The Goldilocks Principle of Hiring For Startups

BY THE TALENTDASH TEAM | October 19, 2016

In the world of recruitment, slow and steady doesn’t win the race and neither does a quick fix. You’ve got to get your hiring process just right.

The tech and startup marketplace is more competitive than it has ever been. Globally, there are more innovative, powerful and fast-moving small businesses than ever before — meaning there’s a whole heap more pressure to find and attract the best people around.

And yet, it’s a typical scenario to see a startup’s best candidate withdraw from the race because the whole thing is too slow. Sometimes another company has gotten in there quicker, or perhaps the candidate themselves got frustrated that the hiring process was slower than a herd o’turtles!

Slow recruitment is a business killer, and hiring too fast leads to make snap decisions and wrong hires. So how can we find that happy medium and ensure talent don’t get bored with your dilly-dallying?

1. Taking a really long time won’t improve the quality of your candidates
While many bosses assume taking a longer time to make a decision about a candidate would ensure a better hire, well, you’re wrong. You might have had more time to do your research, speak to references and gather information, but while you’ve been doing that, your best candidates have been moving onwards and upwards. When the hiring process takes too long, the best potential hires typically get frustrated at the slow pace and place their focus on other, faster moving opportunities. That leaves you left with less desirable candidates — or starting back at square one.

2. Hiring too fast is just as bad as hiring too slow
In fact, in some cases it’s even worse. Rushing to make a hire simply because a position has been vacant for too long will usually end in tears — you will make a poor judgement call on the hire, and the fresh candidate will struggle to grapple with the role they’ve been haphazardly recruited for. It’s a lose-lose situation, and one you’d be smart to avoid.

3. Your best candidates are likely to drop off at the end of the hiring process
The longer you wait to lock someone down, the longer they have to change their mind. As a pure matter of timing, talent moves fast. They want to find a new job quickly (particularly if you work in a dynamic industry like technology and digital) and if an employer takes too long to come back with an offer, they’ll move on rather than sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Remember, your best potential hires are constantly receiving offers. Even if you do manage to capture their interest, the chances of them still be available at the end of a drawn-out interview process is close to nil.

4. Time is money!
Hiring is an expensive process. Even if you’re saving actual dollars by doing it all yourself, think about how much money you’re losing in productivity as your valuable time is soaked up trawling through CVs, interviewing candidates, calling references, re-interviewing, managing aptitude tests and then finally making a decision on a hire. You don’t have the time to let a candidate accept someone else’s offer simply because you were too slow to make a move.

5. It’s all about keeping up appearance (and an employer brand)
You might not think it matters, but people talk. If you have a reputation for long-winded interview processes and slow hiring, word will get out and it won’t work in your favour. Recruitment delays will cause you to lose candidates, but this reputation could cause even more damage than missing out on a key hire. Top talent are “top” for a reason – because they’re typically fast decision makers who don’t mess about. They know what they want, and they work to get it. Many candidates view their interview experience (which might be their only interaction with your company) as an indicator of what it’s like to work there. If that experience is slow, then expect and prepare for word to get around.

5. A poor hiring pace affects your customers and other employees
The longer you take to hire, the more time other staff are spending covering the workload (and getting frustrated at your snail-like pace). Similarly, customers or clients become acutely aware of your slow decision making when a position is vacant for a long period of time. When you routinely hire too fast, you also burn both ends of the stick as you find yourself going back to the drawing board too often. Both a slow pace and warp speed of hiring can negatively impact customer/client relations and in-house morale and productivity.

The lesson? Take your time when necessary, but if you’ve caught a good candidate then expedite the process. Ensure a candidate knows they’re in the running, and do your due diligence swiftly and accurately. Don’t cut corners, but don’t leave for tomorrow what can be done today. Finding the perfect balance is key!

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