As we head into what will likely be a turbulent digital marketing job market in 2023, it’s never been more important to take the opportunity to improve your hiring process. Consumers have long been foregoing the high street and turning online for their retail needs; a trend that has only increased since the pandemic. This means that demand is only increasing for digital marketing services, great news for digital marketers!
When you have a streamlined hiring process, you’ll have the first pick of the best candidates. You’ll be making them the offer and bringing them onto your team, while your competitors are still asking them for a 2nd presentation for their 5th round of interview.
The first step to improve your hiring process is recognising your areas of weakness. This allows you to know where you need to improve, without just making improvements for the sake of it. These can look like:
The second part, is the steps you can take to address the problems you have recognised with your hiring process. These often have additional benefits to more than just making your process faster, and are well worth considering.
Sounds interesting? Good, then you’re in the right place. Read below to see just how changes like this can impact your business, and make your life easier.
Obviously the biggest sign you need to improve your hiring process is that you’re struggling to hire. But figuring out what exactly it is that is preventing you from hiring, will tell you how to improve your hiring process in a way that will directly impact your recruitment.
There’s nothing worse than having your ideal candidate in the process, but they drop out just as you’re about to make an offer. Unfortunately, this is an all too common problem, and the solution could be just having one less step in your interview process, or just making that offer one week earlier.
And these are the candidates that you know about. The majority of candidates may not even make it to the interview stage. The average drop off rate during the application process is 80%. This can be due to a mix of factors, such as having a too convoluted application process or a poorly written job advert that doesn’t interest the applicant enough to see the process through.
Recruitment can be a long and expensive process. But having the extra people in your business or agency, should lower the amount of work you have on your plate and free up your time.
But if your hiring process does take too much time, that’s an obvious sign that there’s plenty of room for you to improve your hiring process. Improving your hiring process also means you also have more time to interview potential candidates, giving yourself more options to choose from and making sure you find the perfect candidate for your business.
One of the biggest difficulties our clients face in hiring in digital marketing, is finding candidates that have the technical skills to do the job.
For example, two different agencies may both be looking for a Paid Media Manager with 3+ years of experience. The two sound identical, but in reality they may be two very different roles: One with a focus on team development, the other with a focus on client relationship management.
So if the needs of the role aren’t communicated clearly, you may spend hours interviewing the wrong candidates. Candidates who either aren’t aware of the needs of your business or don’t want to take their own career in that direction.
Bad hires are costly. That’s a fact. Studies show that on average, a bad hire costs around £13,000 to a business. Although depending on your business, your industry and the position in question; the cost can be much, much higher. For example, hiring a Digital Marketing Executive who turns out not to be right for your business won’t nearly be as costly as hiring a Head of SEO who you let go after 6 months.
But if you’re worried excessively about making bad hires, this could indicate that your hiring process isn’t effective in weeding out the candidates who aren’t the right person for the job.
Writing a job advert that attracts candidates isn’t hard. But writing a job advert that catches the attention of the best candidates, helps them envision what working at your company actually looks like, and sells your position in the best way possible can be a bit trickier.
If you notice that the applicants you’re receiving aren’t right for your position or aren’t technically strong enough, it could be that you need to revisit your job advert. This could be as simple as emphasising the most important requirements of the role, or speaking with the team they’ll be working with to gain a deeper understanding of the team, the role, and the culture.
Knowing you need to improve your hiring process is all well and good. But what you really need is to know how to improve your hiring process. And just what the benefits are for your business, and why you should take the time to implement these changes to your process.
Most important in your hiring process, is to know how urgent your hiring needs are. Do you have some recent client wins that mean you need to add to your team in the next few months? Or is your business just growing over time, and your needs are less urgent?
The bigger a time pressure you have, the more flexible you may have to be. Sometimes it’s better to give up on one of those “must have” qualities, if it means you can get someone in the door and trained up before you need them.
But it also means the more efficient you will be with your time. When you need someone urgently, it’s time to evaluate whether you need those 5 rounds of interviews or if three will actually do.
So even when your hiring needs aren’t urgent, we would advise putting a deadline on things. This stops you dragging out the process and wasting time without making a decision.
Increased flexibility in your hiring will mean you get someone on the team when you need them, and give you more time in the long run. This time can be used to interview more candidates or even grow the business in other areas. And putting a deadline on your non-urgent roles helps prevent dragging out the process for candidates, and causing harm to your industry reputation.
Before your hiring and interviewing even starts, you should sit down with the team and find out what the person coming into the position needs to be able to do. What would you “like” to see from the candidate, but is more of a nice to have than a requirement.
It can be important to have these talks with the team who will be working directly with your new employee. The team who work with them everyday may have a different understanding of the role than you do yourself.
If you’re looking to fill the shoes of someone that has left, their role may have grown to include additional responsibilities than from when you hired for the position last time.
If you can define this at the start of the process, you’ll have a better understanding of exactly who you’re looking for, and what you need and what you would like. You’ll be able to communicate this with hiring managers, and any recruiters you are working with.
When you understand exactly what and who you are looking for, you’ll also be more focused and spend less time on interviews. And the less interviews you go through, the quicker you get the right candidate in through the door, and the less good candidates you have dropping off halfway through the interview process!
It’s all well and good to know what you’re looking for. But now you need to decide how to effectively measure if someone is up to the level of standard that you are looking for.
These can be most easily defined by looking at the industry standards, as well by looking introspectively at the team you do have. The years of experience and the skills you need someone to have are easier to define.
But this can also include opinion based measurables like “Will this person be a cultural fit for the team and for the business?” or “Do they have the desire to continue to learn, develop in the role and progress?”. Measurables like these aren’t as easy to define as “Do they have X amount of years of experience”, but they can be just as important.
Having defined and measurable criteria allows you to make an objective and factual decision on the candidates, even if you interview them weeks apart. By having a clearer idea of whether someone is suitable you can have fewer interviews and save yourself time deciding with colleagues outside of the interview. Additionally, you’ll reduce the chances of making bad hires that cost you time AND money.
When you’re hiring aggressively for a position and interviewing multiple candidates, it can be helpful to block them together on a certain day of the week. Interviewing candidates back-to-back makes it easier to make a decision there and then about who is the most qualified and will progress to the next stage.
When this isn’t possible, you can always compare the candidates to the people in the team already, or the person who was in the role previously.
When you can compare candidates while they’re fresh in your mind, it’s much easier to choose between candidates who are similar in skill-sets and experience. Making snap decisions also means you can avoid the need for additional interviews and dragging out the process.
And the quicker you decide someone won’t be making it to the next stage and reject them from the interview process, the better for preserving your industry reputation.
60% of job seekers said they would be more likely to apply to the company again in the future if they received feedback when they didn’t receive the job. So not only are you more likely to receive applications from candidates who weren’t qualified for the role at the time (but may be in the future), you reduce the chance of the rejected candidate going out to their network and telling everyone about the horrible experience they had interviewing for your company.
Being fluid and flexible when it comes to interviews and scheduling can make all the difference. Let’s say that you receive an application from a great looking candidate, but you can only fit them into your schedule in a week and a half. That can be the week and a half that it takes for this ‘ideal candidate’ to be poached by your competition.
Or perhaps you get them into the process and you think, they’re the real deal, this is the one we want in our business. Then is the time to ask yourself, “Do we now need to have these two more interviews that we usually have, just to follow the usual process and tick all the boxes?”. Because those extra interviews that can take a couple of weeks to organise can be what cost you that ideal candidate.
Being flexible with your hiring process means you can be the first to make the job offer to candidates, and stop you missing out on good candidates when you don’t need the extra stages of interviews.
It’s not always first come, first served. But it definitely helps.
Implementing the steps above can be the slight changes you need to make that will help you hire your star employee. But what works for one company won’t always work for every other business, agency, or industry.
Sometimes what you need is an individually tailored approach: Which is where we come in.
If you’re a digital marketing agency or a business who needs to hire a digital marketer, the best step you can take to improve your hiring process is to work with a digital recruitment agency. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages of working with a recruitment agency to consider.
But what recruitment agencies can do for you, is take care of the difficult part of the process: Finding qualified candidates and interested applicants. As experts in recruitment and in the digital job market, here at Herd we can also offer you candid advice on what is actually going on in the industry and how to improve your hiring process.
We speak to digital marketers everyday, and we can tell you exactly what they want to see from their next employer. For a chat about what we can do for you and your hiring needs, get in touch here.
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