The Need for Speed!

Want to hire stars?

In today’s globalized economy companies are always looking for uniquely skilled individuals. Whether the economy is reaching new highs or experiencing a downturn, top talent is always in demand. Star employees have accomplishments and abilities make them stand out from the rest. These are the top prospects that companies want but may not always get. Although most people find jobs between 30 to 100 days, the top ten percent of candidates usually land a new job in about ten days.
With so many companies vying for the same prospects, signing the right candidate depends greatly on response time. Acquiring the top talent has become a race, with the most responsive companies snapping up the standouts. For companies that rely on traditional hiring practices that tend to take weeks to pass through disjointed processes and internal bottlenecks, they may find themselves losing their ideal candidates and settling for the next best thing.

Delays in the Hiring Process

Lags in hiring cycles are usually caused by procedural issues that lead to internal bottlenecks. Due to the accepted slow pace of hiring, resumes and candidate interviews are not given high priority, and thus the momentum slows even further. Some issues that cause delays include:

Poor interdepartmental procedures and interaction. For example, conflicting priorities with Line Managers, HR and Finance resolving budget, head count and salary issues.
Excessive time taken to write job descriptions and the resulting required internal postings.
Advertising authorization, creative and production delays.
Inbound Resumes received and left unread.
Coordination problems scheduling interviews.
Indecisiveness – Management fear of making the wrong decision.

Speed Hiring

A strategy to quicken the hiring process is “speed hiring.” Also called “real-time hiring,” it is a strategy to improve the quality of specific types of hires by shortening the time needed for a company to reach a hiring decision.

Speed hiring is not about haphazardly filling vacancies, but about being able to make quick, yet informed, decisions. It is a mindset that is manifested through establishing or restructuring the hiring procedure to respond to top candidates within days. Speed hiring can be detrimental if used carelessly, and so is reserved only for elite candidates.

One day hiring

The ultimate degree of speed hiring is “one-day hiring,” where an ideal candidate may submit her application in the morning and receive an offer by the end of the business day. These “instant hires” are reserved for candidates that are pre-qualified, known entities.

Only those candidates who clearly exceed the required qualifications could be considered one-day hires. These individuals work in the top 10 percent of jobs that are hard to fill due to perpetual talent shortages. Experienced managers who are experienced at hiring, with good results, should be the ones authorized to exercise this hiring tactic. The best managed companies have formalized these procedures.

Why consider speed hiring?

There is no concrete evidence to support that slow hires make good hires. It can be argued that the best prospects are known in their industries and do not stay unemployed long enough to be a slow hire. Besides an impact on the future, speed hiring also affects immediate matters:

The quicker a vacancy is filled, the sooner a department can return to its full production capacity. This minimizes the disruption of the job flow that results from an open head count .
While Companies are evaluating a Candidate’s qualities the topnotch candidate is also evaluating the company’s desirability. Candidates may relate a Line Manager’s responsiveness to the company’s overall capabilities.
HR should reflect its organization’s culture of change and adaptability. Their decisiveness and speedy action will create a very positive image for the star candidate.
It may enable a company to acquire top performers from competitors should they choose to seek other opportunities. Just one key performer can have significant impact on a Company of any size.
To ensure that speed hiring is working for a company, its hires should be evaluated through performance measurements taken at regular intervals. As much as speed and efficiency is stressed, these factors are not as important as the quality of the hire.

Some caveats of speed hiring

With the great advantages that speed hiring offers, it comes with a certain degree of risk of negative repercussions.

Due to the focus on the dispatch with which a candidate is hired, it is essential that the power to speed hire be restricted to select managers. This transfer of authority to specific individuals may let other employees feel they did not contribute to the hire.

As well, the increased speed may mean less control over the hiring process. While slow hires do not guarantee good hires, fast hires may also sometimes prove to be a poor hiring decision. A bad hire may stigmatize the entire process of speed hiring.

However, Companies must still accept that sometimes due to legal issues or time requirements for reference and background checking that hiring can take an extended length of time.

Steps to speed up the cycle

There are simple procedures that can be implemented as part of a larger plan to enable speed hiring. Qualified managers should develop the necessary strategies to ensure that speed hiring is a viable option.

Top performers are often recognized throughout the industry. Managers should stay aware of who the stars of the business are. These elite prospects should be pre-identified and pre-qualified. Knowing the right demographic and profile allows for companies to move quickly when needed. Profiling also helps in making strategic forecasts for openings and hiring trends.

Analyze the approval process to determine whether or not these steps make a significant impact on the quality of the hire. Use process maps and metrics to identify what stages need improvement.
Develop the understanding of your company’s recruiting staff. Let them know what managers look for in candidates.
Define only key positions in your department that warrant speed hiring. Again, speed hiring is not meant for every situation.
Make resume-reviewing a higher priority task.
In the interviewing stage, schedule interviews ahead of time to maintain a candidate’s movement through the hiring process. For example, book first and second interviews one after the other on the same day or book first interviews for several candidates early in the week and pre-book the second interviews for mid week. Also, pre book time with the Director or President for Friday, to meet the finalist. You can always cancel future meetings if the candidate doesn’t meet your expectations.
When conducting multiple interviews, assign areas of probing and share the questions among interviewers to avoid overlap.
Set a timeline by which other managers and decision-makers must abide to keep them from delaying the process.
If there is serious interest, start conducting background checks in between the first and second round of interviews.
When dealing with good candidates, do not let them leave an interview without a sign of things to come. Let them know what the next steps are and when they will occur.
When making an offer to the selected candidate, negotiate and settle compensation issues verbally before sending any written offers. This helps cut down on relay and response times.
Keep response times short. Give candidates a maximum of two days to mull over the written offer. It doesn’t let them use your offer for leverage and if it is turned down you may still have time to proceed with a backup candidate.

Conclusion

The speed hiring phenomenon has become a logical byproduct of the continuously changing job markets. In periods of high turnover, companies are increasingly feeling the pressure to fill vacancies and to secure the best possible talent for the growth of their companies. The best prospects do not stay open to a change for long, no matter what the state of the economy is. This means companies should aim to shorten the hiring cycle and push for faster decision making. As much as it has the potential to produce bad hires due to the inherent nature of a quickened hiring process, it is much an issue of using the tactic with effective controls.

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