5 Top Tips for Hiring on a Deadline
Hiring for your team is a tough job. Hiring for your team on a tight deadline is even tougher, and can cause a serious imbalance in how your team functions. If the race is on to fill a job quickly, you need to be comfortable that you can make a reasonable hiring decision without being uncessarily pressurised. Of course, the issue is that it’s not just the fact that your team may have a strategic gap, it’s the time, trouble and expense of filling the job, and then having someone “find their feet” quick enough to get your team back on firm ground.
So how do you find the best talent, quickly?
1. Be Organised
If your team is organised, dealing with the hiring lifecycle is significantly less stressful, even on deadline! Of course it isn’t realistic for every employer to have a ‘perfect’ hiring structure, but we’ve pulled together a couple of key areas where being organised can really make a difference.
a. Team Matrix
Have profiles of all your staff and a matrix showing how those roles interact with each other. These profiles need to be digitally stored and constantly updated. Your HR plan should be readily available, showing not just the current status of your team, but also how your different job roles are underpinning growth and development. This will help to ascertain the importance of the role you are recruiting for and how it really affects the rest of the immediate and corresponding teams.
We’re not suggesting you use generic job descriptions as it is extremely important to showcase the role and expectations appropriately, but using company based templates to distribute the information can save a huge amount of time. Think about all the different potential avenues you may use to get your role out there – social media, website, job boards, recruitment agencies, intranet - and it can quickly become a very time consuming task.
c. Solid Hiring Process
Having a solid and successful hiring process that has been signed off in advance not only reduces the time it takes to organise interviews, it also means that everyone involved is aware of their required contribution and helps to mitigate communication / organisational issues across the hiring lifecycle. You may choose to involve colleagues as well as hiring managers, so making sure everyone is on the same page can be the difference between a smooth or decidedly bumpy hiring process.
2. Visualise The Deadline
Once you know that you need to recruit quickly, you need a clear hiring plan that includes milestones and deadlines so the hiring process is measured and managed. To start this, you first need the timescale for when it’s crucial to have someone in the post. Then you can work backwards.
This plan can also include interim arrangements to ensure other people take on aspects of the role to minimise the disruption. How can the team be structured to provide the relevant support until someone is appointed? Also, any succession planning can be done – how will the handover of job tasks and responsibilities be passed on to the new employee?
This clear deadline and plan may sound like just another thing to try to fit in while firefighting, but it can be invaluable. It is too easy – with all the rest of the plates to spin – for the hiring process to drag on because other priorities divert and distract. Your plan is your roadmap to getting the post filled in as quick a time as possible.
The author Douglas Adams said "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by." Your plan should be feasible enough to keep you on track, so there is no “whooshing”.
3. Use Your Network
If you need to hire within a tight deadline, then having a good network of affiliates, business friends and potential candidates to draw on is invaluable. Being well connected is an investment that no one can afford to ignore.
If you have a pre-existing talent pool of potential employees, the right candidate could pop out effortlessly. For many business leaders, speculative applications and random contacts you make while out and about get lost in the ether. Using a platform like Endorsed enables you to build a talent pool of candidates from your industry and competitors over time so that it is really easy to be strategic and organised.
If you want to be prepared for those heart racing moments when you have a key post to fill fast, it is invaluable to have a collated and categorised bank of people, who have already expressed an interest in working for you. Plus, if you have a set of contacts and a hiring network that can put the word out for you, then the hiring process can speed up considerably.
4. Communicate Effectively
Communication is key when hiring, and even more so when you are being pushed to make a hire more quickly than perhaps you might like. Being effective in the way you communicate needs to extend to all parties in the hiring process – both colleagues and candidates alike.
Ensure that internally all members of the hiring team are involved in crucial discussions and feedback sessions. Don’t be afraid to chase for feedback, especially if it is causing delays to the next part of your process. Ideally the team has a place to chat online to speed up communication, and to ensure that nobody is left out of the decision making process.
Additionally, and one could argue, most importantly, communication with your candidates is crucial. It is very easy to let updates slip when you’re under pressure internally, or juggling multiple tasks in addition to hiring. However, not keeping candidates updated during the hiring lifecycle is hugely damaging. From losing great candidates to denting your employer brand, it really pays to make sure you follow up with everyone in a timely fashion. You will also ensure that your hiring process continues moving forwards: essential when hiring on a deadline.
5. Remove Bottlenecks
This is a well-used term when discussing how to improve hiring processes, but is definitely more effective when you have time to assess and implement new structures during recruitment downtime.
However, there is a place for this when hiring on a deadline. It won’t necessarily revolutionise your hiring long term but it could help you get back on track with this particular hire. It requires a swift and decisive audit of your current recruitment plan to identify where a blockage has already occurred or is likely to occur. Even if this takes you a couple of hours, it could end up saving you weeks from the bottom line, and even stop you from losing that top candidate.
Here are a couple of areas to audit:
- Make sure only the key decision makers are involved in the screening process
- Ensure you are all assessing the candidates against the same vital attributes. Don’t get caught up in the nice to haves. It’s a balancing act between being realistic while not compromising too much or making costly hiring errors.
- Can you use knock out questions to reduce the number of applications considered?
- If you have a talent pool of candidates who offer a good balance of appropriate skills and availability - get them straight in to be interviewed. You don’t have to wait until you have a large volume of candidates to select from if you have already done enough homework.
- Ensure all decision makers are agreed in advance on the limitations around the offer. What is the maximum you can offer, and what additional extras could be added to the package to secure the best candidate? You don’t want to lose the dream candidate at the final hurdle.
Ultimately, the best way to hire on a deadline is to be prepared for the day it might happen and build systems, plans and strong connections in advance. Then, when the race to find someone quickly starts, you are already in a winning position.
With Endorsed, you can not only hire elite talent today, you can also build a talent network for tomorrow. Get in touch and find out how Endorsed can help you hire the best talent, faster and simpler.