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You snooze you lose

Whist this simple saying can be applied to many things in life, it is especially true in the recruitment and hiring processes.

How things worked in the “good old days”

Thirty plus years ago when I started in this business, the country was experiencing a serious recession and had high levels of unemployment. It was also a time before mobile phones and the internet.

This meant that things took longer. For example, to find a job you first needed to source a newspaper; remember those? Assuming there was a suitable job in said newspaper, you then needed to either make a phone call, or send an actual written application via snail mail.

At the other end of the process, the recruiter / Hiring Manager was often swamped with applications so reviewing and evaluating candidates could take days at best. Then it was often difficult to contact the applicant because you had to either call them at work (not a preferred option) or call them at home on the landline (remember them?).

Then followed face-to-face interviews. As a job seeker, if you were lucky, someone eventually called, or sent you a letter advising the (normally unsuccessful) outcome of the interview.

Even a well orchestrated hiring campaign took weeks, and involved an enormous amount of time consuming paper shuffling.

How it works today

By contrast, today’s job search is much more streamlined. A job seeker simply goes online and checks the job board of their choice. If something takes their fancy, they can often apply with a few click of a mouse or taps of a smartphone.

In theory, the advent of smartphones and the internet makes communicating with job seekers so much easier, although in practice this is not always the case.

Job seekers who don’t respond to phone calls, emails, text messages make it hard; but this is beyond the control of the recruiter / Hiring Manager.

The reality of the current job market is that there is a shortage of good applicants for most jobs, and for this reason, good candidates will quickly receive (and accept) job offers.

Sense of urgency mode - engaged!

Hiring Managers will be well served to adopt a sense of urgency and keep the hiring process moving. Please understand that I am not advocating making ill considered or rash decisions, but don’t let too much time elapse between candidate interactions.

Step 1 - evaluating applications

Applications should be dealt with promptly.

Not necessarily as each one is received, but certainly on a daily basis.

It’s often fairly easy to identify the applications that are unsuitable and these should be rejected immediately. Candidates that appear suitable (even strong “maybes”) should be contacted immediately with the goal of setting up an initial phone screen call. How you do this is up to you. I have found the best results come from communicating via text message and offering a link for candidates to book a phone screen time using my online calendar service (Calendly).

Step 2 - phone screening

This process should use a standardised list of questions designed to confirm the applicant's suitability for, and interest in the role. Candidates who appear suitable should be offered a face-to-face interview ASAP and the others rejected within 24-48 hours.

Step 3 - face-to-face interviews

Let’s say your standard process is two interviews before a job offer.

In most cases after first interview you can quickly decide if the applicant is not worthy of advancing to a second meeting. If they’re a “definite NO” then let them know so they can focus on other opportunities.

If they’re a solid “MAYBE” or preferably a "YES", book them in for the second interview ASAP.

This doesn’t need to be a manic process, but there needs to be goals. For example, all interviewed candidates are advised within 24 hours, whether that’s a “NO THANKS” or booking for a second interview.

The second interview doesn’t need to happen within 24 hours but the commit to the meeting should be made within 24 hours of the first interview.

Step 4 - reference checks

If after the second interview you want to proceed to a job offer, ask the applicant to provide referees and call them. Do not overlook this step and if the referees provided are “low value” you need to look a bit deeper.

Step 5 - trial close

Once acceptable reference checks are completed, trial close the candidate by asking if they will accept the position if offered. If the answers “yes” then proceed with the formal job offer process used by your organisation.

Step 6 - formal job offer

Prepare and make formal job offer and follow up until the offer has been accepted. Then continue to keep in touch with the selected applicant prior to their start date.

Help is available!

Please get in touch if you require assistance in any area of the hiring process.

This includes creating and implementing appropriate recruitment strategies and processes that can be re-used over time, or assistance with one-off projects.

Call Laurie on 0412 523 168 to discuss your particular hiring n


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