How You Can Increase the Speed of Hire

In part one, we covered why a speedy hiring process is more important than ever before. To recap, if your hiring process is too slow, you miss out on diverse, highly-skilled candidates—and you’ll also be wasting a ton of money.


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At RectuitCon 2019, John Sullivan—Ph.D. and Professor of Management at San Francisco State University—offered many tips for how you can speed up your hiring process. We’ll provide a brief overview of these tips, as outlined by Sullivan.

1. Speeding Up Candidate Sourcing

Sullivan advised attendees to focus on the sources that attract applicants faster (like Indeed, proactive referrals, or LinkedIn profiles with ‘open to opportunities’ flags). He also says that you should be posting jobs simultaneously, both externally and internally, because this helps reduce your overall job posting time.
Another option to try is to hire during slack hiring times. That is, focus on periods of low competition when it’s easier to hire quality talent, fast. According to Sullivan, December is the best month as the fewest employers are hiring at this time. On the flip side, January has the highest competition, so you’ll want to avoid sourcing talent during this month.
Sullivan also says to focus on candidates that are easy to find, such as Boomerang employees—former employees who are now looking to get rehired at your company. Sullivan says Boomerangs have a high probability of success because you already know about their performance. Additionally, you should seek out referrals from your top performers, as top-performing employees consistently only refer other top performers.
And finally, don’t discount “silver medalists,” as Sullivan calls them. These are the qualified individuals that came in second for a previous opening; Sullivan says these candidates are “safe hires.”

2. Speeding Up the Screening Process

Once you’ve sourced the perfect candidates, the next point in the hiring process is to screen these candidates to find which one is the best fit. Sullivan suggests using LinkedIn profiles rather than waiting for the candidate to send an updated résumé. Also, LinkedIn makes side-by-side candidate comparisons much easier.
You should also set résumé review time periods—and alert managers and recruiters when they have reached the deadline. This allows you the ability to focus solely on reviewing résumés to avoid being distracted. Sullivan also suggests prioritizing jobs. This way you’re not wasting your time screening for jobs that are low on the totem pole when the high priority roles have been pushed to the back burner.
Finally, when a top-performing candidate applies “act immediately,” Sullivan says. He adds that you should be identifying in-demand applicants as they come in and act quickly before they are off the job market.

3. Getting Faster Decisions on Candidates

As we mentioned in part one, getting hiring managers to “act fast” may be a challenge for some recruiters. However, Sullivan offers the following advice for how you can get your managers to make faster candidate decisions.
He says to set a deadline and to convey this to your managers. For instance, you can require managers to decide on candidates within “x” number of days, and if they don’t respond, you’ll automatically release the top candidates to other managers within the company.
You should also prioritize managers who make fast decisions. Sullivan suggests tracking how long it takes each manager to decide on an interview slate and give a high recruiting priority to managers that meet their dates.

4. Speeding Up the Scheduling Process

With advances in technology, scheduling interviews should definitely be one of the fastest parts of the recruiting process. However, Sullivan says that “by far, the most wasted time occurs during the interview process,” and it doesn’t have to be that way!
You should consider providing candidates with a website scheduling tool that allows the candidate to pick from the hiring manager’s available interview times, which will drastically decrease the back and forth of actually scheduling the interview.
Finally, Sullivan suggests offering interview slots outside of work hours; this way candidates will be more inclined to meet right away, versus having to take time off from their current employer to meet for an interview.
He adds that you can also offer alternative interview locations. For instance, schedule the interview during a candidate’s lunch break and meet them close to their office. Sullivan says that when you give a candidate options, they’ll be more inclined to schedule the interview faster, thus speeding up the scheduling process.

5. Speeding Up the Interview Process

Now that you’ve got the scheduling out of the way, it’s time to improve the speed in which you interview. One method for doing so is to conduct video interviews—this allows the candidate to meet when and where it’s convenient for them.
You can also hold mass interviews in one central location, that’s outside of your headquarters. For example, Sullivan suggests doing “speed” interviews—similar to speed dating—at a hotel. Sullivan says this option helps reduce the hiring managers scheduling conflicts by holding dozens of 5-minute speed interviews all within a single day.
Additionally, you can also make one preferred day the ultimate “interview” day. Sullivan said at his former employer, they had “interview Fridays,” which occurred every Friday.  You could replicate this practice but adjust the frequency (e.g one Friday per month), depending on your hiring needs. If you consistently hold interviews on a set schedule, hiring managers will know to block off these days so they’re forced to interview candidates.
Finally, Sullivan says to limit your interviews to at least 30 minutes and eliminate repetitious questions. You should only be asking questions that predict the candidate’s job performance in order to get a true sense of how the candidate will perform in the role.
Sullivan offered a bonus tip: reduce the number of interviews you conduct with one candidate. According to Sullivan, the perfect number of interviews for one particular candidate is four. This reduces candidate frustration and saves the interviewer time.

6. Getting Faster Decisions on Who to Hire

Once you’ve interviewed all your candidates, it’s time to decide who made the cut. To speed this process up, Sullivan says to limit consensus hiring decisions. He adds that you want to avoid this because consensus decision-making dramatically increases hiring decision time. For example, If you have four different managers involved in the interview process, don’t wait to get everyone’s approval if a majority of the interviewers favor one candidate, as it’ll bog down the process.
You should also be using a weighted checklist for post-interview assessment. Interview assessments take longer when interviewers must take the time to figure out what criteria to use. Additionally, if everyone is using different, nonvalidated criteria and different weights, it takes more time to agree on a candidate.

7. Speeding Up the Offer Process

We’re approaching the end of the hiring funnel, which means that you’ve found that purple squirrel, but now you need to expedite the offer process to close on this candidate before he or she defects to the competition.
Sullivan says to know the candidate’s “job acceptance criteria,” as this makes an offer less likely to be rejected. When you make offers that meet most of the candidate’s offer acceptance criteria (what they need to say “yes” to that job) you won’t have to spend time renegotiating or shifting to the “second choice” candidate.
You can also allow candidates to accept the offer right from his or her mobile phone. Sullivan suggests this option makes it easy for candidates to instantly say yes from anywhere. You can also try what Sullivan calls “exploding offers.” These are powerful monetary incentives to encourage candidates to make an acceptance decision quickly.

8. Speeding Up Reference Checks

This is it! We’ve hit the final stage in the hiring process: the reference check. This stage in the process is notorious for taking long, as many references are hard to get in touch with. Sullivan says in order to speed up this area, you should be simultaneously checking the references of the two top candidates during their final interviews. This allows the references to respond back before an offer is made.
You can also use electronic reference checking, which can be broader, faster, and more accurate than the typical telephone call approach. And finally, Sullivan suggests double-checking the reference contact information with the candidate. This will ensure that all reference contact information is correct during the interview process and will also save a lot of time.
Now that you know how you can speed up the hiring process, what are you waiting for? Using this information outlined above, you’ll be hiring purple squirrels in no time!