Hiring is a time consuming process typically eating up 20% of a hiring manager’s workweek. Managers have enough on their plate even before they spend time reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, debriefing with interview teams, checking references etc. It is imperative to plan and manage the process efficiently such that the right candidate gets hired with as little interruption to other responsibilities as possible. There are some simple steps to make the recruiting process more economical.

Identify the key skills needed in the new hire

Invest some time before the process begins to develop an accurate, thorough job description. Talk to the key stakeholders in the organization to ensure they are bought into the target profile. Understand their perspectives and incorporate their input into the requirements when appropriate. Determine the skills/traits that are absolute “must haves” as well as the areas where there might be flexibility in the requirements. Be sure the interview team has a clear understanding of the required skill set.

Work with the available Recruiting/Support staff to screen resumes

In today’s hiring market, resumes are plentiful. Job postings generate literally hundreds of applicants. No hiring manager has the time to effectively review all the resumes that are submitted. Empower your recruiting staff to work effectively on your behalf. Teach them to screen out candidates appropriately. Review a few resumes with them early in the process so they understand what you are looking for and can streamline the number of resumes that make their way to your desk. Give them the feedback they need in order to work effectively on your behalf.

React to candidates as they become available

Review resumes and schedules interviews with candidates of interest immediately. Do not allow your inbox to get backlogged with resumes awaiting your review. Stay on schedule, falling behind by even a day or two can leave you literally swimming upstream with little chance of catching up.

Prepare your team to interview effectively

Make sure that each member of the interview team has reviewed the resume before the interview takes place. Assign topics to the interviewers such that all of the key criteria are being investigated during the interview. Be sure that each interviewer is taking some time to highlight the sells of the job and of the organization thus increasing the chance of actually landing the candidate if you decide to move forward with an offer.

Make a decision

If a candidate does well on a phone or face to face interview, move them to the next step of the process as quickly as possible. Debrief with the interview team immediately after the interview and consider all of the relevant feedback while the interview is fresh in everyone’s minds. Waiting to make decisions or stalling the process between steps will lead to missed opportunities and wasted time when you end up back to square one.

Make a decision. If you have written thorough, accurate job description and engaged all of the appropriate stakeholders, you should be able to effectively compare each candidate to the requirements. Considering the applicant’s background against the requirements eliminates the need to shop and compare them against other candidates. Often times, the first or one of the first candidates interviewed is the best choice. Unfortunately, many hiring managers are unsure of themselves. They feel the need to shop for comparisons thus wasting time and often missing out when the best candidate goes off the market. Remember, just as you are evaluating candidates they are evaluating you. The ability to move the process efficiently and make decisions are key managerial traits that employees value. If the applicant does not grade out as a fit after the interview, eliminate them from consideration and move on. Do not waste time on second interviews and/or reference checks if you are trying to talk yourself into a particular candidate.

Evaluate your progress

If you have conducted more than 5 interviews and not identified a candidate of interest there is likely a problem. Are your requirements realistic given the title and salary for the position you are trying to hire? Should the title be upgraded or downgraded? Is the recruiting support staff being too loose or too stringent while screening resumes? Is there an appropriate consensus among the interviewers regarding the job requirements and personality fit needed? Is your team interviewing and selling effectively? Do you need outside help from an industry recruiter? These are all questions you should evaluate honestly if appropriate progress is not being made.

The ability to hire effectively is a crucial and often overlooked skill for any successful manager. Unfortunately, a large percentage of hiring managers approach the recruiting process without a true plan. Those that invest the time upfront and work with their team to effectively manage the effort hire stronger candidates more quickly. By following these steps, you will effectively eliminate the obstacles that cause recruiting activities to spiral into a tremendous time sink.