It takes time to fill open positions, especially for roles where top candidates are difficult to find. But the longer your hiring process takes, the longer your company goes without the expertise you need to grow and thrive. That can put projects on hold and diminish your competitive position in the market.
Hiring the right recruiting partner can bring exceptional candidates to your door, but your company and hiring team play a critical role here as well. As a company, you can control the speed up the hiring process, improve everyone’s experience and generate the best results. Here are some key success factors:
1. Make sure the position has approved funding
This may sound obvious, but the last thing you want to do is find The Right Candidate, only to learn the money isn’t there for the position. When you partner with Power-4, we will ask you about this right up front – do you have clean approval for headcount, compensation and benefits for this position? Neither you nor we want to waste top candidates’ time, because that erodes trust for everyone.
2. Get the job description right
Taking time up front to clearly delineate the job description will save time and confusion later, and ensure you’re speaking to most-qualified candidates. Make a list of must-have qualifications for the position, and a separate list of desirable but not critical expertise and personal traits. This will help as you evaluate candidates and prioritize the key components of the job. Too often we list an overwhelming list of bullets and it detracts from the critical skills needed for the job. It can also deter quality candidates.
Make it concise. A too-long job description is off-putting, and too much information makes it vague instead of attractive. The point is to pique the candidate’s interest.
3. Establish a structured hiring team
Choose key people for your hiring team according to the position to be filled – not too many, or the sheer numbers will bog down the process. Every member of the hiring team must be in agreement with the details of the job description, especially the lists of must-have and desired qualifications. Without this universal buy-in, interviewing can quickly become unfocused and confusing for everyone.
Every member of the team must also commit to making this hiring process a top priority. This means setting aside blocks of time for interviewing, so you can condense the process and move through it in a timely manner. It may well mean after-hours interviews, since often the highly qualified candidate is likely working and busy during the day.
Waiting to check calendars, etc. when you have a hot prospect waiting to be interviewed is unappealing and sends the wrong message about your interest in them. Better for your TA team to feel a bit pressured at this point!
Keep in mind that you don’t need the whole team for every interview. For example, it can be more effective and a better use of team members’ time to save departmental or senior managers for second or third round interviews that delve deeper into specific areas of expertise.
Who will make the final hiring decision? A single individual? The team as a whole via consensus?
4. Frame the process for the candidate
Too many companies leave candidates hanging during the hiring process, wondering what will happen next, and when. Setting expectations as soon as a candidate is involved, and providing step-by-step updates as needed, enables everyone to efficiently manage the process. That improves candidate experience, and as the process unfolds and you make good on your timing promises, you are also building the candidate’s trust and confidence that your firm and position will be a good opportunity for them.
The key to success here is close communication. Assign a hiring team member to serve as liaison with the candidate. Our Power-4 team will support you in this and also stay in touch , but it’s vital to have a point of contact within the company.
5. Schedule a hiring team post-interview debriefing
Gathering team impressions with specific feedback following each interview is best done as soon as possible, while intangibles and meeting notes are still fresh in everyone’s mind. Debriefing quickly also keeps the process moving forward. There are a number of different approaches you can use for post-interview debriefing, but your goal is to determine the next step.
Is this candidate:
- Now out of the running?
- Ready for the next interview?
- Needing to be sold more on the job?
- Ready for an offer?
It is equally important to debrief candidates following each interview, something that should be handled by the assigned Hiring team liaison we talked about earlier. How did it go? Based on what you know now, are you still interested? Do you have additional questions or concerns? These discussions can uncover misunderstandings, clarify specific points and identify potential barriers, giving you a chance to respond positively.
Follow these steps and your hiring process will always proceed faster and more effectively. One final note, though: when you’re ready to make an offer to your #1 candidate, give them a deadline to respond. That reinforces a sense of urgency for the candidate, so your team isn’t left hanging without that critical new hire in place.