How to staff up quickly without compromising on a quality screening process.
A prolonged hiring process negatively impacts not only IT teams but creates company-wide lag and even downtime. When urgent staff requirements need to be filled within a few weeks – or even days – keeping the process running smoothly is essential. But how to staff up without compromising on a quality screening process? Don’t let your own hiring habits slow down time to hire. Here are 7 actions you can take to reduce time to hire without sacrificing quality:
1. Get the green light on the job description from key stakeholders
The hiring manager may be the ultimate decision maker, but solicit advice in advance from colleagues who will also depend on the new hire for cross-team functions, as well as your direct reports who will work alongside this person. Set a 20-minute meeting and ask all the stakeholders to be ready with a few bullet points of the key functions they would like the new hire to support them with. Not only will this consensus inform the interviewing process, but it will help ensure the long-term success of the new hire with team members who feel confident their input was taken into consideration.
2. Use Your Network
Before you engage a recruiting team, send out a blast to your colleagues and see if they have anyone to recommend for the open position. This takes away a huge chunk of the recruiting process, especially if it’s an internal employee who’s interested in making the move.
3. Consolidate Multi-Round Interviews
Bypass first-round phone interviews for video conference calls instead. Having that face time gives both parties an opportunity to get to know one another better than a phone call lasting twice the time. Google Hangouts offers free multi-user video conferencing for up to 10 participants from multiple locations internationally.
Make sure your team develops a set formula on what questions they plan on asking during the call with a bit of flexibility to delve into the candidates’ personal profiles. It will become obvious quickly if an individual might be a good fit for your culture, so set up a private chat for your team at some point during the first-round interview and discuss if it’s worth going through the full interview or if you should cut the interview short. Although it might seem an impolite approach, it doesn’t make sense to waste someone’s time asking questions when it’s obvious they won’t be progressing to the next round.
If the candidate passes the first interview, ask about their availability for an onsite interview at the end of your call and see if it’s possible to have it setup within the week. This keeps your conversations top of mind and allows you to delve further into what was discussed during the initial interview. From our experience, an onsite interview is highly recommended for candidates who will be expected to work on premises. Candidates for remote positions, however, could be evaluated with a second deep-dive video call.
Again, as you did for the initial interview, have a formula set with your team on the questions that will be asked. It’s important to give the candidate the opportunity to get to know you and your company as well, so give them the opportunity to ask questions at regular intervals. Questions asked by candidates can give you as great of an insight into their technical knowledge and personality as some questions answered.
4. Conduct Interviews in Bulk
It can be hard for a hiring manager to balance responsibilities in their day job and dedicate enough time to actively interview multiple candidates. But interviewing one candidate at a time is extremely inefficient. Interview your candidates in bulk, share the interviewing responsibilities with your team, and work towards a deadline.
The best practice is to select 3 to 5 candidates and schedule the initial phone or video interviews in 20 minute durations, one right after the other. Let the candidates know the expected duration of the initial interview and keep yourself on schedule switching between the interviews. If you have a tough work schedule, you don’t need to be present for the full duration of the interview. Split the time up with your team and share notes afterwards.
Interviewing your candidates in bulk means each candidate experiences a shorter hiring cycle which gives them less opportunity to explore competing opportunities and it gives you a plan B or C if the potential hire you like takes a competing offer. It also puts you in a better position to negotiate compensation when you have multiple qualified candidates competing for the job.
5. Ensure Relevant Technical Screening
Keep your technical screening uniform and relevant to the day to day tasks you want the candidate to be able to perform. By keeping the questions uniform you have a set scale to measure all possible candidates against. We suggest engaging your team to agree on the set of questions, covering technical, cultural and personality aspects as well as a grading scale or say 1-5 or 1-10 in terms of how each candidate is assessed.
We’ve had mixed messages on online testing platforms like https://codility.com/ as some managers don’t feel the tests are tailored to their specific environment. If you do consider a testing platform of this nature, make sure to take the test yourself so you have some context on how the testing relates to your environment. It is a great strategy to send relevant tests to candidates before the initial interview and potentially work with your recruiters to filter out candidates that don’t meet the minimum standards you have set.
6. Prime the Offer and Salary Negotiations
Don’t give yourself the headache of having to negotiate with a candidate that knows they have it in the bag. The back and forth, psychological games etc. can all be avoided when you ask for the candidate’s salary expectations at the beginning of the application process. Even if you openly advertise your salary range, confirm the candidate’s expectations before moving them through the interviews. Ask them if they are interviewing elsewhere, if so:
- How far along are they in the interview process?
- How do they rank your opportunity compared to others?
- What is the salary range being discussed by others?
Of course, competing offers are difficult to avoid and the best way to mitigate this is by making sure you’re moving the candidate through the application process swiftly.
Once you’ve made an offer to the candidate, give them a deadline to get back to you. If they do decide to take a competing offer, ask them what motivated them to do so and if the decision is influenced by your offering, see if there is a pattern pointing to something worth revising. These questions are appropriate when asked timely and professionally, but be careful not to put undue pressure on the candidate. While the rejection of your offer may feel personal to you, it is a decision the candidate made within their own professional and personal environment. If they sense resentment, it could lead to a negative review on social media and may forever discourage the candidate from ever considering a position with your organization.
7. Refine Your Onboarding Process (for the HR Team)
Once the offer is accepted, the baton is passed to the HR team to get contracts signed, drug and background checks performed, and other onboarding documentation and steps completed. Online e-signature platforms such as DocuSign (https://www.docusign.com/products/electronic-signature) and background testing services like HireRight (http://www.hireright.com/) reduce time to process rates significantly.
As a hiring manager, you should reach out to your candidate at some point along the onboarding process and ask how the process is going and if there’s any communication gaps you can help them with. This will demonstrate your interest in them, willingness to help, and will certainly help deflect their interest from the latest shiny new opportunity elsewhere.