In today’s fluid, fast-changing global marketplace, it is distinctly challenging on many levels for employers to attract, compete for, hire and retain top talent. If it is to be considered for this moment that the workplace is a fluid environment and employee demographics and profiles are constantly in flux, then one should assume that the processes in recruitment should also be fluid. For decades, baby boomers have dominated the workplace and have started to retire as of 2011 and will continue to do so through 2029. All of those positions will be filled by either non retired Boomers or generation X (born 1965 – 1981). Succession planning and the identification of crucial positions should be a strong consideration and perhaps even a cornerstone to all internal forecasting and talent acquisition programs.

The hiring process today is a multifaceted complex set of processes, guidelines and procedures. One size does not fit all and with an increasingly candidate driven market, the processes tend to get more complicated. With incredible advancements in technology and communications in what should be a faster moving streamlined efficient hiring process, in many ways has added more layers, time and expenses to the recruitment life cycle. While many of these tools can assist in filtering large numbers of potential candidates they also can mistakenly filter out the higher quality candidates and even discourage them entirely.

It is hard to think of a better recruitment tool than when the CEO taps a wanted candidate on the shoulder and makes an offer that is impossible to turn down. Relationships are formed during interview processes and these relationships are most often very strong and lasting.

In top leadership roles the recruitment process needs to be particularly focused on identifying and sourcing the ideal individual where cultural fit and the intangibles are critical for the position.  Not just looking at the specific areas of skills, experience and compensation that some tend to focus on.

All too often top level candidates are lost to competitors because they were more expedient and more efficient with the hiring process. The candidates themselves, after much effort, look forward to a favorable interviewing experience and a reasonable decision time to offer in hand.

An efficient recruiting and hiring process says much about the company itself and its culture. The opposite is true when interviews are misaligned and the experience turns negative. The company also loses reputation, branding and even customers. The costs associated with interviews and multiple candidate applications add up quickly. Add in the management time for interviews, scheduling and coordination, lodging, air and ground travel for multiple candidates is a healthy sum on the final tally. All too common is to lose the chosen candidate at the end due to too much time passing and indecision.

What this means for businesses, recruiters, and HR professionals is that the competition is as great as has ever been and the candidate experience matters more as well. During the last decade many companies had the luxury of finding great people easily and the attitudes and continued cost cutting left many with bad interview experiences. Negative experiences in the hiring process affect the overall bottom line, not just in missed opportunities for talent, but in reputation and brand loyalty.  57% of job seekers reporting a negative candidate experience boycotted the company’s products afterward. In the financial arena, this may mean that they are no longer interested in the company as a viable opportunity for their future.

The fundamentals of sourcing the right people are simple but not easy. Look to your recruiting team to have distinct talent for building rich relationships, deep networks and the overall candidate reach that extends far beyond the active candidates and into the passive candidate realms.

Recruiters that have relationships that are deep and wide with an understanding of networking, relationship building, affiliations, strategic partnerships, reputations and industry specific knowledge. They are a huge value add to you. These areas are the holy grail for locating, obtaining and retaining top talent. Setting candidates up to win from the very first moment they are introduced to a company, through the offer stage, to the date of hire, and through the on-boarding process is the goal.

From finding the right candidate, to having a point person in the processes and essentially keeping all the plates spinning, further increases the outcome to a favorable, efficient and expedient time to hire experience.

Keep the process as simple as possible. The less people we get involved the easier and cleaner the hiring process will be. Having enough people involved and having too many may seem like an interesting question. A lot of this depends on the size of the organization and if you need to get a final sign off by someone very high up in the organization.

A process that we have seen work well:

  • Candidate is sourced
  • Resume Submitted
  • Within 24 hours candidate is scheduled or removed from next step
  • Initial interview / screening by HR or Hiring Manager (Brief 30 – 45 minutes)
  • Hiring assessment and evaluation screening done here.  Example: Caliper / Wonderlic
  • Interview by hiring manager either Video if out of area or in person
  • References done and background check started. No reason to let this hold you up at the end.
  • If the prior interview was a video this will be an in person with all decision makers (as few as possible) and the candidate present.
  • Get feedback from all that were in the interview and a decision is given within a 2 days as to an offer is going to be made or remove them from process.

Having the assessment done sooner rather than later saves you time, money and speeds up the process. We are evaluating candidates to be a good fit or to be removed from process earlier rather than later.  This will simultaneously increasing the odds for a successful outcome and a significant reduction in time to hire. Be open to small changes that may lead to a better hiring process.

There are often overlooked important items when seeking to fill a position. The understanding of the real job need is. Not the job description posted for people to apply to online! What does the day to day activity look like for this person when they are hired? Who will they need to interact with to be successful? What does the hiring manager have as a must have need for the candidate? As the recruiter focuses on these things you won’t need to see as many candidates to get a new A player on your team. The best recruiters are focused on having a knowledge of passive candidates in the market. They look for candidates that understand the long-term thinking and being patient for the right career opportunity.

This also helps to ensure that the new hire will be successful because the offer is accepted based on the actual position and the upside growth opportunity, not just the size of the compensation package.

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