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The Need For Speed

You snooze, you lose... the best talent goes in a flash!

Recruitment can be a slow process for all parties. From getting approval to hire to writing a job description, advertising the vacancy or engaging head-hunters, reviewing candidate CVs, interviewing candidates…

With so many balls up in the air at any one time, it’s inevitable that, occasionally, momentum can stall and what you thought would only take a few weeks ends up taking months and months… But, hooray, you’ve found your dream candidate so it was worth it, right? Oh, hang on… What? You’ve lost them – they’ve taken another position, with a competitor? Oh, No!

We see and hear it all the time: employers (with the best of intentions) missing out on their preferred candidate because they took too long with the process or to make an offer and, in the meantime, that candidate has found another position with a company that moved faster to secure them.

Now, we’re not suggesting you loosen your recruitment process to accommodate candidates you really like. It’s important to have some formal structure when managing what can be an overwhelming amount of tasks, paperwork, people, and diaries. That said, it’s just as important to recognise that when the right candidate has come along, act fast!

Acting fast can simply mean letting them know that you felt it was a positive meeting and outlining the next step to keep the candidate motivated and in the loop. Provided it’s not financial pressure driving their job search, a good candidate that’s excited about a job opportunity will wait a few weeks while you go through the process: chase feedback from line managers, conduct interviews with other candidates, check references, and take annual leave.

But it’s important to keep them warm. Managing the candidate’s expectations is central to a smooth recruitment process. While this may be common sense, you’d be surprised at just how many employers let this simple element of the recruitment process slip when they’re in the eye of the storm. It’s a small thing but it goes a long way.

If, however, from a candidate’s perspective, the world goes quiet for two weeks and they hear nothing. They’ll think you’re a disjointed company that doesn’t value their time, nor care very much for what they can offer. They’ll happily move on while carrying that negative opinion of your company with them throughout their professional life, sharing their experience with others as they see fit.

So the message is clear. If you find a good candidate, and you like them, tell them, and then speed up the remainder of your recruitment process to show them that you’re serious. A slow recruitment process makes your organisation look slow, indecisive, rigid, and anything but agile and entrepreneurial. Act fast. Hire fast. And at the very least, communicate promptly to manage the candidate’s expectations and keep them informed.