For many companies, hiring for a new job seems to take approximately forever. That’s probably because the process goes something like this:
After you post a job opening online, dozens or even hundreds of applications begin pouring in. Most of the applicants don’t come close to being qualified for the position. Still, you need to spend at least a few minutes reviewing each applicant’s resume and cover letter to find out.
You narrow down the field, trading emails with colleagues who also spend hours reviewing the candidates. Emails fly back and forth between you, your staff, and the applicants as you compare calendars and schedule rounds of interviews.
Finally, the job offer is made and accepted. And now begins another long process, one that involves sending and collecting paperwork, scheduling and conducting training sessions, and other tedious onboarding tasks.
If Virtuance, a Denver-based real estate photography company, followed this type of process, co-founder and CEO Jeff Corn estimates that hiring and training could involve the work of 10 staff members.
Instead, the company screened 893 photographer applicants over the past year—hiring 52 of them—with a single full-time employee. The same staffer also managed to facilitate their month-long training program, all while managing the daily work of the company’s 100 photographers.
How? That staff member wasn’t alone in overseeing the process: Automation software took care of much of the work. Here’s a look at how Virtuance leveraged Infusionsoft by Keap to automate the hiring process and grow the business.
Learn how to automate hiring and training, administrative tasks, communication and more office work in this free ebook, The Small Business Office Automation Guide.
Jumping through automated hoops
The first hiring problem that Virtuance solves with automation is the requisite weeding out phase.
“We describe it internally as jumping through hoops,” Corn said. “We want to make sure photographers are serious, motivated, and enthusiastic about the opportunity. The best way to do that is by making them do things.”
Virtuance, creators of a proprietary image-processing system called HDReal, posts photographer positions on job boards like Craigslist, Indeed and photography websites.
In the first of the company’s three-part job application process, candidates fill out a webform with information about their availability and camera equipment. The completion of that form automatically triggers the second phase, in which applicants are sent essay questions to answer. Lastly, applicants receive a list of requirements and are asked to indicate their compliance.
As Corn suspected, many applicants aren’t interested or able to take on the hoops. Of the 893 applicants, 381 people didn’t proceed past the third stage, either because they didn’t meet the requirements or because they lost interest in the job.
“They’re people we would have spent time with, but we allowed them to realize for themselves they weren’t interested,” Corn said.
Narrowing the field
Thanks to the hoops, the Virtuance candidate field is reduced by more than 40% before the hiring manager even glances at an application. Only at this point does the process require a human touch in addition to the automated work.
The hiring manager reviews the remaining photographer applications, using the software to apply tags that automatically segments the candidates into groups. Some candidates receive an email about the next step in the hiring process: scheduling a phone interview. Others receive a personalized email explaining the reason they weren’t selected for the job, like their location, availability or camera equipment. And some are notified that Virtuance has filled the open positions but is still interested in hiring them in the future.
In the end, photographers earn the job as they would any other way: through reviews of their work and personal interaction in interviews. But automation allows Virtuance to reach the interview stage with speed and efficiency, all while keeping candidates—both those who are ultimately hired and those who aren’t—informed on their status.
Training efficiently and consistently
Automation continues to streamline the work for Virtuance after photographers are hired, too. The software helps guide newly-hired photographers to make things official by sending a contract, paperwork and a background check.
It also helps Virtuance better train its staff. With photographers in 13 states, Virtuance wants photos taken in Florida to have the same qualities as those shot in Colorado. But before it was automated, photographer training was inadvertently inconsistent. “It was falling through the cracks,” Corn said. “Some photographers would get information, and some wouldn’t.”
Now, a series of automated emails guide photographers through their first month on the job, providing instructions, answers to frequently-asked questions, and other resources.
Automation is providing the kind of efficiency and consistency necessary for Virtuance to expand its technology nationally—and, Corn hopes, internationally.
“There’s no way we could scale the business without processes like these,” Corn said. “If there’s a task we’re doing more than once, and it’s taking more than a couple minutes to do, it’s automated. In this day and age, it’s so silly to do the same things over and over.”