Recruiting new employees can be stressful. But having a written hiring policy makes it less so. Here are six steps to improve the process.

Hiring the right employee is not only costly but also a time consuming process, all of which entails dozens of decisions, both big and small. In the end, all the stakeholders need to find consensus before making a job offer.

In a word, hiring people can be stressful.

Yet having a written hiring policy makes it less so.

It may seem like a new set of rules to govern an already challenging task would just become an additional burden.

But a good hiring policy can help you:

  • Speed up decisions with guidelines and expectations
  • Promote consistency throughout your organization
  • Instill faith in the hiring process at your company
  • Confirm your commitment to equal employment opportunity
  • Train your hiring managers to make better hires

And, no matter the size of your company – whether you’re a staff of two or 10,000 – you’ll experience the benefits of having a written hiring policy in place.

Create a hiring policy in 6 steps

Ready to get started on your own hiring policy? Here’s how to create one for your organization step-by-step.

1. Bring all the stakeholders to the table.

The first thing you need to do? Gather the team of people who are involved in recruiting and employment law compliance at your company.

That team may include your:

  • Hiring managers
  • HR team
  • Legal staff or counsel

This group should work collaboratively to map out your organization’s hiring process from start to finish.

2. Develop the purpose behind your policy.

Every good company policy leads with a statement about why it was created.

Once you’ve identified who will collaborate to create your hiring policy, the aforementioned committee’s first task should be to articulate the reasons why you are establishing a hiring policy.

As you develop this hiring philosophy, ask your team:

  • How do we view our employees and their role in our success?
  • What are our goals for new hires?
  • Which company values should our hiring process reflect?

3. Build an overview.

Next, you’ll work with your committee to outline all the hiring process steps. You’ll also need to identify who is responsible for completing each one.

The goal here is to produce a sequential rough draft of the entire process.

Questions the team should consider when developing a formal hiring process include:

  • How many rounds of job interviews do we need and how many people need to get involved in the first, second and third interviews?
  • What happens in the pre-hiring process (e.g., background check)?
  • Will we include drug screening or skills assessments?
  • Do we hire more than one person from the same family?
  • Under what circumstances would we rehire a former employee?

These essential questions will help your team better understand the hiring process’s component parts.

(In a moment, we’ll discuss what to include in your hiring policy in greater detail.)

4. Set the scope.

Your hiring policy’s scope should be clear, that it applies to all employees of your company. Whether you’re recruiting a new manager, top executive or administrative person, the hiring process should follow the same set of procedures.

Make this scope clear to the stakeholders who are forming your policy and document it.

5. Assign responsibility.

Usually, HR professionals own and implement a company’s hiring policy.

Depending upon your company’s approach to managing human capital, these professionals may include your company’s internal HR staff, your professional employer organization (PEO) or another third party in partnership with upper management.

6. Write the policy and procedures.

Finally, it’s time to physically write out your hiring policy and procedures. Your committee should assign this task to an individual or writing team. Later, the committee should collectively review and sign off on the final version.

What to include in your written hiring policy

Your hiring policy is handbook-ready once you’ve covered the following four sections:

1. Purpose

Start with your hiring philosophy and the reasons your policy exists, as established by your policy team (see step three, above).

Avoid any language about waiting to find “perfect candidates,” which may sow doubt into your hiring manager’s ability to objectively choose someone.

Here’s a sample purpose statement:

Our employees are our most valuable resource and we believe our success is a direct result of their efforts. Our goal is to attract and retain and when appropriate, rehire individuals who not only meet the requirements of our positions but are committed to our values which include A, B, C and D.

2. Statements on equal employment opportunity and inclusion

Here you’ll affirm your commitment to providing equal employment opportunities in an inclusive environment that promotes diversity and equity.

For example:

We provide equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants. Employment and promotions with the Company are based on merit, competence and business qualifications related to the requirements of the position.

3. Policies on related and former employees

If you hire relatives of current employees or former employees, include your requirements for those situations next to minimize conflicts of interests or merely the appearance of a conflict.

It’s common to require that:

  • Family members do not report to the same supervisor.
  • No direct reporting relationship exists between them.
  • Their employment does not create a conflict.

As for former employees, communicate the situations in which you would not rehire someone. For example:

  • Resigning without notice
  • Being dismissed

This piece of your policy should also describe how seniority and PTO are calculated for former employee rehires.

4. Procedures

Your procedures sections should include your process for:

  • Requisitions – How should managers communicate when they need to hire for a position,what’s the approval process and is the budget available?
  • Job postings – Who creates postings and where are they published? How long will they remain posted if unfilled?
  • Internal applicants – Are current employees able to apply to openings? How are their supervisors notified if they do?
  • Interviews – Describe the pre-interview screening process and who conducts initial interviews. Subsequent interview processes will vary by position.
  • Reference checks – When will you begin checking a candidate’s references? How many are required?
  • Job offers – How do you extend job offers? Are they contingent on a background check or drug screening? Be sure to check the employment laws in your state. How long do candidates have to consider an offer?
  • Onboarding overview – Provide a quick overview of your onboarding process for new hires.

How to enforce your hiring policy

Have your hiring policy documents housed on your company’s internal portal and make them accessible to all:

  • Supervisors and hiring managers
  • Executives
  • HR staff and recruiters

Make it mandatory for new supervisors to go through training onyour recruiting process before they hire for the first time and require all other supervisors to participate in yearly refresher trainings.

Step back and manage the process

When you have a solid hiring policy and procedures in place, the process stands better on its own and is much easier to manage.

Ready to give more of your HR practices a strategic overhaul? Download your copy of our insightful e-book: How to develop a top-notch workforce that will accelerate your business.