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Recruiting Team of One: Eleven Tips for Recruiting a Variety of Positions

Are you the company’s HR generalist who also helps with recruiting? Or maybe you are the office manager who wears HR, operations, and many other hats? Or, you could be an official recruiter navigating alone. Whether it has always been this way, or it is a more recent development, you are a recruiting team of one.

The average time-to-hire rate is 23.8 days, and even longer in some sectors, according to research conducted by Glassdoor. Stats like these and the current job market compel you to hire as fast as you can, but you also need to source quality candidates—and finish your other work at the same time.

Consider the following eleven tips when recruiting for a variety of positions:

  1. Confirm. Confirm again.
    The hiring manager for marketing told you they are ready to hire a new coordinator; can you post it? Of course, you can! But, before adding to your extensive list of recruiting items, confirm with the powers that be that you should be posting THIS position right NOW. It could be something has changed with the hiring priorities and the hiring manager hadn’t been informed yet. It could be other positions are opening up that are a higher priority. You need to be the gatekeeper, not only so your to-do list stays manageable, but so that you can maintain a consistent and thoughtful process for the candidates, the hiring managers, and yourself.
  2. Know the position. At least somewhat.
    Whether you find yourself hiring for a tech position you have never heard of or a machinist position that requires skills you only wish you had, the importance of understanding what you are hiring for can’t be overstated. Meet or email with the hiring manager and find out precisely what those terms and acronyms mean. Find out what isn’t in the job description but critical for a candidate to know, such as:
    • What is a typical day like?
    • What are some sample projects?
    • What soft skills would make someone successful in this position?
    • What styles have not worked before in this role?

    Answers to these will help you respond to questions the applicants might have, as well as indicate to the hiring manager where the candidate’s responses align with the team needs and dynamics.
  3. Money talks. Know how much.
    While you are finalizing hiring priority with those “powers that be,” make sure you get confirmation on the hiring range for the position. You are going to need that to post the position on many job sites and to keep things moving.
  4. Prioritize. Daily.
    Recruiting in today’s market takes focus and time, and a lot of it. You may have a great automated system that parses the applications, rejects those that don’t fit, and responds to them. These are very helpful. If you are a recruiting team of one, you likely don’t have this. For recruiting to stay manageable, you must schedule it into your day several times throughout the day. Try first thing, noon hour, and around mid-afternoon. That way, the applications don’t stack up too high, nor do the applicants wait too long to hear from you.

    Pro tip: If you can help it, don’t review applications in the last part of your day. You might not be in a great mood after a long day, and if you are anything like me, very few people will pass your cranky filter. They deserve better!
  5. Block time. Guard it.
    You likely have had a week with multiple phone screens throughout each day and meetings in between. At the end of the week, you feel like you accomplished nothing. One way to combat this is through time blocking. Look at your calendar and determine when you can set aside two to three hours for phone screens or interviews each day. Those time blocks are what you offer candidates. Protect it. Try to have some slots available in both morning and afternoon to accommodate needs. Time blocking gives you the focused time for interviewing and leaves time outside of that for all the other work you must do.
  6. Ask the money question. Early.
    Do you talk about money on that first phone or in-person contact? You should, or your hiring manager should if they are doing the screens. You can’t (in some states) and shouldn’t (in all states) ask candidates what they are currently making, but you can ask, “what range are you looking for in your next move?” Since you already have confirmed the hiring range, you will know very quickly if you can move them forward. And yes, share your hiring range! That way, you can confirm they are really interested.

    The range helps a candidate understand the scope of the position. It also allows you the chance to tout your benefits package. Sharing the range upfront saves time and energy for everyone. You’ll avoid having candidates meet hiring managers whose salary requirements were never a match for the position’s salary range in the first place.
  7. Document. Document. Document.
    If you have been in HR, you know this is the mantra. It works in recruiting as well. If you use an ATS/HRIS for hiring, use the tools at your disposal, such as notes, flags, and automated emails, so that you can go back at any time and see when a candidate was moved in the pipeline, why they didn’t move forward, etc. If you don’t have a system, a spreadsheet works well too! Track by candidate name, when you contacted them, the outcome, and next steps. Make sure you have the date on everything. As much as you think you will remember the details when you have multiple positions and people, you likely won’t. Notes are your best friend.
  8. Check-in. A lot.
    There is nothing worse than quickly reviewing resumes to have your hiring manager sit on them for days or weeks. Advocate for support from upper management around the concept of “if you are hiring, it is your top priority.” Set up daily (or every other day), 15-minute check-ins with the hiring manager. Set expectations, such as:
    • You will be going over all the resumes and they should too.
    • You will be asking questions about candidates that you need their input on.
    • You will be reviewing your phone screen notes or reminding them who they are screening soon (it will already be on their calendar).
  9. Move. Move more.
    So, you blocked your time and have now sat in your chair for three hours, talking to six people in a row. You stand up, and your body is angry at you – tense, sore, and your voice is parched. If you have access to a standing desk, then use it! Do one call sitting and the next standing. It can make a world of difference to your body, and the energy you are putting out to candidates. No standing desk? Make one! Boxes of any kind can be used for your laptop, monitor, or mouse. It might look ridiculous, but your experience and the candidates will likely improve.
  10. Respond? Yes, you need to.
    It can be overwhelming to try and respond to every person. But if they came into your office or store and asked you a question, would you ignore them? Of course not! You want them to be an advocate for your brand, even if they don’t end up working for you. If you use tools like LinkedIn and Indeed, they have ways to set up auto-responses to release candidates in bulk or by time range. If you have an ATS, you can also create email templates to release candidates at every stage. And if you use email, you can make a template and copy/paste a rejection note and then use it again and again. A few candidates might reply, asking why, but the majority don’t, and your time won’t be spent there.
  11. Ask for help. Please.
    If you are trying to review resumes, do phone screens, schedule interviews, and respond to candidates, it can get overwhelming. Is there an element of your work that you can delegate to someone? Maybe an administrative support person could schedule the interviews. Since you are documenting everything, could a colleague respond with the template rejection letter?

Whether you are the HR generalist who recruits on the side, office manager who wears many hats, or a solo recruiter, consider these eleven tips to make quick and quality hires. And know that if you are ever struggling to find the time to focus on recruiting, you’re not alone. Archbright can help you get the support you need in today’s job market. Start by checking out Archbright’s Recruiting Services.

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Andie Reed, SPHR

Andie started her professional career navigating through Marketing and Project Management in the Seattle internet world of the 1990s. When people became a passion, she made a career shift to focus on HR with an eye towards benefits, recruiting, leave management, and employee engagement and retention. She holds a Bachelor of Communications from Marquette University.