A hiring process that draws on too long is detrimental to both the business and those seeking new employment opportunities.
A study conducted by Robert Half found that more than 57 percent of the 1,000 U.S. workers polled said the most irritating part of the job search process is waiting to see if they got the job. What’s more, one-quarter of those surveyed stated they actually lose interest in the firm if they don’t hear back about their status within a week after their first interview, and another 46 percent lose interest if there’s no update one to two weeks post-interview.
This illustrates how important communication and speed are when you’re looking to expand your team. To keep the process moving along at a pace that’s both effective and efficient, consider these tips:
How you schedule interviews
If you’re forcing candidates to go back and forth with you for weeks at a time simply to get a first interview on the books, don’t be shocked when you end up losing would-be hires who don’t want to continue with the process.
With interview scheduling software available, it’s become easier than ever to get interviews set up. This means there’s no excuse to force the process to draw on over the course of weeks or even months.
If you’re still asking candidates to mail in their applications, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This is also true if you’ve set up a complicated portal with a lengthy questionnaire that requires many separate attachments.
Not only will you probably deter some would-be applicants, but you’re also making it harder on yourself as you try to sort through the massive amount of materials you receive.
Your application process should be as streamlined as possible. Request only the basics from each job seeker, and make sure the applications you receive are pushed into one central area. Remember, your portal should also be easily accessible on a desktop, laptop, mobile phone, and tablet.
To assist with future hiring efforts, store all materials in a place that’s easily accessible at a later date. Perhaps one applicant wasn’t quite right for the open position you have available now, but maybe something else becomes available down the road that they’d be perfect for. You can then quickly contact them again and invite them in for that interview process.
Unrealistic expectations about candidates
While you want to ensure you’re picking the most qualified person to fill your open position, holding out for the perfect candidate can grind the hiring process to a halt.
Even competent, experienced professionals are going to have flaws. Perhaps they have a knowledge gap in a certain area, or there’s a computer program you rely on heavily that they don’t know.
There’s an old saying that states, “Perfect is the enemy of good,” and it should apply to your hiring process. Don’t hold out for a flawless candidate who simply won’t come along and end up losing strong candidates in the meantime.
It’s important to differentiate between skills that can and can’t be taught. If a job seeker doesn’t know a particular piece of software or isn’t great at making cold calls, that’s a relatively easy fix. You can ask a veteran team member to coach them, or send them out for training. However, if they’re not really a people-person or they lack a strong work ethic, then you’ve hired someone who can’t really be coached.
Getting too many people involved in the interview process
It’s certainly important to have buy-in from different managers within your company as you begin to expand your team, particularly if these individuals will have to interface with the new employee on a regular basis. However, be selective about who you’re inviting into the room during interviews.
Collaborative hiring can be helpful as you make a decision, but when you start to get a room packed with people wanting to offer their opinion, it can slow down the process and make it nearly impossible to come to a decision. For this reason, you’ll want to limit it to essential personnel only.
Not showing up prepared to interviews
During your interviews, cover the most important ground. If you’re walking into the conversation without having glanced over the individual’s resume and cover letter, it’s going to be difficult to have a focused, detailed conversation, as you’ll be spending a bulk of the discussion trying to garner basic background information about the professional sitting across from you.
Therefore, you probably will have to have them come back for a second or third conversation before you really get a sense of what they’d be like should you extend a job offer.
Save everyone involved some time and energy by doing your research ahead of time. Eliminate small talk whenever possible, and have a solid list of essential questions you want to ask. If there was anything unclear on their resume, now’s the time to bring that out into the open.
Putting too much focus on a resume instead of looking for a well-rounded individual
Just like you don’t want to pass up qualified candidates because you’re in search of perfection that doesn’t exist, you also don’t want to overlook professionals because you’re too hung up on the details of their resume and cover letter.
While these documents matter, there’s more to who a person is professional than what they write on these pieces of paper. Sure, they may not have gone to a prestigious university or worked for a big-name firm, but they might have the exact personality type you’re searching for to fill this open position.
Consider the individual’s resume and cover letter as you’re doing your search, but don’t let it make you narrow-minded as you’re trying to reach a decision.
Not having a backup in place in case the ideal candidate falls through
When you’re a hiring manager trying to recruit top-tier talent, you’re in a tough position, as these individuals are likely heavily sought-after by other businesses like yours. While you may have a first choice candidate in mind, be aware that this person may get recruited away to another firm.
Instead of having to scramble or start the whole process over when that happens, always have a backup choice in place. Be prepared to extend an offer to this candidate should your top choice fall through. This allows the process to continue to move along, even if the unexpected occurs.
Not being flexible in case the candidate wants to negotiate
You’ve found a strong candidate, and they’re excited about joining your firm. However, they’d like a few extra vacation days, or they’re wondering if they could work from home one day out of the week. If you absolutely refuse to negotiate, you’re going to bring your hiring process to a dead stop when the candidate opts to move on to another business.
Rather than forcing yourself to start over and hope you find someone equally qualified and enthusiastic about the position, be open to negotiations.
You head into the hiring process unsure what you’re looking for
Perhaps you wrote a job description looking for a web designer, but only after you began interviewing did you realize that you actually have more of a need for a graphic designer. This requires you to begin the process over, with new criteria in mind, thus slowing everything down.
Before you put together a job description or start bringing in candidates for interviews, take time to do a full analysis of the business’s needs so you can be certain about what you’re looking for in your hire.
What skills do they need to have? What duties will they take care of on both a short- and long-term basis?
Get feedback from other departments to ensure the type of candidate you’re recruiting is actually the type of professional you need to help your business move forward.
There are no benchmarks
If you’re not careful, it’s easy to let the timeline of the hiring process slip away from you.
Your schedule gets jam-packed one week, so you push the interviews off until the next week. But then those days fill up, so you postpone until the following week, and so on. Suddenly, it’s three months in, and you’re no closer to finding the newest member of your team.
Before you begin the interview process, do yourself a favor and set benchmarks for you and anyone else involved with hiring. If you know that by X date you need to have completed your first round interviews, and by Y date you need to have narrowed it down to your top three candidates, there’s more pressure to keep things moving, thus preventing your hiring from extending on for months on end.
You don’t have a network
Each time you get set to hire, have an open mind and be willing to interview a diverse group of candidates.
However, with that said, it’s unwise to force yourself to start completely from scratch each time, as this type of hiring process takes much longer and is significantly more draining than if you’re pulling from a pre-existing network of reliable professionals.
Make it a point to build your connections in your industry, regardless of whether you currently have any available positions or not. That way, when you do have an open spot to fill, it will be much easier to start the process. You’ll have a sense of who would be qualified for the role and whom you should contact, which expedites the process.
You’re not posting the job opening on the right platforms
Of course you want to promote the open job on your company’s website, but many businesses find that using sites like LinkedIn or Monster help them to attract more applicants when it comes time to hire.
However, be selective in where and how you’re spreading the word. If you opt to use a site that’s not completely reputable, you could find yourself flooded with resumes, then end up wasting your time sorting through the materials of applicants who simply wouldn’t be a good fit. Instead, use a site with a strong reputation in your industry to attract viable candidates.
By carefully analyzing your hiring process, you can identify secret time sucks that are causing your efforts to get bogged down. By streamlining the process and being aware of how you approach the expansion of your team, you save time and money, plus make interviews much more enjoyable for yourself and job applicants.