Our industry gets a bad rap some of the time, as recruiters are seen to be “pushy”. Certainly, it is true we are seen having a vested interest in a placement and therefore our advice to speed a process up can be met with scepticism. However, over the last two years particularly, I have been alarmed at the amount of good candidates that drop out of recruitment processes simply because the people making the decisions took too long.

Whenever I, or my team, are asked to give advice on the market, I cite the necessity for a company to move quickly as one of the quickest wins to secure candidates in a sourcing process. In my view, it is even more effective than throwing more money at a job, as it creates a sense of urgency and somewhat protects against other opportunities the candidate may have.

It’s one thing to identify this obstacle, it’s another thing entirely to manage it. I do not believe for one second a company sets out to be slow when it begins a recruitment process, I believe their intent is to be thorough. Here are a few strategies to speeding up the process:

Have a clear job brief

The role requirements are often a moving target during a job brief, especially when newly created roles are being recruited. Sometimes even meeting candidates can change the brief. The best way to approach this is to pick the top 3 - 5 things you want this person to come in and do and focus on these. We often see when a job process stalls, it is because hiring managers get caught up on who they have seen, and lose sight of what they wanted them to come in and do.

Know the process

This is probably the biggest stall; when processes are put together as they go along. Be really clear who needs to meet candidates, not just how many stages they have to complete. A common mistake is a meeting with a stakeholder is drafted into the process, but no one checked they might be on a 3 week holiday. Or better still, the line manager themselves begins a process and then goes on holiday before it completes. For the candidates, waiting in a holding pattern can feel like an eternity and often they will be lost if there is an alternative opportunity moving faster.

Have the budget

Salary is another common reason for things slowing down. Some of the time it might be getting the approval or getting too low a salary signed off. It is a good idea to speak to the external market about what salaries are being paid currently, as invariably what you will find there are gaps between bandings. i.e. Senior team member roles are $110-120K, the next level up is $150-160K, therefore approving a budget at $140K sits you in the middle of no man’s land.

Be prepared to sell

Believe it or not, this reluctance indirectly slows a process due to lack of engagement by the candidate. Companies that sell themselves ensure candidates leave the interview feeling full of enthusiasm, and this often results in more straightforward processes.

The key to managing a process, and its potential stalls, is communication. We live in a hyper-connected era where silence is viewed negatively. Speak early and often to your candidates and put energy into designing a recruitment process that does not compromise quality, but values their time.