When Your Executive Hiring Process Takes Too Long
If your hiring process takes too long, odds are your top candidate will no longer be available by the time you’re ready to make an offer — which is bad. Whether HR, an internal recruiter, a contingency recruiter, or a retained recruiter is running the show, reasons for this problem (and suggested solutions) may include the following:
- Top talent isn’t inclined to wait months for an offer. Streamline your interview process to make it more efficient and less time-consuming. Ask yourself which steps are absolutely necessary and which aren’t.
- Too many people are involved in the hiring process. Keep your search committee small. Involve only those people who absolutely must be part of the hiring process.
- Background checks take too long. Unless you’re conducting some Jason Bourne–style background check, like for the FBI or CIA, it should take no longer than a few days (or even a few hours). If background checks consistently take longer, your vendor may be at fault. In that case, find a new vendor. If the fault lies with your HR department, fix the problem behind the holdup. Regardless of the cause for the delay, don’t leave the candidate hanging. Inform him of the delay.
If you’ve contracted with an external recruiter — contingency or retained — the problem may simply be a lack of communication. If the hiring authority or HR fails to provide the external recruiter with status updates in a timely manner, candidates who are still in play may lose interest due to a lack of communication. In other words, by the time these candidates do hear from you, they’ve checked out.
To fix this, make sure the hiring authority or HR updates the external recruiter on at least a weekly basis. (It may work best to ask the recruiter to start this exchange each week. That way, it won’t fall through the cracks.) Then have the recruiter pass those updates along to any candidates under consideration.