For more than a decade, I was a solo recruiter helping other companies attract talent and fill hard-to-fill roles. But a few years ago, my husband and I decided to expand our service offerings at our company, HireEffect—an outsourced HR, bookkeeping and payroll provider.


Due to this expansion, we’ve needed to build a workforce of smart and talented people. I knew from my recruiting experience that hiring today is about both creating the right work environment and culture while also leveraging technology to optimize the hiring process. Long gone are the days when someone can simply post a job on a job site and assume applications and résumés will pour in.


Amid the “Great Resignation” that so many businesses are grappling with right now, our hiring practices, along with the tech tools we use, are helping us beat the odds: We’ve filled 13 new positions at HireEffect since the beginning of 2021 and continue to attract highly qualified applicants for every job opening. We use the same practices to help our clients recruit better, too.


Putting culture first

The foundation of recruiting great talent is your culture. It doesn’t matter how fancy of a recruiting system you have, if your company isn’t a place where people feel happy and satisfied, they won’t come work for you—or they won’t stay. So, we’ve worked to build a culture where our employees feel good about working with us.


We can’t pay as much as some competitors, and I always list how much each position pays in our job ads—as I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. Despite that, we continue to hire great people who are drawn to the flexibility and “people first” practices that our culture is based on. We don’t talk about work-life balance—we talk about work-life integration. That means we understand when our employees need to care for a sick child at home or take a day off for self-care.


Selling who we are

We use social media to both promote our workplace culture—so people are interested in potentially working for us whether soon or in the future—and to promote our job openings.


We use the various platforms available to get the word out, including our Facebook page, LinkedIn, Indeed and Instagram. This direct approach to recruiting works well because, not only is it affordable, but when a prospective applicant wants to learn more about what we do, they can simply check out all the other content about our company on those pages.


When I write job ads, I focus on selling our company and the job—asking questions about what they enjoy doing or are good at. (“Do you have a knack for identifying hidden objects?”) I promote near the top of our ads that we’re “people first” and “technology forward” and showcase how we’re an employer of choice for people who want to work from home.


We really make our job ads attractive, and not just a bland list of their job responsibilities. So when someone sees our ads on, say, Facebook, we will stand out and attract more applicants.


Using tech to hire better

Once we have applicants, the backbone of our recruiting process is our applicant tracking system. We use cloud-based software called SmartRecruiters, but many other similar programs exist.


It makes the hiring process far more efficient and saves us a ton of manual work. For example, I can create templates that let me easily send personalized, yet standardized, emails to applicants for common reasons—whether asking them to schedule a 45-minute video interview on my online calendar or letting them know they didn’t get the position.


Using the platform, I can see all of my candidates for a particular job, rank them, assess them and easily share my notes with my colleagues—so we’re not sending a million emails back and forth. It all lives on the cloud-based tracking system.


“Once we have applicants, the backbone of our recruiting process is our applicant tracking system.”


Because I can create applicant profiles in the system, I can also keep their information and my notes on them for future openings. Moreover, if somebody has applied at our company for a job several times before and we rejected them, the applicant tracking system will show us that.


The technology makes the hiring process much more effective by allowing us to better organize and collaborate every hiring decision, while providing us with a potential pipeline of applicants to circle back with in the future.


Technology has become increasingly central to how small companies operate in so many ways, and in today’s challenging hiring environment, it only makes sense to use it to both find and manage high-quality talent.

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