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7 Steps to an Efficient Hiring Process [Spoiler Alert: Timing is Everything!]
Man researches candidates on laptop as part of hiring process.

An efficient hiring process is more important now than ever. Though job markets were tumultuous throughout the majority of 2020, the new year has brought steady growth to a number of areas, particularly in Information Technology (IT). In the US, the tech industry has seen strong job growth thus far in 2021, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in computer and information technology occupations is only projected to grow by 11 percent between now and 2029, a rate much faster than the average for all occupations combined. 

Currently, we find ourselves in a tight candidate’s market. As late as April 2021, there were nine million jobs open in the US, a record high. Companies need to move fast through the hiring process if they’re going to attract the top candidates. When the interview and hiring process takes too long, job seekers will naturally gravitate to the first attractive offers that come down the pipeline.

With the national unemployment rate down to just 3.6 percent, employers are competing to lock down top talent. (Small Biz Genius)

Given the hiring landscape, it’s vital that employers know what the market is like right now and prepare their team to align to market conditions.

In many cases, that means tightening up their hiring process.

Why an Efficient Hiring Process is Important

Given the current realities, it’s vital that employers stay prepared, streamline their hiring process, and keep everyone on the same page.

  • Setting parameters
  • Arranging advertising
  • Nailing down recruitment strategies
  • Crafting clear job descriptions
  • Reviewing applications
  • Screening candidates
  • Communicating with applicants
  • Conducting interviews

Rather than treating hiring as an afterthought or an unofficial part-time job for someone with other responsibilities, create a clear hiring pipeline through which candidates can move. 

Confirm each step in the process, attach reasonable timelines, and give the process a clear structure.  

Ensuring that your hiring process runs smoothly and efficiently better positions you to move candidates through the process more quickly and land top tech talent. 

Step 1: Revamp and Refresh 

Though it may feel comfortable to fall back into old habits and systems, resist the urge to grab for old job descriptions, change a few words, and trot them out in your job postings. Because the technology field is currently so competitive, any whiff of irrelevance will put you at a disadvantage with new recruits. 

Brainstorm what a successful candidate would look like in this role. If you have an older job description, ensure that the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. If you have an existing job description, review and ensure that the updated job description reflects exactly what you are targeting in your new search.

Step 2: Define Roles 

No matter the size of your company, not everyone necessarily has an equal say in the hiring process.

Before you even get started, decide who should be part of the decision-making process.

  • Who will be involved? Avoid having a huge group involved in the hiring process. This could not only intimidate the candidate, but also muddy the waters with too many diverging opinions. 
  • How are candidates narrowed (and who decides)? Come up with a system to narrow candidate profiles and come to a consensus on the requirements for the job so that the interview panel is 100 percent clear on what to look for in the targeted candidate.

Clearly defined roles and requirements will help you use your time most effectively.

Step 3: Strategize

Before bringing people in for interviews, design a strategy ahead of time to ensure you make the most of your time and the candidate’s. Candidates can tell if the interview is not strategic. This not only wastes everyone’s time, but also leaves a bad impression.

Make a list of questions in advance, ensuring that each one centers on the actual job. Agree on what questions will be asked and by whom, so there is not a lot of overlap. 

Step 4: Establish Immediate Credibility 

As we mentioned earlier, because candidates have a lot of options right now, they’re naturally going to flow with the hiring current. To build credibility early, keep your pace quick, communicate freely, and always follow through on what you promise.

  • Lay out the process early. Candidates are willing to be patient if they know what to expect and where they stand.
  • Let candidates know what to expect in the interview and give them time to prepare.
  • Inform them early of any tests and/or coding skills they may be asked to demonstrate.
  • Set accurate expectations at the outset of interviews and stick to them.
  • Always follow through on timelines. If you say the interview will be an hour, wrap up on time. If you say you will contact them in three days, don’t let the third day pass without communication.

Nothing will drive away a prime candidate faster than a lack of credibility.  

Step 5: Demonstrate Transparency

No matter what, be clear about salary range, work expectations, benefits, and everything else related to the job.

Misleading candidates is the quickest way to lose them (or turn an eager recruit into a disgruntled new employee in no time flat.) For example, it’s disingenuous to quote the potential salary range at $120K-$140K, fully knowing they do not plan to hire at the high end of that range.

Clarity and forthright communication goes a long way and is more likely to attract the highest caliber employee and keep them on the team over the long haul. 

Step 6: Evaluate Speed to Market

Evaluate your current hiring system and ask :

  • How quickly are we interviewing?
  • How quickly are people accepting positions?

Look for ways to quicken the pace without cutting corners. 

Step 7: Accept That Timing Is Everything

If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this: when it comes to attracting the best talent in a candidate’s market, timing is everything.

Given the current landscape, the most qualified candidates in the technology field will quickly find themselves juggling multiple offers. Making a real offer in a timely manner is the best way to tell a candidate you are serious about hiring them and that your company has efficient processes to make timely decisions. No one wants to work in a bureaucratic environment.

Stick to your timeline. Honor your word.

Above all, have a plan.

It’s impossible to get better at hiring if you can’t tell whether the candidates you select become good employees. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. You must have a way to measure which employees are the best ones. (Harvard Business Review)

By following these seven steps, you’ll be in a much better position to leverage the potential of the candidate’s market and attract the world’s top IT talent.