The Benefit of Urgency in a Talent Short Market

Mar 23, 2011

The job market has been picking up, and hiring managers are aggressively trying to increase human capital to reach their 2011 revenue goals. Having the right people in the right seats is key, and we see many companies take too much time when seeking to hire good talent. The most successful recruiters create a sense of urgency for their hiring managers, whose priority is acquiring top talent.

It is folly to assume there is an unlimited talent pool in this market. The current 8.9% unemployment rate (based on February 2011 data) is deceiving. First, the actual unemployment level is higher than the numbers suggest because of the number of people who have stopped looking for jobs. Also it is distorted. Many of the jobs that were eliminated during the recession are never coming back. So looking at unemployment levels alone will create the one thing you cannot afford to create: complacency.

In our experience, many recruiters understand this, yet they too need to act on it. (Referenced as “the knowing:doing gap.”) And their challenge is often to help the hiring manager (and the organization) understand it.

Another challenging reality is that the best talent may already be working. This is especially the case in fields such as healthcare, science, and technology. As an example, hiring clinicians who have management experience is a challenge for many healthcare organizations. It may also be the situation for the unique job requirements in your company. While the first challenge is finding qualified candidates, the bigger challenge is closing the deal and hiring them. The reason: they have options. Time is critical!

So, when a candidate or candidates are identified, understand that they will be vetting you as carefully as you are vetting them. Delays and perceived indecision will be seen as a lack of interest in their candidacy and they will quickly move along.

There are four critical points of contact for viable candidates, and they are:

  1. Their first impression of you
  2. Their first impression of the hiring manager
  3. Their general impression of the organization garnered from interviews with other people in your organization and their travels within your organization
  4. Follow-up

In hiring highly qualified people for your organization, there are no casual moments. Just because a candidate has agreed to an interview doesn’t mean they will be excited about and stay committed to your opportunity. All it means is that they may be ready to take your job if it is the best opportunity at the time for them and their career. If the candidate is greeted by interviewers who are late, unprepared, misaligned in interview approach, appear harried and rushed, and do not get back to the candidate (in a timely manner) with information they promised, there is a very strong likelihood that only the weakest candidates (with the least amount of options) will still be interested..

Once a passive candidate knows that they are attractive to other organizations, there is a very short period of time to make that hire. Candidates who were excited about your job can suddenly become enamored with the next shiny opportunity that comes along. Always assume they have other prospects in the pipeline. Don’t stall. You will undoubtedly lose that candidate to your competition.

You don’t have to settle. Once you have identified the type of candidate you are looking for, and are confident in your process, don’t get distracted or “over-process.” Ninety percent of the time, an interview process that gets dragged out results in no hire and the timeline gets pushed out. Not only do you lose the opportunity to grow your business, you also lose revenue. And even worse, the candidate may be hired by your competition.

If you find this happening in your organization, reanalyze your hiring process, discuss your challenges with the hiring manager and the director or VP of human resources, ask for feedback, and reevaluate. You are the catalyst. You are the person with the information. Use your influence to communicate effectively and factually the sense of urgency that needs to exist in a scarce talent resource market. Your organization and your customers will benefit.

this article was also written by Heather Cole

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