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As we continue to explore what it means to have a standard, stable recruiting function, it’s important to realize why these initial steps are so valuable. If you stop and consider what the impact to your organization is from every “wrong” hire, it is clear why recruiting is the most important function HR can focus on improving.  Keep in mind, research suggests that for every “wrong” hire, it costs the organization up to 4 times that person’s salary to replace them.

Before we jump into this month’s recruiting process focus, be sure to review Step One – Create and Approve Requisitions and Step Two – Post, Source, and Screen.

In step three, interview and select, the benefits of an applicant tracking system (ATS) become clear. At this point, anyone who is being interviewed has passed the screening and should have been moved forward in the ATS.  If they were not moving forward, they should have been dispositioned as such during step two – post, source, and screen.

Now that the candidates are being interviewed, one of several actions will happen in your ATS:

  1. Someone from the recruiting organization – ideally your coordinator – will schedule candidates to interview with multiple people
  2. Interviewers will be invited to interview candidates. In an ideal state, they will also be assigned competencies to interview against.
  3. Based on the outcome of the interviews, a decision will be made (offer, hold, no offer), and the recruiter will either reject the candidate or move them forward in the system.

These steps are far easier to manage if you’ve done the work in steps one and two, identifying your hiring needs and redefining your job posts to accurately reflect what skills and experience are required for those positions. But the work is only just beginning.

Selecting Who to Interview

During step two, the candidates went through the screening process, which was essentially their first interview. That said, in recruiting we tend to differentiate the screening from the second round of interviews (also referred to as office interviews or in-person interviews). Based on your screening criteria, you will select a number of candidates to move forward and be interviewed by the hiring manager as well as other people from the business.

As a recruiter, it is your job to present a diverse slate of candidates. We can’t possibly expect businesses to have diverse hiring if we aren’t presenting them with diverse slates. Consider how you are measuring recruiter performance in this area. For each of their requisitions, is there a gender- or ethnically-diverse slate?

We can’t possibly expect businesses to have diverse hiring if we aren’t presenting them with diverse slates. Click To Tweet

The Interview Process

Earlier in the process, perhaps when you were setting up the requisition, a team of interviewers was likely identified.  However, if this did not happen, now is the time.  Work with your hiring manager to identify the right mix of interviewers for this role.  Make sure that it’s a diversified group of individuals representing different aspects of the organization.  It’s important to remember that the candidates are also assessing you!

As part of the planning, be sure to consider who will be assessing for what competencies.  Many organizations fall flat here.  This is important for both the hiring team as well as the candidates. Through a quality of hire study, you will know where your best hires come from (taking into consideration source of hire, performance, and turnover), and you can then study those profiles to get a better understanding of what makes a successful hire in a particular business.  Once you have this information, you can then interview against those competencies.

Prior to the candidates coming in for interviews, host a meeting with interviewers to ensure that everyone is aligned on the role, the candidates, and what competencies they are evaluating.


Following the interviews, you will want to host a debrief meeting. It is highly recommended to do this via phone or in person so that nothing gets lost in translation. Timing is critical. Remember that this is still a human process and you are handling people’s livelihoods. Typically, you will come to one of three conclusions: offer, no offer, or hold. Regardless of the outcome, it is extremely important to communicate with the candidates. It’s okay to tell someone that the team is meeting to discuss their decision and to give them a date by which they can expect an outcome. There is nothing worse than keeping a candidate hanging.

Be sure to update the ATS with the candidate status in real time. If they are not moving forward, mark them as “rejected” in the system. Be extremely careful about what type of automated message may get triggered from that new rejection status. It is best practice to reach out to a candidate in person if they have taken the time to come into the office for an interview, as opposed to them receiving an auto-generated email. While a personal email will do, it’s still more human to contact them.

For those who did well but are not quite positioned to receive an offer, consider a Silver Medalist Program. As opposed to rejecting them, socialize this candidate internally among recruiters to see who may have a need that matches the individuals’ skillsets. Contact the candidates and talk to them about another opportunity; this not only saves time for recruiting when a candidate has already come through part of the process, but it also creates an exceptional candidate experience.

Finally, for the candidate receiving the offer, be sure to mark them as such in the system and contact them to share the good news. You don’t have to have all of the details when you reach out to them, but it will put a candidate at ease to know that an offer is on its way!

Next month, we’ll talk about the next step in a standard, stable recruiting function: Create & Approve Offer.

Recruiting Strategy Session

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