“Time kills all deals.”
It’s a common business expression used mostly in reference to sales or transactions, but it also applies to a company’s recruiting efforts as well.
Today’s talent market can’t be compared to anything we’ve seen in the past, and many companies are struggling to close the deal with potential job candidates. They’re looking at compensation, benefits, culture, remote work, expanding their recruiting pool and many other solutions in an attempt to stay competitive.
But today’s unique truth is that even if your business has done everything right, you still may lose your ideal candidate simply because of your recruitment timeline.
In years past, companies had the luxury of hiring slowly, conducting multiple rounds of interviews for a candidate, incorporating multiple perspectives at their leisure and taking the time to consider different options.
But the approach of old simply won’t work for companies today.
To be competitive, companies must act quickly. Here are three ways to improve your recruitment timeline so time isn’t killing your recruiting deals.
1. Shorten your window for collecting and narrowing down applications
It’s important to make decisions quickly when an individual initially shows interest in your company.
Business leaders may be tempted to let applications collect over a span of weeks or even months so that they can evaluate the entire pool of applicants at once and ultimately allow as much time as possible to see if any candidate comes along that’s more qualified than the last.
The trouble with this approach in today’s market is that, if a candidate is showing interest in a role at your company, it’s extremely likely that he or she is also applying for and showing interest in roles at other companies simultaneously. It’s also unlikely that the candidate will wait around to hear from you if you don’t respond to his or her initial inquiry or application soon.
If you haven’t responded favorably to a candidate’s application submission in a short time frame, chances are that another company with a shorter recruitment timeline has, and candidates are likely to move on quickly to those other options.
2. Limit the Number of Interviews You Conduct and Clearly Communicate Your Recruitment Timeline
Set expectations with candidates at the very beginning about how many interviews you will conduct and the recruitment timeline you’re looking to adhere to.
In our current talent climate, we recommend that our clients conduct two, but no more than three, interviews with any candidate and to complete them all within a 14-day period for each applicant.
- In the first interview, investigate, as a supervisor or manager, whether a candidate is technically capable of doing the job. Use this time to determine if a candidate has the skills and experience that is required for the role you are hiring for.
- Use the second interview to connect the candidate with the team or peer group he or she would be a part of if hired, to see if the candidate would be a cohesive and collaborative member of the larger team. Allowing them to interact with the group can help to determine if candidates will work well in the culture your company has already established.
Often, we see that these two interviews will tell companies what they need to know about a candidate without elongating the recruitment timeline.
- The third (and optional) interview we recommend is to invite a candidate to connect outside of the traditional interview or office setting, like inviting the candidate to have lunch or coffee, to get to know him or her in a more personal and casual way and to see if this person’s perspectives and personality will be a good addition to your team.
If your company has a strong reason for an extended interview process, it’s extremely important to disclose that to your candidates and set expectations up front.
3. Provide immediate feedback after interviews
After you’ve met with and interviewed a candidate, at any stage in your recruitment timeline, it’s important to update the candidate on his or her status in your recruiting process immediately. Withholding feedback after an interview brews uncertainty with candidates, which creates friction in your process and may open them up to being recruited elsewhere.
Even if you have a successful interview with a candidate and plan to extend an offer, without communicating that to your potential employee, they may move on to their next option simply because they aren’t sure where they stand with you. And candidates today very well may have more options than ever before.
Candidates in the current climate are most likely entertaining multiple opportunities (usually around three to four) at a time and are apt to make comparisons in how companies conduct their recruiting.
As recruiters, it isn’t uncommon that we hear from candidates who, while one opportunity may be their favorite, they are considering moving on from it because others are moving faster and are offering more clarity.
Leaving candidates out in the cold for days or weeks may weaken their perception of how your company interacts with your current employees, and it allows more time for your competitors to act to recruit your candidates, even if you’re about to make them an offer.
Learn More about How Your Recruitment Timeline Impacts Your Efforts or Connect with a Recruiter for Your Business
Competition is high, and businesses are facing recruiting challenges that they haven’t ever seen before.