I love the SourceCon community. I can remember the feeling I had getting back to my desk after the first conference I attended and asking myself, “how the heck am I going to implement these changes and catch up with where the rest of the industry seems to already be?” I felt like I was playing catch up. For me, it was overwhelming, sitting with TA professionals from large companies who had seemingly endless resources. After a few conferences, and becoming more involved with the community, I realized there were many people that had the same question I had. “How do I compete in this candidate market as a small/mid-sized business with limited resources?” I felt like I wanted to scream “I DON’T HAVE THE SAME CHALLENGES AS APPLE AND AMAZON!”
In this employment market is essential to always be thinking about how we can drive better quality hires faster without breaking the bank. Sometimes I come across cool tools that I think move the needle and other times I come across tools that are just hype, with large advertising budgets. The unsaid cost of these tools is how are they going to be implemented? Who is going to spearhead training and what happens when we pay for a tool and never use it? Or worse, what if we use it and it creates additional bureaucracy slowing down the hiring process? When you are trying to make the most significant impact for the least amount of cost, these questions can be paralyzing, not to mention trying to stay abreast of all the new products coming to market and the dreaded AI recruiting robots. This paralyzing fear led me to a question that I go back to whenever I need to improve talent acquisition. “Are we doing everything we can internally to be successful in acquiring the best talent?”
This is a compelling question, and when first asking your team the answer is going to of course be, “YES WE ARE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN!” but this question should be applied to every single person that touches the hiring process from sourcing to onboarding, not just TA. This blog series is going to focus on just that, how small to midsized business can look internally to improve their talent acquisition at little to no cost.
To begin this series, let’s look at an often-overlooked, but maybe the most important part of the hiring process. Does everyone in your organization know your hiring goals and their role in the process? You are probably saying “of course they do,” but I doubt it. There are many people involved in the process who are “helping out,” or performing a function they consider secondary to their primary role. Being asked to do anything other than what you are paid for often is perceived as a burden to getting your job done. Being pulled into interviewing candidates can be viewed as a secondary, and therefore less critical task. And what do we do with less important tasks when we are prioritizing? We put them off. This is an excellent example of how an uncommunicated expectation can lead to a real misalignment in action when it comes to hiring goals. This alone can add days, if not weeks to your process.
Start by determining who needs to be part of the process
Does the second tech lead in the offsite location need to interview the candidate? Is it necessary to have a prescreen, screen, in-person interview and follow up? Probably not. Candidates are quickly turned off by a hiring process that screams of indecision, more on this later in the blog series. All you need is a person to technically screen, usually a recruiter, and a person to conduct the interview who ideally can confirm technical ability, sell the dream and make a recommendation to hire. This, of course, assumes that you have accurately defined your job requisition and have made clear what your ideal candidate looks like, again more on this later in the blog series.
Take time with the team to define the expectation and role of each person in the process
This alone will make an immediate impact. This meeting can be done at the same time the job order is being developed. Doing this in person, when possible, it is a great way to get everyone’s commitment to the process, understanding of what you are looking for and by in. Take the opportunity to set expectations and ask the team if they can meet deadlines as they apply to the process. For example, “is it possible to get feedback after candidate submission within one day and interview feedback COB the day the interview takes place?” You are gaining a commitment from what works with the team, not demanding a particular SLA is met without considering the teams time. This will not only impact time to hire but increase accountability through mutual commitment in the hiring process.
Do not expect everyone to “act accordingly,” overcommunicate the expectation. When reviewing who is in the process, ask yourself, is that person aligned with the companies hiring goals? It is our job as talent advisors to bring them to the light and gain commitment. Companies hiring goals will vary, and market conditions fluctuate from industry to industry, but whatever yours are, make sure they are understood by the hiring team.
Define a reasonable goal for Time in Workflow and track with your ATS
If you have an applicant tracking system, use the data to track the time the candidate sits in specific workflows. This is another example where you can set expectations of how long each stage should take and gain commitment. For instance, if you ask an interviewer, who has been invited to take part in the hiring process, how long is an acceptable time to confirm interview availability? You may be surprised at the response. Remember if you have not defined the expectation, how are they to know? Are ten days acceptable? Is five? Is one? If you ask a recruiter, I am sure they would say same day. If these are revenue driving positions, and you are losing money daily, I would imagine many in leadership would want that interview scheduled in a few days. Define the expectation with the necessary team members, set the expectation and track the data in your ATS.
In the end, we are looking to improve cost, quality and time. This approach asks for a time investment up front which can easily be perceived as a step to skip when just cramming jobs into your ATS, don’t do this. Spend the time up front, and you will start to see an impact quickly.