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Ask a Hiring Expert: Best Hiring Practices

More tips for your FREE CareerPlug account

By Natalie Morgan, CareerPlug Director of HR

As hiring experts, we at CareerPlug have developed what we call our Opinionated Approach to hiring.  This means we take a stand on hiring best practices and what matters most to setting our clients up for success. It also means that we invest in creating a playbook to success for our product users and a path to becoming hiring experts.  We may not be the right partner for every company, and that’s okay.

As CareerPlug’s Director of Human Resources, I want to share with you some of the core opinions that make up our Opinionated Approach to hiring. These principles keep us growing in our own best hiring practices and push us to create exceptional experiences for our clients.


1. Know who you are.

Before you think about who you need to hire, step back and think about who you are as a company.

Oftentimes, businesses make the mistake of putting off defining core values for some day far in the future, seeing it as unimportant to business decisions right now. But business experts like Simon Sinek argue that the opposite is true. Defining what you value now is key to growing your business in the right direction long-term.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s your mission?
  • Where are you headed?
  • What do you value?
  • How are you different?

You might also ask some of your current team members these questions. The answers to all these questions compose your company culture and give you a roadmap to the kind of people you will attract, develop, and retain.

Consider this a best practice for hiring, but also for your business in general. Share your vision, mission, and values with candidates, and look for people who align with your vision.

2. Candidate experience matters.

Creating a great candidate experience is more important than ever before, thanks to a thriving job market and low unemployment. Great candidates are in demand and have the freedom to be picky.

Remove barriers to applying like cumbersome job applications where job seekers need to re-enter information on their resume or create a login. CareerPlug makes it easy for candidates to apply by never requiring a login or detailed employment history.

The longer a job application takes to complete, the higher the applicant drop-off rate. During the hiring process, remember that candidates are evaluating your company just as much as you are evaluating them. Communicate openly, give candidates a chance to ask questions, and present a realistic view of the open position.

Even if you never talk to an applicant after they apply, remember to still send them a polite rejection email. No one likes to feel like they’ve sent their information into a black hole. Creating a positive experience with every candidate will help you maintain a healthy employment brand and ultimately attract more applicants.

3. Standardize your hiring process.

Having a standardized hiring process is one of the core advantages of using an Applicant Tracking System ATS). By running every candidate through the same hiring workflow, you teach hiring managers best practices, help remove potential bias and subjectivity and give candidates a consistently positive experience with your company.

When it comes time to making a hiring decision, having a standard process ensures you’ve addressed all the criteria that matter most. A good standardized hiring process will set up you for success in implementing all of our best practices for hiring.

Here’s a reminder of the hiring process steps we follow when we hire at CareerPlug:

  1. Review
  2. Phone screen
  3. Assess
  4. Interviews
  5. Verify
  6. Offer

4. Quality matters more than quantity.

Sure, it’s awesome to see 100+ applicants apply to your job. It’s less awesome when none of them are qualified candidates. While volume in hiring can be helpful, it’s more effective to attract candidates who would be a good fit, even if they are fewer in number.

You don’t need 100 applicants, you just need one applicant who’s the right applicant. Focus on tailoring your job description to your ideal candidate — from the job title to the compensation amount. When you’re clear about what you need, job seekers have the chance to self-select in or out.

5. Always be hiring.

The wrong time to start hiring is when you needed a person in the door yesterday. By always keeping a lookout for top talent, you build a hiring pipeline. When you’re in a bind, you have someone to call without jumping into the recruitment process and waiting for new job board applicants.

Keep in touch with the candidates who are “not now’s” and keep a post active on your careers page to leave the door open for the right person.

6. Hire for growth potential.

This is one of those hiring best practices that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Many hiring managers are quick to weigh one candidate’s experience against another’s and conclude that the candidate with the most experience must be the best candidate for the role.

But at CareerPlug, we believe candidates who exhibit the behaviors and talents to succeed in the job over time may not always have the ideal amount of previous experience. When you hire based only on who someone is today, you miss out on hiring for growth potential. 

Look for potential employees who can grow with you: people who are high achievers, learn quickly, have an entrepreneurial mindset, and have a track record of bringing their best.

For more tips on how to hire for growth potential, check out “Looking Beyond the Resume: How to Hire for growth potential” ( from our Ask a Hiring Expert series.

7. Hire like you sell.

A great sales leader builds processes, sets goals, and holds people accountable for results. These processes and goals pave the way for those results. Treat your hiring process like your sales process: from a compelling offer, qualify prospects, follow up quickly and regularly, define the process, and track results.

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS)  is for your hiring what your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is for your sales team. A good ATS helps you improve your results at every stage of the hiring process. It should help save you time, attract more qualified candidates, and make better hiring decisions. Utilize your ATS to manage job candidates, create an effective funnel, close the deal and make the hire.

IIABSC has partnered with CareerPlug to make hiring easier for our members. Every IIABSC agency member will receive a free branded careers page to showcase your jobs listings on your agency’s website. Job posts will also appear on the career page of the association’s website,