybe it’s shortening the entire process from a month and a half to a week, or reducing the time spent on interviewing candidates that are poor cultural fits.

Engage with recent hires to learn more about what worked in your processes and what were the roadblocks. Ask for specifics as well as a general feeling. Did the candidate feel frustrated with the process, but they liked the cultural vibes of the business? Taking these steps to refine staffing and recruiting departments provides immediate and long-lasting benefits. It produces better suited and engaged employees that can innovate, improve the customer experience, and help your company’s bottom line.


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Rachel Neill
Rachel Neill, CEO of Carex Consulting Group. Rachel Neill has built her career around talent acquisition and company culture, with a passion for startups and healthcare. As part of her background, she has extensive experience in recruiting and placing candidates in a position to succeed. Prior to Carex Consulting Group, she worked as an executive at Nordic Consulting and helped build it into one of the largest Epic consulting firms nationwide. Rachel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and continues to be active in the local Alumni chapter.

Rachel Neill is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn.