The Golden Rule of Hiring Timelines: Under 30 Wins

Feb 20, 2023

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it takes an average of 42 days to hire a candidate. Every minute counts when it comes to the hiring process, so posting a position description and reviewing resumes right away might sound like the best choice. However, the truth is that beginning the hiring process without a plan can result in miscommunications, delays, and a lot of wasted time in the long run.

By simply asking these five questions and making a plan of action before beginning the hiring process, managers can save valuable time, trim their hiring process down to under 30 days, and improve their chances of making a successful hire.

What's your timeline?

It seems simple enough: “We want to hire someone as soon as possible.” That might be true, but it’s not very helpful in the planning process. Be specific and intentional in creating a hiring timeline; for example, you might decide to review resumes for 7-10 days, schedule interviews with the best-qualified candidates within 10-20 days, and submit an offer within that golden-rule timeline of 30 days. Having these clearly defined benchmarks can help keep you on track and prevent costly delays while you try to decide when to move on to the next stage of the process.

Who needs to be involved?

As a rule, the more people who are involved in the hiring process, the longer it will take to hire someone. Trying to coordinate schedules for a large number of interviewers and hiring managers is a time-consuming and often frustrating process, so it’s important to involve only those who need to be directly involved. Once you decide on those must-have leaders, make sure they all understand the hiring timeline you previously established. In a candidate-driven market, every day makes a difference.

If a candidate is ready to meet, the interview team should prioritize that meeting, even when their schedules feel full. If everyone knows from day one when interviews are most likely to occur (for example, in an “under 30” timeline, about 15-20 days after launching the search), they can block off time slots during those days or at least be mentally prepared for the interview process. If situations arise when a designated hiring manager can’t attend an interview, something as simple as a 10-minute phone call to touch base can mitigate the impact: call and remind the person that you’re very interested in their candidacy and want to speak with them further.

What qualities and experiences are most important for this role?

Before you can hire someone, you have to know what you’re looking for. This question goes deeper than pointing to the list of required and preferred qualifications on your job description. Most candidates, even the exceptional ones, won’t tick every single box on your list, and that doesn’t mean they won’t be perfect for the job. Identify the top five criteria that are the most important for success in the role and at your company. Keep those in mind when evaluating candidates, and then keep an open mind about everything else. Here’s an example: You’re looking for a candidate with excellent business development and leadership skills. You interview someone with those qualities, but they lack exposure to your company’s preferred technology. In this case, that might not be a deal breaker. Is that person teachable, and do they already possess the most important qualities you need? Decide what the person has to have - and what you’re willing to teach them on the job.

What do you want to communicate about your company to candidates?

Hiring is a two-way process. Hiring managers are evaluating candidates, but candidates are also evaluating the company and deciding if it’s a place they want to work. Everything that happens (or doesn’t happen) during the hiring process communicates something to the candidate. Do you want candidates to know that your company is organized and efficient? Have a clearly laid out hiring timeline, schedule conversations and interviews in a timely fashion, and have everyone involved in the hiring process show up to scheduled interviews. Do you want them to know that your company values integrity, respect, and communication? Treat each candidate with respect, make them feel welcome, answer their emails and phone calls quickly, and always communicate when you say you will.

Rescheduling interviews, showing up late, and checking your phone during meetings, on the other hand, communicate that the company is disorganized, or worse, that the candidate is low on your priority list. Ensure you’re making a good impression, because when you identify a candidate you want to hire, you have to make sure they want to work for you too.

What’s your best offer for the candidate you choose?

The time to put together your best offer package is not when you identify the candidate you want to hire - it’s before the process starts. Waiting until the last minute to put together an offer can create long lags between an interview and submitting an offer, which is an easy way to kill momentum. Create an offer package right away: What is the top end of your salary range? What kind of benefits are included? Be informed about market value and be realistic about what candidates in this type of role are looking for in this market. Then, when you find someone you want to hire, you might have small adjustments to make, but the bulk of the work will already be done.

And here’s the most important part: present your best offer immediately. Low-balling a candidate in the hopes of saving a few thousand dollars can be a costly mistake: you risk them turning down the offer altogether, and even if they do accept it, they might be starting the job with a negative first impression, increasing the risk of quick turnover.

The hiring process can be stressful, overwhelming, and time-consuming. But if you sit down at the beginning of the process and answer these five questions, you put yourself in the position to help the process run smoothly, to create a great impression on everyone you interview, and to successfully hire your top-choice candidate - in under 30 days.

About the Author

David Williams

David joined Kimmel & Associates in 2015 in the Mechanical & Electrical Division, serving clients in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. “Working with a servant’s heart” is the motto that David has always lived by.

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