Ask anyone in our business and they will report that the job market has come roaring back. Once a desirable candidate begins the interview process with one company, it is likely that s/he will also start exploring the other opportunities which come his/her way. And if you want that person on your team, the odds are that other employers will feel the same way. Companies no longer have the luxury of knowing that good candidates will still be available at the end of a long hiring process. Companies which will win the war for talent will be those which can act decisively once they meet the person they want.
In suggesting that you quicken the hiring process to avoid losing candidates, we are certainly not recommending that you truncate the interview process or settle for a candidate who does not fit your criteria. Bad hires are costly in any market and you should thoroughly evaluate a candidate before making an offer. However, there are steps which you can take to speed the process and avoid losing the people you want to your competition:
- Set the interview order and schedule in advance. Share your process with the candidate so that s/he knows what to expect. Stick to your timeline as much as possible.
- Develop the profile of the target candidate so that you know what experience and qualities you seek. If the first person through the process is the right candidate, do not put that person on hold so that you can satisfy yourself that you have seen enough people. We understand that not everyone is comfortable hiring the first or second person they meet. However, there are other yardsticks which you can use, such as comparing candidates to successful hires in similar roles within your company or comparing candidates to people you interviewed the last time you filled a similar role.
- Ensure that everyone involved in the selection process agrees on the target candidate profile and compensation parameters before you start interviewing. Gain their buy-in to adhere to your schedule and to make an offer once you have identified a strong candidate. Also, ensure that HR agrees to your plan and that all administrative hurdles have been cleared prior to interviewing.
- Solicit feedback from the candidate at every step in the process and address any open items or concerns. Address those concerns quickly and, if they appear to be deal-killers, halt the process with the candidate and focus on the next candidate.
A desirable candidate receiving multiple offers is quickly becoming the norm. In the competition for the right people, you want to be the company which acts quickly and decisively. Not only will you avoid losing potential employees to nimbler competitors, but you will also improve your results by building goodwill and maintaining momentum with the candidates you seek.