Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
How to Streamline the Hiring and Onboarding Processes

How to Streamline the Hiring and Onboarding Processes

It’s no secret that successful hiring and onboarding take a lot of time and money. In fact, according to Zippia, the average cost to hire a new employee is $4,700, and it takes anywhere between 36 to 42 days to fill an open position. 

But that’s just the hiring process—next comes onboarding. And according to Gallup, “new employees typically take around 12 months to reach their full performance within a role,” a much longer period of time than most organizations plan for when preparing to welcome a new hire to the team. 

So, how do you balance the need to hire great people and fully onboard them with the limited amount of time and resources your organization has to give to the process? The answer lies in streamlining. In this post, we’ll walk through four tips you can apply to your own hiring and onboarding strategies to make them more effective and efficient. Let’s begin.

Write Thorough Job Descriptions 

The hiring process begins long before you start reviewing job applications and resumes and setting up interviews. First, you need a well-written job description. 

A well-written job description provides your organization and your job candidates with benefits like:

  • A clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities for the open position as well as where the position fits into your larger organizational structure
  • Legal protection as your organization justifies why a candidate was or was not chosen for the role, as well as why the position is classified as exempt or non-exempt
  • An established foundation for training and performance management for the position 

To tap into these benefits, your organization needs to include the following essential elements in its job descriptions: 

  • Job Title: The job title should indicate what kind of professional you’re looking for, as well as the ranking order of the job in relation to other roles at your organization.

  • Duties and Responsibilities: Keep this section short, listing the day-to-day and big-picture tasks the employee will be performing. Ideally, each duty or responsibility should have an accompanying percentage indicating how much of the employee’s time will go to certain tasks.
  • Skills: List the hard skills and soft skills needed for success on the job (note that currently there is a push in the working world to recharacterize soft skills as “interpersonal skills” or “real skills”).

  • Relationships: This section of your job description should explain where the position falls in the hierarchy of your organization, providing insight into who the employee will be working with and reporting to.

  • Salary and Benefits: List a salary range that is competitive with the job market for the position you’re hiring for (this may even be required by pay transparency laws in your area). Also, provide a brief overview of the benefits for the position. 

Creating quality job descriptions will not only help the right candidates find their way to your organization for consideration but will also help establish the foundation for onboarding for the role and success and growth in the organization. 

Improve Your Approach to Applications and Interviews

When reviewing applications and conducting interviews, the name of the game is to work smarter, not harder. Gone are the days of spending hours sifting through piles of paper resumes and meeting with candidates at all stages in the hiring process for interviews. 

Here are some tips to make reviewing applications and holding interviews more efficient: 

  • Use job-board-style websites. Share your job posting on websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn, which will allow you to reach more candidates and easily screen resumes and track applicants. Plus, many of these platforms allow candidates to apply to your open positions directly on their sites, making the process easier on their end, too.

  • Leverage pre-screening or assessments. There’s no need to wait until it’s too late to find out if someone has the skills for the job you need to fill. Ask candidates to complete a pre-screening task or assessment. For example, you might ask candidates to complete a writing assessment, typing test, or a survey designed to tell you if the candidate shares your organization’s overarching values.

  • Create interview templates. A templated interview not only ensures that you cover the questions you need answers to during an interview but also helps you assess every candidate with the same criteria, promoting fairness and reducing bias during the interview process.

  • Hold video interviews. With the rise of hybrid and remote work, video interviews are a must. Consider asking candidates to send in one-way video interviews early on in the hiring process to narrow down your pool of candidates or host live video interviews to replace traditional in-person interviews. Video interviews can be a great time saver for both you and your candidates. 

A more streamlined application review and interview process helps you save time, energy, and resources. Plus, you’ll be able to find your new employee quicker and begin onboarding them into their new position. 

Make Onboarding More Effective

Onboarding is your chance to help your new employee acclimate to their role and your organization and set them up to successfully perform the duties their position requires. Follow these tips to make your onboarding efforts more effective: 

  • Have new hires complete any logistics-related tasks before their start date. For example, have your employee sign their employment contract, fill out their Form W-4, complete their Form I-9, provide bank details for direct deposit, enroll in benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, and create any getting-to-know-you resources.
  • Prepare any needed materials or equipment before the employee arrives. Compile orientation materials, set up training meetings, and ensure that your employee’s office space and work equipment are ready. This will help set a positive tone for their first day.
  • Create a comprehensive checklist to guide the learning process. There’s a lot that your new employee will need to learn. Create a checklist document that you can follow during onboarding. This checklist should cover first-day essentials, company culture and policies, training in position specifics, compensation and benefits details, relationships to other roles, and more. Remember, the onboarding process will take up to a year, so you and your new hire should revisit the checklist often to see where they’re at in the process. 

The better your onboarding process is, the better your employee’s experience will be with your organization, which can help reduce turnover and boost productivity and engagement. So, instead of preparing the night before a new employee starts, give yourself plenty of time to map out a process that will help them start off on the right foot. 

Provide Clear Communication Channels and Resources for New Hires

Once an employee completes the majority of their onboarding work and is in a position where they’re completing their day-to-day tasks successfully, it may seem like your work bringing them up to speed is done. But according to a poll conducted by a LinkedIn user, it’s normal for it to take a few months to a year for an employee to feel comfortable in a new role. 

During this time, you’ll likely cover more ongoing training and development onboarding tasks. Still, it’s important to be proactive in helping your new employees ease into life at your organization by providing clear communication channels and resources for them to leverage. 

One important tool for new employees will be an orientation packet and employee handbook that they can refer back to with any questions about company policies. You can also institute a buddy or mentoring program to help employees forge connections with their coworkers and learn from more experienced team members about how to succeed at your organization. 

Don’t forget to also solicit feedback from your new employee on the onboarding process or other aspects of their initial experiences working with your organization. As you incorporate their feedback and strive to improve the experience, your employees will feel seen and supported as they grow into their roles. 

The hiring and onboarding processes may seem like small parts of the employee lifecycle, but they’re extremely important in helping your organization find, cultivate, and retain great talent. Use these tips to streamline your own processes to make them more efficient and ultimately, more effective in setting your employees up for success!  

Guest Post

Spark Hire is honored to host featured guest experts on our HR & Recruiting Blog. We're committed to bringing you the best tips and trends to streamline your hiring and recruiting processes. Thank you for your contributions and readership.