A Descriptive Checklist for Hiring Success

Hiring manager using checklist for applicant interview
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In a competitive market, you want to be sure you hire a superior workforce. Using a checklist when hiring employees will help you systematize your hiring process, keep track of your recruiting efforts, and allow for fair and consistent hiring practices.

This descriptive hiring checklist helps you communicate the recruiting and hiring process and progress to the hiring manager.


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Develop the Job Description

Develop and prioritize the key requirements needed for the position and the special qualifications, traits, characteristics, and experience you seek in a candidate. Let your HR department help you develop the job description that will go in the notice.

This benefits your Human Resources department when they write the classified ad or post the job online and on the company website. It also helps them screen resumes for potential interviews.

Budget and Look Internally

Once you develop your job description and qualifications, determine the salary range and decide whether the department can afford to hire an employee to fill the position.

It's best to look internally first because the chances are high that there is someone qualified working at the company. If your company has a bulletin board in the lunchroom, post the opening there and on your company intranet for a short time.

If you anticipate having difficulty finding a qualified internal candidate for the position, send a company-wide email to notify staff that you're looking for someone to fill a position. Be sure to state in the notices that you are advertising the position externally at the same time.

If you are the hiring supervisor and find an internal candidate, ensure you let their current supervisor know if you are talking to their team member.

All staff members should then encourage talented and diverse internal candidates to apply for the position. If you have interested internal candidates, have them fill out an Internal Position Application.

Schedule Internal Interviews

Schedule an interview for internal candidates with the hiring supervisor, their manager and HR. It's important to let candidates know how long you anticipate the process taking.

Each interviewer should have a role in the interview process. Some parts you might assign are assessing a candidate's cultural fit, technical qualifications, customer responsiveness or knowledge. The interviewers should fill out a Job Candidate Evaluation Form after each interview.

If an internal candidate is selected for the position, make a written job offer that includes the new job description and salary. Agree on a transition timeline with the internal candidate’s current supervisor.

If you've hired internally, it's likely there is another internal opening—you'll need to begin looking for candidates again.

Provide Feedback to Internal Applicants

If no internal candidates are selected for the position, clearly communicate with the applicants that they were not selected.

Whenever possible, provide feedback that will help the employee continue to develop their skill and qualifications. Use this feedback as an opportunity to help the employee continue to grow their career.

Look for External Candidates

If no qualified internal candidates apply, extend the search to external candidates if you didn't advertise the position simultaneously. Develop a candidate pool of diverse applicants by spreading information about the job throughout your network and industry. See if you can recruit some employees to use their social media and real-world network of friends and associates to assist you.

Recruit online, and post the classified ad on job boards and newspaper-related websites—don't forget the company careers web-page. You can also post the position on professional association websites. University career centers, career fairs and temporary help agencies are all good resources for finding talent.

Develop an Applicant Pool

Hopefully, you've developed a pool of candidates through your recruiting efforts. Whether you have created a candidate pool in advance of the job opening or are searching for an employee from scratch, a qualified pool of candidates is crucial.

Online social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent for finding new talent.

Send emails to each applicant to acknowledge receipt of the resume. It's acceptable to acknowledge your receipt of their application and nothing more. There is no need to send other correspondence unless you want to bring an applicant in.

Create a Shortlist and Screen Applications

Once you have selected several applicants for the position, screen cover letters, resumes, and applications; then bounce them against your prioritized qualifications and criteria.

Create a shortlist of applicants after the hiring manager and Human Resources staff review the applications they have received. Phone screen the shortlist of candidates whose credentials look like a good fit ​for the position.

Schedule First Interviews

Schedule qualified candidates whose salary needs you can afford for a first interview with the hiring supervisor and an HR representative. This interview can either be in-person or on the phone. In all cases, tell the candidates the timeline you anticipate the interview process will take.

Ensure job candidate evaluation forms are filled out after every interview. If you bring a candidate back for more interviews, fill them out then as well.

Ask the candidate to fill out your official job application upon their arrival for the interview. Give the candidate a copy of the job description to review. Hold screening interviews during which the candidate is assessed and has the opportunity to learn about your organization and your needs.

Schedule Second Interviews

Second interviews should have different interviewers than the first interview. They should only be people who have an impact on the hiring decision. This may include potential coworkers, customers, the hiring supervisor, the hiring supervisor’s manager and HR.

Again, interviewers should have roles. If there are tests for the position, have the candidates participate.

Determine Your Finalists

Once you identify your finalists, HR should check their credentials, references, do a background check and verify other documents and statements. Through the entire interviewing process, HR and managers (if needed) should stay in touch with the most qualified candidates via phone and email.

Hiring personnel and HR should reach a consensus on whether the organization wants to select any candidate via informal discussions or formal meetings with all personnel involved throughout the process.

If disagreement exists, the supervising manager should make the final decision. If no candidate is superior, review your candidate pool again—redevelop it if you need to.

Initiate Talks With the Candidate

Once HR and the hiring supervisor agree on a candidate, make an offer with the concurrence of the supervisor’s manager. Talk informally with the candidate about their interest in the job at the offered salary and conditions.

Make certain that your candidates agree to participate in a background check, a drug screen and sign a Non-compete or Confidentiality Agreement if needed. If they agree, proceed with an offer letter. You can also make the job offer contingent on passing the drug screen and background check.

Negotiate and Prepare an Offer Letter

It's crucial to establish negotiable factors that can bring the organization and the candidate into an agreement. A reasonable negotiation is expected; if a candidate insists on unreasonable compensation or benefits, you should select a new candidate.

Once an agreement is reached, HR should prepare a written position offer letter from the supervisor. The letter should also state and formalize the salary, reporting relationship, supervising relationships and any other benefits or commitments negotiated during the process.

The candidate should sign and receive copies of the offer letter, job description, and the Company Non-Compete or Confidentiality Agreement as part of their hiring packet. If the candidate should decline the offer, go back to your pool of applicants and start the process over from the interview stage.