The single best thing you can do for better recruiting results also happens to be free. Take this one action, and you will hire faster, spend less time on recruiting, experience less frustration, and “improve your employment brand” by serving your candidates better…and it won’t cost you a dime.

Do this one thing and you will lose fewer candidates to competing job offers and you will significantly improve your ability to get your offers accepted quickly.

What is the one thing?

Schedule your hiring process like you would schedule a project.

One of life’s cruel ironies is that you only need to hire when you are already too busy and short-staffed. When you most need to hire, you don’t have the time to hire. But trying to save time by hiring “on the fly” actually takes more time, hires more slowly, and generally makes things worse for yourself. (See if my previous post about the most common hiring mistakes, rings true for you).

Trust me on this one. On Day One, open your Outlook calendar and schedule all the time you need. Then just run your hiring process the same way you would schedule any other project.  It’s far less stressful, takes less time, and gets that new person on board about twice as fast.

So where to start?

Day One Task List:  Regardless of how you recruit, you end up with resumes to go through. So:

  • Who will be involved in the resume review process and when will you sift through the resumes?
  • Who will do the phone screen and scheduling?
  • Who will be involved in first round interviews, second round, etc.?
  • What pre-employment assessments will you need? How will you gauge each candidate’s subject matter expertise?

Plan time for each element of the process and get time from the people you will need. Just guess at how long the resume gathering process (posting ads, etc.) will predictably take based on your past experience, then block out the interview times for each person (round one and round two). Put time on your Outlook calendars to phone screen about 24 candidates. Then schedule perhaps 6 first round interviews, schedule time to reflect and decide who will come back for second round.  Schedule the time to do second round interviews with perhaps 2 or 3 candidates, the time to check references, and the time to make the offer letter. If your recruiting process does not yield enough candidates, you can always release the time you reserved on everyone’s calendars — who doesn’t appreciate finding extra time in their week?

Rather than scrambling at the last minute to jam interviews into your over-busy week, or worse — making great people wait 10 days to see you — the simple act of advance scheduling means your precious potential new hires experience a neat, orderly interview process. They will be astonished that you made a quick decision to bring them back for a second interview and they will appreciate the respect you demonstrate for their time by allowing them to meet all the decision makers when they visit. They will be very impressed when you smoothly move through reference checking and making the offer. They will “feel loved” and tell their friends how organized you are and how quickly you moved them through the sequence. People are generally skeptical about what you tell them, but when you demonstrate a great hiring process — without saying a word — they will think, “This company can really recognize talent. They know what they want, really have their act together and really want me to work here…this must be a great opportunity.”

I know not every hiring project goes exactly as planned. Some people will turn down your job offers, sometimes your recruiting efforts won’t attract enough people, and other emergencies can arise. But if you can find a downside to hiring this way, I’d like to hear it, because I cannot imagine doing it any other way.

Hopefully you found this post useful. If you did, you are welcome to learn more about the executive search and hiring process in our Resource Center.