Top Candidates Aren’t on the Market Long – Here’s How to Land Them

ThinkstockPhotos-187458884It’s no surprise that the very best job candidates stay on the market for only a day or two. Nimble companies can capitalize on the brief time a topline candidate may be available for employment, while others often miss the mark because of lengthy and cumbersome hiring processes.

Statistics show that more complicated screening procedures and growing levels of required candidate interaction are delaying the process – sometimes quite substantially. As a result, building bench strength is now about planning and preparation.

The clock is ticking on both ends. Top candidates may only be available for a couple days at the most – if they’re not hired directly by a competing organization. And at the same time, these high performers become wary of companies that drag out the decision-making process. Most businesses don’t fare well in these situations, becoming paralyzed by overthinking the essentials, the number of steps required for each candidate, and general HR technicalities.

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Here are some ways to attract sought-after talent in a timely manner while also conducting the proper due diligence:

  1. Determine a candidate’s character by focusing on referrals. Your current team is your best recruiting asset. Once hired, employees who have been referred by a colleague often feel more obligated to prove their appreciation and work ethic by performing well. On the other side, managers are often more willing to work through early issues that arise given the employee’s personal connection.
  1. Attract the most qualified candidates by offering good pay. The national market rates for hourly workers have shifted recently due to retail giants such as Gap, Walmart and IKEA implementing across-the-board minimum wage hikes. The result of increased pay? Lower turnover and more qualified job seekers. Increasing bases for certain skills like bilingual capabilities and job requirements such as off-hour shifts are also an important consideration when determining a position’s pay rate.
  1. Screen as needed to get through necessary background checks. Background checks can take days or weeks depending on the type of information you’re seeking, and when a hiring decision needs to be made quickly, that time is substantial. Screen for what’s necessary for each position. For example, per-county screens and education and employment verification can take long for results, while a national background check is a quick turnaround and may be all that’s required.
  1. Rethink the job description to hire for strong core competencies. Many organizations rely too heavily on the official requirements set forth by the hiring manager for the only person possibly suited for the open position. Consider loosening these requirements to cover the necessary core competencies. A lengthy job description can be what actually stands in the way of your open position and the soon-to-be perfect candidate.

Being clear on your company’s hiring processes and knowing what capabilities and characteristics to seek in a candidate will help the organization become more agile, making quicker decisions and landing the best of the best among job seekers. By sticking to this process of planning and preparation, you will be able to set your company up for long-term success with a deep bench of top talent.

MORE: The power of behavioral interviewing

Dan Campbell

Dan Campbell
Dan Campbell is the immediate past chairman of the American Staffing Association and CEO of Hire Dynamics.

Dan Campbell

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