The Need for Speed in Hiring
Hiring takes time. If you run a business, it can actually be surprising just HOW MUCH time you have to commit to the hiring process, and how long it takes (looking at the calendar) to get from the idea that you need someone, to having that new person start on day one.
The average time to fill a position in the US hovers around 40–60 days for specialized positions like IT, Engineering, and Marketing. Keep in mind that “time to fill” refers to the number of days from when the job is posted, to when an offer is accepted. It may take a few weeks longer to get that successful person started with your company.
So what can you do to bring a little more velocity to your hiring process?
Make Hiring a Priority.
The people I work with are great, but many of them probably think recruiting and hiring is about as fun as going to the dentist. You do it because you don’t have a choice. Sometimes you avoid it altogether until the pain is unbearable!
However, hiring new talent into your organization should be an ongoing priority. Hiring wins should be celebrated and losses analyzed. Strategic business decisions should always be informed by when and how you will hire people into your organization.
Most of all, you have to make hiring a priority in your calendar. There is no way around it. Seeking out candidates, interviewing, following up, hiring team status updates, wining and dining, answering questions — all of this takes TIME. If you are hiring you have to carve out several hours per week minimum during the process. Do not skimp. Where you spend your time shows your priorities.
Leverage technology and tools for efficiency.
Recruiting is nothing if not a sea of names, emails, numbers, and potential calendar appointments. All of this information is frankly overwhelming sometimes. Don’t rely on your brain’s natural memory to keep all of your hiring information straight — use tech to your advantage.
There are so many great tools and apps that you can take a little time to set up to create many little efficiencies along the way. I will be discussing some great tools and technology in an upcoming blog in more detail.
Empower your Hiring Managers to make Hiring Decisions.
Nothing moves slower than Hiring by Committee. Yes, two heads are better than one. And yes, I highly recommend conducting in-person interviews with two interviewers, then collaborating for decision-making. But if a job seeker has to meet five people, then wait weeks for a decision, they most likely have moved on and gotten a job elsewhere. Who wants to work at a place where decisions take forever?
If you really want your hiring process to move forward, then each person who touches candidate information should have both the knowledge and the authority to make a pass/fail decision. If they don’t have the authority to funnel candidates and make that pipeline smaller, they do not belong in the chain. Think about it: why should an HR person receive applications, if they simply pass all of them on to the VP without some sort of screening or shortlisting? Or why would an Engineering Manager conduct multiple interviews for a spot on her team, only to have to defend her decision to the VP, who may have no contact with an Engineering Tech anyway?
You can advise your Hiring Managers as needed, and train them for the best results, but for heaven’s sake, let them make decisions!
Communicate Early and Often.
Make sure all members of the hiring team are communicating regularly and keeping in touch with each other’s schedules, the requirements, and the time frame for hiring. Targets can move, especially if hiring takes 2–3 months or longer. So staying in touch is vital to continue to keep your best candidates interested and moving forward quickly. A minimum of a weekly touch-base is what I recommend, but if you have several openings, a quick daily status update would be best.
Move Fast Intentionally.
This is something simple I think many companies miss. I know you might be afraid of making a poor hiring decision by getting caught up in the moment, and that is a valid concern. But if you find some good and interesting candidates for a job, move quickly.
No one needs to wait around a few days out of politeness. Pick up the phone. Immediately. Get them into your office in the next few days. Make decisions overnight. Get that job offer in writing by close of business, not five days from now. Put on the full court press for the talent you need.
This is still very much a job seekers market. Especially if you are a small business you will probably have the ability to operate much more quickly to compete with a large enterprise, so use that to your advantage.