diagram of hiring process workflow
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Streamline Your Hiring Process

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: My organization takes a really long time to hire. I think we lose good candidates because of our process. Any ideas on how we can speed things up but still make good hiring decisions?

A: What you suspect is probably right. We are now in an "applicants market" where there are more openings than there are qualified people to fill them, so highly qualified candidates get job offers quickly. If your process is too slow, you probably are missing out on good applicants.

Of course, you don't want to rush into bad hiring decisions, but there is no correlation between a long hiring process and candidate success in the job. So consider these tips for streamlining your hiring process.

  1. Have updated job descriptions for each position in your department so you're ready to post a job internally as soon as the position opens. Take a few minutes to review the job description to make sure it still reflects the job, and then move quickly to get it posted.

  2. Use your network to get the word out that you have an open position.

  3. You don't want to rush into bad hiring decisions, but there is no correlation between a long hiring process and candidate success in the job.

  4. Review your organization's hiring process to see if you can spot the bottlenecks. In many organizations, HR departments and hiring managers are so busy that resumes don't get reviewed promptly when they're submitted. Revise your recruitment procedures to prioritize hiring, because bringing in the right people for your organization is one of the most important thing a manager does.

  5. Screen candidates carefully by phone or video. This ensures that only people who meet your qualifications are invited for an in-person interview. When you bring a candidate in to your office, consider scheduling time for the person to meet with everyone who will be part of the hiring decision. This can eliminate multiple interviews stretched out over several dates, shortening the time to fill a position while giving the candidate insight into your organization and your culture.

  6. Provide recruitment training for those who are involved in hiring so that they know how to conduct effective interviews and make good hiring decisions.

  7. Review your reference-checking process to be sure it is as efficient as possible.

Once you've decided whom you want to hire, don't waste any time. Call the candidate right away to make the offer, and then send it in writing. Remember, if you think this person is a good hire, other organizations probably do as well, so you want to get there first.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer in "Ask the Expert"? Send it to [email protected]