How to Make the Hiring Process Less Painful

Description: Are you tired of getting thousands of resumes from unqualified applicants, or hearing the same interview responses from all of your candidates? This checklist will help you to make the hiring process less painful on virtually every level.

Hiring new employees can be a stressful or downright painful process for a lot of reasons. From sifting through hundreds or even thousands of resumes to taking time out of your business schedule to interview your applicants, the hiring process is rarely anything more than a hassle. Worst of all, the annoyance doesn’t stop when you make a hiring decision. On the contrary, employee onboarding is arguably the most irritating part of the process, because it takes so long to get your new hire trained to the point where they are operating at full speed and efficiency.

So what can you do to make the hiring process at your company less of a drag? Is it even possible? By ticking off all the boxes on our checklist below, you can design an employee screening process that goes faster and gets better results.

  • Write a Detailed Job Description: Your job description is your first chance to filter out unqualified applicants, so really take some time to think about what you want from a new employee. List specific qualifications, like the degree you want or required computer skills. Specify your desired level of experience, in years. Be specific about the duties that the job entails. Include the salary range you are willing to offer for the job, to weed out people who won’t work for the rate you can afford. The more details you include in the job description, the better your chance of finding your dream employee.
  • Skip the Major Job Boards: Job boards like CareerBuilder and Monster are so popular among job seekers that forgoing them might seem counterintuitive. However, if you can target your job posting to other more exclusive groups—like to industry-specific job boards or even your LinkedIn followers—you will cut down on the number of applications you have to review but still get qualified candidates.
  • Remove the Criminal History Question from Your Job Applications: Wanting to know about who your applicants are is understandable. However, recent trends seem to suggest that the criminal history question is going to disappear from all job applications sooner rather than later. Ban the box legislation is everywhere, and employee rights groups love to target companies that seem to be discriminating against people with criminal records. Why not be proactive and remove the question right now? This way, you save yourself from being part of a political debate.
  • Design a Standard Background Check Practice: Just because you’re not asking about criminal history doesn’t mean you can’t learn about an applicant’s criminal history. Design a standard pre-employment background check policy and make it a requirement for any applicant that receives a job offer. This setup has numerous benefits. First off, instead of wasting money and running background checks on dozens of applicants, you are only vetting your finalist. Secondly, making the background check part of a conditional offer of employment lets you reserve the right to rescind the offer if you find anything particularly damning about your prospective employee.
  • Include Other Checks in Your Background Screening: A criminal history check will probably be the cornerstone of your pre-employment background check However, it’s also a good idea to incorporate other types of screenings—including employment, education, and professional license verifications. Sadly, but truly, some applicants tend to tell numerous lies on their resumes. Someone can look like the perfect applicant on paper but end up lacking a lot of the qualifications they said they had. Verification checks can help you spot bogus resumes and avoid hiring someone who isn’t who they said they were.
  • Don’t Bother with Social Media: Everyone is on social media these days, so it’s necessary for employers to check the profiles of their candidates, right? Not really. If an applicant is rude, offensive, or otherwise difficult to work with, you will learn that much faster through an employment reference check than from browsing their Facebook. Social accounts also include some information that hiring managers aren’t supposed to know, from an applicant’s sexual orientation to his or her political preferences. In other words, skipping the social media check won’t just save you time and effort; it will also help you avoid a potential employment discrimination lawsuit.
  • Test Your Employees: Does the position you are filling involve writing? Ask them to write a sample press release based on your criteria. Does the job require specific computer skills? Ask them to complete an assignment involving the software or programming language in question. Does the position require graphic design skills? Ask the applicant to show off their Photoshop chops. Requesting work samples is one way to see what your applicants can do, but people will occasionally send you work that isn’t theirs. Giving your top applicants assignments that test their skills or qualifications is a better to way to make sure those people have what it takes to do the job.
  • Think of Smarter Interview Questions: Don’t just pull a list of generic interview questions off the internet and read them off in the interview. Many job seekers have pre-rehearsed answers to these questions, and many of those questions won’t apply to the job opportunity in question anyway. Take an hour or so to sit down and draft a list of questions that specifically address the job opportunity, the skill sets you’ve required, or the challenges that applicants might face if hired. Throwing in a generic question or two isn’t the worst thing, but steering toward less predictable questions will force your applicants to think on their toes and will result in more revealing answers.

Hiring a new employee doesn’t have to be an endless and frustrating slog. With the right processes in place, you can zero in on the most qualified applicants faster and with less effort. From there, all you have to do is extend the job offer and hope your preferred candidate says yes!

Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.