As you have seen in many of my blogs, I am not a recruiter. However, I believe that selecting talent is one of the keys to successful organization. One of the reasons our clients sometimes struggle with sticking to the process is that most leaders have a high sense of urgency.
There are 4 reasons why hiring takes longer than desired:
- Failure to get good candidates into the process
- Mishandling the candidates during the process
- Finding the right fit – Candidate expectations are different than what we have to offer – Good candidate but they will not fit our company or specific job
- Unrealistic Expectations
Let’s start with the last item first. Most people want to fill vacancies or replace poor performers immediately. However, just like selling, recruiting is a process. In order to get the candidates you want, you first have to fill up your recruiting funnel. Like it or not, the recruiting cycle (just like the sales cycle) has an average time frame. Sometimes we get lucky and close a deal sooner, and other times we take longer than we’d like. It is the latter that we spend our lives trying to speed up.
The point of this article is first to understand that there is a cycle of steps. Like any process, if you violate any steps, problems are going to arise, and you will usually not get the outcomes you would like. The better you master each of the steps and the more disciplined the execution, the sooner you will see improved outcomes.
This sounds logical, yet many companies’ historical tendency has been to choose a candidate from whatever people are immediately available to them. This approach may achieve the desire to immediately fill a position but does not accomplish what a business person ultimate goal should be: to hire a person that fits their organization and will perform at high levels.
To get you to read further, I need to address one elephant that is usually in the room. To hire a person that fits the organization and will perform at high levels takes hard work and discipline. Most leaders only see their immediate problem of replacing a poor performer or filling an open position. However, for every client I work with the data is huge that it takes a lot less work in the long term to hire right the first time, not to mention the volumes of research showing that the top performers give you so much more productivity than an average performer. Committing to the process should be a no-brainer.
Here are some key ideas to speed up your recruiting and address the other 3 reasons why successful hiring takes longer:
- Spend the time up-front to fully understand the skills, behaviors, motivators, knowledge, and experience required of your ideal hire.
- Make sure that everyone in the hiring process agrees with and knows number 1.
- Advertise effectively. If you do not advertise often enough or in enough places, if your advertisement is not attractive to candidates, or you are advertising to the wrong audiences, you will not have enough candidates in the funnel.
- Stop using resumes as your initial screen. We have found that by using assessment and phone screens we are able to consider a lot more candidates and that many of the best candidates would have been lost had we used the resume first. In addition, resumes do not have the information we need and many of the good candidates get screened out.
- Monitor performance of each step in the process weekly to know if you have to make any changes. Many times there is a break in the process or there is a weakness that can go on for weeks and months before anyone does anything about it.
- If you are screening out a lot of candidates, ask “Why?” If the rejections are for the right reasons, there is nothing wrong with the process… be happy. Too often managers become frustrated when they see “too many candidates” coming through, so they attack the process, causing bad decisions.
- If you have followed a strong process: assessments, phone screen, in-depth interview, and tandem interviews, and the candidate is great, do not let him/her get away. I have seen too many companies lose good candidates because they want to see one more candidate for comparison.
- If you have someone in the process that is naturally indecisive, do not give them the final word.
- If you have someone with a history of bad hiring decisions, they should be removed from the process. History repeats itself. These are the people who consistently hire and reject candidates for the wrong reasons and will not follow the process.
As you look at hiring talent over the next year, ask yourself “Am I committed to hiring right or just hiring?” Hopefully you will choose the former. If you do, then your discussions around hiring will be more about how to improve the process and increase speed of the steps rather than causing you to hire the wrong person.