A recruitment basically consists of three distinct phases. The work before posting an ad for the vacant position, the selection process and finally choosing the right candidate. Below we’ve put together a template for what a recruitment process might look like as inspiration for how to organize your future recruitments. 

1. Preparation

This is where you first identify the need for a new employee. You set the frame for the position and a profile of required competencies and skills for the new hire. A part of the preparation process is also to put together a job ad and choosing the proper communication channels to spread the message. 

Don’t forget to include hiring managers early on so they are in the know as to how the recruitment will unfold and what they are expected to do.

2. Receive applications

Your ad has been posted and the pile of applications is steadily growing. An important step of creating a good candidate experience is to confirm to applicants that their application has been received.

For those using an ATS (application tracking system, also known as a recruitment system) this phase of the recruitment process is more or less completely automated. Collecting and organizing applications as well as sending automated replies is done without effort. For those still receiving applications by email this step can be a real energy drainer, with a lot of time going to administration (organizing and registering applications) and replying to candidates.

If your tech stack still mainly consists of Gmail and Excel, why not consider a free tool like Trello? It lets you visualize the different stages of your recruitment process in an easy-to-use drag and drop Kanban board.  

3) Selection stage 1: Weed out unqualified applicants

We’ve now started the selection process of the recruitment. The selection process can in turn be divided into several smaller steps, where each stage eliminates further candidates who are not suited for the position. A first selection is done to eliminate unqualified applicants who don’t meet the basic requirements for the position. 

Basic requirements can for example be that a taxi-driver should have a driver’s license, that an installer of air conditioning units need to have the proper training background or that a nurse has a valid medical license.

By using selection questions as part of the application process, basically asking if the applicant meets the requirement or not, you can quickly discern who does and does not meet the basic requirements. Remember to always get in touch with these applicants to inform them that they have not made it through to the next round, preferably making it clear that it’s because they don’t meet the basic requirements.

As of this step in the process, you'll actually be engaging with your applicants.  If you don't have an ATS with an appointment scheduling feature, going back and forth with candidates to find a suitable time can be quite time-consuming. In that case, check out Calendly, to automate appointment scheduling and save a bunch of time better spent interviewing. 

4) Selection stage 2: Rating and ranking candidates

The next step of the selection process is to figure out which applicants should be asked to come to an interview. In other words, you should rank candidates according to which are the most to least interest to meet with. The rating should be based on how well the candidate fits the profile of requirements and skills needed for the position. 

This is one of the most time-consuming steps where most spend their time reading through resumes and cover letters. An alternative method with much less need for hands on assessment, and thusly a time saver, is to use screening tests.

Depending on the number of applicants or how many suit the profile, you may want to meet all remaining candidates, or just a chosen few at the top of the list.

5) Selection stage 3: Interviews

Without going into great detail about how to conduct a good interview, it’s at least worth mentioning the role of the interview in the recruitment process. More often than not, it’s the first time you meet the candidate in person, and the meeting exists just as much for your sake as for theirs. With several rounds of interviews the candidate can get the opportunity to meet their future manager and ask things they are curious about related to the job and the workplace.  

If you reject a candidate after conducting an interview, you should provide some form of personalized message or be in touch with them through telephone. For a better candidate experience, it’s appreciated if you also include feedback to why the applicant didn’t move forward in the process.

6. Selection stage 4: Simulated work exercise

Follow up on your top candidates from the last round of interview with conducting a simulated work exercise. It’s a way to check if the candidate you’ve assessed as being highly qualified and suited for the job can actually deliver in a future work situation.  

For some roles, the work exercise could be changed to conducting a “technical interview” where the candidate is questioned by a peer about their area of expertise to assess whether the candidate possesses the right problem-solving skills and understands working processes.

7. Offer and tying off loose ends

The top candidate gets an offer, and once all papers have been signed it’s time to finish up the recruitment. All applicants should at some point be informed that they were not chosen for the position and that the position has been filled.

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Next steps

Are you considering buying a recruitment system or changing the one you already have? It can be tricky to know which one is best suited for your organization's needs. Try our guide for buying a recruitment system! 

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