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As the economy improves, companies find themselves competing for top talent. Attracting that top talent begins in the hiring process, which is where many companies have the potential to make mistakes that will cost them the best employees. A careful review can help identify even simple mistakes and help companies implement best practices for the hiring process, regardless of the size of the company.

Most companies begin recruiting employees with a public job posting, a process that has evolved a great deal in the last decade. Companies no longer post on major job websites like Monster.com; they use social media and smartphone applications that will reach their ideal candidates. A recent survey found that 77 percent of people looking for jobs have used their smartphone at least once to view job descriptions.

Another part of the hiring process that companies have incorporated is their own staff by using crowd sourcing software such as BullHorn Reach, Jobvite, and Zao. These referrals from employees often result in a faster hire and more loyal employee.

Once the position is posted, one of the common mistakes companies make is to put only the human resources department in charge of the employee screening process. The department is very important and can help screen out candidates that would not be a good match for the company, but not having the hiring manager who will be working with the employee involved is a huge mistake. The hiring managers are the ones on the front lines who know what is needed to succeed in their departments. Human resources may screen out an otherwise good candidate during this early stage of the hiring process.

The hiring manager may have a lot on her plate, but involving her actively in recruiting new team members can help weed through large amounts of resumes and eliminate those that would not be a good fit. And reviewing the resumes requires setting aside biases – for example, some are hesitant to hire people who have been unemployed for long periods of time, even more so than hiring candidates with criminal records.

Another bias that may occur that would screen out otherwise good candidates is age discrimination, which crops up more often than race or gender discrimination. During the resume review process, companies need to remember that older workers not only have a great deal of experience but also strong work ethics. When companies consider underemployed, older professionals, they can often reap tremendous rewards from these diligent workers. While generational differences may be large between these older workers and their younger counterparts, these generational differences, such as more productivity, more engagement, and a willingness to work longer hours, can be very beneficial for the company. Additionally, these generational differences don’t mean discord; Baby Boomers, who are ages 50 and older, work very well with Generation Y, which is between 20 and 34.

When companies consider how well these generations work together, as well as the productivity increases older employees can offer, they increase their chances of hiring top talent.

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