Trying to keep up with a lengthy hiring process can be difficult without the right tools in place or one centralized system to keep track of all the ‘moving parts’. With significant room for human error, trying to manage the process manually can get messy. We look at the steps involved throughout as well as the benefits of undergoing a cloud-based software approach with the use of an applicant tracking system.



15 Steps of the Hiring Process

1) Identify hiring need

A position must be identified as available before it can be filled. Positions can be either newly formed or recently vacated. In both cases, the staff responsible for hiring should arrange a meeting in order to produce a prioritized list of requirements for the job role which includes any special qualifications, experience and characteristics required from a candidate.


2) Plan with hiring tools

All staff involved in the hiring decision, sometimes known as the hiring committee, should all agree on the hiring process, steps and the communication channels. A plan should include the following: a recruitment plan, a timeline, the criteria for initial screening of candidates, a selection committee, questions for interview and any instructions for taking notes.


3) Create a job description

Use the previously agreed upon job requirements as the basis of the job description. Other necessary information includes the role’s essential functions and the advantages of working for the company including the workplace environment, benefits, compensation and perks, etc.  


4) Post and promote job openings

Referrals make up 40% of all hires. Only 7% apply, resulting in referrals having the highest applicant to hire conversion rate. Publicizing open roles internally allows staff to apply if they are interested and referrals. Consider publicizing your open job on the company’s own website, social media, online job boards, industry publications and job fairs. Because this can be a manual process, look for technologies such as ATS that allow for automated posting on multiple job boards. 


5) Recruiting

Not only should hiring staff use passive recruitment (looking for candidates who are actively looking for employment) for instance, the use of job posts, but they should use LinkedIn, industry events and social media to actively seek out qualified candidates. This route will ensure any suitable candidates who may not be presently looking for new employment but may be a great fit for the position (also known as passive candidates) will apply.


6) Applicant screening

Once applications for the job are received, hiring staff will review the CV’s, resumes and cover letters using a previously agreed criteria in the planning step. Any applications from unqualified candidates are withdrawn at this point. Qualified candidates are given next steps in the process starting with a screening interview.


7) Screening interview

Typically, recruiters will carry out phone calls for the initial interview of applicants. These telephone interviews, or phone screens, can determine if the applicant has the necessary qualifications required for the role. Those who aren’t a fit will be pulled from the candidate pool. The interview process may also be explained by recruiting at this point.


8) Interviews

Considering the size of the selection committee, several interviews are arranged for each candidate. Interviews that are conducted at the early stages are often in-person and are done one on one by the hiring staff. The focus in the early interviews are generally based on the experience, work history, skills and availability of the candidate.

Further interviews and meetings with company management, executives, staff and other organization staff members can be either one to one or by panel interviews. The format may be formal or relaxed and the location could be onsite, offsite, or online using technology such as  Skype or Google Hangouts. During these more in-depth interviews, some companies may focus on a particular subject or job aspect that will be carried out by a different interviewer to prevent overlapping and to learn more about the applicant. The final interviews may be given by senior management. The later stage interviews are usually limited to the top candidates.


9) Applicant talent assessment

Standardized tests, also known as pre-employment tests, may be assigned to applicants at some point in the interview process for insights into their personality type,talents, physical suitability and cognitive skills including reasoning, memory, accuracy, perceptual speed, emotional intelligence, analytical ability, and reading comprehension. 


10) Background check

Before making a job offer, the final step is conducting a background check to verify previous employment history and eligibility, to ascertain a candidate’s criminal record and to carry out a credit check. Social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter are also checked by some organizations to see if potential employees are likely to represent the company in a professional nature. Some jobs may warrant drug testing depending on the nature of the role.


11) Decision

To make a decision, all the hiring staff will confer and will evaluate applicants based on interviews, skills, job experience, talent assessments and all other information of relevance together with any recommendations. A top choice applicant should be selected and agreed upon. A backup candidate should also be selected. If there are no suitable candidates, the hiring process should begin again.


12) Reference checks

After identifying the top candidate, the next step is to contact his or her professional references. These reference checks verify the candidate’s employment information, job performance, strengths, and weaknesses. “Would you rehire this person?” is a typical question often asked.


13) Job offer

Offering the job involves the provision of a letter stating the employment details, salary of the position, the start date, and the terms and conditions of employment based on the agreement made between the candidate and the organization. The terms of the offer should be clearly understood by the candidate. The candidate may then agree to the terms and conditions and sign the offer. They may initiate further negotiations mainly focusing on the salary, or they may turn down the offer.


14) Hiring

Once the candidate has accepted the job offer, that person is then hired. This begins a stage of completing and storing the relevant paperwork such as eligibility to work forms, company specific forms and tax withholding forms.


15) Onboarding

A crucial step in the hiring process is onboarding the new employee before they join the company to ensure they have what they need to feel comfortable, welcome, and set up for success.

As you can imagine, undergoing this whole process manually requires a high attention to detail as well as time and resources. Spreadsheets, pens, papers, filing cabinets, the list goes on and so does the margin for error. Using a centralized system through an applicant tracking system may help your organization save time and money.



Applicant Tracking Systems Defined  

An Applicant Tracking System is specially designed software that digitally handles the recruitment needs of a company.

Such systems were previously used by larger companies. However, with the progression of technology and the increase in the needs of medium and smaller companies, this has led to companies of all sizes implementing these tracking systems.

We now live in a world where SaaS (Software as a Service) is developing rapidly and lots of new ATS platforms have now been designed to suit even the smallest of budgets.

An ATS’s key function is to act as the company’s primary hub and database for its recruitment processes. They are specifically designed to assist HR departments together with other managerial hiring responsibilities.

When combined with an HRIS (Human Resources Information System) an ATS is extremely powerful in helping with processes such as the payroll system, scheduling of employees and time tracking practices.



A Brief History of Applicant Tracking Systems 

Before the internet, Human Resources was a completely different landscape where most of the recruitment and hiring work was carried out using paper and perhaps a fax machine.

Then along came the world wide web bringing with it Google, email and chat rooms. 

As Monster and other e-recruitment systems began to evolve, the need for Applicant Tracking Systems was created. The ATS were originally designed to assist in scanning paperwork into databases, application screening and to follow the progress of an applicant through the hiring process. However, as technology became more and more advanced, the tasks of data entry for the tracking of applicants became managed by software which saved time, achieving a much more efficient hiring process.  

One important piece of information to be noted was that of the Great Recession during the 2000’s which dramatically caused a huge increase in the number of applications that came pouring into the employment system. This increased the need for Applicant Tracking Systems.


How an ATS Works

An incredible amount of time is saved by recruiters and hiring managers using an ATS.

Heavy lifting, behind the scenes work is carried out by an ATS that allow applications to be viewed, resumes can be automatically ranked and hirers can search by keywords.

An ATS uploads the resume information and covering letters onto the database so that, as the hiring process progresses, this information can be transferred through the system. In addition, the added benefit of using an ATS is that it enables the optimization of the interview process and workflow for hiring manager, as well as HR departments.



ATS: Current State 

At present, every Fortune 500 Company currently uses an ATS. Also, small to medium sized companies are quickly starting to implement ATS into their practices for hiring staff. An ATS can cut out the manual tasks and speed up the whole hiring process. Using a good ATS ensures that the most suitable candidates are recruited to the company as quickly as possible. Also, just as important, it can reduce the costs of hiring these employees, especially for the smaller to medium sized companies and businesses. The average cost per hire is $4,129 according to a survey carried out in 2016 by Society of Human Resources Management.



The Modern ATS Has Great Features

Due to an increase in the number of companies using an ATS, together with the rise of applicant numbers and the progression of technology, ATS companies have become more competitive in relation to the features their systems can offer. Categories such as attraction and engagement as well as interviewing and collaboration are amongst some of the best features and technology available. An ATS can now be relied upon by companies to help efficiently with online job submissions, one-click postings, email templates, resume parsing and advanced automation.




An ATS is designed to make recruiting managers lives easier and make tasks and processes more efficient. Having a quality ATS in place will be a great help, especially when you are trying to save time and need to recruit the best talent in the most efficient manner.