Five Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

By Hayley Herzing | Posted on February 5, 2019

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It’s 2019 and time to make a resolution to revamp your hiring process. It is also the perfect time to assess your agency’s team and find new employees to fill in the gaps. Hiring is a large obstacle to tackle, but starting off right can make the process much easier.

Here are five tips for hiring in the new year:

1. Create and improve new job descriptions - Be honest and realistic about the qualifications you put in your job description. Are you looking for a set of skills and competencies that often do not co-exist within one person? Truly define what may be “nice to have” skills for the hire and what are mandatory skills. Knowing the difference between what you want and what you need is important. Take an inventory of your job descriptions and update the language of your job postings to sell your opportunities to job seekers. Make sure to include the perks and benefits that come along with a job!

2. Communicate with applicants in multiple channels - Think about whether you’re communicating with applicants appropriately. Do you send applicants required forms or contact them for interviews via email and never hear back? The issue might be that you’re not meeting applicants where they are. Text recruiting was one of the hottest hiring trends in 2018. It will continue to be one of the major hiring trends in 2019. Are you interviewing high school and college students for summer help? Then texting might be the best way to go. Looking for a new director of your agency? Email should suffice. Know your audience and communicate wisely.

3. Post your job on the NRPA Career Center – With more than 18 million views since its inception, the NRPA Career Center is the best online resource for reaching qualified park and recreation professionals. Each job posting is viewed by an average of 1,000 job seekers. There are also 7,000 searchable resumes of highly qualified candidates. You also have the ability to manage your job applications and job postings at any time.

4. Conduct background and reference checks – Make it a priority to make those calls and get the reports. Check driving records (if driving is part of the job), criminal history, etc. Odds are, it’s not a matter of “if” you’ll encounter applicants with a criminal history, but “when.” Call former employers and, if you can’t get anything else, at least confirm dates of employment, job title and rate of pay. Complete these checks for all finalists to avoid discrimination charges. If you require an advanced degree for a position or some type of technical training, verify with the educational institution that the person actually attained that degree or certificate. 

5. Move fast – Candidates have more attractive opportunities to choose from now more than ever before. Doing all of the above will do no good if your offer timeline moves slower than another agency who also seeks to hire your candidate. Gone are the days of waiting for the right timing to bring someone onboard. Candidates are being hired quickly and the momentum of a candidate’s interview experience leading to a swift offer and acceptance is paramount. If your HR department plays a role in hiring, meet with them proactively to understand potential challenges to quickly hiring and acclimating the hire. Be sure to set candidates expectations every step of the way, to minimize losing someone great to another offer.

For more employer resources, visit the NRPA Career Center. If you have questions, please email me.

Hayley Herzing is NRPA's Senior Manager of Membership.