The late, great Tom Petty was right. Those of us in recruiting (or the new, fancier “talent acquisition”) know that URGENCY is an obvious – if not THE – critical success ingredient in hiring people. Keep people waiting — commercial insurance producer candidate or hiring manager — on either side of the decision and things break down.
I came across a great LI 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 smartphone, we help 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?”
Rather than just point out the problem with slow hiring processes, here are 6 suggestions for hiring managers and recruiters to re-inject urgency and time sensitivity back into your hiring process.
Understand if you’re in a talent scarcity or a talent surplus situation AND adjust the speed of your hiring process accordingly. Do you have a lot of great candidates banging down your door and readily available to hire? If that’s your scenario, congratulations, because you might be able to get away with being slow-to-hire. Or, are very few high-quality candidates available and are they hard to find and hire because everyone wants them? Most firms operate in a talent scarcity environment. You need to find, recruit and compete for the best people. This means you must design your hiring process to go on offense and move quickly (not rashly, mind you, but with seriousness of purpose and a sense of urgency). Facing talent scarcity, you can’t just play prevent defense and screen out unqualified candidates with a 4-interview process and think that is going to work well.
Audit your hiring process. For the last person you hired, how long did it take from a first meeting to making an offer? You may be shocked at how long your hiring process takes from a candidate’s perspective.
Reverse-engineer and compress your hiring process. 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 hiring process 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 schedule stages in advance so that you’re ready to move great candidates forward with urgency.
Assign a high priority after the first interview to ensure 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. Explain your entire hiring process to the candidate and let them know the approximate timing between stages.
As we all gear up for 2018 recruiting in a full-employment economy, it’s an ideal 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 the talent scarcity environment of 2018.