Get Out of Your Own Way

Despite all expectations, the job market is as hot as ever. Some employers tell us they’re getting applicants but they still have a problem sealing the deal. Our response is always the same: you have to move faster! If you’re attracting candidates but losing them partway through the process, use these tips to streamline hiring:

  1. Commit to 48-hour max for follow-ups. You have to move fast in a tight market. Your communication should never lag beyond a maximum of 48 hours at every step of the process. From job applications to phone screens to interviews to rejections or job offers – do not leave your candidates hanging or they will go somewhere else! If you’re working with a recruiter, treat them the same – recruiters need feedback from you on candidates they sent so they can keep looking for good matches.
  2. Keep your interviews efficient and progressing. Each interview should progress each candidate closer to making a hire. Do not make your candidates go through the same introductory interview with three different managers. Get your schedules in order and have all interested parties in that initial interview. The next interview should get to the heart of the position with rigorous vetting of the candidate and the company (remember – the candidate is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them). You should be able to make a decision after this interview. If not, the third interview should be entirely focused on whatever pain points are blocking a decision. If you commit to quick follow up and efficient interviews, you can move a great candidate from application to accepting your offer within a few weeks.
  3. Know what you need vs. what you want. Seems obvious but isn’t. Many employers think they need a perfect candidate and then wonder why they can’t make a hire. Each job has skills that are absolutely necessary from day-one and others that can be taught. Hiring managers need to know which skills belong to which category. Do not reject a solid candidate because they’re missing 10% of the job’s skill set. Employers have to plan to train new hires because there are simply not enough candidates to be choosy.
  4. Get creative. The traditional candidate pool for this industry is small and shrinking each year. Sure, you can try poaching someone from a competitor now (and know they’ll do the same to you) but what will you do in ten years? Every employer in the Copier and Office Solution Channel℠ has to find a new source of candidates. Reach out to professionals in adjacent industries like IT or medical technology. Create entry-level positions for young people and plan to train them in the skills you need. Assess your hiring practices for artificial limitations – is your company rejecting candidates because they’re truly unqualified or because they’re different from your current employees?
  5. Be honest. Ideally, you want to be able to demonstrate to candidates that your company has its act together. But if you can’t, be up-front about it. Tell them what areas your company wants to improve, how this role will help, what you need from them to make things better. Sell your candidates on being part of the solution. Some will, understandably, walk away but those candidates would have quit after you hired them so you didn’t want them anyway. If your company or department is a fixer-upper, you want candidates who like a project, who can handle difficulties, who want ownership in new policies and practices. If you’re honest about the job, you’ll attract the candidates who can do that job. Isn’t that the whole point?