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How Long-Winded Should Your Recruitment Process Be?

Nandita Raghuram

Fabíola Medeiros/Flickr

Everyone’s familiar with this story. A potential candidate applies for a job. He receives a call from a recruiter or hiring manager and is overjoyed. He completes a phone interview, an aptitude test, and an in-person interview.

Then, he waits. And waits.
He doesn’t hear back until months later when he’s rejected. The whole time, he’s been haphazardly completing other applications and interviews in the hopes that he nailed the first one and scored the job.

Unfortunately, this story is all too common. A long-winded recruitment process does not just waste money; it also wastes time. Workforce reports that at Intermountain Health Care, the hiring process typically used to take 90 days after posting an ad.

That is too long. Long-winded recruitment makes companies less desirable by essentially antagonising potential hires. At Intermountain Health Care for example, even before the interview process, employees had to wait for weeks before obtaining approval to advertise the job and gather applications.

Technology’s Your Friend

That was until Intermountain Health Care switched over to a web-based recruiting system in 2002. They shortened their average time between posting and offer to just 42 days. Web-based applications like RecruiterBox and The Resumator can help you do this.

According to Small Business Computing, they’ve got tracking tools and don’t cost an exorbitant amount of money.

As soon as you notice a hole in your company, the benefits of electronic recruitment tools kick in. You won’t have to wait days or even weeks for the hiring request to be okay-ed by supervisors and human resources.

Automated applications maximise your efficiency, helping you get approval for job postings almost immediately. Moreover, many of these applications have referral systems, so you can tap into your existing employee pool to fill an open role.

As Small Business Computing explains, current employees already understand the company culture, so they can help you find the perfectly fit candidate.

Many of the programs also have filters that narrow online applications down to a short list so you don’t have to weed through hundreds of applications. And once you decide on a few potentials, they’ll help you keep track of applicants and their materials.

As Workforce notes, hiring managers can cross-check a candidate’s qualifications with the needs of the position even before interviews. That way, you will reduce the likelihood of meeting with candidates who misunderstand the position.

Kirstie Kelly, director of LaunchPad Recruits, the video selection experts says: "increasingly we're helping our customers to measure the end to end recruitment process - both in terms of time to offer, and efficiency at each stage of their process. A high touch but automated process through to face to face meeting with the business, makes this possible. And innovative businesses are recognising how important this really is in the search for great talent."

Avoid Vague Language

To pare down your list even further, create specific job postings that list all necessary skills. As RecruiterBox explains, they will do the first round of screening for you. The more skills you list, the fewer applicants you get, which means you can work more efficiently. Avoid vague language and try to list skill sets on top of personality traits.

When candidates have both the desired skills and traits, the chances of them being good fits are high. A clear job description also ensures that there are no surprises once the candidate is hired. This will reduce your turnaround rate and leave you with happy employees.

Once you’ve got a small list of potentials, start eliminating. Most companies use social media. In fact, according to Mediabistro, 92 percent of companies use social media for recruitment. And these platforms work. According to a Staff.com infographic, 73% of employees are hired successfully through social media.

While LinkedIn is the most obvious choice, Twitter and Facebook are also useful. Before your applicants come in for interviews, head to Google to find out if there are any red flags.

You may also find positive information you would not have found on resumes. These searches will help one candidate gain an edge over another to make your decision easier and quicker.

Don’t avoid traditional tactics completely though. As Tech.co explains, while social media can tell you a lot about someone, it can’t tell you everything. Often, it takes a few in-person interviews to correctly gauge a person’s zeal, warmth, and leadership abilities.

That’s why, on the other hand, a longer hiring process might just serve some companies well. That’s what Maren Donovan, the CEO and founder of Zirtual has concluded. She told Recruiter.com that they “put a lot of hoops in front of [applicants] before they actually get to a phone interview, and they go through two of those.”And for them, it works.

Only the best candidates come on board. “I think the reason is because it really takes persistence. It takes really wanting the job to go through our process,” she says. “You have to really love this kind of work.”

Still, there’s a difference between being thorough and being precise. You want to make sure you hire the best candidate, but it doesn’t have to take months. A lot of that comes down to organisation. This is where the aforementioned electronic application systems come in handy. But choose wisely. Use one that matches all of your needs.

If you think you’ll need to ask specific questions or request writing samples, make sure the application is customisable. As Simplicant explains, you’ll also want to streamline your process as much as possible by using one application that covers a wide range of functions for all your needs.

Plus, you can focus your attention by prioritising one role at a time. Rather than jumping from job to job minute after minute, spend whole hours or days working to fill a single position. Only move on to the next position once you fill your current one. You’ll take care of what matters most, so you can stay organised throughout.

Be Honest

And if you think it’s going to take longer than expected, let your candidates know. They will appreciate the update and will be able to plan out their time efficiently. Many electronic applications can do this for you as well. But if you don’t keep the lines of communication open, you run the risk of dissuading your potential hire.

Remember, you’re proving yourself to the candidate as much as they’re proving themselves to you. If you come across as inefficient, they may not want to work with you, which could cost you a great employee. Be efficient. Your applicants deserve it.

Nandita Raghuram

Nandita Raghuram is a Chicago-native living in Brooklyn. She spends her free time exploring her neighbourhood and writing nonfiction essays about what she finds. She loves books, food, and checking out the newest Google Doodle.