Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

This Is What You Need To Have On Your Hiring Checklist This Year

You know what they say, out with the old and in with the new.

Undoubtedly, a good portion of this past year was spent advertising job openings, screening applicants, and interviewing hundreds of candidates. As a result, you’re stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked. Fortunately, a new year means a fresh start and an opportunity to adopt better hiring practices.

In fact, a 2015 CareerBuilder survey revealed that 48 percent of CEOs say their companies have lost money because their recruitment process is inefficient. The hiring process never ends and neither should the will to adopt efficient and innovative hiring practices.


So, here are 10 things to include on your hiring checklist this year:

1. Understand the needs of the company…

The first thing any recruiter should include on their checklist is understanding the needs of the company they’re hiring for. This is done by examining the position they wish to fill, the skills required, and the team environment.

If a company has trouble understanding their own needs, be sure to help them articulate their expectations and preferences. A thorough understanding of this will help hiring managers find top-tier candidates who will best fit into the company culture, outlook, and strategy over the course of the year — and beyond.

2. …and who fits those needs.

The next priority on the checklist should be understanding who you are looking for. CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior study reported that 54 percent of employers have admitted that, in the past five years, it has been increasingly difficult to find qualified job candidates.Spark-Hire-54-Percent-Employers-Difficult-Find-Qualified-Job-Candidates

By giving your ideal candidate a specific persona it’s easier to understand the type of candidate you want to hire. Start by asking yourself these questions:

What do they do in their free time? What did they go to school for? Does their previous job experience add value to the company? Are they on social media? If so, which sites?

Hiring professionals need to step inside the shoes of their ideal candidate and create messages to attract that specific person. Using the persona method will give you new insight into how to find, connect, and recruit top talent.

3. Develop a killer recruitment message.

When candidates see a job you’re hiring for, will they read a list of boring bullet points about what skills and experience the “ideal candidate” should possess? Or will they watch a short video clip that illustrates previous candidate success and company culture?

In today’s competitive job market, outdated job ads will fail to succeed in standing out among the variety of job postings today.

The message sent needs to speak volumes about the company and its brand. Consider creating a company introduction video, emails, and social shares for your campaign. The online food delivery service, GrubHub, for instance, used Snapchat to search for a social media intern with “wicked Snapchat skillz.”

The company posted a six-image photo slideshow explaining how interested candidates could apply for the position with a snap of their best doodle. GrubHub’s tech-savvy recruitment campaign allowed candidates to show their humor, creativity, and social media skills. The position was then posted on Twitter for talented candidates to see and respond to.

Additionally, as interview technology advances, it can be customized to bring your recruitment message into the interview in the form of branding options (company logo, color scheme, etc.), introductory videos that play prior to the interview, and photo libraries designed to showcase company culture.

4. Cater to the job seeker.

The aforementioned CareerBuilder study revealed that, when a position opens up, 72 percent of hiring managers first look at their internal resources, including their ATS, talent network, and referrals, before posting a job.   


But where are you looking beyond that?

Consider the age of your ideal candidate. Are they a tech-savvy Millennial? Or are they a more experienced baby boomer who’s accustomed to looking for jobs in the daily paper? Find out where your desired candidates are searching for jobs and target those sources.

Today’s job seekers are largely mobile, meaning they are looking for jobs on their phones, tablets, and computers. In fact, a 2014 Glassdoor survey of 1,000 employees and job seekers found that 45 percent of respondents reported that they use their mobile device specifically to search for jobs at least once a day.


Cater to the mobile job seeker by actively posting job openings online and making it easy to apply using a variety of devices. Job seekers don’t want to spend hours of their time creating a username, password, and profile to apply for a single job — one they might not even land.

5. Connect with candidates socially.

As recently discussed, having access to mobile job postings is a priority for the majority of job seekers today. In fact, in the previously mentioned Glassdoor survey, 59 percent of respondents said they believe they have a better chance of being considered for an interview if they respond right away online.

Integrate social media into your hiring process by distributing interview invitations on various social channels. Here’s a great example of a sharable Tweet invite: “I’m currently #interviewing candidates for a Web development position in Portland, OR. Interview here: [link].” Reach out to talent in the same way you connect with them.

In addition, researching candidates on social media gives you an inside look at who they are, what they like to do, what they value, and more. But you may not always like what you see.

For example, a candidate might seem impressive based on their LinkedIn profile, but their Twitter page could say otherwise. Maybe you notice the majority of their Twitter feed consists of tweets that bash their current employer. A candidate with a negative attitude that is made so public is a major risk for any employer. After all, no one wants to hire a disgruntled employee.

6. Update and improve hiring methods.

Are your hiring methods up-to-date? In the previously mentioned CareerBuilder survey, 65 percent of hiring respondents said that, while their candidate experience is generally good, it needs improvement. But, is good really ever good enough? The short answer is “no.” Hiring methods can always be better.

If you’re having trouble filling positions, it’s most likely because your hiring methods are stuck in the past. Stop wasting your time and that of the company’s conducting hundreds of interviews — for weeks on end — at the office. The monotony of it all will kill your enthusiasm and company culture.

Instead, opt for video interviews. A live video interview allows you to meet with candidates in real-time, regardless of their location. These face-to-face interviews are virtually interactive and save time for everyone involved.

In some cases, job candidates live in a different state. Video interviews save companies — and candidates — money on travel expenses associated with the traditional in-person interview. The location is remote, and the only associated cost is that triple shot vanilla latte you bought to help you concentrate.

Phone interviews don’t always pan out to be that helpful, either. You have to first schedule the interview — and figuring out a time that works for both parties isn’t always easy. Schedules clash, and before you know it, a week went by before any progress was made. Finally, the phone call is made and you have to remember everything the candidate says in order to determine if they’re worthy to move on to the next step of the hiring process.  

For these reasons, the one-way video interview is a great alternative. The feature allows you to create a premeditated list of questions for candidates so that they’re able to answer on their own time. What’s more, it solves the scheduling issues that traditional interview formats present because only the candidate has to be present during the actual interview.

After the one-way interview is recorded, the hiring manager can then determine if they are a good fit to move forward. All the responses can be kept in a digital library of video interviews for you to review, as you please.

These various methods of interviewing will save you time and money by weeding out unqualified candidates.  

7. Keep candidates in the loop.

We’ve all experienced the dreadful week or two of wondering if — or when — we will get the offer, obsessively checking our phone and email for any sign of relief. Candidates are counting on a follow-up to let them know where they stand in the hiring process.

It’s important to have a system in place that is timely. Applicant tracking systems, for instance, allow you to send automated responses ranging from, “Unfortunately, we don’t feel this is the best fit, but feel free to apply to one of our other open positions,” to “This position has already been filled, but we’ll keep your résumé on file for future openings.”

Remember, candidates always appreciate a response — even if it’s not the one they hoped for.

8. Support better collaboration.

Hiring is a major decision and there is no logical reason to exclude it from collaboration. The advantages that internal and external collaboration present makes it important to include on your hiring checklist. By involving employees, you’ll get different perspectives, as well as hear from the people whose opinion matters most —  the employees who will become the candidate’s co-workers.

Video interviews are an excellent way to get the team on the same page when hiring new employees. The feature allows you to share and play back the interview as many times as you want, allowing for a completely transparent hiring process.

The fact that your firm intimately involves employees in this and other important decisions will build your external brand image and improve future recruiting. In addition, recruiters can keep the best candidate interviews on file for their clients.

Plus, nobody likes to be left in the dark about hiring process decisions.

9. Make a unique offer.

Informing a candidate that they got the job should be so much more than a simple email or phone call. In fact, the previously mentioned Candidate Behavior study, released by CareerBuilder, found that 45 percent of job seekers say they are less likely to buy from a company they received a low offer letter from.


As the hiring manager, you represent the company brand. So, it’s important to be unique and have fun with the offer. For example, send a welcome package to the candidate’s address filled with company swag, including:

  • Coffee mug with logo
  • T-shirt
  • Water bottle
  • Gym membership (if applicable)
  • Offer letter

Most importantly, make it an offer they won’t be able to refuse.

10. Reject, and end on good terms.

Ah, the most uncomfortable step of the hiring process: rejection. Fortunately, if done the right way, it doesn’t have to be so dreadful. Simply ask yourself the following: Have you been honest with the candidate? Have you left anything open for interpretation?

Many organizations never get back to the candidates that don’t make it through the process. However, this isn’t necessarily because they’re avoiding it, many just don’t know how to reject job candidates. A quick and honest response is important to give — even if it is to give bad news. It’s never a bad idea to let the candidate know they weren’t chosen to move forward in the hiring process because there was someone who more closely aligned with the company’s needs.

Additionally, don’t shy away from providing candidates with a little constructive criticism. Trust that they will appreciate the feedback for future interviews. If they had a weak interview, tell them why. You could say, “You have a great deal of impressive work experience, however, you’re presentation during the interview was not as strong as the other candidates.”

If the candidate did a good job, tell them their resume and interview will be kept on file and considered as future positions open up. Most importantly, thank them for their time. It’s important to maintain a positive candidate experience for the sake of the company brand and for future interviews. Talent talks — don’t give them a reason to badmouth the company to other potential job candidates.

A hiring checklist is necessary when looking to fill a position effectively and efficiently. But this list, in particular, is designed to help companies land today’s top talent. Staying current with the latest interview methods and trends is a learning process and challenges you to be innovative at every stage of the hiring process.

What do you plan to include on your hiring checklist this year?

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.