When it comes to hiring top talent, is your company its own worst enemy?
Knowing when to commit to a candidate and make a job offer can be a complex decision. With a limited talent pool, companies are unlikely to find a candidate who checks every must-have skill or experience. Yet the desire to find this “perfect” candidate persists, prolonging the recruitment process. Compounding this desire is a legitimate concern about making the wrong hire. SHRM estimates the cost of a bad hire to be $240,000. Understandably, no one wants to be responsible for a mistake of that magnitude. The result: decision maker paralysis and a reluctance to commit to any candidate.
This hesitation to commit may seem harmless, but in a competitive talent market, there’s no room for delay. Great talent won’t wait around for your company. Postponing a decision even by a few weeks can mean missing out on top hires. Small changes to your interview process can strategically accelerate the decision-making timeline without compromising candidate quality. Here’s where to start:
The challenge: For some companies, the hiring process is an exercise in “hurry up and wait.” They rush to collect resumes and then wait a month or longer to schedule an interview. Part of the reason for this delay is the inability to reach internal consensus over which skills are indeed required for the job, and consequently, which candidates should be interviewed.
The opportunity: Rather than rushing to start recruitment only to hit pause, I recommend the opposite approach: take your time upfront and wait until all stakeholders are aligned to the same objectives. Determine which skills are genuinely “required” and which are “nice to have.” This is where a recruiter with a broad view of the candidate market can help. I provide supplementary market knowledge through the lens of an objective outsider. Aligning to hiring priorities in advance ensures a timely response to resume submission and candidate interviews.
The challenge: Transparency and consistency are paramount. When you tell a candidate you’ll be following up in three days but weeks pass with no information, you’re sending a message that your company does not value the candidate’s time and is not excited about hiring them. I’ve seen businesses ignore a candidate for a month and then act surprised when the candidate turns down their job offer.
The solution: If you really need that extra week before making a decision, let candidates know that your timeline has changed. Candidates who are kept in the loop are more comfortable with an extended decision-making process. They’re less likely to feel slighted and will be more receptive to an offer when it comes, ensuring they’re engaged from day one.
The challenge: Your company’s reputation – its employer brand – can have a significant impact on recruitment success. When you have a strong employer brand, top talent is more likely to be interested in your company from day one. The interview process can either reinforce or undermine your employer branding efforts – which message is yours sending?
The solution: I want every candidate – even those who don’t receive an offer – to walk away from the interview process saying, “That was a great company and I’d absolutely work for them in the future.” Throughout the interview process, answer these key questions: Why is your company an exciting place to work? How will your company help this candidate grow their career? When candidates walk away excited about your company, they’ll share this excitement with their network and give your employer brand a positive boost that will make future recruitment easier.
If you can find someone who has the right skills and experience, and who fits with your company culture and team, don’t hesitate. When you align expectations in advance, communicate with transparency and clarity, and build a strong employer brand, you’ll be positioned to say “yes” to the right candidate.
What is your biggest obstacle to hiring transformative talent?
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