It was a busy day in the office, but I knew I couldn’t waste any time finding several new employees. We’ve had a number of new clients sign on and shifts to fill. My team lead was off sick, we didn’t know when they would be back. I walked over to a member of the office admin team and asked for the file with all the resumes.

What I was handed was an empty file with no resumes in it.

I asked where all the resumes were. I was told that the team had stopped printing the resumes off. They had started to store them electronically. My face went red, fire engine red, I think I was even popping blood vessels. I was frantic and panic-stricken. I needed to hire; hire fast and NOW. I didn’t know where the resumes were stored or how to access them. I was told that, “none of the team prints them, so I don’t either”. I couldn’t believe my ears. I wanted a paper trail of all the applicants. The team tried to explain their rationale for storing the resumes electronically only and I wouldn’t have any of it.

I decided it was time to reinforce the procedure that should have been followed.

The procedure wasn’t new, yet the team wasn’t following it. The team member that I confronted got right to the point, “ok, you’re clearly furious and I’m frustrated”. I took a step back, I was surprised at their refusal to back down. They continued to tell me how printing of resumes was duplicate work, that the electronic filing was easier to use and friendly to search. Regardless, the paper trail started to happen again. I wanted to continue with the process we’ve always used. Now, resumes were filed in a file folder in the office.

The process we know and love was now in use again.

A few weeks down the road as I sat at my desk we had a reference call in. As part of our hiring process, we contact professional references. Often, we can’t get hold of the reference on the first call. Eventually, they return our call. Now I held the phone in my hand, not knowing who this reference was for, what job it was for and I reached for the folder of resumes. I sorted through the pile, top to bottom, no luck. I couldn’t find the name of the candidate or a list of references with this person’s name on it.

I put the caller on hold and asked the team.

We went through piles of papers on everyone’s desks. We searched through old resume piles and new ones. It was no where to be found, so, I had to wing it. I asked the caller general reference and professional background information about the unnamed candidate.

If only we had a better process, one where it was simple and easy to search for candidates.

In our frantic state to find the file we needed for this caller, the office was a mess. Resumes and reference sheets were tossed all over the office. The nightmare of this call continued to haunt me for several weeks. The now disorganized resumes caused extra time to sort through. Frankly, I’m sure we lost some good candidates in the chaos.

If only I’d listened to the advice of my team.

That was an experience I went through with a manager. Have you ever worked somewhere, somewhere that you know could have used process improvements? We’ve all probably had ideas that could improve existing processes. I’d say we’ve all probably been through this and had great ideas to improve or implement processes that would probably save businesses money and time. As a leader and manager, you can see from their perspective their intentions were in the right place. However, intentions aside the “my way or the highway” attitude resulted in lost time, productivity and good candidates.

What’s the cost of a bad hiring process?

Assume that you receive 118 resumes (average) for each role, decide to interview twenty-five of them and check references for five of them. You’ve probably spent an hour sorting, resorting and looking through all the paper copies. What about reviewing each resume, many of them won’t meet your minimum qualifications. You’ve just spent a second hour weeding through those candidates. Finally, consider that amazing candidate that gets misplaced how much time and heartache could that cause?

Processes are necessary when hiring. A process will connect the dots of your business and make it work. As technology evolves, embrace the changes and integrate them into your current processes to make things even more efficient. Just don’t feel the need to implement unnecessary ones ‘just because’. These cost you in the end. The best way to save time in your hiring process is by using an applicant tracking system. An electronic “file folder” for all your roles and applicants that has the power to sort, filter and save you time.

Aren’t applicant tracking systems for large organizations?

Applicant tracking systems have come a long way. They’ve evolved to meet the needs of the smallest start-up to the largest organization. Like all technology, the costs have come down to support any size of organization with any number (including one) new role. How does your recruiting process rank? Take the recruiting process audit to determine if you’re attracting or scaring candidates away, click here.