Act without delay – top talent won’t wait

Ange Connor

A well-executed recruitment process is all about managing the timing. If your timing is out you can guarantee its costing you. Costing you in terms of losing top talent and costing you in time and dollars. In many instances, it’s all systems go when someone resigns and you need to backfill a position, however the reality is that at the end of the day business doesn’t stop to allow you to dedicate yourself to filling a vacancy. You have to squeeze it in along with all your usual work demands. If your recruitment timeline is drawn out and delayed, for whatever reason, the top talent that applied for your vacancy will move on, lose interest or be snapped up. Then you’ll be stuck between a rock and a hard place – do you appoint the best of what’s on offer but who don’t quite meet exactly what you are looking for or do you go back to the drawing board and start again?

I’d always suggest going back to the drawing board and starting again if you are not entirely happy with the talent you have to choose from. With a little bit of upfront planning you can make sure your recruitment timeline is working for you and helping you secure the best talent so that you don’t end up having to go back to the drawing board.

There are four key stages of the recruitment process timeline where I see businesses let delays creep in.

Application closing date to making contact with shortlisted candidates

Businesses rush and panic about advertising their vacancy so they can get the applications rolling in and then once applications close and they have an inbox full of applications it is like complacency sets in. This is definitely not the time to get complacent; strike while the iron is hot. It’s a common complaint from job seekers that they applied for a position weeks or even months ago and have not received any communication. A well timed recruitment process will see you making contact with candidates for either phone interviewing or scheduling first round interviews within a week after the application closing date.

Initial contact with shortlisted candidates to conducting the interview

Have you ever had to wait weeks on end for an interview? It’s not a positive experience. Your candidates will lose interest and will be left wondering what sort of business you really run and do they want to work for a business that disorganised if you keep them waiting for an interview for weeks. If your diary is full or you are away on leave factor this in at the start and schedule the recruitment process around your commitments. The sooner you can schedule in the interviews the better, keep the candidate engaged in the process.

Conducting the interview to providing feedback

Delays in providing feedback to interviewed candidates who are unsuccessful is unfortunately common but I do also see businesses delay providing feedback to their preferred candidate. Don’t keep you candidate hanging, give them feedback and let them know how you want to progress their application – will there be more interviews, reference checking, behavioural profiling and assessment etc. If they don’t get timely feedback you can guarantee they will assume they have been unsuccessful and you don’t want them having to chase you for feedback. It’s not a good look and will leave a bad taste in their mouth. Get on the front foot and provide timely feedback.

Completing the recruitment process to making the offer

You’ve completed all the steps in the recruitment process, you know you want to employ this person yet you are hesitating in making the offer and sealing the deal. This is often because there is uncertainty about what to offer salary wise, or there is a lack of confidence in negotiating the salary or simply getting complacent because you think the candidate is sold on working for your business and won’t look elsewhere at this late stage in the process. Getting the negotiations wrapped up and the paperwork done and dusted in a timely manner is crucial.

The way you manage the timeliness of your recruitment process will reflect on your business and brand. What image is your timeliness showcasing? Regardless of if you using an agency recruiter or managing the process in-house, agree on and set your timeline before you even place your advert. Block out time in your diary in advance for interviews, be prepared to commit the time you need to manage the process thoroughly and efficiently and make sure you are communicating your timeline to candidates. Communication is key, keep your candidates informed along the way and let them know when they can expect to hear from you. Don’t compromise your brand and business reputation on a poorly timed recruitment process – in the end it’s you who will lose out, not the candidates.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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