Worst of all, it can suck up the majority of your time if you're not careful. We should spend a lot of time on hiring because it's so important, but we shouldn't waste unnecessary time on hiring that we could be spending on setting the hires we do make up for success.
Time is the most precious asset in business. Being able to balance your time effectively is one of the most important jobs of any leader.
How much time do you spend on strategy versus execution? How much time do you spend on fundraising versus running your company? How much time do you spend on hiring versus doing the things you need to do to set your team up for success?
We've all been there. We were pressed for time and had to hire the best person out of a small talent pool, so we picked one and they turned out to be a dud. We all wish we could hire great talent and spend less time doing it. I've found a few simple tricks make a huge impact on streamlining our hiring process:
1. Do an automated initial screening.
Depending on the role you're hiring for, there are tons of ways to do an automated initial screening. You can ask candidates to record a one-minute video of themselves answering 2-4 questions. You can ask candidates to write a sample email customer service email. You can set up a Google Voice number and ask candidates to leave a cold sales voicemail pitching your company.
Whatever the medium you choose, the point is to be able to sift through responses in your own time (often at night because our days are so busy) and only spend time meeting candidates that have passed the initial screening. Just the time saved in scheduling interviews adds up and can be a massive time-saver.
2. Conduct the interview with the medium most relevant to the job.
This is a big one I see people missing all the time. We tend to think interviews need to be in-person meetings, but that's not always the most relevant for certain roles. If you're hiring a customer service rep who's primary function is to chat or email with clients, do the first interview over email to test them in the medium most relevant. If you're hiring for a sales role that will mostly be making sales calls, do the initial interview over the phone.
Doing an in-person interview for a role that is primarily phone or email based will sway your decision making toward candidates that are more charismatic in person, and may cause you to miss strengths and weaknesses that are actually more important for the role. This isn't to say you should do an in-person interview to test for culture fit, but given how much time in-person interviews take, I like to do these at the end of the hiring process. You're down to only a few candidates, and it saves time.
3. Think of hiring as a weeding-out process.
I've lost many candidates that I thought were really good because our hiring process asked too much of them. I used to think this was a bad thing, but over the years I've come to realize that a candidate who took another job because they didn't want to go through our hiring process probably wouldn't have been a good fit anyway.
When you make a hire you're looking for that person to commit years to your company. If a candidate can't commit to going through the process you deem necessary to determine if they're a good fit, the reality is they probably aren't committed enough to your company to give the years of hard work you're looking for.
Be confident in your process and don't loosen it for someone you think you really want because you're worried they aren't committed enough to go through it.
4. Don't be afraid to say no.
The biggest way to waste time on hiring is to hire the wrong people. The time it takes to onboard and train a new hire cannot be underestimated, as well as the time it takes to restart the hiring process if you make the wrong hire and need to replace him or her.
Having the confidence to pass on a candidate that just doesn't seem like the right fit is hard to do, but critical to not wasting precious time. The good news is that if you've built an efficient hiring process, you'll have more confidence passing on a candidate that isn't quite what you're looking for.
You'll know the right candidates is out there--and you'll have the process in place to find them.