Having a strong understanding of the hiring process can be a valuable tool when applying for jobs and attending interviews. By becoming familiar with how employers hire for new positions, you can view your application from their perspective. In this article, you can learn more about each step of the hiring process and how to be successful when applying for jobs.
What is the hiring process?
The hiring process is the series of actions employers take in order to find and select candidates for a job. The process begins when a position becomes available, and it ends when a new employee is hired. While some companies may add or remove steps in the hiring process based on their needs, most employers follow a similar set of steps to recruit new employees. Employers can use a variety of tools to monitor the hiring process, ranging from email to applicant tracking systems that automatically update candidates on their status.
Steps of the hiring process
Here are the main steps of the hiring process:
After a position becomes available within a company, their human resources department will work with a manager and their team to develop a job description and a plan for hiring. During the planning stage, they discuss the type of candidate who would succeed in that position and what qualifications are required. Employers then decide on a timeline to fill the position and begin recruitment.
Employers begin recruiting applicants by posting an open position on their website or outside job boards. Depending on the type of job, they may advertise to professional groups or reach out to ideal applicants directly. Some companies hire recruiting agencies to help find the best candidates for each position.
After receiving a certain number of applications or waiting for a determined amount of time, the hiring team will begin to review application materials. Employers often build a team of people who understand the position to read through applications and select the most promising candidates. During this step, they may also check references and do additional research on the applicants.
Some positions require an assessment to test your skills in a certain area. Employers can also ask you to take aptitude and personality tests to determine how well you would perform within the company. If you are asked to take an assessment, this can often be a sign that the employer is especially interested in your application.
If the employer believes that your qualifications and experience suit the position, they will then begin the interview stage of the hiring process. Some companies conduct multiple interviews over the phone and in person, usually with different members of their team. The interview provides an employer with the chance to determine if your personality and skills are a good fit for their team.
After completing all interviews, the hiring team will discuss each applicant and select the candidate who shows the highest potential for success in the position. Employers often make their decision based on a combination of your resume, cover letter and interview. Once the final selection has been made, the employer offers the job to their first-choice candidate and waits for their reply before sending rejection notices to the remaining applicants.
How to succeed during the hiring process
Use these steps to be as successful as possible during the hiring process:
1. First, read the job description thoroughly
The first step to a successful application is to read the job description thoroughly. Take notes on the key responsibilities and qualifications mentioned by the employer. Pay close attention to which aspects of the position have the most detail in the job description to learn about the employer’s priorities. Read through the job description multiple times to gain a good understanding of the type of candidate the employer is looking for.
2. Second, research the company
After you understand the position, research the company so that you can appeal to their core values. By understanding some basic information about an employer such as their mission statement or major projects, you can focus on sharing the most relatable experiences and skills. Employers often appreciate when applicants show interest in the company’s history and future.
3. Third, customize your resume and cover letter
Based on the information you learned from analyzing the job description and researching the company, edit your resume and cover letter. Use phrases that directly reference the job description, especially when describing your past experience. Applicant tracking systems often use keywords to screen applications, so you can highlight your resume by using vocabulary from the job description. Your cover letter should also reflect your specific interest in the company and position.
4. Then, prepare for your interview
If you are selected to interview, search for possible interview questions in your field and practice answering them aloud. Although you cannot know what questions the interviewer will ask, practicing interview answers can help you become comfortable discussing your application. This step helps you recognize the parts of an interview that are most challenging for you and allows you to improve before the real interview.
5. Next, thank the people who interviewed you
After your interview, send a polite thank-you note to the hiring team. Regardless of whether they offer you the job, sending a thank-you letter or email can leave a positive impression and influence their willingness to work with you in the future. Thank them for their time and express gratitude for the chance to apply for the position.
6. Lastly, follow up after your interview
During your interview, ask when the hiring team expects to make a decision and based on their answer, follow up after that amount of time. Following up after an interview with an email shows initiative and interest in the position. If an employer has multiple strong candidates competing for a position, taking the extra step of reaching out can help them make a decision in your favor.