Three Quick and Dirty Ways to Speed Up the Hiring Process

You’re the HR rep, master of your corporate hiring process, and your work isn’t easy.

One job posting from your company will bring in hundreds of poorly written resumes and cover letters from job hunters. Sorting through that pile to find the handful of candidates who are both experienced and well-adjusted enough to interview takes time. Lots of time. Tack on another few weeks for the interviews themselves and you’re looking at a pretty lengthy process.

That’s why we want to share some secrets. To speed up the hiring machine, many companies have devised some quick and dirty ways to separate the wheat from the chaff early in the employee selection process, and so we’ve asked some of the fastest-growing companies in the nation to talk about just that.

These techniques can reduce the time it takes to find a quality employee by days or even weeks. Grab your notepads, hiring managers, because here are the three most important things they had to say.

1. Add special instructions for submitting a resume

Any good employee should know how to follow a set of simple directions – it’s pretty fundamental for performing any job in any industry – and many companies test for this essential trait early on in the corporate hiring process. They do it by making candidates follow a set of special instructions when submitting their resumes.

In addition to asking applicants to send in interview questions they think they should be asked along with their resumes, Cluffy Institute COO Christy Scott also requests that applicants make an appointment for a phone interview by using the company’s online scheduler.

“You will be amazed at how few candidates will do this,” she says. “It’s an easy way to eliminate the people who aren’t serious about getting a job and working for the company.”

Ed Kaminsky, president of SportStar Relocation, uses a similar trick when hiring for his real estate offices.

“I set up a voice mailbox with three or four interview questions and ask applicants to call in and answer them,” he says. “There’s usually one question that determines whether or not they’re paying attention. For example, I’ll ask them to repeat their name and phone number twice. If they don’t do it, they lose points.”

A few little tests like these can help uncover superior candidates well before the interview phase. Could your hiring process benefit from a similar screen?

2. Encourage great referrals

Instead of immediately posting a new vacancy on job sites, several of our respondents say that they try to fill the position through a bounty system first. Bounty systems turn your employees into recruiters by giving them a reward (usually between $2,500 and $10,000) for recruiting a successful hire.

“Bounties really help save us both time and money,” says Laura Fitton, an inbound marketing specialist for Hubspot. “Recruiting services frequently cost $20,000 or more. We figure, why not spread the wealth around?”

It makes sense. Your employees each probably know several qualified individuals who are worth checking out. And with a reward at stake, you can be sure that your staff will put some effort into recruiting talent for your company.

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You will want to pay close attention to motivations and incentives where money is involved, though. And sometimes the reward of a great job in a positively challenging environment is enough. If you work to build an amazing workplace (and workplace culture), bringing on a friend to enjoy the great atmosphere might be a reward in and of itself.

3. Ask candidates to sell you on something they love

Asking the same old questions on an application – “What are your career goals? Why do you want to work here?” – tends to trigger the same bland, prepackaged responses every time. That’s why a few of our respondents like to switch things up. They ask candidates to talk about one of their passions instead.

“We ask all applicants to make us love something that they love,” says Rachel Dotson, content manager for ZipRecruiter. “We put this question right in the online application and we read it before the cover letter and resume. Aside from making the hiring process more enjoyable for us, it tells us a great deal about each applicant’s communication skills, level of creativity and cultural fit. It’s amazing how much you can glean from such a simple question.”

That seems like sound logic to us. Asking an employee to sell you on something they’re truly passionate about provides invaluable character insights early in the employee selection process. It gives you the chance to see who will gel with your corporate culture and who won’t.

No matter how happy you are with your current corporate hiring process, it can always be better. Listen to the experts and try one of these quick and dirty hiring tricks the next time you have an open position to fill.

We’re not fortune tellers, but if we were, we’d predict that using these techniques will make finding the perfect candidate for your company easier than ever before.

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.