Move too fast and risk making a bad hire. Move too slow and risk losing out on a great hire. Four ways to mitigate risk and improve your chances of making the right hire.

Unlike reconciling the books or preparing financial statements, hiring is never a straightforward or simple process. From sourcing, assessment, and qualification through interviews, negotiation, and onboarding, each step of the way hiring managers, HR and recruiters face hundreds of unknown variables. Now layer in cyclical job search trends and market factors and you begin to uncover the risks associated with the timing and accuracy of hiring decisions.

What market factors are currently affecting hiring?

With national unemployment levels at record lows, the supply of qualified talent is also low. Combine a shortage of talent with a great economy and we, as employers, find ourselves struggling to not only identify talent but also retain employees who are receiving new job opportunities from internal and external recruiters daily.

In a candidate-driven market, the costs associated with turnover and job vacancies increase. Internal recruiters spend more time and effort searching for qualified professionals with the right skill sets. As a result, the hourly cost of searching for the candidate goes up. When the right candidate is found, they then face a higher risk that the individual is being recruited by other companies and will, therefore, lose the candidate through the hiring process. Externally, unfilled job opportunities generate negative public perception and leave candidates asking questions such as, “Is this company not doing well?” or “Does this position report to a bad manager?”  

What do I need to do to improve my hiring process?

Like most business decisions, hiring is a game of risk. You make informed decisions given the resources currently at your disposal and mitigate risk where possible. Decrease your total cost of hire and mitigate negative public perception by improving your chances of making the right hire the first time. Here are 4 ways to streamline your hiring process and improve the chances of efficiently and effectively hiring great talent:

  • Establish WHY great employees would want to work for you before you start interviewing. As you probably will recall from your days sitting in Microeconomics 101, as demand increases and supply decreases for any given commodity, the price also increases. When it comes to hiring, larger companies oftentimes are able to meet this price increase for talent by extending higher salary offers and enticing candidates with financial gain. Smaller companies, on the other hand, are left to get creative and make do with the resources they already have at their disposal. If there is one thing that I have learned over the years it is that, thankfully, humans are not commodities and more importantly, salary is not always the deciding factor. Before interviews with prospective candidates, outline to yourself why a qualified professional would want to work for both your company and you. Do you have a great culture? Does your company and team truly work to ensure a genuinely great mission? Do you offer phenomenal fringe benefits such as flexible work hours or 80/20 work weeks? Are you a good mentor? Is there true advancement potential? These are all great selling points which can help companies compete for more than just salary.
  • Draft your job description; don’t just copy it. Although job descriptions are often considered a rudimentary component of the hiring process, they oftentimes serve as the first impression job seekers have of both a job and a company. Take time to draft a job description which is truly representative of the role and its responsibilities. Performance-based job descriptions are a great change of pace for job seekers who are looking to understand exactly what is expected of them, who they report to, and the team they are working with. By taking time to prepare a job description as opposed to copying one from the internet, you are preventing job seekers from viewing the job description as deceitful or misrepresentative of the actual role and demonstrating your commitment to finding the right person as opposed to just another “warm body.”
  • Streamlining Communication How long does it take you to review a resume or respond to questions? In the past, it was common for a hiring manager to take a few days before reviewing an applicant’s resume. In today’s market, timing is everything when it comes to hiring the right professional. Qualified professionals oftentimes have their resume out to two or more employers at a time for review.Therefore, take time to prioritize hiring and build it into your daily routine. Make it a goal to review resumes within one business day of receiving them. Create time blocks in the morning and afternoon to solely respond to HR and candidate questions. By streamlining communication early in the hiring process, you improve your chances of a successful hire when you are ready to make a decision and demonstrate to the applicant that you are truly invested in hiring them.
  • Consolidating InterviewsThe last way to improve your hiring strategy is to take a look at the total number of interviews on average a candidate goes through before being extended an offer. For most companies we work with it is common for candidates to interview with two, three or even four people before a decision is made. Between coordinating schedules and then taking time to review interview notes, interviews can extend the hiring process by weeks or sometimes months. Reduce interviews when possible. If you normally like to have candidates interview with several team members, try a panel interview. If you normally need two interviews with a candidate before feeling as though you’ve asked everything you need to, try to schedule a longer interview with a break. Consolidating the interview process to two or three weeks gives you an opportunity to move on good talent when you are ready to before your competition.
Utilizing these four ways to improve the hiring process will help to ensure that you are on the right track to finding the best-qualified candidate(s) for your team. Think through what you have to offer, whether it be through a higher salary option or the perks of a strong work community. Create your own job description thinking through specifically what the position requires as well as its demands. Prioritizing communication in the application stage and making it part of your normal daily schedule can only help attract qualified talent. Lastly, seek out ways to simplify the interview process so it does not take up precious time. Once you have a plan in place, get ready to meet the next successful member of your team!

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