There are countless stories of talent searches that drag on for months while key positions remain unfilled. Why does this happen? The main reason that searches take longer than they should be is that the process is not initially set up for success. This is where many recruiters and hiring managers fail. Through years of experience with search and placement, we believe we have cracked the code that will allow companies to turn frustrating searches into exciting successes.

Understand the Role

One of the key components of a successful search and placement process is having a keen understanding of the role you are trying to fill. You need more than just a job description. An expert recruiter will “go deep” with the hiring manager to understand exactly what the prospective employee will do in the role. Who will they interact with? What challenges will they have in the role? It is also useful to identify three key measures of success in the role, so you have something clear to assess at the end of the year. You need to know the role inside and out if you want to hire the right person.

Accurately Present the Job and Company

If you want a successful search process, you need to present the job and the company to candidates accurately and professionally. The best candidates tend to be very busy. If you don’t have someone who is capable of talking about the job and the company intelligently and with precision, you won’t be able to attract and engage these passive candidates. If you are only able to engage subpar candidates, the whole process will take much longer, as you struggle to find candidates that have the right qualifications. Since you have only attracted active candidates to your talent funnel, you’ll soon realize that it becomes hard to get excited about moving forward with anyone in the funnel.  Usually at this point, hiring managers think, “Let’s just give it more time.”  Unfortunately, this does not improve the quality of the talent in the funnel.

Have the Ability to Drive the Process

To successfully drive the process, you or your recruiter need to have excellent communication and organizational skills. You need the ability to think ahead and plan accordingly. For example, you may need to have advanced scheduling of on-site interviews, or you may need to receive a candidate’s availability for an upcoming phone interview. Most hiring managers have too much on their plates to begin with, so a recruiter will make their job easier for them by staying organized and communicating well.

Navigate the Red Zone

As the candidate proceeds to the offer stage, it’s critical to stay on top of the important details that will ensure expectation alignment. Choosing to take a job can be a very emotional decision for many. You need to identify and incorporate tools that will ensure that hiring managers, human resource partners, and candidates are fully aligned on compensation, benefits, start date, and other important issues. Resignations are another area that is often emotional. If you leave it to chance, candidates may back out and decide not to resign, particularly in a tight labor market. A recruiter will walk the candidate through the resignation process and provide them with assistance, as well as emotional support. Resources like scripts and templates can help candidates deal with resignations professionally and diffuse most of the emotion that often makes the process so challenging.

The hiring process doesn’t have to drag on for a long time. If you have a great process that allows you to “go deep” and truly understand the role, stay organized, and help candidates navigate the red zone, you can make the whole process faster and more effective.


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