The global economy is changing at a rapid pace -- partly due to increasing economic inequalities worldwide and partly due to evolving technologies shifting workforce dynamics. As small businesses respond to these changes and issues like perceived labor shortages, remote work, or hiring in the gig economy, an efficient hiring process is as important as an ethical and effective one: these go hand-in-hand. Here are 3 tips to hire qualified candidates more quickly.
One of the biggest reasons companies struggle with slow hiring processes is because they are not attracting the right candidates for different roles. Finding the right fit takes time, but it takes even longer if a company and its job postings don’t stand out or lack transparency. Aside from posting jobs in relevant contexts where candidates can discover roles in various industries, companies should focus on making their positions truly attractive to qualified candidates.
To do this, businesses must understand the hiring climate from the vantage point of job seekers and prospective employees, not just from their own labor needs. Labor economist Aaron Sojourner explains that what most employers are viewing as a current job shortage is actually a lack of truly attractive job environments and clear job descriptions:
“What’s being called a labor shortage is still a health shortage, a wage shortage and a care shortage...Improve wages, benefits, training, safety and respect…[and] be more transparent about what the job offers. Many managers post vague job openings in order to preserve their bargaining flexibility, so they can make a tailored offer after learning about a specific candidate’s circumstances.
However, vague vacancy descriptions can lead to two kinds of expensive errors. First, some people who would be a good fit don’t apply because they can’t recognize that the job would be a good fit. Second, people who would not be a good fit apply because the ad is not clear and then the manager has to waste time interfacing with them.”
Companies may not be able to solve every one of these challenges, but they can prioritize meeting the needs of their prospective and current employees more effectively. This focus enables them to offer more compelling pay, honest work environments, and useful benefits that will draw more candidates more quickly. For example, companies should consider baseline issues like whether their roles truly offer livable wages in a given location and whether their employment policies protect flexible, meaningful benefits like paid parental leave, accessibility, unionization, and quality healthcare. Companies that prioritize their teams in these ways are both more likely to hire quickly and retain their employees for longer.
Taking shortcuts around investing in personnel ultimately hurts employers as much as prospective employees. However, businesses that understand and respond to the holistic, human needs of their teams are more likely to make the kinds of choices that attract qualified people and hire faster.
Once companies are confident they are attracting quality candidates by offering truly good jobs in clear ways, they need to consider how to make employee selections. They need policies and processes that are pre-determined, consistent, and thorough before a job is ever posted. This allows companies and prospects to enjoy a uniform experience that avoids discriminatory practices and enables efficiency.
For instance, employers should ensure that they have a background check policy in place--and a philosophy for how their company intends to use these checks to inform their hiring decisions. At minimum, the process should use an FCRA approved consumer reporting agency with high technological and relational capacity to screen candidates well, and they should make sure the background check process complies with all FCRA and EEOC mandates.
Companies can also consider if the process is using the right type of background check for the right role and candidates. This is important because a background check process that is too complex for a particular type of hire can drive away candidates, slowing down the hiring process. Companies may also make things harder for themselves if they haven’t considered circumstances like hiring when a candidate has a legal record or the difference between background check processes for full-time team members versus contracted workers. Thoughtful pre-screening policies paired with a clear background check process can move hiring along faster while also helping a company determine the best fit.
Companies will find themselves at a disadvantage if they focus on hiring in the moment they need a new team member, instead of having a long term hiring strategy. A long-term approach requires a more relational way of thinking about hiring, as opposed to a reactionary, utilitarian approach. It’s not just about finding people to execute specific functions, but about building and cultivating relationships that mutually benefit.
For instance, companies can hold informational interviews, offer skills training in their community, or provide fairly paid internships in advance of open positions to create opportunities for meeting new talent in their industry. Businesses can also utilize employee networks to identify new prospects or offer advancement opportunities from within the company to strengthen and speed up the hiring process.
Lastly, employers should pay attention to little ways they develop their brand as an employer over time: employees who have a positive experience with a company can often be the best ambassadors to attract new hires. Businesses should keep an option on their website to invite new prospects to apply or send in a resume, even if a position isn’t yet open, and HR teams should regularly check in with current employees to understand their experience. All of these details can make the difference in long-term relationships that lead to faster, more confident hiring decisions.
Professor at Harvard Business School, Tsedal Neeley, emphasized a central theme each of these tips hold in common that businesses should prioritize: “People are not merely financial engines.” A faster process depends largely on how much a business has responded to the perspective of its prospects and current employees. For a more efficient process, companies must focus on transparency, fairness, and consistency at every level from the job description to background checks to long term talent cultivation.