The second a new position opens in your business, the clock starts ticking. When it comes to adding new employees to your team, you want to be sure you’re making the right decision. You need time to thoroughly vet applicants and to feel confident you are making the best decision for your organization.
But that clock is ticking…not only for you, but for your top candidates as well. Having a candidate jump through multiple hoops and dragging the hiring process on for weeks –or even months—can make the difference in getting the RIGHT candidate to say, “I ACCEPT”.
At every step in the hiring process, it is important to eliminate the inefficiencies that create a lengthy timeline or communicate a disorganized working environment. To help streamline your hiring process and circumvent losing your next “best hire” it’s best practice to follow a few simple rules:
The best way to tighten up your hiring timeline is through proactivity
Before You Start Searching
The best way to tighten up your hiring timeline is through proactivity. Before even posting a job, your hiring manager and HR team must be on the same page about the types of candidates needed –from an experience and cultural standpoint.
Have a conversation about the required skills, responsibilities and expectations for this role and create a detailed job description around those points. Clear communication and planning can save you and your team literal days of work sorting through resumes and interviewing candidates who were not a good fit in the first place.
The Initial Screen
Once you have reviewed all resumes for your open position, it is now time to conduct initial screenings, so that you can pare down your list even further.
It is important to keep in mind currently employed candidates may not always have the flexibility to pick up a call at a moment’s notice. To streamline the process, conduct a brief (15 – 30 minute) phone screen to determine who will move onto the next step of the interview process. Those passing the phone screen should be scheduled for their next interview within a week.
If multiple people at your business need to interview a candidate, be cognizant of their time and schedule all interviews for the same day. This way, the candidate can arrange to take time off from work in advance without raising any flags with their current employer.
Having a candidate come back for multiple interviews on multiple days, or adding extra steps in the screening process can send the message that your business is not considerate of responsibilities an individual has outside work; this is a huge red flag to candidates that your culture does not promote a healthy work/life balance.
A candidate can learn a lot about your company, your culture and leadership throughout the interview process. Although no two interviews are the same, having a standardized evaluation process is key for a consistent and efficient vetting process.
Establish detailed interview questions before you start interviewing. If you elect to incorporate skills assessments into your vetting process, establish the software and parameters needed to pass beforehand. Keep in mind that if your overall process becomes too cumbersome, this can result in candidates losing interest in your position and company.
After The Interview
To keep a candidate engaged after your interview, be clear about whether they made your shortlist and when you are expecting to make a final decision. One of the biggest mistakes hiring managers make is being vague about the final steps, and when they are ready to make an offer, they find out the hard way that their top candidate is no longer interested or accepted another position.
When there is a lack of clear communication and post-interview follow up, candidates begin to think:
- They are not interested in me
- They chose someone else
- It is unprofessional they stopped communicating with me. Is this how they treat their clients and employees?
- If this is how the manager is throughout the interview process, what would it be like if I reported to this person each day?
To circumvent a candidate falling off your shortlist, keep them in the loop and set clear expectations. If there are changes to your timeline, communicate this to your candidates; don’t leave your top talent in the dark.
On the other hand, if you elect not to move forward in the process with someone, communicate it. While nobody wants to get a “Dear John” letter from a potential employer, they will have more respect for you and your company than if they heard crickets.
Building Out the Timeline
The hiring process, from phone screen to job offer, should take no more than two weeks –provided you have a strong candidate pool.
The most important thing is to be considerate everyone’s time (including your own) and be clear about your intentions at every step of the way; the clearer your intent, the faster your hiring process, and the more qualified your talent will be.