Protracted hiring procedures can let top picks get away

David Peterson

Published: June 29, 2012 6:00 am ET

Welcome to the new world in hiring. Today, there’s a need for speed in your hiring practices and in order to keep pace, your company must be fast-moving, flexible and nimble.

The main reason for speed hiring? In-demand talent doesn’t wait. Companies are beginning to realize that top performers lose interest if their hiring process is too slow and drawn out. One leading and well-known tech company, Intel Corp., is currently making the necessary adjustments. According to CNN Money, April 30, Intel recently started to hire for some jobs in a week instead of the many weeks it used to take. It now recognizes that to snag top talent, employers must act quickly.

To that point, my team and I recently accepted a search assignment from a multimillion-dollar global manufacturer of plastics machinery to find a regional sales manager.

We presented three very qualified candidates. The company selected one to pursue and began a monthlong hiring process that included telephone interviews, face-to-face interviews and a personality assessment. In addition, it was standard operating procedure for candidates to meet the company president prior to being hired. Unfortunately, the president was traveling internationally and our candidate was asked to wait another two weeks before meeting him.

After 10 days and being tired of waiting, our candidate informed us that he received a solid offer from a competitor and accepted it. By now, the other candidates we initially presented had moved on as well. Our search had to start over again and it took another 45 days to fill this key position. Every day this position remained open cost the company time and money.

With this in mind, here are five tips to speed up your hiring process:

* Use your internal network. Start by posting the open position in-house and give your employees who may want to make a move or change jobs a chance to apply. You will reduce time by identifying candidates already within your organization who are top performers and already fit the company culture.

* Write a clear job description. While this might seem like common sense, many organizations do not clearly specify required competencies — skills, motivations, behaviors, etc. — for the job at hand. Every hiring manager needs to take time to put some real thought into creating the job description. An accurate description will help to identify qualified candidates from the start and yield a faster hiring process.

* Streamline steps in your hiring process. Eliminate unnecessary screening and multiple rounds of interviewing. In fact, schedule a block of interviewing time and have the required personnel and hiring managers schedule their time within the block. This will avoid having to bring the candidate back for additional interviews.

* Utilize technology advances. To accelerate your search process, allow job seekers to use video interviewing to provide a more comprehensive profile of themselves beyond the traditional resume. For hiring managers, this is both efficient and collaborative, and enables them to gain a truer sense of the individual before inviting them to interview in person.

* Use a recruiting firm to help fill those urgent and critical positions. Reputable recruiters find that “needle in the haystack” by having networks and resources in place to find the passive candidate. In addition, they go far beyond the customary process of finding candidates and typically present three to five pre-qualified candidates, saving you the time of filtering through job boards and piles of resumes.

Implementing a speed-in-hiring strategy will decrease the cycle time for making a hiring decision and improve your chances of landing your candidate of choice. In addition, you will edge out your competition. You will have already hired your candidate before your competition even has had time to entice them.

Peterson is managing partner at Direct Recruiters Inc. of Cleveland.


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Protracted hiring procedures can let top picks get away

David Peterson

Published: June 29, 2012 6:00 am ET

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