Improve your Hiring Efforts through Candidate Tracking

November 2, 2022 by Keith MacKenzie

Improve your Hiring Efforts through Candidate Tracking

Do you open up a job, promote it, and wait for the applications to start trickling in? Great. But once candidates are in there, do you monitor how they’re moving through the recruitment funnel? If not, you should.

Thanks to Keith MacKenzie, Content Strategy Manager at Workable, we’re exploring how evaluating and tracking your candidates can dramatically improve your hiring efforts. Through a deep dive into the applicant funnel and an explanation of evaluation tactics, you too can revamp your hiring process to leverage the power of candidate tracking. 

What is a recruitment funnel? 

Right now, you probably have some tracking mechanisms already in place. You’ve implemented the usual staples, such as time to hire/fill, number of candidates who applied, the cost per hire, and so on. You might even be looking at quality of hire, employee retention (yes, recruitment and retention are inherently linked!), and other indicators of success. 

Let’s talk about monitoring candidates at each stage in your recruitment funnel. Here’s an example of such a funnel: 

recruitment funnel

In that funnel, rather than simply saying 100 candidates applied for a job and one was hired, you can look at it this way:

  • 100 candidates apply
  • 40 candidates moved to screening process
  • 15 candidates moved to first interview
  • 8 candidates moved to second interview and/or assessment
  • 3 candidates moved to executive interview
  • 1 candidate gets a job offer / background check / references

Don’t worry about the accuracy of the numbers or even the stages themselves – this is just an example. The point is that you can – and should – track the candidates as they move through your funnel. 

The Importance of Tracking Each Stage

As a recruiter or HR professional, hiring is a huge part of your day-to-day work. It may even be in your KPIs – whether that’s in the number of job applications or the number of positions filled. 

Part of that work towards hitting your KPIs is identifying areas of improvement. In this case, you can use recruitment funnel tracking to identify larger-than-usual candidate dropouts in a given stage – whether that’s through candidates self-selecting out or not being moved to the next stage. That’s a potential area for improvement. 

Let’s look at three potential reasons why this might happen in one stage:

1. Long Wait Periods 

Everyone is busy, but no one likes to be kept waiting. If you make your candidates wait too long, you risk losing them when other employers are quicker to the finish line. Perhaps candidates don’t hear from employers for weeks after they’ve applied, or a lengthy background check right at the moment where they are ready to sign that contract with you. 

You may then see complaints about “ghosting” on Glassdoor or Reddit – not necessarily a good thing for your employer brand. 

What you can do about it:

Keep your candidates as informed as possible, and don’t allow even a few days to elapse without updating them on something – even if it’s just a reminder about an upcoming interview, a thank-you message after completing an assessment, or a quick “here’s where you are now in the process.” 

Again, everyone’s busy, but there are tricks to getting this done, including automated messaging – including text messages during the stages where the wait can be agonizing, such during the aforementioned background check. 

You can also share a document with every candidate right after the screening stage describing the step-by-step timeline so candidates know what to expect.

2. Poor Candidate Experience 

Perhaps the assessment you have prescribed as part of the hiring process is received with derision by more candidates than the norm. Maybe candidates are opting out at a higher rate after interviewing with the hiring manager or executive – suggesting that the interviewer may actually be the “problem.”

Another point of friction can even be identified where you see that the number of completed applications is much lower than applications “started.” That suggests that the application process itself is potentially asking too much of a candidate who’s in high demand.

What you can do about it:

Communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s not just about timelines; it’s also about proactively addressing any questions or concerns that may come up. 

For instance, explain the purpose behind an assessment – especially if it’s a personality test. You’re not testing their personality in a pass/fail sense but rather gaining insight into their personality so you can determine how you might set them up for success. Perhaps they’re great decision makers or they can operate in high-stress environments. Maybe they prefer to be assigned work beforehand or they can operate on the fly.

If you find friction in the interview stage, consider talking with the interviewer. Interviewing isn’t necessarily in their day-to-day work, so they aren’t experts. They may not be great at marketing themselves or the job itself, or are just better at written rather than verbal communication. You can coach them so that the interview becomes a better and more positive experience for both interviewer and interviewee.

Finally – if it’s the application process itself, there are easier and quicker ways for candidates to automatically apply using a one-click tool, either via LinkedIn or even using Workable’s ATS.  

3. Biased Decisions

If diversity is one of your key initiatives in your company, that starts in the recruitment process. And a common refrain of employers is that they want to diversify but the candidates just aren’t there. News flash: candidates may actually be there, but are getting filtered out at different stages in your funnel.

If you’re using anonymized candidate surveys and/or demographic tracking, you can identify areas where unconscious bias in evaluations may be impacting your diversity efforts. 

Let’s say there’s an even 50-50 split in gender in your initial applicant pool, but you find that 65% of your new hires are male. You can look at the gender makeup of candidates at each stage and see where it starts to change, and act accordingly.

What you can do about it:

First, train members of the hiring team (yourself included) on checking your/their biases when evaluating candidates. There are numerous biases that we all are unaware of – they include but aren’t limited to origin bias, language bias, race bias, accent bias, disability bias… the list goes on. 

Experience bias is another one. Are you potentially filtering out worthy candidates because their degree came from a school you haven’t heard of? Or perhaps a candidate has four years of experience but you’re requiring five. Is one year necessarily that much of a differentiator?

Even tech has bias if you’ve programmed it that way. For example, a developer completes a programming language assessment in 22 minutes instead of the ideal 20 minutes and they’re automatically “failed” – but they’ve crushed the test otherwise. Is that really a dealbreaker?

Start Tracking Your Progress

There are numerous ways you can improve your hiring process. Tracking each stage is just one way – but when you have that setup, the benefits start showing themselves. Your time to fill is shortened. Your candidate engagement – and subsequently, employee retention – grows. Your employee base grows in diversity. All of these are good things – and very tangible results, too. 

To learn more about Verified First’s partnership with Workable, visit our partner webpage on our website! 

About Keith MacKenzie

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