THE PROCESS OF RECRUITING, HIRING AND ONBOARDING
Kirjoittanut: Flóra Lang - tiimistä SYNTRE.
Written by: Thais Santos Araujo, Samu Nyqvist and Flóra Lang
Recruiting is the process of actively looking for possible applicants for a company or business. Recruiting should be beneficial for both sides and is different from hiring. (Smooke 2014) Hiring is the last step of recruiting but is a process as well. It is a more formal part to introduce and create a working relationship between the parties for given work. (Entrepreneur Staff 2014)
Recruiting vs. Hiring
While hiring needs to have a reason such as an available position or replacement, recruiting can happen at any time. It is a way to not only get a new workforce but also to advertise the business and get some attention. Recruiting allows the company to sell itself to the candidates and make sure that when hiring becomes relevant, there is a big enough pool to choose from, and the options are high quality. Although, both of them are very important, recruiting defines the company on a bigger scale as there are more targets of it, so it’s severalfold crucial to do it right. That’s why recruiters are usually friendly, giving out sometimes candies, other times some free merchandise. The point is to make the potential applicants feel good about themselves and the company. Hiring on the other hand focuses on applicants for a specific area of business with specific skillsets for a given position. (Peek 2019)
Process of Recruiting
The recruitment process, just like any other process, can be divided into steps, however, depending on who is asked the number of steps will differ.
Although the work is not very specific as the position is not yet available, there are certain aspects of the job that are already present in the recruitment process. For example, an IT firm probably wants to have the majority of the pool to be programmers, software developers, etcetera, instead of having a pool full of accountants, because only a few of those is enough. Having a general job description and an overall ”manual” about who to look for is enough to pull the planning off the list.
When one knows what they are looking for, the next question to be answered is how one will get there. Recruiting can happen anywhere, but not everywhere at the same time. First, it’s important to decide whether the recruitment happens internally (inside the company) or externally (outside of the company) and what are the used channels. If it happens internally, probably face-to-face discussions and leaflets are used. Externally besides these two, there might be social media or paid advertisement. It is also possible to call people if they were referred or go through interviews from the previous hiring process.
When all the possible applicants are in, the screening will follow. It is important to look through all applications. Sometimes companies have standards for educational or professional backgrounds, but it is not the only important thing. Many soft skills and unrelated hard skills towards the position can give that extra push and can get a job right on the spot or later on when a position is available. Applicants can be screened face-to-face as well, in that case, this is the first step when the business is making a contact with a professional background. It has great importance to give a good experience to the applicants as it can affect the company’s (especially start-ups’ or smaller businesses’) reputation. Transparency is also crucial for the same reasons as well as for keeping both parties on a realistic stand.
- Hire, bench, or dismiss
Right until this step the company is looking for candidates. This time a decision needs to be made, however not a very specific one. The options are hiring, meaning offer a position and start the hiring process (discussed below), bench, so put and leave the potentials in the pool (also discussed how to do it well below), or dismiss, politely declining any present and most likely future co-operations. As mentioned before, recruitment happens continuously so that the companies have a pool to choose from. This means that they are going to be in contact with more people at a time than what they can offer positions for. In order to keep the candidates close, these businesses have to keep in contact and create a relationship with the potential workers.
(Creately 2021; Peek 2019; Sunshine 2022)
Process of Hiring
As explained earlier, the hiring process is different from recruitment. While in the recruitment step, the goal is to meet the candidate; the goal is to hire a new colleague in the hiring process. Digging into it, the process is straightforward. It can be divided into eight steps (Workable, 2022.)
An open job position means a company has its doors open. When a company has an interesting and rewarding open job position, it might be expected that the HR team to receive numerous applicants’ contacts right away. Although, the experience of trying to be reached out by the candidates can be long and frustrating. To avoid this situation, the HR (human resource) team needs to plan for the first step of the hiring process. For example, putting effort into getting quality questions is more relevant than having a fancy application form webpage. It is relevant because the company can retain the candidate through the whole application form if the candidate is not bored by the questions in the form. Qualifying questions means not having too complex answerable questions. The candidate would then have the option of writing a simple answer such as “yes” and “no” or extending your thoughts to get more extended answers. Following this pattern, more candidates get to complete the application, and it is up to the hiring team to observe the relevance of the answer content.
2. Resume screening
In recruitment, the screening process is an appropriate step. In the hiring process, it is essential. The resume screening is the moment to match skills, education, or any appropriate specification for the job position. It is the moment to go through the applicants’ sent forms and determine if the candidate is qualified enough to proceed into the next hiring step (Bahr 2021.) There are many sustainable ways to execute a successful resume screening. The use of software can support the work when there are multiple applications for a unique open job position. The content expected to find in the resume variates depending on the job applied for. It can be the experience background, the application’s layout, the attachment of a cover letter, or even the cherry on top of sharing personal interests as hobbies.
The recruiters should work with the assumption that the applications which showed interest in the job position sending the form might have applied to other companies as well. The screening call is the opportunity to find out if the applicant is interested in the proceeding and an opportunity to check a minimum qualification on communication. The assignment at this point is to schedule a phone call at a suitable time for the candidate. Also, it is key to keep in mind that as much as the recruiter observes the possible future employee, the applicant is also evaluating the relationship that exists in this possible future work. It means it is relevant to take into consideration during all the call time to have a positive attitude and
to be transparent. The call gives an honest overview of how it is to work with this new group of people and culture. Besides the phone scheduling and positive attitude during the call, it is also essential to have a minimum preparation to check the candidate’s available content and prepare the relevant questions for this case.
4. Assessment test
After the screening steps, it is already possible to have the likely new employees sorted by “potential,” “maybe,” and “not qualified” cases. It is time to test the “potential” and “maybe” categorized interviewees. Again, it depends a lot on what are the requirements of the job position. Still, it is crucial to have a practical test before going ahead and investing the hiring team’s time any further. If the applicant cannot execute the minimum expected from the assignment, there is no reason to move forward. The test could be a product or service pitch if the job position is from the sales field. It could be a logical issue to solve if the job is about software development. It could be recreating the company’s logo concept for a designer job position. Independently on how to test the aptitude and skills of the candidate, it is essential to allow an appropriate development time. By doing so, the candidate can process the challenge and bring to the table their best result. These hard skills are evaluated in different ways, and the company can understand what an okay delivery level is to proceed. For example, a junior software developer who did not finish a task but was able to write their logical understanding of the test sometimes is good enough hard skill to continue trying to hire.
5. In-person interviewing
While the screening call, the goal was to check the candidate’s genuine interest. The in-person interview goal is to evaluate the potential of the possible new employee. The company already knows if the applicant knows how to execute the job task. Now it is the stage to understand if, first, the soft skills are suitable enough and the person is a cultural fit with the company’s environment; and second if this candidate is the best option among all the other available possibilities. As in the screening call, it was essential to prepare for the meeting; in the in-person interview, the situation repeats once more, and it is necessary to prepare for the meeting. Gather the job-specific questions, the soft skills testing questions, and situational-related questions beforehand. It is the opportunity to ask about the career goals and expectations for the job. It is the foremost opportunity to understand the interviewee and get deep into the questions—worth making clear that the meeting arrangement should be made carefully. The applicant should receive the address and possible dates and times for the meeting at least a couple of business days in advance. An agenda or scope and the participants who will attend the meeting.
6. Background checks
Getting a candidate to the background check means the company is happy and excited to make an offer, but it is still necessary to check all the informed background information. Even if there is trust and the company is happy about the candidate, an official decision cannot be made on the assumption that everything said is entirely authentic. A deeper check on LinkedIn is one easy way to check the resume’s reported facts. Still, it is relevant to check at least criminal records to make sure the company is employing someone legally.
7. Reference checks
The final step in the hiring process is checking the given reference contacts. It is relevant to learn how the almost contracted employee behaves or has behaved with others. The best people to share this knowledge are former teammates, managers, or business partners. They can answer questions about how they take the work responsibility, potential weaknesses that were probably not shared during the selection process, or how it feels to work with this potential employee daily,
8. Decision and job offer
It is time to make an offer!
If the recruitment team goes through all the steps and the applicant succeeds up to this point, it is time to offer the job position. This step discusses the employment terms and makes a non-official verbal offer. It can be a call giving the good news and allowing the candidate to have a couple of days to think and get back with their answer. Starting with a verbal and non-official offer is relevant because it avoids extra work filing and preparing the official offer if the candidate simply says no. Depending on the company’s size, keeping the CEO, HR, and finance team aware of the candidate and offer process is relevant.
Once the job offer is accepted, the hiring process is officially finalized. A new process can start, which is onboarding.
After the hiring process has been brought to its conclusion and the candidates have officially become employees, onboarding begins. Onboarding is the process of helping the new hires to adjust to the conditions, norms, and culture of their new working environment rapidly and smoothly. The quicker the new hires feel supported, prepared, and comfortable, the quicker they can utilize their competences and contribute to the company’s mission successfully. Onboarding process is a very vital part of ensuring that the new high-quality employee, that has just gone through a thorough recruitment and hiring process, isn’t wasted. Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. (Watkins 2003)
It should always be considered whether the onboarding is dealt in a systematic way or not. Informal onboarding refers to the process by which an employee learns about his or her new job without an explicit organizational plan. Formal onboarding refers to a written set of coordinated policies and procedures that assist an employee in adjusting to his or her new job in terms of both task and socialization (Bauer 2010). Even though research suggests that formal onboarding is more effective, it can’t be generalized to all organizations. Picking the most suitable method has a lot to do with the size of the organization, the number of new hires, and of course the culture.
Certain building blocks for onboarding can be distinguished, they are called the four C’s of onboarding (Bauer 2010):
Includes teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
Refers to ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations.
Broad category that includes providing employees with a sense of organizational norms – both formal and informal.
Refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish.
As with picking the standardized method of onboarding to fit the organization’s needs, the practices which are used to onboard new hires must be tailored to the type of employee he/she is and what role they will possess. There is a clear difference between onboarding of hourly workers and that of managers and executives. Onboarding is generally more developed for employees on higher levels of hierarchy compared to hourly workers. It’s important to get executives and managers up to speed quickly, because they’re in highly visible positions and influence the lower levels of hierarchy more clearly (Bauer 2010). If the executive level manager onboarding process fails, it can cost (depending on the organization, of course) up to $2.7 million (Watkins 2003). However, when it comes to hourly workers, the process of onboarding is often perceived as not as important, and their onboarding costs are notably smaller. The job description of hourly workers is simpler in general, and thus do not require for much tailoring and flexibility of the onboarding program.
Best practices for onboarding, according to Talya N. Bauer:
- Implement the basics prior to the first day on the job.
- Make the first day on the job special.
- Use formal orientation programs.
- Develop a written onboarding plan.
- Make onboarding participatory.
- Be sure your program is consistently implemented.
- Ensure that the program is monitored over time.
- Use technology to facilitate the process.
- Use milestones to check in on employee progress.
- Engage stakeholders in planning.
- Include key stakeholder meetings as part of the program.
- Be crystal clear with the employees in terms of objectives, timelines, roles, and responsibilities.
As discussed earlier, social media play a significant role in the recruiting and hiring processes. Aiming to improve the velocity and quality of the recruiting and hiring processes, social media are large-scale used by companies to find their matching employees (Ku, 2021.) It is also noticed that LinkedIn, for example, is a common and acceptable social media for network and be contacted by companies.
Based on the responses of 896 job seekers and 280 hiring managers, Robert Walters gathered the information that LinkedIn is the most common social media to have a profile while unemployed and the most registered account for companies in their online presence on social media (Walters, R. 2013). Figure 1 illustrates that 85% of the unemployed people have an account on LinkedIn. Figure 2 illustrates that 50,8% of the companies have an account on LinkedIn, and 49,2% does not have an online presence on any of the social media asked on the survey.
FIGURE 1. Unemployed people with social media profile (Walter 2022)
FIGURE 2. Companies with social media profile (Walter 2022)
There is a whole discussion about the ethics of using social media during the hiring process of an employee. Still, at least LinkedIn is well accepted and 100% dedicated to professional matters. It is substantial for the candidates searching for a job opportunity to be active on LinkedIn and not make concerning declarations. People on social media, especially on LinkedIn, need to consider that possible employers are watching their accounts. The same rule is applied to the companies. To be interesting for the candidates with an active profile and avoid declaring controversial opinions which could downgrade how the company is seen. Everything on social media is exposed. This information should always be clear before posting anything.
Own experience and reflection
Needless to say the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes are implicated differently in every organization. Whereas big companies often have a system made up for gaining new employees, small to medium-sized companies may operate differently. We in SYNTRE Osk got to experience, what recruiting new employees could include. Since we are a small organization, things like hiring strategies and onboarding costs were something we did not have to worry about. What we wanted to do, however, was to put as good of an image of us out there as possible. We were not only interested in gaining new members for the team, but we also wanted others to be interested to be part of our team in the first place. This is something that can be easily forgotten during the process; why should the employee work for you? Unfortunately, though, our recruitment and hiring process fell short, since we didn’t receive any applications. But although we didn’t get the results we hoped for, our short hiring process left a lot to crave for. As seen in this essay, there is much to learn about recruiting and hiring, starting from the fact that they are two different things, through steps and fortes, to tricks and tips that may help. if implemented correctly and supported by quality onboarding, recruiting and hiring processes enable any organization to find members who successfully contribute to their mission. And when SYNTRE Osk gets another shot at this process, we’ll be ready.
FIGURE 3. SYNTRE’s open job application
Smooke, D. 2014. How Do You Define ‘Recruiting’? Read on 25.4.2022.
Entrepreneur Staff. 2014. Hiring. Read on 25.4.2022.
Peek, S. 2019. What Is the Difference Between Hiring and Recruiting? Read on 25.4.2022.
Creatley. 2020. 7-Step Recruitment Process to Improve Your Candidate Conversion Rate and Candidate Experience. Updated on 13.8.2021. Read on 26.4.2022.
Sunshine, M. 2022. There is a Huge Difference Between Hiring and Recruiting. Read on 26.4.2022.
Workable. 2019. 8 steps of the selection process for hiring employees. Read on 29.05.2022. https://resources.workable.com/tutorial/employee-selection-process
Bahr, K. 2021. Resume Screening. Read on 29.05.2022. https://eddy.com/hr-encyclopedia/resume-screening/
Ku, D. 2021. Social Recruiting: Everything You Need To Know for 2022. Read on 01.05.2022.
Walter, R. 2013. USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS. Read on 01.05.2022.
Watkins, M. 2003. The first 90 days. Boston, MA. Harvard Business School Press.
Bauer, T. 2010. Onboarding new employees: Maximizing success. SHRM Foundation. Read on 02.05.2022. https://www.shrm.org/foundation/ourwork/initiatives/resources-from-past-initiatives/Documents/Onboarding%20New%20Employees.pdf