7 Simple Steps to Automate Your Hiring Process
“Hire slow, fire fast.” The longer I stay in business the truer that saying becomes.
Hiring can be one of the most time consuming activities in which entrepreneurs engage. Between collecting and reviewing applications, scheduling interviews, re-interviewing, and deliberating over which candidate is the best fit for a position, hiring can turn into a big hurdle.
As Jim Collins points out in his book, Good to Great, getting the right people in the right seat (position) is vital to the long term success of organizations. In hindsight, it’s easy to see our mistakes in placing the wrong person in the wrong position, but not so easy to see it when we’re actually hiring them.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Ugly Mug Marketing is a very lean organization. Everyone is expected to carry their weight and help drive us toward our goals. Like most small businesses, we can’t afford to put the wrong person in the wrong position, nor can we can we afford to spend too much time trying to find the right person. It’s “the chicken or the egg” challenge all over again.
Ontraport has been so extremely effective in helping us on those fronts that I decided to give it a try with our hiring process as well. The remainder of this article describes the exact steps we took.
Step 1 – Company Overview
If you are going to automate your hiring process, one of the first things you need to do is provide prospective applicants with a broad overview of your company–without having to explain it to them. We accomplished this by creating a simple web page providing a brief overview of Ugly Mug Marketing. The page includes short sections on our values, our history, our culture, and our mission. You can take a look at this page here.
Step 2 – Detail the Position
The next step to automating the hiring process is to be clear about the position for which you are hiring. That means you have to go beyond simply knowing the name of the position. You’ll need to detail all of the responsibilities, duties, and skills necessary to excel in the position.
Again, we created a simple web page with all of this information, which can be found here.
You will notice the job description may appear a little daunting. This is intentional. For this position, we were looking for someone willing to go the extra mile, someone not easily overwhelmed. So, the job description was written to help scare off some people.
Step 3 – Weeding Out
In order to reap the biggest benefit from automating your hiring, you have to ensure the process is designed to help you weed out those candidates who would not be a good fit for your company.
One of the ways we accomplish this is by giving applicants several different tasks to complete during the hiring process.
We then look at their responsiveness and the thoroughness of each completed task as a measurement of their commitment to landing the job. For example, if they are unwilling to fill out a second, or even third, application, what does that say about their willingness to follow through when things get tough on the job?
You’ll find the first application at this link.
Notice that all of the questions are what you may expect to find on a job application, except for the very last one: “What’s Your Super Power?”
This question was intentional. For us, it accomplishes a few things:
- It communicates that we’re not a super stuffy, rigid business.
- It gives us insight into their creative side–which is important in our field.
- It provides some insight into how detailed they are. The shorter the answer, the less detail oriented they tend to be.
Step 4 – Say Thanks
Once their first application has been submitted, Ontraport automatically sends them an email thanking them for filling out the application, and lets them know we’re only looking for superstars. Here’s part of that email message:
“To be honest [First Name], we receive a lot of applications and, while we wish we could have everyone join our team, we simply can’t. But if you’re a superstar looking to make a difference with your gifts and talents, then we want you!
Take a few minutes and tell us more about you by clicking here.”
For many, receiving this email is the last step in their journey. When they receive this email message they give up. And that’s completely okay. We don’t to waste their time or ours.
Step 5 – Tell Us More
When someone does choose to take the next step, they are directed to the second application. You can see this application here.
About 65% of the questions on this application are designed to let us see how the applicant thinks and communicates their thoughts in writing. Both are critical skills at Ugly Mug Marketing.
After an applicant submits this form, they automatically receive an email message thanking them for completing the application. Ontraport also generates a task for one of our staff members to review their applications.
Step 6 – A Little More
Five days after submitting the application message mentioned in the previous step (Step 5), Ontraport automatically sends them an email asking for additional information. Here’s part of the message:
“We would like to learn a little more about what is happening in your life, and where you see yourself in the future. When time permits, please answer the following questions:
- What previous work experience do you have that you believe uniquely qualifies you for this position?
- Do you have anything that would prevent you from working from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday?
- What are your hobbies?
- What do you know about Ugly Mug Marketing?
- Have you read any good books lately? If so, what did you read?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
We look forward to your responses.”
This step is the most important in our application process. Not necessarily because of their answers, but because of their responsiveness, or lack thereof.
For us, only about two out of 10 people actually respond back with answers to these questions. It’s these two people in whom we’re interested!
These are the most persistent, most determined, and often the most competitive people. We only interview these people.
Step 7 – Let Them Know
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make, is only recruiting when they need someone. This always results in rushing through the hiring process, which rarely results in a favorable outcome for the entrepreneur or the new hire.
I would encourage you to adopt the ABH Principle (Always – Be – Hiring).
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated. The simple solution we’ve incorporated is to add a small banner, at the top of our website, announcing that we’re looking for good people to join our team. We include links to our initial application.
This gives us the opportunity to continually get people into our automated hiring process.
With the help of a little automation, hiring doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Using the simple steps outlined above you’ll be able to automate and continually recruit for your company. By being strategic with your hiring process, you can effectively weed out those who are not a good fit for your company.
Be sure to check out Ontraport.
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