There’s no doubt that hiring qualified people is important. Having top-notch talent who do quality work will help your organization reach its goals. Unfortunately, in an effort to get hiring right, some organizations have made their selection process an obstacle course.
Take, for example, a prominent company in Seattle. It’s a great place to work. However, a less prominent employer in town, with whom they compete for employees, is winning the war for top talent. Is the lesser known company’s jobs and work environment better? No. They consistently rank slighter lower on Glassdoor.com.
Why is the lower-ranked company winning the war for top talent? It’s simple. It’s their process. They’ve created a fast and efficient red-carpet experience for candidates. Top talent are treated with exceptional care, and are whisked through an expedient selection process. This includes one phone interview followed by one face-to-face interview.
The more prominent company hires differently. A phone interview is followed by four separate visits for in-person interviews. As one candidate put it, “Interviewing with them is like being on the show ‘Survivor.’ They make you go through a ridiculous obstacle course to get to their jobs.”
Does this mean the prominent company is more rigorous in their selection process? No, not at all. In fact, when compared side by side, both companies maintain high standards. The lesser known employer is meeting these standards quickly and efficiently.
How can you turn your hiring process into a red carpet experience that accelerates top talent through an efficient experience? Take these four steps.
Step #1: Take the emotion out of hiring decisions.
Our emotions are an important part of being human, but they routinely compromise and slow down sound decision making. This is especially true in the hiring arena, because leaders often choose the wrong candidates for the job when their feelings interfere with the selection process. For example, feeling comfortable with a candidate is a distraction that hinders one’s ability to determine if a candidate has the necessary traits to perform well in a job. Being at ease with a potential hire is great, but it can also undermine making a decision based on factual evidence.
Top leaders counter the emotional element in their selection process by relying on hiring profiles. Unfortunately, hiring profiles are inaccurate or simply not used in many organizations. Implementing up-to-date profiles helps take the emotion out of hiring decisions. Instead of relying on “gut” feeling, hiring managers use hiring profiles to make faster, objective decisions based on facts.
Step #2: Cultivate candidates from multiple sources.
There are plenty of methods for sourcing good talent, including using job boards, going through your internal database of candidates, and of course, following up on leads through referrals. No one source can adequately meet all of your talent needs. The leaders who successfully fill their open jobs quickly maintain a strong flow of candidates, generated by multiple sources of talent.
Each candidate resource ebbs and flows, so your access to talent will always be changing. To quickly fill jobs with the most talented people, be sure to have a talent pool made up of multiple sources. Most organizations find they need to draw job candidates from six to eight different streams of talent.
Step #3: During interviews seek proof, not promises.
During conventional interviews, candidates are always on their best behavior. They say what you want to hear, only share the best parts of their backgrounds, and make promises of how they will perform on the job. Unfortunately, these promises don’t always translate into quality work.
Seek proof that the candidate is a good fit for your organization. This is done through experiential interviews where the candidate performs sample work focusing on key aspects of the job. Have salespeople demonstrate how they sell. Ask computer programmers to write code. Require a customer service manager to solve a real business problem. If you watch carefully while the candidates does the actual work of the job, you’ll quickly discover whether or not they fit.
Step #4: Always be interviewing.
Remember this truth about hiring: It’s not if a job is going to open up—it’s when. Ongoing hiring is a certainty, and top leaders and hiring managers plan for when positions will become open in their organization.
Companies that fill their jobs with ease and speed have made faster hiring a strategic imperative, and this initiative starts at the top. Executives should regularly interview top talent as prospective future hires. Senior leaders and other managers should do the same, following the example of their bosses. A few interviews each month will ensure that you always have people ready to hire, the moment a job becomes open.
Speed and quality are not mutually exclusive. A fast and efficient selection process can be thorough and effective. That’s why I’ve included a faster process in my new book from McGraw-Hill—High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant. Talented people have choices. Rolling out the red carpet makes them much more likely to choose you.
A version of the post was first published on Wintrip Consulting Group.