Hiring – Too Fast, Too Furious?

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By Jas Singh

The other day I needed to transfer some money online to my sister. Using my divine right as an older sibling, it was way overdue – to the point that I almost felt I should have been paying her interest.

After another “how-you-doing…how are the kids….now-give-me-my-money-bro” phone call I finally pulled out my iPad to make her the payment. I logged into my banking portal to make the transfer. It usually takes 20 seconds max. But for some reason the sight was down. “Temporarily suspended” to be totally accurate. Over and over again it kept declining.

But perhaps most surprising of all was my reaction. It was incredible frustration. Tremendously annoying. Borderline unacceptable.

Which is kind of funny. Not so long ago, most of us had to queue for several minutes in an actual branch to make a transfer – which was actually considered the “faster” alternative to sending a check. Now we expect everything to be done with a click, a touch or a swipe. A confirmation ding, buzz or whoosh.

In fact, posting her the cash in Scottish one pound notes later that day felt quite good.

Technology and increased global connectivity are great. It allows me to write this post today. Yet sometimes the over-reliance on speed results in the constant need for instant gratification. Speed over quality.

There’s no doubt that this concept does apply to the hiring process. As a hiring specialist, we’ve managed to get our candidate search process down to 4-6 weeks. During this process we do a comprehensive market search – on average speaking to 20-30 candidates and screening the best 4-5 for interview. It’s something we’re tremendously proud of – 10 years ago the average executive search I did used to take around 3 months. Now within 4 weeks we can confidently send a strong short-list of candidates that represent the best possible people in the market. Saving much time and effort for the client during the interview process – from first interview to acceptance most of our hires are completed within 3 weeks.

However nowadays, even 4 weeks is too long for some hiring managers. Head count needs filling immediately. They want to see resumes instantly. Within days. Who have you got on your books right now? Can I meet them tomorrow? I’m in London for a couple days next week – who can you get in front of me?

Hiring has become too fast, too furious.

Which means quality begins to decline.

Here are some things to ensure that hiring managers get the right balance so that hiring is done at the right pace.

1) Screen longer, interview faster

O ho, Jas you may say, but you’re constantly blogging about how competition for talent has never been greater and the need to move quickly. If we don’t move quickly, won’t we lose the talent to the competition?

But you can and should move quickly with candidates. But only after you havescreened them first as part of the sourcing process which takes time.

If you use a recruiter or a talent acquisition team this should be done predominantly by them. The whole point of using them is that they save hiring managers time. Usually the system is the wrong way around – recruiters send CV’s over in minutes and the hiring managers takes weeks to assess them. It should be the other way around – screen longer so the interview process can move quicker.

In nearly ten years as a hiring specialist I’ve realised that proper, reliable screening takes time.

2) Take your time building a quality assessment framework

To ensure you aren’t moving at car crash speed, you need to make sure your hiring is objective. Amazingly, most hiring managers still use an incredibly basic approach to hiring – does the candidate have relevant experience and do I find him or her likeable. Not surprisingly, decisions are made on gut instinct – quickly.

Be objective. Spend your time building a quality assessment framework well in advance. Ensure that critical aspects of the job are emphasized. Then stick to it. By developing this framework, hiring managers can ensure that candidates are only suitable if they have met the essential requirements.

Your process can ensure you move at the right pace.

3) Make the timing exciting

Ever been on a date and they guy was obsessed with you after 5 minutes? Or ever been on one where the girl took days to reply a simple SMS?

Neither is particularly appealing.

The same is true of any process – dating, selling and even hiring.

Timing is key. Hiring managers should realise that the pace and timing of hiring decisions can have a profound effect on attracting candidates. Move too quickly and you may seem desperate – the opportunity may seem too good to be true – what’s the catch? Can’t they attract good people? Why the rush?

Top performing candidates need to really want the job. Desire often takes time to build. The best candidates are usually not looking and consider their options carefully. Make sure the timing is appealing and attractive.

4) Don’t become overwhelmed with candidates

Part of the understandable reason that hiring managers feel the need to move so quickly is the fact that they are inundated with applicants. More candidates than ever applying online. The internal recruitment team. Multiple recruiters. People connecting directly on LinkedIn. Referrals from others. One hiring manager who I met earlier this week told me he was meeting 20 candidates for each hire he is currently making. With such pressure, unless you move fast there is no alternative.

But as a hiring manager your job is not to meet all applicants or all candidates thatmight be a good fit your vacancy. That’s the purpose of the recruitment team to screen all applicants – so that your time is only spent meeting highly qualified candidates who you can spend more constructive time with.

Be focussed. And then go deep. By only spending time with the right candidates hiring managers can be more patient rather than feeling the pressure to rush onto the next candidate.

Take time to know the right people properly.

Conclusion

Speed and efficiency are great. Yet for some things in life, speed often compromises quality.

So far, no algorithm can totally predict what a human being is totally like. Hiring managers need to ensure that whilst moving quickly to attract rare talent, quality is not sacrificed.

Only then can you get excellent results.

How excellent is your hiring?

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