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Hiring + Recruiting | Blog Post

The real reason you’re losing out on your best candidates

July 16, 2020
By Kerri McKinney | Global Director, Talent Acquisition
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You and your team are far along in the recruiting process with a handful of great candidates. After a series of finalist panel interviews, you realize that internally there’s a misalignment around the most important qualifications for this new role, and your team decides to pause to realign. 

In those two weeks of internal regrouping, your company ends up losing out on two of your top candidates to other companies who moved faster to close. This is a classic story we see with companies who have yet to streamline their recruiting and hiring efforts.   

A slow and redundant hiring process not only causes a company to miss out on great talent, but also creates a negative impression for the candidate during one of their first touchpoints with the team. As much as the candidate needs to make a positive first impression, it’s just as important for the hiring team to as well, especially when it comes to competitive engineering hires. 

Today, many companies struggle with this. In our recent survey, 90% of engineers reported experiencing at least one issue during an interview process, such as delayed communication and too many interview rounds, that hindered their desire to join a company. 

At Terminal, we believe recruiting can be an excellent experience for both the employer and candidate, which is why we’re constantly researching, optimizing, and fine tuning our recruiting process to make it as efficient and streamlined as possible. One reason our approach to recruiting is so fast and powerful is because we have taken the guesswork out by standardizing our hiring process. This results in an ability to have candidates ready to interview within 5 days of kickoff, and typically our clients have their first hire start within 45 days of beginning their search. 

This isn’t due to any magic or tricks. There’s a formula that goes into creating streamlined and fast hiring, and today I’ll give you a glimpse into how to better your internal processes to achieve the same results our team does to hire great talent. 

1. Put in place all hiring processes before recruiting begins 

I can’t emphasize this point enough. Before any hiring process kicks off, every step of the process should be outlined and locked into place. Every time a team is figuring out their hiring on the fly, the more friction the process will have and the longer it will take to fill the role. Additionally, making decisions about your hiring process up front is critical for making the interview experience unbiased, identical, and fair for all candidates.  

Pro tip: Create a clear rating system from the get-go. Candidate rating systems force a team to outline the necessary strength areas and qualifications before a search begins. Without this in place initially, considerable back and forth can surface once multiple candidates begin moving through the pipeline, who will inevitably all possess different strengths and weaknesses. During the hiring process, use your candidate rating system as your team’s North Star, and stick with it! Additionally, try using a rating system on a 1-4 scale (1 = strong no hire, 2 = no hire, 3 = hire, 4 = strong hire), which will ensure no undecided votes are given, creating additional back and forth.

2. Assemble a relevant team for each hiring process 

Having the right team in place for every hiring process is critical. This means ensuring that your recruiters hold the right background and knowledge for the specific role they are interviewing for and can therefore ask the proper questions that will narrow in on the optimal candidate profile. This rule also applies while assembling internal hiring panels. Based on our research, hiring panels should have no more than six individuals, and each person interviewing should have a clear relation to the role at hand and be able to speak to the specific challenges and contributions of the job.

Pro tip: Before kicking off your hiring process, create an interviewer resource document for each interviewer involved in the hiring process. This document should outline the questions and qualification areas that each individual interviewer should be examining as well as any expected SLA’s to keep the hiring process moving. This also helps eliminate candidates receiving repetitive interview questions which can demonstrate poor internal communication and collaboration.

3. Eliminate technical screening redundancies

Following steps one and two will already begin to remove redundancies in your hiring process by outlining all dependencies up front rather than on the fly. However, an additional redundancy I’ve picked up on in organizations is when technical candidates go through multiple redundant technical screens. When a company starts inventing their technical screening process as they go, a hiring process can quickly go off the rails. This is also a sure way to create hiring biases and risk taking up a disproportionate amount of a candidate’s time. To solve this, outline your technical screening process up front with very clear outcomes and make sure to assign it to the right team member to assess. 

Pro tip: If you’re also planning to assign an at-home assignment or take-home test, make sure you take a balanced approach with this. While assignments can certainly be effective for determining a candidate’s qualifications, when too time intense they can create a negative candidate experience. Be mindful of the hours a take-home assignment will require and make sure you respect the time and effort they put into it after submission. 

4. Stick with a 1-week interviewing timeframe  

While it can be tempting to speak with as many qualified candidates as possible for a role, our research shows that in fact when position requirements are understood up front, interviewing five potential candidates is the sweet spot. It’s also part of how you stick to a fast timeline by not overwhelming internal hiring teams. Additionally, scheduling a pre-brief before each hiring process kicks off ensures hiring teams are on the same page and aligned on the expectations and qualifications needed from the candidates being interviewed.

Pro tip: Keep your interviewing process to a week, and 2 weeks at maximum. Reading this might sound surprising when so many companies have become comfortable with month long (or more!) hiring processes. However, when you’ve already created strong internal alignment around a rock-solid recruiting process and know exactly what you need in each hire, interviewing can be extremely fast and effective. This is how you can seize great talent who are often being recruited for multiple roles simultaneously. 

A final note on making strong offers 

Your hiring process should be nailed down all the way through to how you make your job offers to candidates. One of the most important ways to make a strong job offer is through the packaging of your verbal delivery. To do this, be sure to learn your candidate’s leading motivations for looking for a new role and then highlight them in your presentation of the offer. 

A common misstep here is assuming that all candidates care most about compensation. More and more, we are seeing remote work flexibility rise to be the #1 job requirement for top candidates. When you wrap up your offer conversation, make sure to ask your candidate how they are feeling about the offer and everything presented. Listen to their thoughts and any concerns; make sure they know this is an open conversation and that you’re not only here to find the right hire for your company but also to help them find their next perfect role as well.

Once you have put these steps in place at your organization, the length of your hiring process should be drastically shortened. And, with recruiting having a direct tie to the annual productivity and revenue of your company, the compounding impact of a streamlined process will add up fast.

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