Speed: Revised, Reinforced, and Reiterated

Feb 22, 2011
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

The primary factor in a successful attack is speed. –Lord Mountbattan

Jason Warner has been thinking a lot about speed lately. Since reading his terrific article, so have I. If we indeed might be at the beginning stages of a frenzy that relates to hiring, then speed will quickly go from a luxury to a biological imperative — an urgent component to success that has to be encoded into the DNA of every recruiter who needs to get the job done. As such we will have to look at speed in a whole different light: not as a means to cut corners but as a tool and a mindset recruiters must adopt if we are to be successful in generating the hires necessary to support organizational objectives. Bottom line? Run faster.

First things first. No conversation about speed can exist without a preemptive strike at the forces of darkness … a stake into the very heart of those individuals who will counter this argument with supercilious and sanctimonious dialogue, reminding us of our fiduciary responsibility not to sacrifice quality for speed — as though both of these essential elements are somehow mutually exclusive. This is of course correct. We must never sacrifice quality for speed. However, to these individuals who preach endlessly about quality, I must ask a few simple questions.

What is quality? Who determines it? How is quality measured? (Quality to me? Employee gets the job done — end of story.)

Now we can move on. I was born and raised in the agency business. First thing I learned? Move fast. In an article written for The Fordyce Letter entitled “’I’m Sorry I Didn’t Call’ and Seven Other Reasons to Fire a Client…NOW,” I give eight reasons to fire a client. Such favorites include:

Clients who do not return phone calls.

Clients who do not respond to submitted candidates.

Clients who change the requirements every 20 minutes.

Clients who “have no time.” (This one is my favorite…)

Clients who do not get back to you after a candidate interview, and a few more you can find in the original article.

Sadly, corporate recruiters can’t fire a hiring manager. (Yes I know, the fantasy is so sweet.) You can, however, increase your speed by helping them to increase their speed if you let them know why it is their best interest to do so. Be advised that you have a better chance of getting them to move if you present the upside for them as opposed to the upside for you because most do not care what’s in it for you. Three reasons to move faster, all wrapped up in a conversation to educate them on the importance of speed.

We look bad if we can’t make a decision. (“Bad” is the polite version of the word I hoped to use.) When you, as the hiring manager, are in a hiring mode, you have many sets of eyes on you and those eyes are making judgments. Taking three years to hire an employee makes you look bad. You are a manager and running a business. Act like the leader we pay you to be. Do your due diligence, make a decision, and fill the position. Bam, done!

“I am not sure — I want to mull it over.” We do not mull here. Mulling is for apple cider or for companies that have hiring managers with too much time on their hands. Mulling is for choosing a wallpaper or for those with zero sense of urgency. Hiring is a dynamic and critical activity that is closely tied to success in business. Have all of the information you need to make the decision? Good, let’s get it done!

Need more info? No problem! It is perfectly OK for a hiring manager not to be able to make a decision because they do not have enough information. I applaud the desire to acquire more information as required. Don’t fully understand the candidate’s comp or responsibilities? Confusion on titles or number of direct reports? No problem hiring manager! Just tell me, what information do you need to make this decision? Let me know and I will get it for you. (Ask the question just like that!)

Can you see how this works?

Can you see that you are clearly pressuring the hiring manager to move more rapidly?

Can you see that someone might even get mildly annoyed with you? I can, but in reality, it does not matter. What are they going to do — fire you because you pressured hiring managers to hire good candidates? Possibly, but the chance they will fire you because you can’t get the hires done is far greater.

Are you ready to run faster?

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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