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What Should a Small Business Do to Improve Its Recruiting Process?

by | Jul 26, 2022 | Recruitment Software

It’s never a good time to have a slow recruitment process and/or a slow hiring process as an employer or organization.

Speed is essential in the recruitment and hiring process . . . always. That’s because speed is how you’re able to find, recruit, and hire the best job candidates in the marketplace.

Here’s the problem. The recruitment and hiring process in the United States has become slower than ever. Now keep in mind, this didn’t happen all at once. It’s occurred over a period of years, during which more people became involved in the process, more steps were implemented, more “red tape,” etc.

Reasons for a slow recruiting process

Below are the top reasons why an organization may start to suffer from a slow recruitment and hiring process:

  • Longer interviews, including phone screens and in-person interviews
  • Reference checks and background checks
  • Skill and behavioral assessments
  • Regulatory or legal requirements
  • Bureaucracy and internal barriers

Okay, we get it. You don’t want to make a bad hire. If you think about it, nobody wants to make a bad hire. So you might think that you’re justified in taking your time, vetting the candidates, and carefully selecting the “right one.” It may seem that way, but in reality, you increase the chance of making a bad hire the longer that you take to make that hire.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the key is not to take a long time to ensure you make the right hire, the key is to do everything better and faster so that you can make the right hire more quickly.

The impact of slow recruiting process

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? A slow recruitment process and slow hiring process can have a negative impact for the following four reasons:

#1—Loss of top candidates

Top candidates are passive candidates, which means they need more convincing to first enter the hiring process and then stay in that process. The longer the process takes, the more likely it is they will drop out of the process.

#2—Poor candidate experience

The issue of employer branding is a separate one, although it can have just as damaging an effect. And in this instance, the experience of a B or C-level candidate is just as important as the experience of an A-level candidates. That’s because the Internet and social media “level the playing field.” You don’t want anybody, regardless of the caliber of their candidacy, to be bad-mouthing your organization to their many friends and colleagues.

#3—Vacant positions

You know how the story goes. The longer an important position stays open, the more productivity your organization loses. And the more productivity your organization loses, the less profitable it is overall. This underscores the importance of not only filling these positions with the best candidates possible, but also filling them in the shortest amount of time possible.

#4—Increased hiring costs

This is where the “double-whammy” gets you. That’s because not only do you lose money when you leave an important position open for an extended length of time, but you also lose money when the recruitment and hiring process drags on and on. It makes sense. The longer that it takes to keep something going in the business world, the more it’s going to cost. Now you’re losing money at both ends of the process.

As you can see, it can be tempting to rush the hiring process in the interest of having a position filled as quickly as possible. However, to make the hiring process truly efficient, which in the end will ensure that it is filled quickly, take the time required to establish an efficient hiring process before you have any openings at all.

Here are the steps to take, and things to consider, while creating an efficient hiring process.

Create a Consistent, Repeatable Recruiting Process

Seasoned recruiters will attest to the fact that there are always hiring managers who insist on “going rogue.” They’ll argue that their department, or their positions, are so wildly different they can’t possibly adhere to the recruiting process set out by the recruiting team. While this may be true, to a degree, of roles requiring things like credentialing or additional background checks, for the most part, the overall recruiting process can be applied to an entire organization.

Why is this so important? Having a consistent process ensures that every candidate is treated the same every time and the same process is used every time. This minimizes room for error, and most importantly, mitigates risks associated with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims. It also means that hiring managers have a clear roadmap of how to execute the process, which makes things simple and timely. When a position is vacated, they’ll know exactly what steps to take.

Write a Clear Job Description

Having clear, relevant job descriptions ready should be standard within every organization. Each employee should have a job description within their file that outlines exactly what their duties and responsibilities are, as well as their expectations. Don’t wait for a position to become open to decide what the job should look like. Additionally, have a salary range pre-determined so that at the point of offer you aren’t wasting time trying to determine things like market rate and internal compression.

Assess the Need

When an employee gives notice, oftentimes hiring leaders rush to replace them with someone of an almost identical skill set or background so that things can “go back to normal”. Take a minute to evaluate the job description of the role. Does it need to be rewritten or edited? Alternatively, have your departmental needs changed at all? Does it make sense to re-evaluate the positions within your team to see if some responsibilities need to be shifted? This could lead to the open role looking a lot different than it does at first.

Consider Internal Talent First

The first step employers should always take when there is an open position is to look at the talent they already have. Not only do your employees know the most about your business, but promoting from within is especially important when thinking about retention. Make it a point to discuss career goals with your employees on a regular basis. Help give them exposure and opportunities that will point them in the direction of their goals. When a position becomes available, you’ll likely already know which employees would make a great fit.

Post to Relevant Job Boards

This is where having a strong applicant tracking system (ATS) is key. When positions become available and you need to fill them quickly, especially critical roles like registered nurses and paramedics, you need to be able to post them to job boards ASAP. It’s helpful to have an ATS that allows you to load job descriptions into the system in advance, which can be posted as soon as you have a need.

Based on the industry you’re in, there will be job boards that you already know you need to utilize. Remember that in addition to those job boards, and the large ones like, to consider smaller ones that help target traditionally marginalized people groups or more diverse populations.  

Direct Sourcing

There are many positions that are not going to be easy to fill by posting on a job board. You’re going to have to do the heavy lifting of direct sourcing. Again, having an ATS with a database of viable candidates you can reach out to is critical. Those candidates have expressed interest in your company once before, and they are more likely to explore what you have open.

Outside of the candidate pool you already have, it’s time to target new, passive candidates. These are folks in your industry whose skills are a match for what you’re looking for, but who aren’t necessarily looking for a job. You can connect with them through LinkedIn or networking opportunities. Keep in mind that this could take some time. For positions that require this level of recruiting effort, be mindful that the time to fill (TTF) can be much longer than it is for other positions within your organization.

Selecting Candidates

Part of an efficient hiring process means that at this stage, too many opinions isn’t necessarily a great idea in the interest of time. Use your ATS to help weed out unqualified candidates based upon their experience and the minimum skills required. Then, trust your recruiter to review candidates and present the top talent for the hiring manager’s review. Too many opinions early on in this process slows the process down. Slowing the process means risking losing the best candidates because they’ve been snatched up by a company who made their decisions faster.

Decision Time

An efficient process means that you have a consistent way of making hiring decisions. Utilize a method such as a post-interview consensus meeting or a scoring system, wherein each interviewer weighs in their opinion and the interview panel or team comes to a decision as quickly as possible. Then, make an offer a quickly as possible as well.

The key to an efficient hiring process is to have a consistent process you are utilizing with every opening and every candidate. You’ll eliminate over-thinking and a lack of clarity, and improve your speed while mitigating risk, and hopefully, identifying the best talent for your team.

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