Slow Hiring Hurts Your Business

As I travel around my state I am seeing something that many haven’t seen in decades or that some of us saw in old movies.  Driving through towns you see “HELP WANTED” signs in business windows and hanging from their buildings or fences.  In some sectors, the need is so huge that businesses are turning down orders or cannot expeditiously meet customer needs because they don’t have the workers to do it.

I know of businesses that attempt to recruit, either with their own resources or external resources and then are very slow to complete the task, even if they state the need is urgent.  This causes damage to their business not only in the work not being performed but also to their brand as an employer because of the vacant role.

Here are some specific examples of the kinds of damage slow hiring can cause.

Slow hiring does not improve the quality of hire — Many businesses think the due diligence they undertake in the hiring process improves the quality of hire.  The reality doesn’t support the theory.  Research shows that the longer you take in the hiring process, the lower the quality of the hire.

Loss of top candidates —It is a proven fact that top quality candidates and workers view slow decision making as a negative cultural attribute.  They see this as an indication of organizational agility and how decisions are made in your business.  The slow decision simply means slow and top prospects see this as a negative.

Lost sales and productivity — Some business leaders think that having an open position saves them money.  That is far from true.  The longer a position stays open, the greater the damage to your business in financial terms of revenue and lost productivity.  A vacant sales position could cost your business thousands of dollars a day for no other reason than the vacant position cannot create the sales you want.  In some cases, work cannot even be performed because the position is vacant.

Customers and employees react badly to slow hiring — If you have a position that is open for a long time both your customers and employees will feel it.  Your customers will see the longer waits, slower response and related negative actions from your open positions.  Employees will either experience customer frustration directed at them but also could be tasked to work longer or faster, causing waste and error.  All damaging your profit.

Slow hiring will reduce your quality applicants because of your damaged brand — Your brand is your reputation.  If you have a reputation of being slow you will lose top prospects and candidates.  Further, as the knowledge of you being slow to hire travels throughout the marketplace, it damages your brand for consumers as well.  Social media will identify your slowness and react to it unfavorably.

There are many other negative outcomes from slow hiring.  Overcoming the slowness is simple and takes but a few steps:

  • Decide who is the ultimate decision maker and ensure they are available.  If the decision maker has decided to go to the Carribean during the hiring process you need to address that in advance of the recruiting process.
  • Clearly determine the requirements of the position and its exact duties and responsibilities.  Changing these in the middle of the interview process or not clearly understanding what the job will do can be fatal.
  • Keep the interview team small.  Every employee in the worksite, every manager and the business and all of the owners do not need to interview every candidate.  Pick your best few and put them on the interview team, but keep the number small.
  • Different levels of position need a different number of interviews.  Individual contributor positions usually only require a single interview.  Perhaps a second interview if you have two outstanding candidates.  Management and similar level positions should normally take 2 rounds of interviews.  Executive level positions customarily take 3-4, depending upon who all must meet with the candidates and the specific role.  “C” level staff generally trend toward more interviews.
  • Individual contributor recruiting efforts should not take more than 3 weeks from posting to an extension of an offer conditioned on references and if used, post-offer pre-employment drug testing.  Management level positions no more than 5-6 weeks and executive level positions 8-10 weeks.  These are averages so some can be completed more quickly while others may take longer.  Longer is usually an indication of an overly bureaucratic or flawed process.

The speed with which you recruit for your vacant positions is a direct reflection on the quality of your business.  Your business should be high quality.