In response to Jamie’s blog post regarding how important it is to move fast on top talent, I wanted to expand the topic to address inefficiencies that could be hindering your hiring process as a whole.

There are so many pieces of a hiring strategy that can affect whether or not you hire the right person for the job, as well as your chance to secure the best talent for the job. Spoiler alert! It is not just being slow. You can lose candidates from having too many interview rounds, and from an unorganized or unengaging process in general.

An efficient hiring process starts with knowing what you are truly hiring for . . .

We have seen companies engage 3-4 candidates with interviews and after several hours of conversation, they change the entire description of the role. Understandably, there may be pieces of a role that are altered through a search. However, if you interviewed 3 people for that role, and say they spoke with a recruiter for 30 minutes, and then met two people onsite for say, 2 hours, that’s is 7.5-8 hours of a search wasted (not to mention the time that was spent sourcing those candidates and others with that original profile.) A day of work wasted.

This can be easily avoided by making sure that all the stakeholders involved in the hiring process are on the same page about the role – before starting the search. Everyone should understand, the scope of what you are looking for, and more importantly why you need this hire. If you have an internal recruiter on the search, make sure they have an in-depth understanding as well so that they can market the role correctly and screen properly from the start.

Next, you need to commit to a hiring strategy and interview process. . .

Never start hiring without a defined interview process. Not only should you be able to tell candidates what the process is, but if you interview multiple people you need to have a standard set of interviews in order to compare how each person performed. Keep in mind, an ideal hiring process should be no more than 3-4 rounds depending on the seniority of the position.

You don’t want a potential hire to feel like they had the same four conversations with four different people on your team – it will turn them away. Make sure your team is prepared to screen candidates for the core traits as it relates to the role.

Typically we see companies start with a phone screen from an internal recruiter or the hiring manager, and then bring them onsite. If the role is technical, like a Salesforce Developer or an Architect, it can be in your best interest to include an activity or maybe a take-home assessment for one of the rounds. Similarly, if the role is Director or VP level you should have some type of presentation or whiteboard session to see how candidates can think about strategy and long-term goals.

In the event that you are engaging an agency like TwentyPine on the search, be mindful that we consider ourselves the phone screen since we have been engaging with these candidates for a while (in many cases, years). We have a great understanding of their background and what they are looking for in their career long term. So, avoid unnecessary interview steps and trust that the candidates sent over to you have been screened and qualified for the role, and you now have the opportunity to bring them onsite and dive deeper into the opportunity.

I always say to look at interviewing like a funnel, starting at the very surface level requirements, and then each round can dive deeper into experience, behavioral assessments, technical assessments, and then address remaining concerns so you can confidently move into offer stage.

Once you have etched out the hiring process, share that information with your recruiters AND candidates!

There are so many instances where candidates express disinterest in a role because they don’t know what stage of an interview they are in, or what is coming next in the process. As recruiters, one of the first things we will probably ask you once we partner on a search is what your hiring process entails.

It is so powerful when you are very upfront and transparent with candidates. Tell them who they will be meeting with for each round, tell them when they can expect to hear back, and then hold yourself accountable to that timeline. When you inform a candidate that you move fast on hiring, the expectations are set and they won’t be surprised by an offer one week later.

You need to keep people excited and engaged in this process and this is a very simple and natural way to do so, otherwise, you run the risk of your top picks losing interest.

Lastly, make sure you are selling the opportunity…

Wouldn’t it suck to go through four rounds of interviews, and when you go to extend an offer the candidate is not interested? Well, it happens way more than you think.

So often we get feedback that candidates did not get to ask questions themselves, or even that the interviewer spoke poorly about other coworkers or the opportunity.

Make sure that you’re selling the opportunity – the candidate is interviewing your company just as you are interviewing them. Talk about upcoming projects that make a major difference and where they would fit in that process. Speak positively about your colleagues, and the overall direction of the company.

Allow candidates at least 10 minutes to ask questions to you about the opportunity. Believe it or not, you can learn a lot about a candidate based off the questions they ask, and their response to your answer – but most importantly, you can get them more excited about joining your team and have a very natural conversation.

Take the time prior to hiring to set a foundation for an efficient process, and then follow those guidelines with every candidate that comes through the door. These may seem like small suggestions, but we know first hand, they can make a world of difference when a candidate is deciding between two opportunities. More importantly, they will make a huge difference in your company making a sustainable hire for your team.