Today’s candidate-driven market is forcing organizations to examine several elements that are critical when choosing jobs. One of the most important elements impacting job decisions for top IT talent across every industry is the hiring process. Recently, I outlined four of the top roadblocks organizations face when it comes to the hiring process. Today, I’ll break down the remaining four roadblocks organizations should avoid to attract top tech talent.
How to speed up your hiring process
Here at Synergis, I work with a range of companies across many industries on any given day. These four roadblocks are universal in their application and potential impact – here are some tips to overcome them:
Focusing on the “perfect” or “ideal” candidate. Ever have a notion of the “ideal” candidate, but aren’t quite sure what defines that “ideal” candidate? This happens frequently – the “I’ll know him/her when I see him/her” mentality. A lack of clearly defined needs can add costly time to the hiring process. Without a defined set of skills, experience or background requirements, organizations may want to continue meeting candidates until they feel they’ve seen someone who is “perfect.” This mindset can be dangerous. Sometimes the candidate who ends up being an ideal employee is the one who you can mold; someone who has an excellent blend of experience, skills and education, but who doesn’t leap out as “perfect” (and really, who does fit the idea of a “perfect” candidate?). While technical and personality tests can offer helpful insights, it’s important not to get too technical here. Any tests administered to candidates should be realistic — a good rule of thumb is this: If your employees can’t take and pass the test, you shouldn’t be administering it to candidates! Run any tests by your team first to get their take and see their scores so you can have a helpful baseline for measuring candidate performance. Be sure, though, on how the tests will be used – if you’re using personality tests, for example, to gain insight into how a candidate will fit into your team, that’s one thing. But if you’re using it solely to rule out an otherwise excellent candidate, you may be missing out on a great employee down the line.
Multiple stages of approval. Making hires can be risky – if an employee doesn’t work out, the costs can be significant. But, trying to ensure a great hire by creating a team approval process is likely to backfire. Often times, other team members lack the in-depth understanding of the requirements to make an adequate hiring decision. Many employees can be predisposed to want to make hiring decisions based on personal preference or culture fit. Or conversely, may scrutinize experience or backgrounds too closely, unnecessarily eliminating strong candidates. Hiring decisions should always fall on the hiring manager who has the understanding and background necessary to make such highly important decisions. Keep in mind, the simple addition of approvals and input from multiple parties only adds significant time to your hiring process — time that your competitors are using to make offers your top candidates. So whether it’s multiple sign offs on new hires or multiple people in interviews (which can add days or even weeks while coordinating schedules), leave the hiring decisions to your Hiring Manager on whose job it is to make hiring decisions.
Waiting too long to make an offer. You’ve interviewed the best candidates and you’ve decided who will be the best fit for your organization. It’s time to extend a verbal offer, and time is of the essence! You should make a verbal offer as soon as you’ve decided which candidate is “the one.” Since this is a candidate’s market, he or she will most likely ask for time to consider your offer. In this instance, providing 48 hours is ample time for candidates to make a decision. But, within those 48 hours (up to 72 hours, maximum), you should also present a written offer. Things happen, budgets change — candidates will continue interviewing until they’ve received a formal, written offer. If you truly want to ensure you’ve locked up the candidate of choice, extend the verbal offer and let the candidate know you will send a written offer within 48 to 72 hours. Your organization may have unique paperwork requirements; however, that should never impede your ability to formally make an offer to a candidate. Including a note in your written offer that employment is contingent on successful passing/completion of any background, drug or reference checks can help speed along this part of the process. The written offer can be simple and straightforward: A one-page document detailing the position and start date, along with an official welcome and any other pertinent details is all it takes. You’ll also want to include a note that if the candidate accepts, additional paperwork and details will be sent. Shifting priorities to focus on the most important task first — actually hiring the candidate — will free you up to ensure your paperwork and screenings are completed before the offer is formalized.
Using inefficient interview methods. Interviews often take up considerable time in your hiring process, and much of that time can be reduced. A drawn out interview process is one of the biggest culprits – too many interviewers (as mentioned above) or unnecessary stages of interview, when one or two will suffice, can often cause candidates to go elsewhere for opportunities. If you force a candidate to visit your office multiple times for interviews, only to choose another candidate, you can bet that candidates are sharing that information with their peers and colleagues. This type of information can kill your reputation with top tech talent and can make recruiting more challenging for your organization down the road. Ultimately when you move too slowly, you’re not only missing out on top candidates (and potentially damaging your reputation), you’re losing revenue and productivity.
Additional IT recruiting tips
Now that you’re armed with knowledge to avoid the top eight hiring process roadblocks, it’s time to get things rolling. Following are some additional IT recruiting and hiring tips to keep in mind:
- Think like IT talent. Top IT talent wants to work for companies that are excited about them. As a technical recruiting firm, we speak to many candidates each day and, from our experience, we’ve learned that a slow hiring process dampen their enthusiasm for certain positions rather quickly. Receiving quick feedback after interviews helps candidates make the best decisions. It also helps your recruiter best position your company and openings with talent.
- Do your research. Time to fill for certain IT positions is much shorter than others – do your research to understand how quickly other companies are making hires (generally, two to three weeks maximum is the recommended duration for your hiring process). If your process is taking considerably longer than that, look for places where you can save time. Asking for references up front rather than when you’re ready to make a decision is one way to save several days. Reducing the number of phone interviews can also make an impact. Seemingly small aspects of the hiring process can make a big difference in the long run.
- Utilize your internal network. Be sure to notify your current employees about job openings – even employees who don’t work directly in IT. This gives your current employees an opportunity to make lateral moves or change jobs within the company, or even to provide you with referrals. Involving your employees in the process can help you make better hires but can also have a positive impact on retention and productivity.
These roadblocks can be overcome, helping you to attract and hire top technical talent. But if you’re having difficulties identifying or overcoming those roadblocks within your organization, give us a call. Our team at Synergis has helped organizations across the U.S. to streamline their hiring processes and make better IT hires.