Taking Control of an Extended Hiring Process

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A recent study found that the average interview process in the U.S. is now 22.9 days, nearly double the 12.6 days it took in 2010. A specialized screening process may include take-home coding tests, personality questionnaires and a background investigation.

While you can’t completely control a company’s hiring process, there are some things that you can do to move the process along. Here are some ways to create a sense of urgency, maintain control and reduce the time from interview to offer.

Understand the Process and Timeline

When you act as your own headhunter, take a tip from the pros and qualify the job order. For instance, you should ask about the hiring process and decision timeline during your initial outreach. If you hear that it might “take a while,” then filling this particular position isn’t a priority or the requisition may not be fully approved or funded. Speed requires a high level of motivation.

Bypass Human Resources

It can take days or even weeks for an internal recruiter to qualify and submit a slate of candidates to the hiring manager. Making direct contact or asking a colleague to pass along your résumé can catapult you to the front of the line. If you fit the bill, the manager may extend an offer contingent on references and background checks, and forgo interviews with other professionals.

Leave No Doubt

The reason why the hiring process takes so long is because companies have become risk-averse. Many employers have added a host of pre-hire assessments and face-to-face meetings to ensure that a candidate has the right skills to do the job and will be a good cultural fit.

Being prepared to address those concerns on the first interview can reduce the need for back-and-forth communication and additional interviews, noted Josh Ridgeway, director of MSP delivery for tech staffing firm Kavaliro. For instance, voluntarily supplying a programming portfolio or source code examples is a great way to showcase your work and illustrate your involvement in recent projects.

Remember, showing is more powerful than telling. The sooner you show that you can do the job, the sooner you’ll receive an offer.

Apply the Rule of Scarcity

Studies have shown that scarcity and urgency affect behavior and influence the decision-making process. And nothing creates a sense of scarcity and puts you in the driver’s seat like a competing job offer and looming deadline. If you have another job offer in hand, mentioning it to the hiring manager of the job you really want can help speed up the process. On that note…

Create a Sense of Urgency

If your initial interview goes well, asking the manager about next steps and timelines may open the door to a conversation about timing and whether you are interviewing elsewhere or expecting another offer, advised Amanda Marciniak, director of talent acquisition and training for recruiting firm Matlen Silver.

Asking the manager about the problems he needs someone in the position to solve can also convey urgency and ignite action. A well-timed endorsement may spark a quick decision.

“The idea is not to push the manager so hard that he goes with another candidate but to create the fear that he might miss the boat, especially if you’re his first choice,” Marciniak said.

Follow Up

As you complete each step in the process, always ask when you will hear back about subsequent stages. If the manager misses a deadline, pick up the phone (or send a quick email) affirming your interest; with email, consider adding a link to a post, white paper or tidbit from a research firm to remind him of your interview and previous conversation. Sometimes managers get so busy that they forget to get back with you; staying in touch can help you gain more control over the hiring process.

Image Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

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