Few things are more stressful than hiring emergencies. A trusted employee gives their two weeks notice and suddenly you’re scrambling to fill their seat. We get calls all the time from clients who need to replace outgoing employees immediately. While we empathize with the stress of this situation, it’s important to be realistic about the timeline for bringing in new hires. The better informed you are about the process, the smarter and more strategic decisions you can make.
Be Realistic About the Recruitment TimelineIn the best-case scenario, the interview process will take two weeks. That’s just enough time for a two-round interview series and a proper evaluation process. However, most candidates will need to give two weeks notice at their current jobs. They’ll also likely take a week off between leaving their previous role and starting with your organization. So, even if there are no delays or scheduling issues, the earliest you can expect to fill the seat is five weeks. That timeframe may vary based on a candidate’s availability, but five weeks is typically the fastest turnaround you’ll see. A more realistic timeline is eight weeks or more. Top candidates often receive multiple offers and decide to sign with another company, sending us back to the drawing board. We move as quickly as possible in the search, but there are many variables that can slow the process.
What You Can Do to Speed Up the Hiring ProcessHires don’t happen overnight, but you can speed up the process if you act with urgency. Here are a few tips for getting people into new roles faster:
1. Give recruitment feedback immediately.When we present clients with potential candidates, we ask that they give us feedback within 24 hours. As soon as they express interest in someone, we reach out to the candidate to schedule an interview. They may not be able to come out the next day, but we try to connect them with the client within a few days. The sooner we can get those meetings scheduled, the faster we get to an offer. If a client tells us they didn’t like a candidate we submitted, we can use that feedback to identify people better suited to their needs. Again, time is of the essence. We act on that information right away so that there are no gaps in the process.
2. Differentiate your company.We’re in a competitive marketplace, and the best candidates receive several great offers at a time. How will you set your company apart? When candidates arrive for an interview, be prepared to highlight unique aspects of your organization. Perhaps you offer exceptional benefits, ongoing skills development opportunities, or a vibrant corporate culture. Whatever it is that you do differently, tell candidates about it. In your rush to find someone who suits your needs, don’t forget that you have to sell them on the role, too. Make sure to ask what they’re looking for in a job and speak to their concerns and requirements. If a candidate suspects this is a dead-end job or a high-stress work environment, they’re unlikely to come back for a second interview, let alone accept an offer.
3. Make your offer within 24 hours.Once you’ve found the right candidate, make a verbal offer within 24 hours. If they accept, you’d ideally give them a written offer within the next day. The written offer can take longer at larger companies because the paperwork needs to go through different levels of approval, but you don’t want to keep the candidate waiting on the details. Sometimes a company will promise to deliver hard numbers the next day, but that day comes and they’re still waiting on final word from another department. Candidates won’t wait forever, so prioritize getting answers for them. As the hiring manager, be prepared to ping those involved with the process to make sure the offer letter doesn’t get stuck in a bottleneck.
Urgency, Not DesperationNeeding to replace a valued employee is an urgent concern, but urgent doesn’t mean desperate. Distinguishing between the two will be essential to recruit top candidates. Talented individuals respond best to clear, decisive hiring managers — not companies that seem desperate and chaotic. Move swiftly in the hiring process to avoid losing great candidates, but remember that you’re hiring for the long term. Seeing the decision through that lens will keep you focused without turning off potential hires.
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