Recruitment process of a company can be simultaneously an exciting and a boring task to complete. You have to go through a lots of documents submitted by the applicants, verify and assess them. This can be a really monotonous job and can eat up a huge proportion of your daily productive time. On the other hands, you get to know new people who are interested in the same field as you are, and might get a breather of fresh ideas and untouched minds.
Recently, I was looking for some content writers to hire for our Marketing team. Previously, almost all of the employees we took in were recruited from our friends, or via their recommendations. Recruiting people from your community is good, it definitely has its perks. But on the other hand, it has some demerits as well. That might be a story for some other day. But this time, we were looking forward to recruit someone absolutely stranger to us.
I posted a job offer on a renowned job posting website. The offer clearly stated that we were NOT looking for someone with huge experience and beginners were preferred as it was an entry-level job. Along with that, it was also mentioned that we did NOT care for what certifications or degrees you have managed to obtain, but we did care for someone who has a fluent language skill with accurate grammar and can write on a given topic in a presentable way. If someone had the basic language skills, we were pretty confident that we would be able to train him/her for the job in a very little time. Oh, and we asked for a short sample article from the applicants to help us decide who to hire.
A clear picture of what went wrong in our first recruitment attempt:
I was pretty disappointed with the responses I received. Let me give you a clear picture of my disappointment.
- The number of applications received on the job posting site- 86,
- Number of people going the extra mile and sending us an email- 28,
- Number of people sending us their short stories- 23 (Putting the word “Creative writing” in the job offer might have confused these people),
- Number of people actually submitting a sample article on our given topic- 5.
Our primary target of posting this job offering was to gather sample articles from interested applicants, go through those, and shortlist some applicants according to their quality and competence. From there, we would have called some applicants for interviews to make sure we can work with them on the same team. But as you can see form the stats, we failed horribly!
It was our first job offering on a traditional job posting site, and I know that the fault might be mostly ours. We might have done something terribly wrong, just like most of the startups who tried something “traditional” for the first time and learned from the mistakes. That’s why, we tried something different the next time. In fact, i think everyone should try this for their recruitment process, unless they hire through some third party recruitment firm.
What actually went wrong in our recruitment process?
The first thing we asked ourselves was – “Why did our job posting failed on a well-established job posting service?” This led us to multiple reasons-
- We tried something a bit out of tradition on a traditional platform
- Our recruitment strategy didn’t conform to the usual recruitment processes
- Job-seekers followed the usual process, and sent us their resumes in just a couple of clicks using the website’s own system, not carefully going through the instructions
These reasons literally opened our eyes, and led us to the solution.
How to fix a disaster (or, How to become an anti-establishment fascist!)
As soon as we found out what we did wrong, we had the solution right in front of us. This might sound half “Fascist” and half “Anti-establishment”, but desperate time needs desperate measures. The anti-establishment part of our solution was- depending on someone else’e platform didn’t fulfill our purpose, so we have to take control in our hands. And “taking control in our own hands” led us to the fascist part. As the applicants weren’t clearly following our instructions, we will have to guide them to exactly follow our directions. Even if a single tiny bit of the process is left unnoticed, and hence not met up with our requirements, the application process won’t go through!
Just will power isn’t enough to be a fascist, you have to have certain tools to dictate people, and turn them into your minions (can you sense the tone of tyranny yet?). We decided to set up a page in our website to hire people. As we have said earlier, we never went through traditional recruitment process before, and we didn’t have to have a page for recruitment in our website before.
The recruitment page was supposed to have an application form in it. No introductory text, no welcome message, no formalities or warm greetings (Admiral General Aladeen answers to no one, you know!). As our website is developed in WordPress platform, we were looking for a WordPress form builder plugin that would help us set up a form in minutes, and will not cost us a truckload of money. We browsed through a few very good form builder plugins. Amongst them, a few to be named are Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, WPForms. But we were looking for a plugin which is really powerful and full of features, but won’t cost us a dime! Cause, it would be really a waste if we have to buy a Premium plugin and a whole lot other add-ons for just one Application form. That is when something extraordinary happened!
When nothing goes right, go left; or pave a new way out!
Along with plugins development, our firm also happens to work on various other projects. One of those is managing our clients’ websites. And these websites often require different jobs to be done and custom plugins specifically for those particular cases. While we were discussing on whether to buy a premium form builder plugin for our recruitment process, one of our clients requested for a similar kind of custom plugin. That’s when we thought, why not develop a plugin by ourselves? Apparently, the existing ones in the market were not sufficient enough to meet all the customers’ requirements.
So, we decided to postpone our recruitment process for a few weeks, and concentrate on the plugin. But that’s a whole different story! Long story short: We designed and developed WPFluentForm so that we can meet the requirements of our client, and at the same time focusing on the pain points other users are facing while developing a really useful plugin for ourselves!
Since its first release, we made sure it was a powerful WordPress form builder plugin that comes with a lots of free features and add-ons. Most of the add-ons WPFluentForm offered were also available in other form builder plugins, but you would have had to pay extra bucks for those. Although WPFluentForm might seem a bit new to the market comparing to other plugins. But if you have a few minutes to spare, you can have a go through the plugin and see what you can do with it. After all, it won’t cost you a penny! Hypothetically, even if it turn out to be a shitty plugin, you can scrap it any time and go for a premium one, right?
Deciding to be a fascist is a tough job, being one is not!
So, after a few weeks of sorting out what went wrong in our recruitment process, and developing a brand new form builder plugin in the mean time, we had another meeting. This time we knew what we were going to do, how we were going to do that using which tool. So we decided not to waste a minute, and resume the hiring process.
According to our previous plan, we put up an application form in a newly designed recruitment page. This form consisted of the following fields:
- Name fields
- Email Address
- Previous Experience (If any)
- Statement of Purpose (To assess how interested the applicant actually is for the job)
- A Description Field (Telling the applicants to write a short article on “Why we should visit Wikipedia more than any other websites?” in minimum 300 words, this helped us assess how skilled an applicant was)
As you can see, the Statement of Purpose field is not available in all job posting websites. Not only that, the Description Field we put in needed to be filled with at least 300 words, otherwise the form would have been deemed incomplete. These are the two custom fields that were required most in our whole process. And we also excluded the gender and phone number fields as those seemed unnecessary.
Did it work?
If you are looking for thousands of applicants rushing through your gate, then this approach definitely didn’t work, But if you are one of those persons who prefer quality over quantity, then you might call our output a grand success. We obviously didn’t receive a truckload of applications this time like we did when we used the job posting website. But through our own system, we were able to collect 15 applicants, and all of them delivered exactly what we were looking from them. We didn’t have to go through hundreds of applications, verify and assess those, which would have eaten up a huge chunk of our productivity. Obviously, not all of the applicants were up to the mark for the job, but most of them definitely were! And that definitely helped us recruit 2 content creators that we are really excited to shape up to our culture and thrive together.
What do you think can be a better process to hire people? Feel free to let us know. After all, this is not the last time we will be hiring someone. And who knows, your ideas might do magic in our next recruitment process or even help us make our form builder plugin more useful!