As many businesses plan to expand their operations again or completely reopen their doors when the time is right, there is an obvious hurdle for companies that were forced to reduce their team: hiring.
If you’re in this boat as a business owner, you’ll likely want — or need — to hire faster than you ever have previously. But I want to offer a preliminary note of caution as you prepare to hire up and get back to business: rather than abandon your hiring process in favor of staffing up as soon as possible (the “any-body-in-any-seat” approach), adapt your hiring process to hire quickly while still hiring the right people.
Remember that making the wrong hires is costly — to your bottom line and to your culture. The U.S. Department of Labor has estimated that a bad hire can cost a business 30% of the employee’s potential first-year earnings. Think about the time you and your team spend in interviews and training the new hire, not to mention any money you’re spending on recruitment marketing. An employee who’s a bad culture fit or a poor worker can drag down the morale and productivity of your higher performing employees and put them at risk of leaving too.
Treat a structured hiring process with verification steps like reference and background checks as non-negotiables, even when you need to move fast. The latter is especially easy to skip when you’re on deadline. Calling references takes extra time. So does that background check that takes a day or three to run. But they are also your best tools to make the right hires, both validating your evaluation during the interview process and helping protect your business against negligent hiring claims.
So how do you keep the integrity of your recruiting process intact when you’re on a tight deadline to staff your business? Here are a few things you can do to hire faster, while still making the right hires for your team.
1. Review applicants daily.
Or twice a day. Heck, three times a day if you can swing it. There are more applicants than ever active on job boards and we expect many positions to have higher applicant flows than usual. Block time to stay on top of this volume and make decisions as you review: move forward or politely reject. Avoid pushing off the decision by saying you’ll come back later or that they’re a ‘maybe.’ You either want to learn more about them, or you don’t.
2. Schedule interviews on a rolling basis.
Rolling interviews means inviting applicants in for interviews or phone screens as they apply. Some employers have a cut-off date for applications and then move to an interview stage. Moving to rolling interviews will speed up your process. Doing so will allow you to move promising candidates through your process as you receive them. This may mean you end up with candidates in different phases of the process, but it will move you to make quicker hires.
3. Use prescreen questions to surface what’s most important early.
Do you need someone with weekend availability? Someone who already has a personal training license? Instead of a long application, ask the most important questions — the non-negotiable requirements — right away. This will help you narrow in on the quality candidates who are worth that next step of a phone screen or in-person interview.
4. Be transparent about your hiring process and timeline.
Put it on your careers page or in the job description. Set your intention to move quickly, when you’d like people to start, and when you’ll be conducting interviews.
5. Try out group interviews.
Group interviews can be an effective way to evaluate a larger applicant pool. They usually involve a discussion portion where you’re asking the group questions that candidates answer individually and an exercise for them so you can evaluate their ability to work on a team. Some common exercises include having the group build a house of cards or having candidates ask questions of each other to learn more about them as individuals.
6. Organize your hiring process.
The easiest way to move quickly through your hiring process is to get organized ahead of time. Define your hiring process steps, have all your interview questions prepared, know who is going to be conducting interviews, who is going to be scheduling them, and how you’re going to communicate with potential candidates throughout. Automate what you can — an applicant tracking system can help — but even if you’re sticking spreadsheets to track candidates, make sure you have a process that works for you.
7. Start early.
This looks different for every business — you may be able to make all your hires in a week … or it may take a month. Leave yourself a little breathing room and get your job post and hiring process ready to go ahead so you’re not scrambling on the starting line.
CareerPlug is committed to helping businesses rebuild and displaced job seekers find work as COVID-19 measures are lifted. That’s why we’re providing two months of free access to our hiring software for all new clients to support your efforts to Hire Up. We believe that whenever your business is ready, our hiring software will help you save time, allowing you to hire faster while still attracting top talent and making high quality hires.