The ABC’s of recruitment: part 1

In order to be successful in recruitment, it is important that you understand and speak the language of recruiters. Like any other line of work, recruitment has its own industry-specific terms which can be quite confusing when you’re new in the field. Below we have listed and explained the most important recruitment terms that you should know.

Candidate Assessment

Candidate assessment is the process by which an employer evaluates individuals when considering them for an open position. The ultimate goal of candidate assessment is to refine the candidates and pick the best hire. Now, this process can and will differ from company to company, but the term “assessment” alludes to something that is tangible and can be measured. Therefore, there are certain, measurable tactics that are recommended.

How to Assess Candidates

Measurable assessments are generally used in recruitment. This way, data analysis can be performed in order to objectively pick the right hire. The right hire will be subjective to your company, however, but there are ways to get at the data you need. Here are some recommendations to get you started thinking about your assessment needs:

  • Define your ideal candidate and job description
  • Design questions to filter out unfit candidates early on
  • Use work trials to test candidates on work they would be doing on a day-to-day basis
  • Shortlist candidates, reducing them to only the most qualified
  • Assess cultural fit with questions designed to reflect employer values and company culture
  • Conduct interviews – This article on unusual interviews is great for reaching the true nature of a candidate’s character

Candidate Assessment Tools

There are tools out there that can not only streamline your candidate assessment but provide a way to reduce biases. We all have unconscious biases that we cannot help, but with the help of the following candidate assessment tools, your hiring process can be as objective and successful as possible:

  • Candidate rating and ranking tools
  • Survey creating tools
  • Personality assessment tools
  • Technical skill assessment tools
  • Data tracking and analytic tools
  • ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) – sometimes come with the above capabilities included!

Hiring Pipeline

Sometimes referred to as a recruitment pipeline or candidate pipeline, a hiring pipeline is a chronological process of attracting candidates and obtaining employees. It is a general outline of how the recruitment process should transpire. It is by no means an exhaustive list of the events that must take place, but it is used to serve as a roadmap by which hiring typically runs. It is comforting to see things in chronological order, but they don’t always work that way. The hiring pipeline is the recommended order of operations, but sometimes steps come before and after others, or the whole process starts again from the top, making it more of a hiring cycle. There are different arguments to be made as to where the hiring pipeline begins, but for the sake of explanation, we will focus on the earliest point in the recruitment process.

Steps in a Hiring Pipeline

A hiring pipeline can start as early as candidate sourcing or as late as the job offer. For the purposes of being all-inclusive, we will start with candidate sourcing and work our way down.

  • Talent Sourcing – includes finding contacts and contacting potential candidates through various means, which leads to applications submitted
  • Initial Screening – includes delineation of qualified and disqualified candidates via application sorting and/or a survey designed to filter out candidates that don’t fit the basic requirements or the must-haves of the position
  • Task-Based Test – includes a skill-focused test for candidates to look at real results that would be used on a day-to-day basis in the company if hired; not always used, but recommended for most positions that involve tangible outcomes
  • Interviews – includes phone, video, and in-person interviews of candidates (from entry interviews to final round interviews), contributing to the overall candidate experience; the number of interviews and team members involved vary dependent upon hiring needs and company culture
  • Background Check – involves the candidates that are in the final running for the position
  • Offers – includes candidate selection and actual offer of the position to them via email, letter, in-person, or phone call; sometimes includes negotiation of salary and benefits
  • Hire – includes the actual filling of the position and closes active hiring for the said position
  • Reports – includes a recap of the hiring process, quality of hire, and other metrics that inform the hiring team of how well they did and how to progress in the future

As mentioned above, not all hiring pipelines include all of the above steps in the exact order. However, this is a guideline that is intended to show the general progression of the hiring process from employer branding to the moment the position is filled when the HR team can evaluate and optimize the process. Most hiring pipelines don’t include onboarding or training, as this comes after the hiring/recruitment stages.

Job Requisition

A job requisition is a document created by employers. It is often required to be executed by a department manager that wishes to fill a position or positions, in which the former employee has resigned from, been terminated from, or is currently working in. In the case that the job requisition is required when the employee is still currently employed, the department may require additional staffing. It is necessary to notify decision makers within the organization of a request for hires. It is then transferred to Human Resources in order for approval for the recruitment process to begin. The purpose of a job requisition process is to aid in the position creation management within an organization.

The following should be included:

  • Job Title
  • Job Type/Field
  • Job Description
  • Benefits
  • Salary Range
  • Requirements (Education and Experience)
  • Additional Questions/Concerns
  • Reason for Requisition

Why Go Through the Job Requisition Process?

  • Enhances collaboration and creates less confusion
  • Places more eyes on the job posting
  • Produces less error
  • Cuts down on time
  • Creates a record of the recruitment process from the beginning
  • The job requirements and description are more clear and thought out

Hiring great teams is accomplished by hiring together. A job requisition allows cross-departmental collaboration on the job posting. This ensures that the role is approved and ready to be posted, making the process a lot easier and free of most complications. The recruiter or HR department can keep the job requisition on file to refer to when posting the job.

Recruitment Team

A recruitment team is a group of people working together to hire for a new position or positions within an organization. This may consist of two HR professionals, the entire office, or any number of individuals in between. Likewise, the location and practices of the recruitment team may vary.

Some employers hire using in-house recruitment, and some outsource to recruitment agencies or firms. In any case, all recruitment teams have one goal: to hire the right employee. They may reach this goal differently, but most times, recruitment teams go through a process of promoting a job opening, sourcing talent, evaluating candidates, interviewing, shortlisting, and hiring.

What Constitutes a Successful Recruitment Team?

Now that you have a solid understanding of what a recruitment team may look like, here are some suggestions on how to be successful as a recruitment team.

  • Define company culture. Who is your company? What do you stand for? What type of people do you want to represent you as a company?
  • Rally employees together. It’s important that employees are on the same page. Make an honest effort to cultivate and grow company culture.
  • Evaluate past efforts. Acknowledge weaknesses as well as strengths. Where there is room for improvement, improve.
  • Define hiring needs specific to the open position. Outline the key qualifications and characteristics of the right hire.
  • Utilize employee networks. Your employees know the company best. Let them work as ambassadors, reaching out to their networks to find not only a knowledgeable fit, but a cultural one, as well.
  • Offer incentives to the team. Whether it’s a team night out or recognition of hard work, the recruitment team needs the drive to make this thing work.

Tools that Help Achieve This

A great tip for a successful recruitment team is to utilize collaborative tools. Here are a few we suggest:

  • Tools for communication between team members
  • Tools for workflow communication
  • Sourcing extensions for multi-person, one-click sourcing across the internet
  • Tools for interactive social media promotion
  • A cloud-based applicant tracking system (ATS)


A sourcer is an individual that focuses on identifying qualified external candidates for an employer looking to hire. A sourcer and a recruiter are often mixed up, as they do similar tasks. However, a sourcer has traditionally been an entry-level position in the recruitment world. This is not the case for everyone that holds the title, because there are many monikers in the recruitment field to delineate the same position. However, in general, sourcers are more focused on the actual obtainment of talent for a client. Recruiters delve more into the recruitment process, sifting through applications and conducting interviews.

What Exactly are they Responsible for?

  • The candidate experience during the first engagements with potential candidates
  • Knowledge of the company’s values and goals
  • The ability to identify qualified candidates for the position at hand
  • Sourcing constantly, not just when a position is open, per se
  • Providing quick, efficient talent leads
  • Perform outreach that results in engagement from candidates if necessary

How to identify a Good Sourcer:

  • Knows the employer brand
  • Effective communication techniques
  • Not just uses LinkedIn InMail
  • Actively sources, regardless of whether a position is open
  • Uses the right mix of recruitment tools to streamline the process
  • Likes technology and stay updated with technology development
  • Has maintained various talent pools
  • Knows how to qualify candidates’ availability and potential culture fit before sending them to recruiters

Efficiency and productivity are so important in the recruitment field. Getting a qualified candidate is just about as important as doing so quickly.

Types of Recruitment

When a position opens up in an organization, there usually is a plan for finding the right applicants. This recruitment process involves sourcing candidates and subsequently selecting the best one. There are different ways to start sourcing candidates, and each way of recruiting has their own advantages and disadvantages. Recruitment can be done internally or externally, and the method of selecting the right candidate can also vary.

Internal recruitment

When recruiting internally, the employer tries to fill the open position with current employees. The vacancy will be advertised internally in the company instead of publicly. Internal recruitment is often deployed when the current position of an employee has become redundant, or to promote a current employee. This way of recruiting saves the organization money that would otherwise be spent on advertising the vacancy and training the new employee. Furthermore, the capabilities and personality of the employee are already known. Recruiting internally, however, may bring some disadvantages. For instance, a current employee may not bring any new ideas, and another job opening might be created when recruiting internally.

External recruitment

If an organization chooses to recruit externally, they will often post their open positions on several job boards and social media to source their applicants. The organization can also ask current employees to refer outside candidates. Recruiting externally may cost some more money and resources because the job opening has to be advertised and the human resource department has some more work to do. It does mean, however, that the new employee will be a fresh force and the talent pool may be a lot bigger and more diverse.

What type of recruitment should you use?

Your type of recruitment should be adjusted to the specific needs and situation of your organization. If your organization has some redundant positions, or the open position has a really difficult onboarding process, it might be smart to recruit internally. If your company is in desperate need of workforce expansion, or the open position requires very specific skills, external recruiting may pay off.

Applicant Tracking System

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software (either online, downloadable, mobile, or otherwise) that allows businesses and recruitment agencies, to streamline their recruitment process and enhance company growth. Most modern systems provide everything needed for hiring in one platform, helping you pick the best candidates for your company in a timely manner.

The following features are the most important ones that any ATS should have:

  1. Job Opening Management – Organize job openings, post them on online job boards with one click.
  2. Candidate Management – Keep track of candidate information without having to open 50 tabs in your browser.
  3. Careers Site Editors – Save time, effort, and money on outsourcing your careers site design. Make an aesthetically pleasing careers site that displays who you are as an employer. A careers site editor allows you to easily pick and choose what the site looks like. It even supports SEO (search engine optimization).
  4. Talent Pool Management – Talent Pools are reserves of talented potential candidates that you have sourced and that can be contacted when hiring for another position.
  5. Team Management – Hiring as a team helps you build a great team from the get-go. Keep your team connected and working together, even cross-departmentally, with notes and features in an ATS that allows collaboration.
  6. Recruitment Analysis – It is important to constantly optimize the hiring process. This can be done by looking at the data collected by your ATS on your recruitment processes.
  7. Sourcing Tools – A sourcing extension allows you to auto-input data from potential candidates on the internet, with the click of a button in your browser.
  8. Live Support

How to Choose an Applicant Tracking System

There are many factors to keep in mind when choosing an ATS, but these are the main ones to use as a starting point:

  1. Your budget
  2. Your company size
  3. Your company’s growth goals
  4. Your yearly hiring needs
  5. Your HR Department size
  6. The hiring tools you currently use (if any), as well as strengths as weaknesses of those
  7. Integration capabilities of the ATS (social media, job boards, etc.)
  8. Reviews and ratings of the ATS

Boolean Search

With a basis in symbolic logic methodology, a Boolean search is a structured search process that allows you to insert words such as ‘AND’ to target the exact search results you want. The name comes from George Boole, a 19th-century mathematician, who developed the symbolic logic method. Symbolic logic, very simply put, takes symbols that represent entire words or phrases for the sake of deconstruction and analysis of the words and phrases surrounding them. In a Boolean search, the ultimate goal is to utilize a search engine to its fullest potential by allowing the narrowing, broadening, or inclusion of specific search results.

How to Perform a Boolean Search

Boolean searches can be conducted on any search engine across the internet, including those designed for resume or job searching. There are certain symbols that you can use to limit, widen, or define the results that you want to see pop up, and there is no restriction on how many you use in one search string. Here are the basic ways to perform a Boolean search:

  • AND
    • The simplest function, placing AND between search keywords, will allow your results to include both (or all) of the keywords. The search terms that follow the AND must appear in the search results.
    • Example: Ruby on Rails AND developer
  • OR
    • OR is used when you want to search for something that has the possibility of including either set of search terms. All combination possibilities will come up.
    • Example: remote job OR work from home OR virtual job
  • NOT
    • If you do not want a specific search term to appear in your results, use NOT after the preferred search term. This will prevent the terms from coming up.
    • Example: Software Developer NOT Ninja
  • Quotation marks “”
    • If you want to search for an exact phrase, use quotation marks around that phrase. For instance, a search for a remote job will include searches for “remote” and “job”, while “remote job” searches will include only those with that particular pairing of words.
    • Example: “freelance writer”
  • Parentheses ()
    • Parentheses are less common and used when performing a Boolean search string comprised of many terms and conjunctions. Parentheses allow for separation of the terms and preference to be given to certain ones (just like in mathematics equations!).
    • Example: (“freelance” OR “contract”) AND (“writer” OR “editor”)

Why Would a Recruiter or HR Pro Use a Boolean Search?

When searching through resumes, hiring teams usually have a specific set of qualifications in mind in order to parse them correctly and efficiently. A Boolean search would allow the narrowing down of these qualifications in resumes and easier parsing.

Intake Meeting

An intake meeting is the initial strategy meeting in which the employer/hiring manager and the recruiter discuss the goals that should be met during the recruitment process. The intake meeting gives the hiring manager a chance to set the stage for a successful recruitment strategy, while the recruiter gets the chance to ask questions that will be beneficial to the strategy’s success.

Benefits of an Intake Meeting

You may think that simply giving the recruiting team the job description is enough, but there is a lot that goes into an efficient hiring process. Here are some of the ways having an intake meeting can help you as an employer in the long run:

  • The job description and requirements are clearly defined
  • In addition to that, the needs of the company and its employees can be addressed
  • It prevents the wrong hire being made from an unclear role description
  • Cultural fit is easier to describe if the recruiting team has met with you and discussed company culture in detail
  • It establishes a closer relationship between recruiter and employer
  • This can potentially lead to future recruitment relationships and perpetually optimized recruitment strategy due to prior experience
  • Issues and confusion can be hashed out early on to prevent wasting time later

What to Go Over During an Intake

Regardless of whether you are part of the recruiting team or the employer that is gaining the new hire, there are some preparations you can and should undergo before going into an intake meeting. To ensure a successful strategy build, it’s important to go in with prepared questions and clear goals for the conversation. Here are some topics we suggest to get the most out of an intake meeting:

  • Job title and description
  • Location of the role
  • Employees that the new hire will be directly working with/reporting to
  • Number of open positions/hires
  • Job requirements and qualifications
  • Preferences in candidate characteristics
  • Company culture and the level of importance it bears on making a hire
  • Reason for the opening (new position, additional help needed, a fired employee fired, etc.)
  • Timeline and deadlines (goal date for the position to be filled and how long it has been vacant prior to that)
  • Advancement opportunities for the new hire
  • Salary range, commission, benefits, company perks, etc. (basically, ways to entice the potential candidates)
  • Daily tasks
  • The previous interview process and new ways to work on any weaknesses within that
  • Careers site construction
  • Hiring tools that act as an information hub, such as an ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

Job Opening

A job opening is a position within a company that becomes available for various reasons. These reasons can be related to the previous employee, such as retirement, termination, or resignation of the employee. There are also instances in which an employer decides that there is a need for additional employees in a certain department, or there may be a need for an entirely new position to fulfill a certain role that has not been filled prior.

Criteria for a Job Opening

In order for a position to be considered a job opening, the employer must take a few things into consideration. The following are suggested criteria that need to be met in order to create a job opening within a company or organization.

  • Availability
  • Start date – minimum of one month in the future
  • Active recruitment
  • Job description definition
  • Qualifications and requirements necessary
  • Salary range
  • Onboarding process
  • Benefits and perks
  • Careers site
  • Job board posts
  • Social media platforms
  • Blog posts (guest and own)
  • Collaboration tools
  • Hiring process optimization

This just touches on the surface of the preparation that a company may take in order to create, promote, and recruit for a job opening. Once you get into the details, you are delving more into recruitment strategy. When deciding simply what position needs to be filled, it is important to mainly focus on three things: when, what, and why. Decide on the desired start date. Use job description templates to pin down what exactly the duties and responsibilities for the position will be, especially if it is a newly created position within the company. And finally, why is the position open in the first place? Evaluate what you want in a best-case-scenario hire, and you are well on your way to diving into the recruitment process.

Interested in more recruitment terms? Check out Part two now.

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