Training potential leaders trumps enduring the endless search for perfection.
By Rob Romaine
Until a few years ago, prospective Google employees had to endure a hiring process that could involve more than 10 interviews. The length of the hiring process created an ordeal for hiring managers, frequently causing the company to lose top talent to its competitors. The longer that the candidates were on hold, the more time they had to get another job offer or accept a counteroffer.
Two years ago, Google overhauled its process. The company now has a very data-driven interviewing process. After reviewing their analytics, Google found that they didn’t feel more confident about whether a candidate was a good fit for a position after four interviews. Five interviews is their max, but four interviews is their sweet spot. The process now takes on average about 45 days to hire.
While Google’s previous 10-interview process is extreme, many companies employ a multi-step interviewing and hiring process. Reasons include:
- To avoid hiring mistakes
- To ensure candidates have every quality in job description;
- The need for specific, specialized skillsets; and
- Old hiring habits die hard.
Organizations need to realize that lengthy interviewing processes are no longer effective in today’s executive, managerial, and professional job market. This space is largely candidate driven with a small talent pool. Top candidates tend to be courted by multiple companies at once, giving them many options at their disposal. Because the supply of top candidates is small and highly sought after, employers have to act quickly to ensure attaining in top picks and avoid losing them to competitors.
Perfect Doesn’t Exist
Organizations that insist candidates perfectly match all the job requirements and wait for that “perfect” candidate often overlook talented individuals who, with a little coaching and training, might be the best fit for the job and become a leader within the company in the long term.
Employers can qualify a candidate’s leadership potential by inquiring about:
- Relationship-building skills;
- History of reaching goals and driving results;
- The ability to inspire and motivate;
- A sense of integrity; and
- Prior success dealing with failure and adversity.
Personality assessments can also be performed as an additional tool to gain insight about a candidate’s leadership capabilities. By learning to qualify and recognize candidates who can become “perfect” employees, organizations have the opportunity for greater success in hiring and retaining talent. These candidates have the ability to evolve into key leadership roles that move the company forward.
Steps to Streamlining the Process
Change is hard, but here is some advice to tailoring your hiring to efficiency:
- Determine if your interviewing process is time- efficient. Remember: The best candidates are typically employed and are interviewing with multiple companies. Identify all key staff that are essential to the candidate search and ensure that they make interviewing a top priority. If there are multiple decision makers, consider scheduling meetings between these individuals and the candidate over the course of one day, instead of asking them to come in for multiple interviews. Assess whether a video conferencing program should be leveraged.
- Keep the lines of communications open. Explain each step of the interviewing process to the candidate up front. Provide feedback within 24 hours of the interview and explain next steps to keep them engaged in the process.
- Consider what your interviewing process says about your company culture and brand. A lengthy process could give the impression that there is a lot of red tape with getting things accomplished or approved. It can also give the wrong impression that you are no longer interested in the candidate.
As employers are assessing candidates’ reputation from the moment a resume is submitted, candidates are making the same assessments of the potential employer throughout the interviewing process. A streamlined hiring approach is another avenue for a company to brand itself, outside of social media and other marketing efforts, as an organization that puts
its employees first. A swift hiring process facilitated by company representatives that are prepared, organized, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about open roles, only helps solidify the culture that the prospective hire can expect.
The most successful companies realize that recruitment is not about finding candidates that perfectly match job descriptions. It is about matching individuals who have the experience, skills, maturity, and cultural fit to impact the company and lead it into the future. Most job-related skills can be taught within three to six months, but intelligence and leadership skills are something candidates either have or don’t. It is up to hiring managers and highly-skilled recruiters to be able to discern whether applicants have the potential to not only fit into a given role, but also become strong leaders in the company.
Rob Romaine is vice president of recruiting & operations for North America at CDI Corporation.