Companies don’t want to make the wrong hiring decision but indecisiveness can also hurt, and hurt a lot. When competing for sought after skills, speed is of the essence yet many companies fail to act and often watch their dream candidate slip through their hands.
The impact of moving too slowly doesn’t stop with watching a candidate go to the competitor. It can also hurt morale and its reputation. “The company may be viewed as slow to react which could translate into being slow to react to the competitive product markets,” says Laura Kerekes, chief knowledge officer at Think HR, the human resources consulting company.” If the company is using external recruiting professionals, those firms may be less willing to work with the company.”
Making a hasty hiring decision isn’t smart nor is taking too long. Finding the right balance, however, is. Here’s how human resource experts say you can do that.
Prepare for the process
Hiring the right candidate in a decent amount of time starts long before the interviews happen. The best way to make sure you are getting good candidates is to be clear on what you are looking for both in the job advertisement and with the people who will be interviewing. “If companies have clarity around what hiring managers truly are looking for, you can shorten time cycles,” says Steve Browne, executive director of HR for LaRosa's Inc. “If there is ambiguity or a ‘let’s see what’s out there’ approach’, you will only slow things up.”
Streamline the interview process
Streamlining the interviewing process ahead of time will also quicken the pace in which a company can hire. That means preparing for any testing or assessments for the position ahead of time and defining the interview process with key areas for each interviewer to focus on, says Kerekes.
It also means follow up if other people need to sign off on decisions throughout the process. According to Deborah Keary, VP of Human Resources at the Society of Human Resources Management many companies have a hiring system that requires approvals from hiring managers throughout the stages. If the HR person sends an email form they shouldn’t let it sit in the system, says Keary. Instead give the person a heads up that it’s awaiting his or her approval. “You have to be on it and make sure the process is flowing from one thing to the next,” she says. If background checks are part of the process, they should be done early not as the final step to making an offer. Keary says once the company has three finalists for the job they should start the background check on all three. It may cost a little more but it also means they won’t have to wait another two weeks to make an offer and lose the potential employee to a competitor.
Keary says it also behooves HR professionals to make it clear to the hiring managers that hiring someone has to be a priority even if that person is now doing the job of two. “If hiring isn’t a priority for them it’s not going to get done,” says Keary. “You need to impress upon hiring managers that it’s their job. You are not the one making the decision.”
Having a strong up-front screening system for candidates can also streamline the process and thus save the company time. That process should include enabling job seekers to apply and take assessments online, says Browne. Having more information come via the Internet reduces some of the time it would take to gather that data offline.
Since companies want to make the right decision and don’t want to be pressured into hiring just anyone it’s also important to keep communication open with the job candidates they are serious about. After all even if you are slow to decide, if the potential employees gets regular updates he or she may not be so quick to look elsewhere. “Keeping candidates informed throughout the whole recruiting cycle improves their experience with the company and is a great way to reflect a positive culture,” says Browne.