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In 2018, we admitted on our blog that our first HR “mistake” was never creating a diversity plan. The result was that we had a high proportion of women working because we hired the brightest and smartest people to join our team, regardless of their gender or demographics.
Last year, our recruiter had a larger-than-expected course load and multiple priorities, and we didn’t want to hire a full-time recruiter for a temporary period. Headhunters or agencies had not worked for us in the past because they often delivered candidates who looked good on paper but were not up to working in our fast-paced environment.
We were short on the time and resources needed to deliver on our aggressive recruiting target of five to six new hires per month, composed of people who fit our culture and knew what they were getting into that so we would retain our employees longer.
Reluctance to participate in recruiting
In my last business venture, I thought that if I, the COO, got involved in the interview and hiring process, the number of new hires would be limited by my capacity, and we wouldn’t be able to scale our business accordingly. I refused to accept that I would be the “bottleneck” and felt that it would be pretentious to be part of every hire since, at some point, you should trust your team to represent the brand and protect the company culture.
When our HR recruiter told me she lacked time due to a growing university workload, I had to choose to either:
1. Hire another HR recruiter or temporarily leverage an external firm.
2. Embrace creativity and discomfort to make our goals happen with our current team.
We went with the latter: We shared the workload and got involved in the recruiting and hiring process. It came from a place of wanting to keep our current recruiter with the company and also encourage her to prioritize her education, not from wanting to change the process. But with lack of time came a requirement to change the way were we recruiting — for the better.
Better hires in less time
I would have laughed at this a few years ago. We made a lot of changes to our recruiting process, and I suggest you look at your organization to see where you can save time and focus on the best candidates for your business.
Here are the screening process changes we made:
1. Phone screen
• Before: 15- to 20-minute phone screen by a recruiter.
• After: Five minutes with the CEO.
• Before: Selling the company to candidates.
• After: Disqualifying candidates.
3. Tone and format
• Before: Classic 45-to-60-minute structure.
• After: Fast pace (30-minute maximum), direct questions.
• Before: Traditional questions about experience and career goals.
• After: Focused on their understanding of the business and reasons they want the job.
• Before: Many follow-up interviews required with additional team members, the HR department and the CEO.
• After: Testing for skill set and psychometrics (actual fit with the company values), leveraging robust tools and team screening.
I am a busy businessperson with no time to read and, equally, no time to talk. Reducing phone screens to five minutes forced us to focus on what was most important and to disqualify those who would ultimately not fit, trusting our gut more and more.
This five-minute time limit became the keystone of our new recruiting process. When you have 15 minutes to complete three calls, it forces you to process more candidates, retaining only the best.
Reducing screening time while increasing the quality of candidates
Today, our typical steps for recruiting an employee include:
• LinkedIn and application screening: We share one screen with as many tabs open as people we need to review, and I give a yes or no after 30 seconds (more and more, I just watch this happen by the recruiter, who is learning). What used to take hours now takes minutes. This recruiting “Tinder” session is key to cutting the volume of candidates at the entry point.
• Five-minute phone screen: We don’t need to sell our company as much as we need to honestly explain what a day as a consultant looks like. No more coddling, and no more selling on our part. We instead keep it short and ask these disqualifying questions:
1. What attracted you to our company and/or job posting?
2. What did you understand is our offering?
3. What are your salary expectations, and when are you available?
Remaining candidates move on to the following steps of the recruiting process:
• Testing: Coding and practical tests, followed by a psychometric evaluation to ensure the person fits with the corporate culture and team.
• Team interview: We let teams make the final decision about who will join their “family.”
• Offer and signing.
• Start time: Every new hire starts with a two-week onboarding, with time allocated for mentorship, coaching and creating a personalized career plan. This is where we choose to invest most of our time!
The overall process can be completed in as little as one week.
What to adopt into your recruiting process
Your business is unique, and so are your values. Try to reduce the investment you and your team need to filter the right candidates so you can focus on their success once they start working.
Additionally, focus on disqualifying instead of pushing through the maximum number of candidates. Change your internal key performance indicators (KPIs) from quantity to quality, and leverage third-party tools.
Finally, get involved in hiring, and implicate yourself as a business leader — this will set the stage for the growth and future of your company. You’d be surprised how much employees appreciate meeting the CEO before they start working.
Read the Forbes article here