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A Step-by-Step Guide to the Hiring Process

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

We’ve been through a lot lately. In the last three years, we’ve been through a pandemic, massive political upheaval, and an economic meltdown. And as if that wasn’t enough, we have the lowest unemployment rate in fifty years coupled with a record high level of employee resignations and the fact that nearly 33% of new hires leave before completing the first 90 days of employment.

The process of hiring employees has gone haywire, and all of the chaos has left employers confused about what to do next. Focusing on hiring is confusing and stressful in the best times. It may seem almost impossible right now.

But it isn’t.

Take a deep breath, and let’s go back to basics. Let’s take a look at the hiring process, step-by-step.

1. Determine Who, What, When, Where, and Why

At the start of any recruiting process, you’ll need to answer five questions:

  • Who?

Who do you need to hire? Is it an accountant? A customer support manager? Someone in marketing?

And another question – who will be involved in the interview process? Who will make the ultimate hiring decision? Will it be their direct supervisor? The head of the department?

And one more question – who will make the final hiring decision?

  • What?

What will the person you hire do? Will they be conducting audits? Rolling out a new customer support package? Will they be a social media editor?

  • When?

When will this person start? After your company completes their latest acquisition? At the start of the third quarter? Or is this a hire that you didn’t plan for and who needs to start right away?

  • Where?

Where will this person work? Is this a remote position? A hybrid job? Will they work at a satellite office or your corporate headquarters?

  • Why?

Why is this position open? You need to be prepared to answer this question for the candidates you interview because odds are, the question will be asked, and probably by more than one candidate. If the position is open due to growth, that’s great. It’s also good if the position is open because someone was promoted.

However, most positions are open for more complicated, less happy reasons. If this position is open due to a negative reason, you’ll need to work out how to address this during the interview process, and you’ll need to make sure that all of your interviewing team answers the question in the same manner.

2. How to Write a Job Description

Once you’ve answered the basic questions, it’s time to write the job description. The job description is meant to be an informative document that can be used both inside and outside the company. While the job description will be part of any online ads for the position, it’s not meant to be a company advertisement. The job description itself should be focused on the actual job.

Job Summary

The job summary is a short description of the job – basically, it’s an elevator pitch, a quick, memorable presentation of the job. The job summary is meant to be a snapshot of the position and shouldn’t be more than three to five sentences. The details of the job will be covered in the other sections of the job description.

Job Duties

The duties of the job should be listed as bullet points. Each bullet point should be one aspect of the job, in descending order of importance. In other words, the biggest parts of the job should be listed first.

Skills and Qualifications

When you list the skills and qualifications needed for the job, it’s important to be clear. If you want someone to write training documents for software, your job description should say, “At least two years of technical writing ideally in a training environment for end-users." Also, be sure to include any soft skills that are needed. For instance, if this position requires the ability to communicate with angry customers, you might write: “Must have exceptional conflict resolution skills and be comfortable dealing with outside customers."


Every job has must-have requirements that the employer can’t, or won’t, be flexible on. If your job requires someone to have a particular license or experience with a specific software package, be sure to list your requirements here, and be as precise as necessary. For example, if you need a bilingual level three technical support analyst, you could write: “Must be fluent in Spanish and be capable of conveying very technical information in Spanish as well as English.”

Additional Qualifications

When you write a job description, it’s a good idea to explain other qualifications that you’d like candidates to have but aren’t necessarily job requirements. You could write, “Should have experience in AP/AR for a 501c3 organization." Or, “The best candidate will have training in family counseling as well as experience in pediatric nursing."

3. Publish and Advertise the Position

Once you’ve created the job description, it’s time to publish and advertise the position.

Internal Notification

Whenever possible, you should notify your current employees of an internal position one to two weeks before you advertise outside the company, even if you don’t think you currently have an employee who will be able to fill the position. The opportunity for career advancement is important for employee engagement and your team will appreciate the notice. The internal notification should go to everyone in the company no matter which department or location, so be sure to not only post the opening on your internal website but email it to all employees as well.

Posting the Position Online

Once you’ve given your employees the chance to apply internally, you can post your job opening online. But before you do, be sure to add some basic information about your company, including your corporate logo and how interested candidates can submit their resumes. Once you’ve done this, post the job opening throughout your social media channels. Your job opening should be found on your main company website, of course, but it should also be found on your company blog as well as other social media channels, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

In addition to your company’s social media, there are several job posting sites you can use to promote the position you're trying to fill, including some large market websites, such as Indeed and The more people who see your job posting, the more candidates you’ll have to choose from, however, posting on these websites can cost a considerable amount.

4. Screening Resumes

So, you’ve created a job description, circulated and posted the job on the internet, and as a result, you have a bunch of resumes. What do you do now?

The answer is, start reading.

There are things you can do to trim the stack of resumes you’ve gotten. You can use pre-employment testing to make sure that you’re only reading candidates that are qualified for the position. You can use an applicant tracking system to scan for certain keywords on the resumes you’ve received. But after your resumes are sorted, you’ll still need to read them in order to determine which candidates you’d like to interview.

5. Interviewing Candidates

After reviewing and screening the resumes you’ve received, you’ll need to interview the candidates you’ve chosen. At this point, you should take a few minutes with your interview team to revisit how to interview and to remind your interviewers about interview questions they can’t ask. Alternately, you can use structured interviews, which make sure your interviews go smoothly by asking every candidate the same questions.

6. Settling on a Potential Hire

After the first round of interviews, you’ll need to meet with your interviewing team to determine which candidates performed the best, and who will be asked back for another interview. If necessary, you’ll need to repeat this process after the next round of interviews.

Once the interviews are completed, your interview team should be able to come to an agreement on which candidates are your top three, and their rankings. Your number one candidate will be the one to get a job offer, but in case they don’t accept, you should have some backup candidates.

And if you don’t, you may need to do another round of interviews.

7. Extending a Job Offer

Once you’ve settled on the candidate you’d like to hire, then it’s time to discuss the job offer. You should meet with HR, the department head, the direct supervisor, and anyone else who would normally be involved in deciding how much an employee should be paid. Review the job description, the candidate’s expectations, and the budget for the position to develop your offer. Once you’ve agreed on the amount of base pay, and any other details, such as additional vacation, bonuses, and where they’ll work, then comes the best part – extending the job offer.

When you’re extending a job offer, you should talk to the candidate directly. This is an important conversation, and it should be had in real-time, not over voicemail or email. After you’ve given the candidate the good news, be prepared to send the offer letter. You should send a copy of the letter via email, but you should also send a physical copy, along with other information, such as what they will need to start the onboarding process. It’s also a good idea to include information about your company’s health plan options, paid time off, and other perks. By giving this extra information, you’re making the offer more solid and making the soon-to-be employee feel at ease for deciding to come work for your company.

Okay, so that’s the hiring process. When you’re taking it step-by-step, it’s not quite as scary. But it is complicated and it’s a lot of work. Fortunately, there’s a way to take some of the stress out of the equation.

Using Staffing Firms to Streamline your Hiring Process

Hiring has always taken a lot of time and attention, but it’s worse now. With so much going on, and so many employers competing for the best candidates, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed by what it takes to find, select, and hire someone for your company. However, you can make hiring go faster and quicker by streamlining your hiring process. The most effective way to hire efficiently is to let a professional help you.

Staffing firms have robust networks which give them access to people who aren’t actively looking for jobs, so that means your company will have less competition. They’re also experts at screening candidates, so your company will be able to hire faster. And by being an outside party, they can help your company bridge the gap between what your company wants to offer and what the candidate will accept. And, because they only get paid when they find the right person for the job, it’s in their best interest to find you someone, as quickly as possible.

Companies are often concerned about the cost of using a staffing firm, and like any other business, they charge for their services. However, also like other businesses, their services come with a guarantee, and they’ll work to resolve any situations that come up within the guarantee period. The cost of using a staffing firm should be weighed against the cost of leaving a position open longer or, worse, hiring the wrong person for your position. Those costs can quickly exceed the cost of working with a staffing firm.

There are a lot of recruiting firms out there, so the smart thing to do is to develop a relationship with a company. Talk to your colleagues and other people in your network and find out which firms they recommend working with. Interview staffing companies the same way that you interview any other business before entering a business relationship. Then, get to know them, so they can see how best to help your company and you can make the most out of the help that they offer.


Optimum Staffing Solutions is a full-service staffing and HR agency serving both companies and job seekers alike. Optimum takes the stress out of the job and employee search–with over 50 years of combined hiring experience, we understand the business elements and bigger picture of staffing. We develop a deep comprehension of both client and candidate needs in order to find the right fit for you, lower time to fill, and continue to act as advisor and guide throughout the hiring process.

Whether seeking jobs or employees on a contract basis, temp, short- or long- term, remote or in-person, freelance projects or even outsourcing your HR department entirely, Optimum has the insight and expertise to destress staffing and help you succeed. For accounting, finance, IT, legal, marketing, HR, and engineering, Optimum is staffing…reimagined.

Curious how a staffing agency could help your business? Schedule a free, 30 minute Discovery Call with Optimum to learn more.

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