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Recruitment | 10 Min Read

Structured Hiring: 4 Step Guide for Achieving Recruitment Success

Reason 1: Non Mobile Optimized Application Process

“86 percent of active candidates use their smartphones to begin a job search.”

-Kelton Strategic Consulting

So if your recruitment process is not Mobile optimized, you will lose more than 3/4th of your sourced talent

Reason 2: Difficult to Navigate Hiring Process

If the process of candidate screening and then movement to subsequent hiring rounds is not easy, you will experience a high candidate drop off rate.

The common problems that candidates face during the hiring process are:

  • Lack of clarity on job role
  • Difficult to reach HR or hiring manager
  • No visibility on the upcoming hiring rounds and their duration
  • Difficult to schedule rounds as per own convenience
  • Travelling long distances multiple times to complete the process
  • No status update from HR regarding candidate going to the next round
  • Unstructured interviews
  • Poor and boring talent assessment methods
  • Lengthy hiring process


So how can an organization organize their hiring process to enable good candidate experience?

The answer is structure your hiring process.

What Is Structured Hiring?

Structuring your hiring process means coming up with defined steps the candidate will be made to go through to ensure thorough and unbiased skill evaluation in a way that can be duplicated for every candidate applying for that job role with minimal involvement of HR and hiring manager. The aim of structured hiring process is to identify talent in an accurate and unbiased manner, reduce time and cost of hiring, make the hiring process easy to navigate for the candidate, HRs and hiring managers

What Is Its Significance?

According to research, superior performers in an organization generate 2.2x higher revenue than average employees. An organization’s success is directly proportional to its ability to onboard and retain top talent. This makes an organization’s ability to find that right talent all the more important.

How Do You Structure Your Hiring Process?

With the help of technology

According to a survey by KellyOCG, digital adoption has enhanced the candidate experience in the recruitment process. Around 38 per cent of the employers said that they had not heard any complaints from candidates regarding their digital adoption.47 per cent of the organisations believe that the digital adoption has increased the number of applications and improved candidates’ satisfaction too.

Using technology to structure your hiring process

1. Configuring:

Configuration is the first step in the hiring process. Before a job opening is advertised, there is a lot of background work involved like:

A) Creating a Job Role:

Let’s say that your organization needs to hire a software developer. The first step is creating a job description that is short, precise and clearly states what skill sets you are looking for in the candidate and what responsibilities/ KRA’s will be a part of the job role. 

Best practice: The best way to create a job description is to have a ‘ready-to-use’ job description template with predefined fields that can be easily customized for any job role.

B) Define Competencies:

The next step involves identifying competencies that a software developer needs to have. This could include technical skills (such as Code quality/performance, Testing and CI, DevOps/ Automation, Database management and security), Aptitude (Cognitive/Verbal), Soft skills (personality behavioral skills)


Best practice: Create a digital competency library or get hold of a vendor who will provide you with a readily customizable competency library. Choose the list of competencies for each job role to create the competency framework and update it, as and when needed.

C) Add Candidate Information:

Add candidate/applicant list and upload their resume digitally on your Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Best practice: Save candidates from the hassle of filling long application forms by digitizing the candidate information filling process with very limited number of fields that the candidate can fill within 5 minutes.

According to a study from recruitment company Appcast, recruiters can boost conversion rates (candidates viewing a job ad who go on to complete an application) by up to 365 percent by reducing the length of the application process to five minutes or less. Completion rates drop by almost 50 percent when an application asks 50 or more questions vs. 25 or fewer questions.

2. Screening:

Screening process involves identifying the relevant talent from pool that is available to you.  To achieve this, HR’s/hiring managers need to assess the candidates to identify who possess the relevant skill set not just on resume, but in reality. Screening encompasses the following steps:

A) Selecting the Assessments:

In case of a software developer position, the screening could be carried out by making the candidate take a coding test to test their programming skills.

Best practice: Create an online assessment library, or get hold of as assessment provider who can provide you with a readily accessible and customizable library of assessments that covers a wide array of skills. Just select the right assessment from that library for the screening process and customize the assessments as per your competency framework created for the job role for which you are screening the candidate


B) Secure Your Assessments:

Online assessments are the most efficient way of screening candidates objectively and in a fast, easy, affordable and interesting manner. However, online assessments are also prone to becoming victim of cheating and malpractices. Therefore it is important to ensure use of anti cheating measures to ensure fair and unbiased screening process that will provide you with a quality pool of filtered candidates.

Best Practice: Use remote proctoring tools to prevent cheating while giving online assessments and also to allow for remote assessment so that the candidate is saved the hassle of traveling to your organization for every single hiring process. As stated before, one of the major reasons behind candidate drop off during the hiring process is the multiple trips that the candidate has to make to the company location to get through to the next round. Since a large percentage of employees applying for jobs are currently employed, taking frequent and multiple leaves for one company’s  hiring process deters them from going through withy the entire process.

C) Schedule Assessments Easily:

Once the assessment has been selected and anti cheating tools have been put into place, its important to schedule the assessments for each candidate in an easy and fast manner. Most organizations use their ATS to schedule hiring rounds/assessments for the applicants/candidates.

Although an ATS does provide the feature for scheduling assessment and interview rounds. The story does not end there. The candidate has to make themselves available as per the set schedule by the HR and go through cumbersome processes like traveling to a designated location to go through the assessment/ screening round or download an app to take the assessment remotely. For the HR also, it is time taking and inefficient to individually email each candidate and follow up with them regarding the scheduling.


Best practice: The best method to schedule assessments is by integrating your assessment library with your ATS so as to enable the HR to select an assessment for the screening round and allowing the candidate to select a suitable time to take the assessment as per their schedule by allowing them to take the assessment online remotely.

Also this method saves HR and the candidate from the hassle of shuffling between different platforms to access and take the assessment as they are all integrated on one single platform.

This platform will also inform the HR when the applicant has completed the assessment and even take the judgement if the candidate should be moved to the next round basis the candidate score and the benchmark set by the HR.

Additionally, it will also let the candidate know immediately that they have made it to the next round or not and how to schedule it.

3. Selection:

After the removing of the chaff, the hiring process moves forward with selecting the right candidate from a pool of competent applicants. Usually selection process involves interview round(s) that helps assess the on-the-job skill proficiency of the candidate. This involves the following steps:

A) Create a Panel of Interviews:

The interview panel needs to be selected by matching the interviewer’s availability with the candidate’s.

Best practice: create a structured interview process by

Predefining the questions that will be asked during the various interview rounds. Also the questions should be based around the competency framework designed for a particular job role. This will ensure that all candidates are assessed objectively, on the same question/task set and the interviewer does not have to invest his/her time preparing the list of questions/tasks for each candidate.

Using Video Interview tools to allow the candidate to appear for the interview remotely and ensure that the interviewer has access to the interview recording for making decisions later.


B) Define Grading Framework:

To make the interview results more objective for decision making, its recommended to grade it immediately after the interview is over. The candidate should be graded on each competency based on their interview responses and task performance.



Best practice: assign benchmark scores and weightages  for each competency. For example if you have selected three competencies: technical skills, cognitive ability and behavioral skills. Decide which of these are the most important for the candidate to excel in the job role. Lets say , its technical skills; assign it a higher weightage (say 50% ), followed by the others in order of preference.

This helps in making the final decision by differentiating one candidate’s performance from another and also in identifying candidates who are most proficient in the required skill sets (identifying top talent)

C) Scheduling Interviews Easily:

The biggest challenge with interviews is coming up with a timeslot that is suitable for both the interviewer and the candidate. Use of ATS has made the process of scheduling the interview easy. However there are still issues that need to be addressed.


Read more on Structured Vs Unstructured Interviews

Best Practice: Integrate your ATS with video interview tools to allow for remote interviewing. This will increase the bandwidth of availability for both candidate and the hiring manager as they can take/give the interview from anywhere and at anytime.

4. Final Decision:

The final judgement call should be completely data driven, objective, easy and fast to make. This can be achieved by following these steps:

A) Recruiter’s Dashboard:

The recruiter should have full access to the proficiency level and grade of candidate for each competency.

  • This will allow them to see how many candidate’s have scored past the benchmark and meet the skills demands and quality standards of the organization.
  • It should also tell the recruiter if the candidate will be a good organizational fit in terms of stability, work place behavior etc.
  • Additionally, it should also inform the recruiter about how the candidate will perform in the future by providing data backed insights on the candidate’s learning agility to keep up with the ever evolving skill demands and leadership attributes to grow and take care of future roles.

Best practice: Use an ATS that provides an auto generated recruiters dashboard containing candidate’s grades for each competency that can be readily referenced for decision making.


B) Job-Role Dashboard:

The job role dashboard displays how many candidates completed the hiring process for each job role vis-à-vis the job openings. It helps the recruiter in making the decision call regarding which top candidates to finally select. This is important as at times , the number of candidates that have achieved grades above the set benchmark are less than the required openings. In which case, the top contenders among the available pool are offered jobs or another round of hiring is carried out to fill the unfilled positions.

Best practice: Use an ATS that keeps track of open positions vis-à-vis  filtered candidates at each stage of hiring. This provides the recruiter with continuous visibility on how many positions are likely to get filled so that the recruiter can either stop further sourcing and screening or continue with it.

C) Comprehensive Applicant’s Report:

This is a diagnostic report that contains all the details on one candidate (assessment performance, interview performance, job suitability, behavioral alignment, skill proficiency etc. and compares it to set benchmarks for the job to decide if the candidate should be hired or not). These diagnostic reports are the main document used by recruiters to different between different candidates and make the call regarding hiring or not hiring.


Best practice: Use an assessment provider who can also provide features like video interviewing and task based assessments (coding simulations, assessment centers, hackathons), and auto generates each candidate’s diagnostic report that compiles the result of all the hiring rounds together in one document, for the recruiter’s easy reference.


Advantages of Technology driven ‘single integrated platform’ structured hiring process over manual structured hiring process


Structuring the hiring process definitely makes it remarkably more efficient.

But most importantly for HRs and Hiring Managers, creating a structured hiring process makes hiring much easier, less time and cost consuming. This is because, once the hiring process for a job role has been designed, the efforts do not need to be duplicated every time hiring for that job role takes place.

Here We Summarize How Structured Hiring Helps in Achieving Hiring Success Via the 4s's:

  • Screening:

There is no need for brainstorming by the HR on how to screen and filter relevant candidates out of the talent pool. A process is already set to screen the talent pool and provide the HR with a refined list of relevant candidates.

  • Scheduling:

The HR does not need to make numerous calls to align and coordinate with the candidate and the hiring manager.

  • Skill Assessment:

The hiring manager does not need to study the job description and spend time preparing for the interview questions and assessments that the candidate will be made to go through. The interview questions as well as the list of assessments is predefined.

  • Selecting:

The HR will not be in a dilemma regarding who to select as they will have ready reference data backed report that clearly states a candidate’s skill proficiencies and gaps.

Originally published July 30 2018, Updated December 21 2020

Romila Kanchan

Written by

About This Topic

The primary objectives of recruitment and selection are to ensure high-quality candidates who are culturally fit and work toward shared organizational goals and vision.

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