Hiring the right people is obviously one of the most, if not THE most, important things we do as leaders. However, we have seen companies mess this up time and again. Not because the company was a bad place to work, but because their own internal hiring process is so disjointed that it got in the way of actual hiring.
Before we go any further, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- How often are you able to hire your top candidate from the interview process?
- When is the last time you evaluated or changed/modified your hiring process?
If the answer to question #1 is sometimes and/or the answer to #2 is rarely or I don’t remember, then you need to read on.
While there are other reasons your top choice in the interview process may say “no”, losing someone because your company is bound to a process that “has always worked” is a bad practice and is costing you money. The difference between hiring a top 10% salesperson and a top 25% salesperson is hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue (if not millions) over the course of their employment. Hiring one top developer is like having 1 ½ or 2 mediocre developers in terms of quality output. Why would you risk losing the top person when they have expressed interest in working for your company?
Let’s evaluate common mistakes companies make during the hiring process that can cause them to lose their top choice:
1. Letting too much time lapse between the time of initial application and communication.
This is very common and too often we have seen candidates lose interest during this phase. A candidate either submits an application directly to the company or speaks to a recruiter about a role then…radio silence. People will almost always fill a void of information with bad news. The lack of communication in their mind displays a lack of interest so they move on.
Solution: Simple. Communicate. If you are hiring for a position, block off time in your calendar to review resumes every day. Even if it is 15 minutes, do it and then communicate feedback on candidate resumes. Top talent is not on the market long. You have to be prepared to start the interview process or another company is going to interview and hire first. A candidate is more likely to stay engaged with your company if they know they are being considered for a position.
2. Having a long and repetitive interview process.
We get it, we want everyone to like the people they work with and to create harmony. But, do 7+ people need to interview the person individually? Does the person need to come into your office 3+ times for face to face interviews? Is the interview process taking 3 or 4+ weeks? Ask yourself, “Why do we do this?”. “Because we have always done it like that” isn’t the correct answer – really ask what purpose does each step serve?
Solution: If it is necessary for the candidate to meet all 7+ people (or however many), try to consolidate to either smaller panel interviews and/or decrease the number of times the person has to come into the office for interviews. Requiring people to come into an office 3+ times for face to face interviews usually means they are going to have to take off of work for every step. That can put their current role at risk. Keep the face to face interviews to 2 times or less in the office. Solid initial phone screens or video calls should be sufficient to give you a gauge of the person’s fit for the role before bringing them in.
3. Not providing effective and timely feedback throughout the process.
Are you interviewing people over a number of days and then waiting until everyone is done before providing any feedback? If so, you are likely losing people. Even if you tell someone that they will hear back sometime next week, they may receive another offer and accept it before you even acknowledge they were your top choice.
Solution: Make sure candidates know where they stand right away. Also, make sure you know what other opportunities they are considering and where they are in the interview process. You want to have candidates engaged and knowing what the next steps and timeline are, but you also need to know their timeline. If they have a final interview with company XYZ the day after the 1st interview with your company, you want to be able to act accordingly. Communicate the feedback to your internal or external recruiter right away and make sure they are staying close to the candidates throughout the process. Communication is key throughout this entire process (see mistake #1) and companies that are good at it get their top candidates more often than companies who leave people guessing.
4. Failing to tell a candidate who interviewed that they were not selected.
Picture it from a candidate’s standpoint. They are moving along in the interview process and believing things are going well and then they never hear anything again. How do you think that candidate is going to view your company? Don’t you think they will tell other people how they took off of work a few times to interview and then no one had the courtesy to tell them what happened? How many times can you do that before your company gets a reputation for ghosting people? Or bad reviews start popping up on Glassdoor? Bad reviews on Glassdoor can be a killer in your attempts to attract top talent.
Solution: Again, communicate. If someone is taking the time to interview with you, afford them the courtesy of knowing they weren’t selected. You don’t have to get in the weeds with every detail if you don’t want or feel comfortable doing so, but you can tell them you selected a different candidate who you deemed to be a better fit. Treat people the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.
Most of the solutions presented can be facilitated by your internal or external recruiter. Make sure the person is organized, timely, reliable, and professional or this whole process will fall apart. You can do your part by having a plan for communication and sticking to it. Your company will have a good reputation, more of your top candidates will stay engaged through the interview process and you will be able to hire a higher percentage.
- Do not let too much time lapse between communication.
- Shorten the interview process, make it less repetitive.
- Provide timely feedback.
- Let the candidate know where they stand and why.
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