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You snooze you lose – pitfalls of slow recruitment

What fluidity do you have around your recruitment process? Some companies are very reactive and quite adhoc when it comes to sourcing a new team member. Others adhere to a more structured process, much like a client of mine that recently opened up about their approach to recruitment. They had a very clear 3 step interviewing process which applicants are made aware of upfront. It works well for their organisation in filling real estate sales roles where the rate of failure is high.

However, in a market where there could be a shortage of people with the ideal experience that you need, or where competition for talent is high, the days of making people wait around and show some sort of loyalty for your company - before you have made any type of commitment to them - is over.   

Why do organisations drag out the process? Reasons often include:  

  • wanting to interview a large number of candidates to create an eventual shortlist to ensure they consider a wide range of people;
  • involving multiple members of a team or organisation to double-check that cultural fit is right;
  • Thinking the longer an applicant will wait, the keener and more suited they are
    to a role; and
  • they must interview a minimum number people (e.g. 3 people) to
    "compare" applicants.  

How are organisations getting it wrong? Reasons often include:

  • a disorganised recruitment process that hasn't been properly thought through;
  • multiple people being involved in the decision-making process which
    complicates timing;
  • lack of clarity on exactly what the role is and on what skills and experience are required; or
  • a lack of urgency in filling the position. 

The pitfalls of taking it slow

  • What companies often don't factor into the costs involved with an extended recruitment process is their own time. It takes time to consider candidates, contact people, co-ordinate diaries and conduct interviews. If you drag your feet and miss a great potential employee, restarting the process with a candidate who has moved on has a compounding effect. 
  • It can negatively impact your team. Decisive leadership, a clear direction towards a hiring decision and the impression that things are happening to fill a resource gap will help to keep your team motivated and working hard in the interim. 

How to get it right

In an ideal world, the perfect applicants would fall in the lap of a hiring manager. We know that this is rarely the case, but the message here is when you have started to recruit, be ready and organised to go through the whole process.

I am not advocating rushing the hiring of new staff - that would be an even worse outcome. What is required however is a clear plan around HOW the recruitment process will be run, with decisions made upfront on WHO will be involved and the CRITERIA for decision making.

Very few organisations critically review their recruitment process to pull apart what is and isn't necessary. This is difficult because, by nature, recruitment can be very reactionary.  However, upfront planning will provide the best opportunity to succeed in securing a new superstar for your team.