This article is aimed at any HR professionals who liaise with recruitment agencies. As a recruiter, I interact with HR professionals on a daily basis both as candidates and as clients. The most recurrent frustration for HR and recruiters is that we lose candidates. This often happens before they have attended an interview. Usually it is because the candidate has accepted another offer.
In a candidate driven marketplace, speed is essential. However, it is not always easy to work out the ways in which to speed up the process when your interviewers have busy work schedules.
Therefore, I thought it worth developing some tips based on my own experience as a recruiter.
Most candidates will secure a position within 10 days. Yet, somehow, the recruitment process takes 2-3 weeks. For this reason, it is well worth knowing the schedule of each member of staff who will be involved in the hiring process. If you have a panel of interviewers, knowing their schedules is essential as it can be challenging to coordinate everybody at the best of times. Check for the entire month to allow time for applications to come in – some might arrive within the first couple of days whereas others won’t hit your inbox until the vacancy has been live for a week or more.
Review CVs as and when
Whether you are recruiting directly or via an agency, you will need to reserve time to review CVs (preferably, lots of shorter slots are better than one afternoon). If your role is to forward the CVs to a hiring or line manager, it would be a good idea to pencil this time into their outlook or other calendar for them.
If there are no CVs to review in the allocated time slot, the time can always be put to good use elsewhere.
When you have selected your shortlist or lists, you will hopefully know the schedules of your interviewers. Therefore, you should be able to offer your preferred date, along with interview times ASAP. If you are recruiting via a (good) agency, they will have already noted times/dates when the candidate is not available so that you are prepared before you offer dates and times.
Coordinating the time of 2 or more people with varying schedules can mean that candidates who are still in full-time employment will need more leniency. Personally, I would not recommend grouping interviews or allocating one day for all interviews. This is because candidates in full-time employment will need to give notice to take holiday. If you only allocate one day for all interviews, you will lose good candidates.
In most instances, you will have more than one priority. To an extent, you can count on the relevance of your candidates because you have compiled a shortlist. But you will most likely consider other factors too. Is the role an ASAP start? Or is the line manager set on finding a candidate’s CV that perfectly matches the job spec? Are there any qualifications which are essential that have been listed as desirable? Are there any desirable skills that have been listed as essential? This might sound silly, but disagreements between interviewers slow the process down. Therefore, it is vital to agree priorities early on.
Be consistent. One of the biggest factors that spooks candidates is inconsistency between:
a) The job description and an interviewer’s explanation
b) What is said by numerous interviewers (be that during separate stages of interviews or by a panel).
From the candidate feedback I have received on this, it leaves candidates confused and in doubt.
Offer or Regret?
If you find the right candidate, offer ASAP. This should secure the candidate (if the offer is satisfactory to them). Furthermore, it enables those candidates who have been unsuccessful at interview to move forward without holding out for your vacancy.
So, there we have it. While this is by no means comprehensive, it should hopefully give you ideas of areas that often slow down the recruitment process. Furthermore, it will allow you to identify areas that might need improvement in your own recruitment process.