#33: Recruitment - Act quickly

This episode is part of a recruitment mini-series; where I am focusing on various characteristics that I believe are important in recruitment.

And while I believe many of these themes are universal, I will, of course, be focusing on software development.

In this episode, I talk about the need to act quickly.

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Published: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 17:02:33 GMT


While this is likely to a fair short episode, I wanted to call out the need to move quickly.

As I've talked about previously, the Software Development market is incredibly fast-paced.

Good experienced developers can move through the market exceptionally quickly - I'm talking in a matter of days in some cases.

I've personally has situations where we've gone through the entire process to find the right person only to lose them due to a lengthy internal approval process.

I'd expended considerable effort (thus time - thus cost) in getting the right person.

I'd done an excellent job in working with a great agency using the steps I'd outlined in this mini-series.

The candidate was sold on the organisation and was exceptionally keen.

Everything was great.

Right up to when the director that I was recruiting on behalf of, said he'd just need to get the approval signed off.

At that point, my heart sank.

I've worked in many corporate environments - and while relatively new to this particular organisation, the words "approval sign off" are rarely a cause for celebration.

But maybe this organisation would be different?

Even after some fairly herculean efforts by myself and agency, four weeks later the candidate regretfully informed us they had accepted another position.

It was soul-destroying for myself and the agency.

But to be honest, it was the right thing for the individual.

If it is taking over a month to get that approval, then you have to question the organisation.

It certainly left a bad taste for both myself and the recruitment agency.

Sometimes delays are simply unavoidable - in this example, the approval had got attached to a host of strategic decisions around the business following a merger.

But most of the time, I see delays just in people's day to day tasks.

You, or whoever will be doing the recruitment, must be prepared to put that effort front and centre of your priorities.

If you are just trying to "fit it in", then it is unlikely you will be able to respond in a timely enough manner.

You need to clear the decks.

Take CV reviews, for example.

It can be easy to let the CVs sit in your inbox for a few days before getting back to the agency.

I've know CVs go unread for weeks because the recruiting manager didn't make time for it.

I always aim to review a CV with 24 hours. If possible, I try to review it as soon as I receive it.

Even with those short timescales, I've still seen candidates disappear from the market by the time I've gone back to them.

One additional thing on CV reviews; if they come from a recruitment agency, provide feedback. If the right CVs aren't coming through, then the agency needs to know so they can address it.

With interviews, make as much of your calendar available to agencies as possible.

Allow them the ability to book interviews in - this can significantly simplify the process.

Having to contact you to confirm a specific date and time again is a source of delays and sometimes difficult to coordinate.

And providing the maximum level of flexibility for the candidate is a great way to show you value the role and what they can do for the organisation.

Be prepared to provide interviews at the candidate's convenience. That may be the first thing in the morning, into the evening and even possibly the weekend.

Don't lose great candidates by being inflexible with your calendar.

If you aren't actually doing the interviewing, but traditionally want a "quick chat" with potential hires - then the same applies - make yourself available.

I like the practice of company founders and leaders wanting to talk to every potential hire - it's an excellent way for the candidate to understand what the company is really about - what it stands for.

But again, remember that you can lose good people because you want them to "pop in" for a 15-minute chat.

Yes, it might be 15 minutes out of your day, but it could be hours or even a full day that you are asking them to give up.

If it's that important to you, then go to see them.

Arrange to meet them for a coffee local to them. Or take them for a meal.

Again, these are all great signs that you value their time and what they can bring to your organisation.

You'd do it for a potential client - why not a potential employee - both can transform the fortunes of your business.

And when it comes to decisions and next steps, again move quickly.

I don't suggest you rush into things without thought - instead, make sure that the recruitment remains at the top of your priorities.

If you've interviewed someone today, go back to them within 24 hours at most. Keep the process moving.

Consider it from the candidate's end.

They've just left your office excited about the role and organisation - because you sold it well - and they are so keen to hear back from you.

It's like when you were a teenager - waiting for that boy or girl in class to call you. Its butterflies in the stomach time.

This isn't about playing hard to get.

You leave it too long then you are likely to lose them.

Again, I cannot reiterate enough - in this fast-moving industry - great candidates do not remain available for long.

And this is why I advise you do all the prep work upfront - to remove any delays later in the process.

In this episode, I've emphasised quick action to avoid missing out on great candidates.

I've talked about the key being to set time aside and treat this as the top priority - focusing on removing delays from the process.

Think about it in the same as Lean manufacturing - focus on the flow of great candidates through the process - remove anything that delays that flow - any causes of waste.