We’ve all hear this old saw: “time kills all deals”. Whoever said it first had to be in sales, for sure. I suspect it might have been a recruiter. Those of us in recruiting (or its new, much fancier moniker: “talent acquisition”) know that URGENCY is a clear and obvious – if not THE – critical success ingredient in hiring people. Keep the people involved — candidate or hiring manager — waiting around on either side of the decision and things often break down.
Reflect on “time kills all deals” and how today’s technology SHOULD enable us to shrink time gaps in every business process including hiring people. Each of us has a powerful computer in our hands (or pocket or charging right next to us). This amazing machine will answer virtually any question you ask it. It also includes a built-in TELEPHONE. Heck, you can use it to call people and talk to them. You can also use it to email or text people. Wow, what the hell did we do before this thing?!
Here’s a great LinkedIn article by recruiting legend Greg Savage: What you can learn from the dark ages of recruiting. Please click through and read paragraph #5 (Urgency!). In a time before cell phones, LinkedIn, the Internet, and even the fax machine, recruiters and hiring managers with a sense of urgency got people hired — sometimes in a single day!
Yet, today, “blessed” with every instant communication tool imaginable and with every conscious human within arm’s reach of their smart phone, we still encounter clients who struggle with a lack of urgency in their hiring process. What gives? As Greg asks: “are we stuck in process to the exclusion of outcome?” (let that question roll around in your head for a few days).
Rather than just point out the problem with slow hiring processes, here are 3 tactical solutions for hiring managers and recruiters to re-inject urgency and time sensitivity back into your hiring process.
- Reverse-engineer your LAST hire. Post-mortem your host recent hiring process. For the last person you hired, how long did it take from the first meeting to making an offer? How many steps were in the process? How long did each step take? What were the time gaps between the steps? You will likely be shocked at how long your hiring process takes from a candidate’s perspective. Challenge the value in each step in your process. Eliminate steps that do not truly add value in your hiring decision and/or the candidate’s decision to join your company.
- Pre-plan your NEXT hire schedule. Often, it’s not that the hiring process stages take too long. It’s all of the dead time in between stages that kills momentum and loses great candidates. Pre-plan and build into your schedule the key stages in advance so that you’re ready to move great candidates forward with urgency. Explain your entire hiring process to the candidate and let them know the steps and planned timing between stages.
- Communicate with urgency (think hours/days, not weeks). Assign a high priority after the first interview to assure that feedback and decision on a candidate will be communicated as quickly as possible, but not to exceed 24 to 48 hours from the first interview. This shows proper respect to the candidate. It’s also the right way to treat people. Assign a similar sense of urgency and high priority to communication and follow up in all subsequent stages of the recruiting process. Your goal should be to move steadily forward within 24 to 48 hours on all matters and keep the candidate fully engaged and in constant communication (talk to them at least once per week) throughout the hiring process.
As we all focus on recruiting in a full-employment economy, it’s a great time to critically assess your hiring process and inject more urgency and time sensitivity. Frankly, companies with a sense of urgency in their recruiting and hiring process will be the winners in this talent scarcity environment.