While most businesses understand you should never rush your recruitment process, because taking on the wrong person in haste can be a costly mistake down the line, many don’t realise that dawdling or putting off hiring decisions can be just as damaging.
There could be many reasons prompting you to push back interviews or delay making your choice after you’ve met candidates, such as concerns over Brexit or waiting for confirmation of a big client win. But doing so could come back to haunt you.
In this article, we’ll outline the problems you can create by stretching out your hiring process and offer some advice on how to avoid them.
Don’t start recruiting then stall
From architect practices to the construction industry, every sector has positions to fill. It doesn’t have to be owing to expansion; it could be an employee is resigning for another job or retiring, leaving you looking for someone new.
You can get in a mess if you start your recruitment process and then stop. So, you create the job description, advertise the position, perhaps in relevant media, or maybe engage with a recruitment agency that specialises in your field.
Before you know it, scores of applications arrive. You identify a shortlist for interview, meet with them – and then leave everyone dangling because you’re not ready to decide.
The issue here is that you risk losing out on a standout candidate. As well as being rude, Mr or Ms Right will start to be concerned; assume they haven’t got the job. They might give up and look elsewhere; become disheartened or think wrongly that your business must be in trouble.
Even if you eventually press the hire button, your ideal candidate might assume the delay was because they were your second choice, and you’ve only approached them because number one turned you down.
At worst, your preference will have headed elsewhere. Most of your shortlist will do the same, leaving you with no-one suitable to hire. So, your only choice is to start the whole process again.
What a waste of time and money!
You can hopefully cover off the extra spend, but what you can’t afford is the damage these things can do to your reputation. In a specialist field, people know each other and talk. You don’t want your business being the subject of gossip when it comes to recruitment.
After all, next time you advertise for a key opening, potential superstars might well be put off from applying.
How to overcome hiring delay issues
We won’t be churlish and say: “Don’t delay.” There may be a genuine reason why your decision making will be extended or even postponed. Instead, it would help if you managed the expectations of all candidates from the outset.
When you call in for an interview (and again during the interview), explain what your timescales are and (if presuming there are no confidential reasons to the contrary) why they will be longer than the candidates might expect.
Communication like this prevents most of the issues outlined earlier in this article: candidates will not be worried about your business, will not assume someone else has been offered the job first and will not get a poor impression that will harm your brand. It won’t prevent a star candidate being offered another job in the meantime, although this is a risk you face at any time.
Like with any recruitment decision, you should plan the process. Never react to a new position opening and advertise straight away. Carefully consider if you need to create a new job description. Could the role be accommodated by existing staff, saving you money? Could an internal candidate be suitable? If you do want to employ, ensure you nail down benefits and salary, so there is no delay when it comes to negotiating with your preferred candidate.
Steal a march on your rivals
It’s only natural that business should be concerned about major political events like Brexit. It’s not clear to anyone how this will affect many sectors. However, while many might be putting off plans to recruit new staff until the dust settles, this might be your perfect opportunity to advertise and bag yourself some outstanding candidates.
You not only get one over on your competition, but you won’t be part of the post-Brexit rush, when all those who have been putting off their hiring decisions, flood the market with opportunities.