Ask a Hiring Expert: Best Hiring Practices

Introducing CareerPlug’s Hiring Opinions

As hiring experts, we at CareerPlug have developed what we call our Opinionated Approach to hiring.  This means we take a stand on hiring best practices and what matters most to setting our clients up for success. It also means that we invest in creating a playbook to success for our product users and a path to becoming hiring experts.  We may not be the right partner for every company, and that’s okay.

As CareerPlug’s Director of Human Resources, I want to share with you some of the core opinions that make up our Opinionated Approach to hiring. These principles keep us growing in our own best hiring practices and push us to create exceptional experiences for our clients.

1. Know who you are.

Before you think about who you need to hire, step back and think about who you are as a company.

Oftentimes, businesses make the mistake of putting off defining core values for some day far in the future, seeing it as unimportant to  business decisions right now. But business experts like Simon Sinek argue that the opposite is true. Defining what you value now is key to growing your business in the right direction long-term.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s your mission?
  • Where are you headed?
  • What do you value?
  • How are you different?

You might also ask some of your current team members these questions. The answers to all of these questions compose your company culture and give you a roadmap to the kind of people you will attract, develop, and retain.

Consider this a best practice for hiring, but also for your business in general. Share your vision, mission, and values with candidates, and look for people who align with your vision.

2. Candidate experience matters.

Creating a great candidate experience is more important than ever before, thanks to a thriving job market and low unemployment. Great candidates are in demand and have the freedom to be picky.

Remove barriers to applying like cumbersome job applications where job seekers need to re-enter information on their resume or create a login. CareerPlug makes it easy for candidates to apply by never requiring a login or detailed employment history.

The longer a job application takes to complete, the higher the applicant drop-off rate. During the hiring process, remember that candidates are evaluating your company just as much as you are evaluating them. Communicate openly, give candidates a chance to ask questions, and present a realistic view of the open position.

Even if you never talk to an applicant after they apply, remember to still send them a polite rejection email. No one likes to feel like they’ve sent their information into a black hole. Creating a positive experience with every candidate will help you maintain a healthy employment brand and ultimately attract more applicants.

3. Standardize your hiring process.

Having a standardized hiring process is one of the core advantages of using an Applicant Tracking System. By running every candidate through the same hiring workflow, you teach hiring managers best practices, help remove potential bias and subjectivity, and give candidates a consistently positive experience with your company.

When it comes time to making a hiring decision, having a standard process ensures you’ve addressed all the criteria that matter most. A good standardized hiring process will set up you for success in implementing all of our best practices for hiring.

Here’s a reminder of the hiring process steps we follow when we hire at CareerPlug:

hiring process steps

4. Quality matters more than quantity.

Sure, it’s awesome to see 100+ applicants apply to your job. It’s less awesome when none of them are qualified candidates. While volume in hiring can be helpful, it’s more effective to attract candidates who would be a good fit, even if they are fewer in number.

You don’t need 100 applicants, you just need one applicant who’s the right applicant. Focus on tailoring your job description to your ideal candidate — from the job title to the compensation amount. When you’re clear about what you need, job seekers have the chance to self-select in or out.

5. Always be hiring.

The wrong time to start hiring is when you needed a person in the door yesterday. By always keeping a lookout for top talent, you build a hiring pipeline. When you’re in a bind, you have someone to call without jumping into the recruitment process and waiting for new job board applicants.

Keep in touch with the candidates who are “not now’s” instead of “no’s.” And keep a post active on your careers page to leave the door open for the right person.

6. Hire for growth potential.

This is one of those hiring best practices that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Many hiring managers are quick to weigh one candidate’s experience against another’s and conclude that the candidate with the most experience must be the best candidate for the role.

But at CareerPlug, we believe candidates who exhibit the behaviors and talents to succeed in the job over time may not always have the ideal amount of previous experience. When you hire based only on who someone is today, you miss out on hiring for growth potential. 

Look for potential employees who can grow with you: people who are high achievers, learn quickly, have an entrepreneurial mindset, and have a track record of bringing their best.

For more tips on how to hire for growth potential, check out this post from our Ask a Hiring Expert series.

7. Hire like you sell.

A great sales leader builds processes, sets goals, and holds people accountable for results. These processes and goals pave the way for those results. Treat your hiring process like your sales process: from a compelling offer, qualify prospects, follow up quickly and regularly, define the process, and track results.

An ATS is for your hiring what your CRM is for your sales team. A good ATS helps you improve your results at every stage of the hiring process. It should help save you time, attract more qualified candidates, and make better hiring decisions. Utilize your ATS to manage job candidates, create an effective funnel, and close the deal (make the hire).

Take action

We’re always interested in hearing success stories from people who have benefited from implemented our Opinionated Approach to hiring! Feel free to contribute to this conversation by reaching out to CareerPlug’s Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

You can also check out more of our hiring advice and how-to guides on our Resources page.

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Kacie was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology.

Kacie joined CareerPlug as an intern while still in college in 2012. Post-graduation, she joined the CareerPlug team full-time as a Talent Specialist on the Recruitment Services side of the business, eventually working her way up to be the Recruitment Services Manager. From there, she learned her passion for the internal processes of what makes the business tick and explored other roles at the company, including Internal Support, Implementation, and Quality Management, before eventually finding her home in Design. She is now building a Creative Design branch off of the Marketing team.

Outside of work, you can find Kacie walking her dogs Bixby & Bean along Buffalo Bayou, hanging out with friends (and their pets), and tending to her 40+ house plants.

Jenny Leman


Native to Texas, Jenny graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and joined CareerPlug in 2017. She retired her first career path as a Registered Dietitian after 10 years, and has found her true belonging in business operations.

As CareerPlug’s President, Jenny leads all teams to an aligned effort toward achieving our vision. She works to build healthy and scalable internal systems to equip and empower the CareerPlug teams to bring their best for our clients. She loves contributing new ideas and rethinking the status quo. Jenny really connects with the company’s core values, but especially with our intent to “Keep Growing.”

In her non-work life, Jenny enjoys time with her family, playing drums and performing with the Austin Samba School, and finding excuses to be on the lake.

Chris Igou

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Chris accidentally started a 20-year career in franchising when he was 18 years old and took a job painting houses for College Pro Painters. That job turned into the ownership of his first franchise (a house painting franchise). While at Monmouth College in IL, he operated his business, played on the varsity football team, and studied to become a teacher.

The taste of entrepreneurship and desire to coach others led Chris deeper into franchising, working with a few franchise brands helping them grow their businesses. He lived in the Chicagoland area his entire life until recently moving his family to Austin, TX.

In his free time Chris coaches youth sports, especially youth football, and spends as much time as he can with his wife and 2 children.

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Originally from small town in central Texas, Ashley Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a degree in Business Administration. She was hired by CareerPlug as a Talent Specialist in 2014, and moved up to ultimately lead the Recruitment Services team. From there, she pivoted to Implementation, and is now the Implementation Manager.

As the Implementation Manager, Ashley and 3 direct reports function as a transition between Sales and Partner Success in helping our clients get set up and established in our software. She spends her free time raising her 2 dogs, playing cornhole, and perfecting the art of charcuterie.

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Use our templates to create an attractive careers page and job posting. Then promote it through our job board partners, as well as directly with your employees, customers, and social network.



Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.


Polly Schandorf

Engineering Manager

Joe Lepis

Engineering Manager

Clint Smith

Founder & CEO

Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

Clint is passionate about helping others succeed and is involved in numerous mentoring programs. He and his wife, Sarah, are also foster parents. Clint enjoys family time, beach volleyball, and outdoor adventures.