Steps In The Hiring Process: How It Works

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 15, 2021

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Employers are always looking for new, ideal candidates for their unfilled positions. And given the sheer quantity of potential employees out there, this is not always an easy task. Therefore, regardless of a company’s size or industry type, several of the same critical hiring process steps are utilized before taking on a new employee.

While some steps are obvious, others may be more “behind the scenes” or simply unknown by applicants. Maybe you just started your application process, and you either feel overwhelmed or are wondering how many steps you’ll have to go through before you find out whether or not you got the job.

Luckily, you should know that no part of the hiring process will be hidden from you. Rather, employers are simply completing a series of steps (some for legal or ethical reasons, and others for the company’s benefit) to find the best possible candidates.

With that in mind, this article will outline some of the most common and essential steps of the employment process, as well as the employer’s and employee’s roles in these steps.

The Basics: What Is the Hiring Process?

For companies, the hiring process is a step-by-step way to identify a position’s needs, analyze a pool of talented applicants, and eventually hire the most qualified applicant.

While different companies can have variations in their hiring processes, many of the most important steps will remain the same. For instance, you can almost always expect to see job postings, application submissions, and interviews. When in doubt, do some research on the size of the company and the type of industry you’re interested in.

How Employers Begin the Hiring Process

Often, companies utilize human resource planning to identify whether they need new workers or a new job posting. The employer will discuss the number of employees they want to hire, as well as the ideal qualifications and skill sets they’re looking for.

They will then estimate the potential results by comparing their needs to the expected number of qualified candidates on the job market. After all, supply and demand will always be crucial in the job market. No employer would actively seek new employees if they didn’t need some.

That being said, once an employer knows that they need a position filled, they will attempt to reach a pool of potential candidates by posting descriptive job ads, utilizing employee referrals, or working with recruiters.

Some higher-level jobs may be more likely to work with recruiters to find applicants, but most commonly, you’ll find postings on job boards or social media. If you still read the newspaper, you can even find job postings there!

Ten Crucial Steps in the Hiring Process

Whether you’re an employer looking to hire or someone who’s eagerly hunting for a new job, knowing the most crucial steps in the employment process is valuable knowledge.

After all, to be as successful as possible, you should weigh the most predominant factors employers usually consider when hiring. You should also understand the necessary qualifications, legal requirements, and any other variables.

Here are the top ten crucial steps of any hiring process:

  1. Initial recruitment planning. Typically, when employers realize that they need new employees, they will have planned meetings and email correspondences about the topic.

    These conversations will address how to publicize the position, review applications, and interview chosen applicants. Additionally, even employees who are not a part of the hiring process will be notified that the company plans to take on new staff members.

    Then, the employer will delegate how the input of assigned employees will affect the hiring process. This includes the reviewing of applications and interviews. For example, employers may designate one or more people to review applications, based on the sheer volume they receive and the input they’d like.

    In the case of interviews, employers can either decide to allow the interviewer(s) to decide about the position or have the interviewer(s) report their findings to those who will make the decision.

  2. Public job postings. Once the initial planning is completed, employers will post their open position in public places. Some of these public places include their store (if applicable), local newspapers, career websites, job boards, and social media.

    Many local businesses may rely on newspaper classifieds or word of mouth, whereas larger companies often gravitate toward job boards. The nature of the company plays a role as well.

    For example, companies focused on blogs or influencers may choose to post their position on social media. On the other hand, a company that needs to fill high-level positions may have a recruiter seek out ideal candidates.

  3. Reviewing applications. When a position is advertised successfully, several candidates will submit applications. Often, a company’s human resources department will review resumes and cover letters and then send them to the chosen hiring manager. The hiring manager(s) will then look over the applications and determine who seems most qualified for an interview.

    Due to the sheer volume of applications some companies receive, this process can be rather nit-picky. Hiring managers will look for small errors in every document while also attempting to keep a fast pace by skimming through.

    Afterward, hiring managers may choose to further screen applicants with phone interviews or move on to the in-person interview process.

  4. Talent assessments. While this step can occur before the application review process or after it, it is still incredibly commonplace. Hiring managers assess top applicants by asking questions or giving tests that allow them to demonstrate their skills.

    These tests can evaluate whether a candidate’s personality, work style, qualifications, or general skills will mesh well with the specific job in question or the company’s culture.

    Usually, the talent assessments given will be based on hiring and retention case studies, as well as general employee data. The tests can consist of questions, simulations, or other roleplay scenarios.

    In many cases, these assessments will be given online (often on the company’s website) and may report a candidate’s performance as soon as they’re completed.

  5. Job interviews. By the time in-person interviews are conducted, the number of applicants will have already narrowed significantly.

    A company will then have the same hiring manager or group of hiring managers interview the candidates in question. Having the same hiring manager(s) evaluate everyone is essential because the analysis of each candidate will be as consistent as possible.

    Employers will ask a series of interview questions that assess each candidate. Depending on the quality of a candidate’s skills, qualifications, and etiquette, they’ll stand a greater or lesser chance of getting the job.

    At an interview, candidates can expect to fill out employment applications that allow the company to review references and perform background checks.

    Additionally, employers will inform the applicants who didn’t receive an interview why they weren’t chosen to participate.

  6. Pre-employment background checks. When employers are fairly certain about who they’d like to hire, they’ll usually require a few different pre-employment background checks. Some of these serve legal purposes, while others might simply be standard for that particular company.

    Here are some common background checks:

    • General background check. For legal reasons, employers will always perform a third party background check on candidates. This check will ensure that the candidate isn’t lying about their legal name, check their incarceration history, and evaluate whether or not they’re a proper citizen of the country.

    • Social media check. This check will evaluate whether or not candidates can serve as a professional face for the company in question. Generally speaking, they don’t want to see foul language or offensive humor on someone’s Facebook.

    • Reference check. At this point, employers will also check the candidate’s references from previous jobs, schools, etc. In doing so, the employer will want to learn as much about them as possible from sources who know them personally.

    • Drug tests. While drug tests aren’t necessarily a legal requirement, many companies still require them.

      These tests reveal the presence of drugs in someone’s system and allow the employer to determine which drugs they may have consumed. Typically, companies who perform drug tests are not very fond of seeing positive test results.

    While a single candidate may not receive all of these background checks, each one can still make or break an employment deal.

  7. Selecting qualified applicants. Once all of these other steps are completed, employers will determine the most qualified candidate(s). This conclusion will be reached by evaluating the application, interview, talent assessment, and background check results.

    Generally, employers will already have an idea of what they want to pay candidates at this stage, but various positions may still allow for negotiation.

  8. Sending out job offers. After a company selects its ideal candidate(s), they’ll send formal, competitive job offers. Usually, these offers will be delivered over the phone or sent via email. Further, even if one candidate is required, multiple offers may be prepared as backups if the top pick rejects it.

    Employers will also inform the candidates who don’t receive job offers why they were not selected. Overall, all of this communication is key in cleanly establishing who will receive the new position.

  9. Negotiating salary and start date. While most minimum wage jobs won’t change any aspects of the job, many higher-level positions will allow their newly hired candidate to negotiate their compensation, PTO (paid time off), company equipment, and time working remotely, to name a few.

    Much of this will depend on the candidate’s previous employment. After all, if they were paid $60,000 per year at their previous position, and the current position only offers an initial $58,000, they may request the extra $2,000 per year. If the candidate is ideal for the company and preferred over all others, the odds are that they’ll receive at least some of their requests.

    It’s also very common for newly hired employees to have pre-organized plans or vacations setup within their first three months of their work schedule. Usually, it’s beneficial for the employer to be flexible and accommodate these plans.

    Another common topic of negotiation for any position is deciding a start date. Typically, employers ask their new hire when they’ll be able to start. Unless the requested start date is far too delayed, new employees can usually start when they’re available.

  10. Training new hires. The final important step of the hiring process is to train the newly hired employee(s) during their first week of work. New employees will be introduced to their new workspace, co-workers and may be assigned their own locker, desk, etc. Then, the employer will continue with training the employee on how to perform their daily tasks.

    Often, there are company protocols, such as legal and training videos, or tests to be taken in order to handle certain things (such as controlled substances). These protocols and tests may take longer to complete than the first week but are still a crucial part of the overall hiring process.

    After training is completed, the hired employee officially has a place at their new company.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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