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Avoid Costly Recruitment Sins by Responding Quickly to Vacancies

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By Loren Miner, Chief Operating Officer
With Tom Brennan, Senior Writer

Part 2:  Fast and Furiously Focused Hiring Decisions

It’s a candidate market, with unemployment dropping and job vacancies soaring. In November 2014 the Labor Department reported that the number of vacancies is the highest it has been since 2001. Savvy business leaders know that vacant positions can mean their company is losing thousands of dollars a week, but not everyone knows the Costly Sins to avoid when recruiting to fill a vacancy.

At Decision Toolbox we’ve seen them, and I’m sharing that insight so you can minimize the vacancy bleed. See Part One for ideas on how to calculate the cost of a vacancy, as well as the first of five Costly Sins of vacant positions. If you already read Part One, you know that, for a position with a salary of $70K, it costs your company $636 a day to have that position vacant.

Costly Sin #2: Drawing out the Recruitment process

You want to be diligent and thorough in filling a vacancy, but you also need to be quick. If you’re interested in a candidate, other employers are, too. A-list talent will be picked up by companies with the fastest recruitment processes, and the slowpokes will have to settle for the B and C-list candidates.

One way to avoid this sin is to make sure all stakeholders consider recruitment a high priority. It’s easy for a busy hiring manager to put off reviewing those résumés, but filling that seat is just as important as other objectives. Treat recruitment like a project, with deadlines and deliverables, and hold people to them.

Another tactic is streamlining the recruitment process. I worked with a company once that asked sales candidates to make mock presentations to 12 different people. Not one presentation to a group of 12, but 12 separate presentations. This can delay the process, make a decision impossibly difficult, and turn off candidates being courted by other companies. Put the decision in the hands of no more than three people, and hold no more than three interviews. Ideally, schedule all interviews for the same morning, then gather the stakeholders together that afternoon to make a decision. Contact the candidate that same day.

Don’t give in to vacancy complacency

Hiring managers need to understand what’s at stake. Empty positions slow down your company. For example, a vacant seat can make it harder for you to bring new products to market. And, as Dr. John Sullivan points out, ideas come from people, so no people means no ideas.

There can be an impact on a more direct level. If Hilda Hiring Manager keeps postponing filling a vacancy, her team might interpret her approach as complacency.  As the vacancy makes the team busier, and team members start to burn out, they might mimic Hilda’s complacency and let other things slide.

Costly Sin #3: Assessing talent poorly

There just isn’t time for hiring decision-makers to be anything less than competent at assessing talent. Human resources should provide coaching, and ensure that every assessor is asking the same questions and evaluating the same criteria. Even more importantly, they should be asking the right questions.

Clarify the most important criteria for evaluation early in the recruitment process. Assessing “hard” skills is typically straightforward, but you also need to pay attention to “soft” skills. Don’t try to force a square peg into a round culture, or you’ll be out recruiting again in two months. There are professional tools for assessing both hard and soft skills, but keep in mind that they don’t make decisions, they support them.

Check out the last two of the Costly Sins in recruiting for vacant positions. What you don’t know can cost you . . .

Connect with Loren on LinkedIn.

To learn more about Decision Toolbox, contact us – we’d love to hear from you!


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