time-to-fill

Here’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire

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Being slow to hire often means a job goes unfilled for awhile. But it doesn’t have to. There’s a way to be slow to hire that’s fast and effective. It starts with understanding the real meaning of the idea.

The Unintended Consequences of Slow to Hire
The idea of slow to hire has been around for years. I noticed it gained traction as leaders became increasingly aware of the significant costs of a bad hire. The financial cost alone has been estimated as a five- to six-figure sum. Then there’s the lost time, missed opportunities, wasted effort, and added stress. Because of these costs, it made sense to make hiring decisions carefully.

That was the original intent of being slow to hire—taking the time necessary to make smart hiring decisions.

Unfortunately, the idea of careful hiring took on a life of its own. One or two rounds of interviews with prospective hires expanded to three, four, five, sometimes six separate rounds before making a hiring decision. Then there are additional steps including testing, reference checking, and background checks.

Finally, if all goes well, a job offer is made to the most qualified person. However, if that offer is declined and the second choice candidate has already taken another job (which often happens after a long, drawn-out hiring process) the whole process starts all over again. That adds more time, more effort, more expense, and more interviews, making slow to hire even slower.

Has this cautious approach to hiring worked? Not if you’re a leader with an unfilled job. Certainly not if you’re in HR and can’t find enough qualified people. Definitely not if you’re in staffing or talent acquisition and your best candidate was just hired by a faster competitor. The time it takes to fill just one job has reached an all-time high, and there’s been no improvement in employee turnover.

Because of this misunderstanding about slow to hire, the world has been operating on a faulty premise. People have mistakenly been equating time and effort spent on hiring with making a quality hire. The more take they take, the more energy they expend, the better the hire will be. It’s given them a false sense of control. Taking lots of time to hire doesn’t save companies from bad hires; it only saves people from making a decision they’re afraid may be wrong.

Slow to hire became something unintended. It turned into being slow to fill.

You can break your organization out of this cycle, while still taking a prudent approach to decision-making. You do that by being slow to hire and fast to fill. Here are 6 steps that will help.

Recruit ahead
Pick one role and start cultivating talent for it right now, even if there are no current openings. It’s not if that job will open, but when. You’re preparing for the when.

Build rapport
Let candidates know you hire differently, getting to know people before jobs open. You’ll typically find that talented people welcome this approach since this gives them an option for their future.

Interview actively
Just as you try on clothes before buying them, you can have people try-on opportunities. Invite people to experience your company and culture. Having them try out sample work lets you both determine if a role in your organization may be a future fit.

Maintain contact
Touch base with prospective hires at least monthly. Use the few minutes you spend to pass along valuable information, such as marketplace updates or news on a trend you’ve seen. This keeps your relationship top of mind while also making her better off just from having spoken with you.

Fill fast
When a job opens, offer it to the top person with whom you’ve stayed in touch. If she’s unable to say “yes,” offer it to the next best candidate on your list.

Repeat
As you maintain contact with candidates who are ready-to-hire, you can repeat these steps with another role (if you like). And then another. And then another.

Smart decision-making and a speedy process can work hand in hand when you’re slow to hire and fast to fill. This balanced approach lets your organization make prudent hiring decisions while filling jobs the moment they become open.

Scott WintripHere’s When It’s Okay To Be Slow To Hire
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Want to Hire Faster? Eliminate These 3 Obstacles.

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Many organizations are struggling to fill open positions. It takes them weeks or months to fill just one job. The skills shortage often gets the blame. Because there are more jobs than people to fill them, leaders have come to expect that hiring will be a time-consuming challenge.

Another group of companies is having a different hiring experience. These organizations fill their open seats with relative ease and speed, even though there aren’t enough qualified people to go around. What makes these organizations different isn’t their reputation, location, work environment, or pay and benefits. It’s how they’ve chosen to address the talent shortage. They’ve overcome three common obstacles that slow down fast hiring.

THE REAL PROBLEM
While the global talent shortage is an ongoing reality, it’s not the real problem. The skills shortage is merely a challenge that can be solved by a better process.

The critical problem—the only one you can control—is having the right kind of hiring process. The right process taps into a sufficient pool of talent and efficiently moves candidates toward hire.

To fill jobs quickly with top talent, your hiring process must overcome these three obstacles.

Obstacle #1: Tapping into a candidate pool that’s too small
If you asked employers why they can’t fill jobs, over a third will tell you they’re not getting enough applicants, or they’re getting no applicants at all. Yet, only 10 percent of these employers leverage untapped talent pools.

Faster hiring requires mass: You must build a critical mass of candidates to select from. Building mass requires tapping into overlooked pools of people.

To determine if your organization is tapping into a candidate pool that’s too small, take these three steps.

Step #1: Review the eight talent streams
There are eight streams of talent. Each stream provides access to unique people. Compare these streams to how your company acquires candidates.

Step #2: Determine which streams lead to successful hires
Review your organization’s hires over the past six to 12 months. Note which streams these hires came from and which streams didn’t produce any successful hires.

Step #3: Assess which streams are being under-used or overlooked
Every talent stream should be producing candidates, some of whom become quality hires. Those that don’t are under-used or overlooked.

Obstacle #2: Employing interviewing methods that are inaccurate and slow
During typical interviews, candidates are on their best behavior. As a result, interviews are often a poor barometer as to who will fail or succeed in a given role. Some “newer” interview methods, such as behavioral interviewing, have only made the process longer. Hundreds of books and articles have been written on how to beat behavioral interviews. These books and articles demonstrate simple methods for telling interviewers exactly what they want to hear.

Interviews cannot be a conceptual exercise. They must allow you to see proof then-and-there that a candidate can do the job and do it well.

Take time to evaluate the speed and accuracy of your interviewing methods by reviewing each step of the process, evaluating the effectiveness of techniques used by interviewers. Answer these questions.

  • Does the interviewing technique consistently uncover irrefutable proof about a candidate’s fitness for the job?
  • If “no,” how can we replace or eliminate that technique to get a better result?
  • If “yes,” what can we do to streamline this technique and still get the same consistent irrefutable proof?

Obstacle #3: Failing to build and maintain a prospective employee pipeline
When a seat opens suddenly, the amount of activity it generates can feel overwhelming. Without an active talent pipeline, a frantic dance ensues. Managers have to handle extra work as the company tries to find suitable candidates. Days later, schedules have to be coordinated for phone screenings and interviews. Work piles up, good candidates take other jobs, and nerves fray.

Maintaining a pipeline of ready-to-hire prospective employees eliminates the dance. When jobs open, there’s no rush, panic, or chaos. Instead, you can hire from your overflowing pipeline.

It’s vital that your organization assess its pipelining strategies. Starting with the most critical roles in your organization, answer these questions.

  • For each role, how many people are ready to hire right now?
  • For any roles where there aren’t people ready to hire now, where is the pipelining process failing? For example, are there viable candidates who are stuck at the interview stage? Is there a lack of suitable candidates to interview? Is recruiting failing to generate candidates? Use what you learn to address those process problems.

Speed is no longer a competitive advantage. In today’s fast-paced competitive world, it’s a requirement for doing business and hiring quality employees. The importance of having talented people exactly when they’re needed makes fast and accurate hiring a strategic imperative.

Scott WintripWant to Hire Faster? Eliminate These 3 Obstacles.
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If You Want to Hire Top Talent Effectively Take These 2 Steps

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Lots of companies are good at attracting quality candidates. Some of these organizations have stellar reputations, making it even easier to draw in top talent. Yet, these very same companies struggle at getting people hired. In this episode, I tell you about one such company. A company many of us know and love. You’ll hear how a key leader fixed this common problem in 2 simple steps.

Scott WintripIf You Want to Hire Top Talent Effectively Take These 2 Steps
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Why, Hire Slow, Fire Fast is Dead Wrong!

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How can you speed up the hiring process while making sure you hire the right person? Bestselling author and Top 30 Global Leadership Guru Dov Baron and I discuss concrete steps you can take in this segment of his award-winning podcast.

 

Scott WintripWhy, Hire Slow, Fire Fast is Dead Wrong!
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4 Simple Ways to Ensure Your Hiring Process Isn’t Turning Away Millennial Jobseekers

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by Scott Wintrip and Gabe Kahan

young stylish friends using digital devices while standing near brick wall

Before we jump into the article, I’m pleased to introduce Gabe Kahan, who shares the byline with me for this piece. Gabe is a freelance writer and a millennial who’s wise beyond his years. You can learn more about Gabe and his work at www.gabekahan.com. 

As the next wave of jobseekers takes the market by storm, it can be disorientating to appeal to a generation with a different set of professional values. As a recruiter or hiring manager it’s your job to guide applicants through the hiring process as seamlessly as possible. Losing millennial hires along the way can be costly for a business looking to evolve with their market. Are there strategies to bridge the intergenerational gap? The answer is a resounding and simple yes.

While these jobseekers have a realistic and rational set of priorities like the rest of us, the oncoming millennial workforce carries a new professionalism that stems from the highly optimized, transparent, and sincere culture of the internet. This might sound like a dramatic shift in mentality, but in practice it proves to be a subtle adjustment.

The generational divide is more an illusion than anything else. It in many ways comes down to etiquette. As a recruiter or hiring manager there are several key tactics that require very little effort on your part, yet make a world of a difference to young talent looking for work.

1. Communicate swiftly.

Sometimes it can take a while to get approval from those higher up on the chain of command in order to move forward with the hiring process. We’ve heard of timelines stretching from a few weeks to many months. While you might think such a lengthy window of time would be the primary frustration for younger jobseekers, that’s not always the case.

Of course, millennials value their time; they find companies with good opportunities and an efficient hiring process much more attractive. But like all professionals, what they can’t stand is someone going dark on them halfway through the process, only to pop back into their lives weeks later without notice. It comes down to feeling heard and respected.

If a job applicant feels like they’re being kept up-to-date with next steps, they’re much less likely to walk away from the opportunity. It’s a matter of keeping them in the loop.

Some companies are now offering a “Yes or No in 48 hours of less” policy. While this may not be practical for all employers, it’s a fantastic way to stand out among competitors. Many potential hires are applying to several positions at once, so responding quickly can be the difference between losing them to a rival and adding new team members to your ranks.

2. Treat applicants like human beings.

Let jobseekers know you understand they have outside lives and are probably juggling a variety of decisions. If they feel like just another cog in your machine, they’re less likely to want you as their employer.

Some companies showcase a “No-Asshole” policy. They guarantee applicants will be interfacing with a real human being, not a robotic rep who treats them like a data point. This can be as simple as assigning an employee the responsibility of getting back to all applicants individually, rather than relying on an automated reply.

Another offshoot of poorly executed follow-up is the risk of reflecting unattractive business practices. Coming off as cold, absent-minded, and disorganized during recruitment will lead millennials to assume your business is also cold, absent-minded, and disorganized. Recruiters and hiring managers who treat candidates with consistent care and concern not only wind up with happier applicants, they also exemplify their business as an efficient and high functioning team.

3. Provide real compensation estimates in real time.

Any reluctance to give out an earnings estimate may be all a jobseeker needs to walk away. Too many millennials find themselves in a lengthy hiring process, only to discover at the end that it’s below their pay grade. Young hires appreciate an estimate given upfront. Not only does this weed out overqualified applicants, it also sets realistic expectations for everyone involved.

Some applicants ask at the outset, “what kind of salary are you offering?” Recruiters or hiring managers will too often shoot this kind of question down or even terminate the application, telling an applicant to not be so presumptuous. Don’t be that employer. Staying transparent about the range of compensation you’re able to offer shows potential hires you’re earnest and recognize their value as a prospective team member.

Some might react to being upfront with a salary range as unrealistic and even dangerous. Many recruiters need to check with higher up executives and administrators before they can offer any kind of estimate to applicants—the last thing you want to do is mislead anyone. To circumvent this risk, decide upon a salary range before looking for potential hires.

Meet with your team of executives, evaluate the responsibilities of the position, and create a range you all feel comfortable with. When it’s time to make an offer to your chosen candidate, you’ve already established the wiggle room you need based on his or her qualifications.

If your business already uses this strategy, consider asking applicants what kind of salary they’re looking for. This avoids wasting anyone’s time, and allows you to be explicit about the salary range of the position. (A word of warning—some states have laws against asking for a jobseeker’s current salary, so be careful with how you approach this issue.

4. Attract more applicants with an easy application.

It’s as simple as that. If jobseekers need to create a profile and fill out a bunch of forms for just one job posting, many may not even bother.

Put yourself in their shoes. They’re applying to positions right and left—chances are it’s not worth their time to make an account with your platform and click through 10 to 30 minutes of questionnaires and forms. (This becomes especially irritating if you ask potential hires to include their resume after answering a list of questions that serve the same purpose.)

While it may be more work on your end, asking applicants to email you directly may attract more potential hires. And if you’re looking for specific information from your applicants that a database system helps organize, try asking your applicants to include such information in their cover letter. This doubles as a great way to ensure applicants are serious about the job and have thoroughly read your job posting. If an applicant isn’t following your most basic instructions from the get-go, do you really want them on your team?

An alternative to providing jobseekers with an online application is to ask for a Pain Letter and resume. It saves both parties a whole lot of time and energy. Potential hires don’t have to put together a long-winded and sensationalistic cover letter espousing their expertise, and you don’t have to spend time combing through every detail of their past employer history. When it comes to trimming down that initial pool of applicants, it’s a great way to save on time.

Like the rest of the world, millennial jobseekers expect a certain level of efficiency during the hiring process. It’s not so much an issue of impatience, but rather an appreciation for the wealth of opportunity the internet provides. With technology’s ever-growing reach, this younger generation of workers have an unprecedented collection of networks to find the right fit.

While younger hires may not expect to land their next dream job, they understand there’s no reason to be mistreated or undervalued. If these tech-savvy millennials have learned one thing, it’s that they don’t have to fly to Silicon Valley anymore to find responsive, humane employers with committed staff.

Scott Wintrip4 Simple Ways to Ensure Your Hiring Process Isn’t Turning Away Millennial Jobseekers
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How to Keep Job Reqs from Getting Stuck in the Slow Lane

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upset driverSlow drivers are frustrating. Especially when they hang out in the left-hand passing lane. They backup traffic and create unnecessary delays.

This same issue is happening in organizations. Hiring managers are taking their foot off the gas of the selection process. Staffing professionals and corporate recruiters end up getting stuck behind them, unable to move things forward efficiently.

How does this play out? It often goes like this. You find a candidate who’s a good fit. Upon presenting her to the hiring manager, there’s enthusiasm about her potential. So you initiate the interview process. Things start moving forward but suddenly, there’s a scheduling traffic jam. The hiring manager gets busy and ostpones an interview. Then there’s another delay when a key decision-maker goes away on vacation. Days turn into weeks, then a month, then two. Before long, your candidate becomes another recruiting mishap when she takes a job with a faster moving competitor.

Hiring doesn’t have to get trapped in the slow lane. Exploring upfront issues of time and access to people can help you avoid slowdowns and stalls. The conversation goes like this.

“To make sure I can do my best work for you, it helps if I know about constraints around time and people. What time constraints are there in the coming days and next few weeks? What about people? Who else will be involved in interviews and hiring decisions? What constraints are there for accessing these individuals?”

Digging into these details helps keep the process flowing. Especially if you pre-book interview slots in advance to work around the constraints you’ve uncovered.

The best way to solve a problem to is to keep it from happening. Having a conversation about time and access to people up front will help keep you from getting stuck in the hiring slow lane.

Scott WintripHow to Keep Job Reqs from Getting Stuck in the Slow Lane
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Using PR to Attract Top Talent

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In movies, we’ve heard about the concept of “force.” Some films use this idea for protection, as in a force field that repels threats. Then there’s the force that’s like a special positive power, helping the good guys overcome the bad ones.

In business, there’s also a positive force. One that’s related to hiring. It’s called candidate gravity. Candidate gravity is the pull your organization has on talent. This pull may be weak, drawing in an insufficient supply of candidates; inconsistent, coming in ebbs and flows; or strong, generating a consistent stream of people. Organizations with strong candidate gravity always draw a stronger flow of top talent their way, leaving second- and third-tier candidates for everyone else. Because so many organizations have a weak or inconsistent pull on high quality people, I’ve dedicated a chapter to this topic in my new book.

How can you improve your candidate gravity? By leveraging often overlooked ways of drawing in candidates. One of those is PR. To help you get starting in using PR for recruitment or to improve your current PR efforts, I turned to a leading expert—Fauzia Burke. Fauzia is the founder and president of FSB Associates. Here’s what she had say on the topic of using PR to attract top talent.

Scott: Why is PR important in today’s competitive marketplace?

Fauzia: I think PR has always been important, but today it also gives you a competitive advantage. In the past the companies with the most money won the image game because they could out-spend the little guys on advertising. PR levels the playing field. If your ideas are better and you are doing good work, you can get the same amount of coverage as a big company. PR helps to build credibility through securing positive media coverage, and a great PR firm will help your company put its best foot forward by getting you in front of the right, influential media. While advertising and content marketing are important, PR is more influential because it provides third party validation and cannot be purchased.

Scott: When properly leveraged, how can a sustained PR campaign attract more top talent?

Fauzia: I like that you are thinking of a sustained PR campaign. Much of the success from PR comes from consistency. Think about it: the first thing most of us do when investigating a new company or person to work with is we “google” it. Hopefully, the top results for your company will be an official website, plus positive press on that valuable first two pages of a Google search result. Along with positive press, you also want to make sure the media is current. A good story from five years ago won’t have the same impact as positive stories every year. You want to make sure your company is presenting itself in the best possible light and appears current.

Scott: What are the steps to get started in incorporating PR into an organization’s recruiting efforts?

Fauzia: Whether you decide to hire an outside PR firm or use staff in-house, obviously your goal is to attract and keep top talent. Think about a plan or strategy to attract the right kind of person. What qualities would they be looking for in a future employer?

Once you have your strategy set, determine who in your organization will serve as your official spokesperson. Just remember good PR is an invitation to prospects to check out your company. Don’t forget to get your house in order first. Evaluate your social media platforms and make sure your content fits your corporate message. Commit to an editorial calendar for social posting and blogging. This may sound like a lot of work, but once you spend some time on the strategy, execution will be much easier.

Scott: One’s one secret people don’t know about writing great PR content?

Fauzia: In my opinion, the best PR content isn’t about “selling” something. It’s about providing helpful information—sometimes information people didn’t even know they needed. When you are seen as an authority in your industry, people will come back to you for thought pieces, opinions and your product and services.

Scott: What’s one closing piece of advice you’d like to share with readers?

Fauzia: PR needs to be a longterm strategy, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. An online brand can take at least 18 months to be fully executed, and even online coverage takes at least 6-8 weeks from the time you start to see results. Pace yourself and stay consistent.

Fauzia’s firm, FSB Associates, is an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s also the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2016). Fauzia worked for Wiley and Henry Holt before starting FSB, and has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. For online marketing, book publishing and social media advice, follow Fauzia on Twitter (@FauziaBurke) and Facebook (Fauzia S. Burke). For more information on her book, please visit: http://www.FauziaBurke.com.

Scott WintripUsing PR to Attract Top Talent
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Five Tips to Network for Top Talent

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Word of mouth is a powerful way to find great talent and fill open positions. It’s also often overlooked. Why? Because people forget to ask for this help. Plus, they don’t realize the potency of this stream of talent.

Just how potent are referrals? In reviewing the hiring practices of 70 companies last year, there was a pattern. Those whose employees at all levels of the organization networked for referrals filled their jobs four times faster than those that did not.

Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If there’s a “magic bullet” for effective networking and getting quality referrals, it’s this: just ask for help.

Simply telling someone that you need help—even saying the word itself—creates an important dynamic. It’s human nature for us to help one another. When you use the word “help,” you’re reminding the person you’re asking of your shared humanity. This simple approach often paves the way for people to be generous in pointing you in the right direction.

Tip #2: Realize a little goes a long way.
Investing a few minutes each day in referral recon pays off in dividends. And it’s easy; it doesn’t even feel like work.

When a vendor stops by, ask for their help with referrals; at the local office supply store or that restaurant where you’re having lunch, network with the employees you meet; a phone call to a friend could turn into two or three candidate referrals. Small, quick inquiries such as these can turn into big wins when you find a great person to hire.

Tip #3: Get specific with qualities you’re looking for.
Don’t just ask your contacts for referrals to people who are looking for a job. Ask for referrals to the specific type of person you want to hire.

For example, if you’re looking for a store manager, you might say, “Who do you know that is good at managing a retail store? I’m looking especially for someone who listens more than they speak.” This precision helps the person you’re asking thoroughly “search” their mental Rolodex for the right person amongst the hundreds of people they know.

Tip #4: Don’t forget to ask your “obvious” networks for referrals.
How often do you ask current employees for their help with candidate referrals? What about their family members, or the previous employees who left your organization on good terms? Have you asked your own family and friends to put you in touch with referrals they know?

It’s easy to overlook the obvious resources for strong referrals. This oversight comes at a cost. We’re likely missing out on the insight of the very people who are most likely to want to help us.”

Tip #5: Remember the most important “rule” to attracting great talent.
The best attractor of top talent isn’t high salary or fancy titles; it’s being a great place to work. Make sure your organization has a positive and engaging environment and you’ll develop a reputation as an enjoyable place to work. Then when you network and request referrals, the people you ask will go out of their way to refer their friends and colleagues to you.

Reaching out to the people you meet—as well as those you already know—can connect you with impressive talent. Make referral generation a regular part of your tasks, whether you’re the CEO or in a staff-level role. Before you know it, you’ll realize that good people are easier to find.

Scott WintripFive Tips to Network for Top Talent
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How to Audit the Effectiveness of Your Hiring Process

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Auditing your company’s balance sheet can tell you a lot about the health of your organization. Auditing your hiring process can tell you a lot about the health of how you choose your employees. Scott shares fives questions you can use to complete your assessment.

Scott WintripHow to Audit the Effectiveness of Your Hiring Process
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