7 Ways to Hire Smarter and Land Great Candidates Faster


HR Practices

We’ve all seen the statistic—the best candidates are off the market within 10 days. HR leaders feel the pressure to accelerate hiring, but a rush job resulting in a bad fit raises more problems.

By focusing on doing things smarter, however, many employers are enhancing their hiring and quickly putting great people in place. How can you get smarter? Turning to age-old wisdom can help.

#1 Be Prepared

The Boy Scout motto is a good place to start on a hiring overhaul. For example, as the job market tightened, employers sought ways to avoid competing for a shrinking number of active job seekers. One method is to foster relationships with so-called passive candidates, people who are not looking for a position but would accept an exciting opportunity if one came along. These candidates take more time to develop, but employers benefit by having the perfect person available when a role opens.

Additionally, some organizations have positions, such as customer service representatives, that must be sourced perennially. Others have high-impact jobs so difficult to fill it’s worth maintaining a constant search and investing in someone, even in advance of a team expansion.

Whatever your situation, getting ahead of urgent needs by developing a funnel of prospects is critical to hiring fast and well.

#2 It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

Or rather, it’s who your employees know. That’s because 9 in 10 employers say referrals are their #1 source for applicants. What’s more, referrals are the quickest hires.

Every employer should be asking top performers whom they believe would be a helpful addition, as well as setting new hires loose to find talent. In fact, LinkedIn says people are most likely to refer others within six months of starting a new job.

If your referral program has gotten stale, consider revisiting the incentives. And when time is of the essence, publicize an immediate opening and offer a particularly enticing bounty.

#3 Wise Men Speak Because They Have Something to Say

Applying Plato’s aphorism to recruiting would lead many organizations to simplify their interview processes. Ask yourself: speaking with candidates when and how you do, are you giving them an opportunity to say something meaningful, or are you just doing things the same old way?

If multiple interviews are proving a bottleneck, for instance, it’s worth considering alternatives to collect the same information in less time. Video interviews can empower candidates to answer screening questions at their convenience and decision-makers can review in as much depth as the presentation warrants. Similarly, recording structured, in-person sessions allow all decision-makers to compare every candidate’s responses, without needing to participate in each conversation.

Some employers are actually skipping interviews altogether, such as for retail staff and other entry-level positions, as well as technical roles for which testing and phone screenings are sufficient to identify appropriate skills.

#4 If You Pay Peanuts, You Get Monkeys

This Chinese saying highlights the importance of a timely, compelling offer. Employers should make use of the entire recruitment process to communicate the advantages of a position. This will inevitably include salary and benefits, but mention should also be made of flex time, telecommuting options, work/life balance policies, paid training, and other features. And definitely convey the organization’s culture and environment, which can be the ultimate differentiator.

Perhaps most important, stress the problems the candidate would be asked to solve and the tools you’ll make available. After all, the most common reasons people change jobs are for new challenges and career opportunities—so give it to them!

#5 The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Pre-employment background checks and other screenings, such as drug testing, have become a de facto part of hiring. The National Association of Professional Background Screenings reports that 95 percent of employers organize one or more checks. These investigations are essential to help improve the quality of hires, maintain compliance, protect company reputation, and safeguard employees, customers, and other stakeholders from bad actors.

The problem—pre-employment background checks take time and there are those early birds and worms to worry about. Candidates frustrated by extra bureaucracy or wait times may take another opportunity.

That’s why it’s vital to engage a highly capable pre-employment screening provider. The industry has advanced significantly in a short period of time, so robust ATS integrations, faster search results, personalized assistance, and features like “instant clears” are now available from some providers. Given the impact on hiring timeframes, a high-performance background search system can play a key role in securing candidates and putting them on the job right away.

#6 Treat People as You Want to Be Treated

Did you know, 62 percent of candidates who had a good experience would recommend the company to others, regardless of whether they got the job? That’s right—a welcoming, efficient, personalized-when-it-counts candidate experience can boost an employer’s reputation and help generate applications.

What’s more, 69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they felt positive about the onboarding. So applying the Golden Rule—putting yourself in the candidate’s position and asking how you’d like to be treated at each stage—can improve retention and cut down on hiring fire drills, too.

I guess that the kindergarten teacher was right!

#7 “I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.”

This is actually a quote from Einstein, a pretty smart guy himself, and it can encourage us all to keep up the effort. Hiring improvements aren’t “one and done.” We’re all on a journey, evolving with the organization, the current job market, and the changing needs and expectations of the candidates we hope to secure.

So keep traveling toward your optimal hiring process, one that is smarter and faster than whatever went before.


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