Deciding whether and when to extend the job offer in the selection process can be an excruciating exercise for hiring managers. If you’ve hired the wrong candidate before, you may want to take your time so you can be confident in your decision. But waiting too long to hire can leave you lamenting the one that got away, especially in today’s employment market.
Talented candidates are in high demand and short supply. They hold the advantage, and they don’t like to wait.
Here are 8 ways ensure you don’t fall into the trap of a long recruitment process getting in the way of finding the suitable candidate for the opportunity you’re offering.
A quick but informed recruitment process
What’s a hiring manager to do? On the one hand, job seekers exiting the job interview process expect a quick decision. On the other hand, that costly hiring mistake you made last year still haunts you. You probably feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, hiring is one of the most important decisions your firm makes. But that doesn’t mean the recruitment process must drag on.
Follow these steps to a timely, successful recruitment process:
1. Define — or re-define — your hiring need
It’s foolish to think that any candidate will fit the bill until you know what you want. So be sure your hiring criteria are clearly outlined from the start. If you’re staffing an existing position, consider how your needs may have changed since the job was last vacant.
2. Be meticulous in crafting the job description
Not only will this ensure you attract candidates who are truly qualified, it will serve as a performance appraisal tool once you’ve found your perfect hire. Be honest about the duties the position does and does not entail. Don’t over-promise room for advancement or gloss over unglamorous tasks like filing. Clearly state the degrees, certifications or experience required. This will help you quickly evaluate the first round of applications.
3. Get in position
Make sure you’ve secured the sign-off to staff the job along with an approved salary range and the buy-in from stakeholders that hiring is a priority. You don’t want to find the perfect candidate only to be unable to pull the trigger and have to start the recruitment and selection process back at square one.
4. Set a schedule and a deadline
Block out time for the interview process and commit to it, consolidating on-site meetings in one or two days, if possible. Set dates for key steps like deciding whom to call in for an interview, when you want to offer the position and a start date.
5. Be consistent, objective and realistic
Be sure you’re not creating a job very few, if any, people could be considered qualified for. Of course you have the dream candidate in mind. But ask yourself: Does that person really exist? Holding out for Mr. or Mrs. Right is a sure-fire way to delay the recruitment process. Decide on four or five must-have attributes and apply them to every candidate. And take notes during interviews so you can objectively review every candidate at the end of the interview process, when all your encounters may seem to run together in your memory.
6. Check references
You want to be efficient, not foolhardy, so don’t speed up the recruitment process at all costs. Checking references, for example, is not a step to be rushed through. It could be crucial in avoiding a hiring mistake.
7. Don’t leave them hanging — even for a little while
During the interview process, let candidates know when they may expect to hear back from you, and follow through. You know your silence means you’re polishing your offer package, but a potential hire might interpret it as disinterest and pursue another job.
8. Make the decision
When you find that next addition to your team, you’ll want to make a verbal offer pending any reference checks before you negotiate an offer package. Make sure you have the buy-in from fellow stakeholders to do this — and then pick up the phone!
Avoid suffering hirer’s remorse
Hiring is among the most critical decisions your company makes, but its importance can lead to paralysis in the recruitment process. With an understanding of the key attributes you’re looking for in a candidate and an organised, targeted approach, you can nab the best talent quickly without suffering hirer’s remorse.
This blog was originally featured as "How a Long Recruitment Process can Hurt You" on the Robert Half blog.