Friday, April 22, 2005

Recruiting Blunders - Employers Listen Up

In a talent short market, there is a premium on well qualified candidates. One place were employers notoriously drop the ball is in the length of time that it takes to process candidates. Once you are presented with qualified talent, as an interested prospective employer you need to MOVE that candidate quickly through the process. Most interviewing, selection and hiring processes are multi-step and can be lengthy if there are busy people with full schedules on the list of those whom a candidate needs to meet.

My message is this. YOU can't afford to sit on the credentials of a candidate for three weeks before you get them into the interviewing queue. I recently had a large regional health system sit on a candidate for almost 5 weeks before the first interaction with him. It was not a surprise that by the time this health system had advanced the candidate through their process enough to be ready for an onsite interview - he was gone. He dropped out of sight and couldn't supply an interview date. It turns out he was negotiating another offer.

Suggestions for assuring you have a pioneering hiring process - develop a timeline that you apply to every candidate and stick to it. It might look like this:

Steven Steps to Hiring - 31 Days (Max) to an Offer

1) Resume screened and potential candidate identified - the clock starts ticking.
2) Within 24-48 hours initial conversation with a representative from your company.
3) If after the first phone screen another is required with additional representatives assure it is scheduled within 5 to 7 days. If this can't be accomplished then substitute the designated interviewer with another.
4) If the second phone screen is successful and there is interest in interviewing a candidate in person schedule the onsite interview within 5 to 10 business days of the 2nd phone screen.

Note: If you have a committee involved in your decision making process develop a procedure where you can have them make decisions without needing to have a formal meeting. Develop a way that they can make recommendations about candidates to advance without their needing to get together in a formal setting.

5) The first onsite interview should include as many key decision makers as possible. If you are concerned that the candidate might not interview well and don't want to involve too many people in the process then include a step in the schedule where the interview can be "cut short" and the rest of the schedule aborted if the candidate just isn't a fit.

6) If a second onsite interview is required it too should occur not later than 5 to 10 business days after the first onsite. This day should include anyone left who needs to meet and weigh in on the hiring decision.

7) Within 48 hours of the second onsite - be prepared to issue and offer or to decide to pass.

This gives the candidate a clear sense of steady and continuing interest. Even if they are evaluating other offers, your aggressive schedule doesn't give them or you time to dawdle.

If you develop a timeline for moving candidates through your process - YOU WIN and the CANDIDATE WINS. Everyone gets a chance to be seen and you as the hiring authority get to keep all those candidates who are so crucial to the success of your business.

Be a TALENT HOG - tighten up your internal hiring process today!

Friday, April 08, 2005

What to Take to an Interview - Candidate Version

A top candidate attending an in-person interview will think about how best to be prepared for that meeting. Most of them will have taken the time to research the company, the division and even the hiring team if they know who they will be meeting.

A well prepared candidate will also have taken the time to consider what makes them a "hot hire" and will be able to clearly articulate the value they can offer a prospective employer. They will also have paid attention to their attire, their rest the night before and the directions on how to get there.

However, I do get asked "what should I take to the interview?" The answer is this: always take several clean copies of your resume or CV. You may find that someone on the interview team may not have a copy for a variety of reasons - the most common of which is that the resume is buried somewhere on their desk. If you discover that someone doesn't have a copy then you'll want to provide one to them. However, if this happens mid-conversation, don't lapse into an awkward silence while the interviewer takes the time to read your resume, immediately launch into a discussion of your career highlights - the ones most applicable to the position you are seeking.

It is also a good idea to carry business cards to share with those who you meet. This accomplishes two purposes. The first is you have something to leave behind with the person you've just met that they will keep in front of them - at least for a while. The second and most important is that they might trade or share their own business card with you. This is key information since the business card includes the correct spelling of the individual's name, their direct phone number, usually their email and snail mail addresses. You then have exactly what you need to you can prepare a thank you note after your meeting.

Depending on the functional position you are seeking, it may be appropriate to have examples of your accomplishments. This is especially true with marketing and advertising professionals who may have a portfolio of campaigns. I've also seen a well done one page biography which includes relevant accomplishments and how they effect the bottom line be an effective handout and again a leave behind reference and solid demonstration of your belief in what you can do for the company.

If you are a healthcare practitioner it is less likely that you will have a prepared handout, but again depending on your situation you may have a one page bio describing your accomplishments.

I wish you well with your onsite interview.