Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Speeding Up Hiring

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that companies were trying to find ways of speeding up the hiring process.  Bravo. If what I read about the economy is true, it is becoming a candidate’s market and speed in hiring may become essential after years of the other way around.

One source cited that it takes 29 days for an average company to hire an employee.  Add to that two weeks’ notice and you are into 44 days – over six weeks, start to finish.  One of the companies cited was media Agency MEC which has been streamlining its hiring process of entry level positions, apparently with great success.  My suggestion is that all companies should use some of the same techniques for hiring executives, both senior and junior.

I am always chagrined by companies, particularly ad agencies, which spend a long time to find a right fit candidate and, once identified, spend another week (or more) getting approvals, which delay the process even further. Those authorizations, despite the fact that the company initially obtained permission to  start the process, generally have to be signed off on by the finance department.  I have long held a theory that if the finance department can hold off on hiring, say, a $120k candidate for even a week, they know that they can put $2,500 right to the bottom line.  This is a false economy.

When someone resigns with two weeks’ notice, 44 days to fill a job, is a very long time.  My guess is that those 44 days don’t include the week during the notice period in which it takes the company to get its act together to decide to hire a replacement or go through counter-offers (which should not be given or accepted).  That adds another seven days or so.  Meaning that the company is without a functioning employee for at least six weeks.

This can be a disaster for service businesses like advertising.  It only means that other employees have to work harder and longer to fill in the gap.

Once the decision is made to hire and initial approvals are obtained from the finance department, there should not have to be additional approvals and sign-offs (unless the potential employee is over-budget).  Making the offer should be the providence of the hiring managers and human resources.

I have seen really good candidates lose interest because the process takes too long and if they are interviewing at multiple companies, the first one with an offer often wins.  Speeding up the process is a great idea and anything that can be done to expedite hiring is good business, especially as the economy improves.

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