Selection process taking too long? 4 tips to speed things along

By Robert Half on 27 December 2016

It’s not unusual for some companies to take a long time with their selection process. Particularly with roles that demand a high level of skill, employers want to ensure they hire the right employee for the job.

But what happens when the selection process starts to drag out?

You’re meeting candidate after candidate and no-one seems right for the role. Most employers can feel frustrated trying to find the right employee in a competitive job market.

Here are 4 tips to help you speed along the selection process to identify a suitable candidate for the job you’re offering.

1. Examine where you’re going wrong

Try to identify the point in your hiring process where things break down.

For example, if you’re not receiving resumes from qualified (or any) applicants, the job description probably needs to be reworked. Have you described the position accurately? Are the requirements reasonable? Are you highlighting aspects of your organisational culture that make it appealing? Are you offering a competitive salary? Are you showcasing that the role has work-life balance?

If you’ve been unable to close the deal with potential hires, you may need to improve the job offer by increasing the salary packaging or providing better benefits options. The point is to focus on just one aspect of the selection process at a time so you can fix what isn’t working and avoid breaking what is.

2. Expand your recruiting sources

If you’re just posting your job ad to an online board, you’re not doing enough. You need to cover more ground. Ask your employees for referrals and provide an incentive for them to encourage people they know to apply for a role with your firm. (Hint: a cash bonus always work well.)

Increasing your networking efforts, both online and in person has added benefit. Let everyone know about your hiring need. Touch base with your contacts frequently to keep the connections strong and remind them that you are still on the hunt.

Also consider enlisting the help of a reputable recruiter. These professionals have deep networks of job seekers and are often able to identify skilled professionals who would otherwise be unaware of your job opening.

3. Be flexible

Here’s the honest truth: Your expectations might be one reason your selection process has dragged on. A majority of employers wants a candidate with years of experience, an advanced degree and a long list of relevant industry certifications. But it could be that few candidates meet all these qualifications. Your ideal candidate may not even exist.

In the job posting, only list those qualifications that are essential to succeed in the position. Otherwise, you risk limiting your pool of applicants. And when evaluating applicants, focus on true job requirements versus nice-to-haves.

Also remember that talented people are trainable — and are typically very eager to learn. So, keep the door open to promising professionals who may not have all the experience you seek but have the potential to ramp up and advance quickly.

4. Don’t hire just anyone

It’s tempting to bring someone — anyone – on board when workloads are piling up, and your employees are unable to absorb even one more task. But desperation can easily lead to bad (and costly) hiring decisions.

If you’re selection process is taking too long, consider bringing on temporary recruitment until you find the right person for the job. You might even find that the professional you engage in the interim is really the full-time hire you’ve been searching for all along.

Stay ahead of your next selection process

When it comes to your future hiring needs, it’s always best to stay a step ahead.

Don’t wait until there is an immediate need to fill a position. Try to build and maintain a talent pipeline that consists of candidates who could be a good fit for positions that open up in the future. Continue to collect resumes and keep in touch with job seekers who you liked but did not hire. Being proactive now can help you to shorten your selection process next time around and make your decision making a lot easier.

This blog was originally featured as "When the Hiring Process Takes Too Long" on the Robert Half US Blog.

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