You would think with a higher than normal unemployment rate and the fierce competition for jobs in the US, employers would have their pick of top-notch candidates when filling open positions. There are a multitude of candidates that apply for every one position, but they aren't necessarily the best candidates. The best performers are usually already working or have a choice of several different job opportunities.

The shallow talent pool for top performing candidates isn't the only reason that hundreds of thousands of mid to high level jobs continue to go unfilled. Many don't get filled because of a slow, sloppy interview process. Top performing candidates are intelligent people and know when they are in a less than ideal interview situation and this raises a red flag that puts a bad taste in their mouths regarding the hiring company and its' leadership.

Unfilled Positions Can Cost Your Company Money...or Worse

A bad hiring process not only costs your company its' professional reputation, but it also leads to loss of revenue and market share.

For example, if you have a sales position open where a top performer is needed to drive $2 million annually, keeping the job unfilled equals a loss of approximately $8,500-$10,000 per day for every day the job goes unfilled. (based on a 200-250 day work year)

What Can Be Done to Improve a Bad Hiring Process?

Your company can improve a slow and sloppy hiring process by planning ahead. Managing the expectations of everyone involved in the process is key to success. When everyone is held accountable to a plan, it's almost magic.

"Time" is the most important element when developing and executing an interview process geared to attract top performers to your company. Set up a timeline for the entire hiring process and stick to it! To set up your timeline, work backwards from the day you need the person on board to the day you are ready to engage in a search.

Calculate the amount of time you'll need for each step in the entire process. This includes the time needed for application processing, phone and in-person interviews, final notice, consideration of an offer, screening, decision process, and the on board paperwork processing. What amount of time is needed for each step (1 day, 2 weeks, 1 month)? Set up expectations ahead of time for everyone within your company that is involved in the interview process for scheduling and unified feedback.

Once you've made it to the decision process, keep the candidates up to speed on where they stand. This sets a professional tone for all involved including the other finalists. You may be calling on one of them if your negotiations with your initial choice don't go the way you plan.

When it comes time to make an offer, it's a good idea to keep things moving. The more time you put between the interview process and making the offer, the more time there is for another company to pick up your top performing candidate. Plus, keeping things moving in a timely fashion puts your company and its' culture in a positive light. Don't drag your feet!

Companies that drag out the process and take months from the candidate's initial interview until the offer is finally made may ultimately miss out on a stellar candidate as time passes because the excitement of the opportunity wanes and it starts to feel more like a predicament for the candidate.

Additionally, top performers are accustomed to driving business to a conclusion. They measure a company's communications abilities throughout the process. Predictably, these individuals have high standards and expectations and perceive an extended and sloppy process to be the fault of leadership. Since they hold themselves accountable for their actions, they in turn do the same with potential employers.

If you fail to manage your hiring process swiftly, top performers begin to view your company-as unprofessional, indecisive, and ultimately they become frustrated and move on to the next opportunity. In the end, you have to start over and spend more time, money, and resources, searching for top talent. With competition for talent and business at a premium, those costs can be extremely high.

Author's Bio: 

Dave Dart is the Managing Partner of the Morisey-Dart Group, an executive recruitment firm that specializes in recruiting for Managed Print Services, Managed IT Services, Document Management Solutions, Health Information Management (HIM), Health Information Systems (HIS), Banking and Financial Services, and Legal industries.

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