09.27.2013 Speed – the secret weapon for finally filling that open position

Hiring quality people is critical issue for every company and the cost of making a hiring mistake can be devastating. Bad employees damage the company’s reputation, usurp the time of managers and coworkers, and when they are finally terminated or leave of their own accord, cost thousands of dollars to replace.

Most hiring managers agree that having a good interview process in place is crucial to hiring success yet they will go into an interview unprepared and waste both theirs and the candidates time by asking irrelevant questions and make a decision on the candidate based on feel rather than track record or patterns of success and verifiable skills.

An often overlooked aspect of recruitment that can be critical to hiring success is the speed at which an employer can move candidates through their hiring process. Usually, the argument I hear when I make that statement is, “We have to provide ample time for everyone to be able to interview the candidate.”

But I have also heard,

“We want to make sure we have interviewed multiple candidates so we can compare them against one another”

“If the candidate is not willing to wait for us to complete our process, then they probably were not the right candidate anyway”

“We want to hold off on the other candidates until we have completed the process with this one candidate that we really like”

“We want to make sure that all those who want to apply have had an opportunity to do so”

“We want to have “x” number of candidates to move to the next round of interviews”

I certainly understand each of these concerns. However, depending on the job market at any given time, they may cost you the candidate that you not only want but need for your role.

I have always viewed recruitment as a bit of a pendulum that swings back and forth between too many candidates/job or too many jobs/candidate. Most industries are affected by the swings of the economy but most of my recruitment career has been spent in the Medical and Technology industries. For the last decade, both have seen pretty steady growth and have almost always been on the too many jobs/candidate side of the pendulum, despite massive swings in the economy.

Careerbuilder currently shows 8 jobs/candidate for developers and most other IT professionals in the United States. It is a similar story for Medical professionals at a rate of about 5/1. Both industries are underserved and candidates are hard to come by. Location, local universities and a variety of other factors influence those numbers and they are constantly changing but it is pretty typical of what I have seen. Ultimately, that means that all else being equal, as an employer, you have somewhere between a 1 in 5 chance to a 1 in 8 chance of securing the person you want  for the job.

Here is the problem. Not all is equal. There is always another employer willing to offer more money, better benefits, a more attractive work place, better perks, more interesting projects, or a variety of other things to attract the candidate they want. All of those things play a role in which opportunity a specific candidate chooses but it has been surprising to me just how often job seekers tell me that they chose their new job because they felt that particular employer “valued them more”, “Were more serious about hiring”, or “Were just more on top of things.”  We hear this weekly and each of these reasons are reflective of an efficient and speedy hiring process.

Moving quickly and efficiently then, is an effective incentive to get the candidate you need to fill your open position.

In college football, the current trend is moving toward more of a “hurry up” offense. The idea behind that trend is that if one team can run their plays more quickly, they will be able to get more plays in than their opponent. More plays = more scoring chances for that team. Time will tell if the trend will pan out for the football teams that have subscribed to that idea

When it comes to hiring however, it is clearly paying off for those companies that are moving more quickly than their competitors. Sure, to make the right hire, you cannot sacrifice quality but paying attention to this one tip can be more effective a recruitment tool than just about any other single incentive or benefit offered.


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