The Best Way to Lose Good Talent – Be Slow

Kris Dunn Always Be Closing, Culture, Interviewing

Ran into a joint study commissioned by DDI/Monster entitled (brace for cliche) Slugging Through the War for Talent.  The primary topic I was drawn to in the study?  Easy choice – "Interviewer Habits That Most Annoy Job Seekers" (see chart to the right for the top choices of the abused…)

While most of the poll results aren’t surprising (hiring manager too busy to get to the interview or phoneInterviewhabits screen on time? Say it isn’t so!  Candidate doesn’t like to hear the manager/recruiter drone on about themselves?  Get outta here!), the list got me thinking about the factors in the normal recruiting process which create the most risk when eventually trying to close the deal with high-level talent.

While all the issues in the chart are important, there’s a more strategic one missing for me – SPEED (or the lack thereof).  When my recruiting function has been on the top of its game, we’ve overwhelmed candidates with responsiveness.  Here are the spots in the recruiting process where the need to manage speed is critical:

1.  Once you have screened candidates and are deciding when to make the initial call – It always helps to call a candidate quickly after they have responded to your sourcing call (Note – I once called a HR Manager candidate 15 minutes after they applied.  They were impressed.  I signed them a few days later..) BUT, you don’t want to make those initial calls if the hiring manager isn’t ready to go.  So, check with the bottleneck behind you and make sure all are ready to roll…

2.  Once the phone screens are done and you are bringing people in for a live interview – Have to act fast with this one.  Momentum is on your side!  Get the best candidate to your office in the next two days and close the deal!

3.  Post-interview feedback to candidate to manage expectations as you move to the offer stage – Ideally, you want to do a blitzkrieg round of interviews and get to the offer stage shortly thereafter.  However, if that isn’t possible, your recruiters/HR Managers have to become talent agents – selling the candidate on the company and the fact that you still love them as the right fit for the job in question.

Let’s face it, if you are a HR person responsible for recruiting, your hiring managers aren’t going to think about the timing of the areas above.  You have to.  Recruits are a perishable resource – start the process too soon or have a delay after a phone interview or a face-to-face session, and you have problems.   Candidates start having confidence issues in you as an employer of choice, and even if you eventually sign them, the delays can cost you $$$ as you go through the offer stage.

It’s a rare HR Manager who completely understands how to manage the timing issues outlined above.   Learn how to juggle the timing needs of the company and the candidate in the recruiting process, and you’ll get better talent than you deserve.