EZ HiRe, Hiring Strategy, Recruiting

Hurry up and wait. Don’t let your recruiting processes get in the way of your next great employee.

You’ll often hear us talk about our client’s “pain points” — the areas where they need the most help, or the areas that are distracting them most from focusing on their product or service deliverables. Time and time again, recruiting top talent is at the top of this list.

We tell our clients it is best to Hire Slow so that they can be sure to get a good fit. The new hire is more likely to stay for the long run. However, there’s slow and intentional, and then there’s just slow. Don’t be just slow.

While you may feel that you have a little more time to fill a role, the candidate may have a different sense of urgency, and you are very likely to lose that candidate after having already invested time in them. This recently happened to a client who had a great candidate chosen for a leadership role, but delayed getting a formal offer out. The candidate quickly chose another position that was ready to make a commitment. This doesn’t make our client a poor employer – they just weren’t quite prepared for things to change as quickly as they did. So, let’s talk today about how to be prepared to make the hire as soon as you start looking for your next great employee.


The worst thing that can happen in the recruiting process is finding a great candidate and then having to wait for approval on the position. Before you get started, make sure the position is approved and budgeted and know for certain who has final say on making the offer. Trying to determine these under a timeline when the candidate has another offer on the line almost always ends in error.


Plan ahead and create a timeline, including all the steps that need to be followed in order to be ready to make the decision. These include:

  • Setting your budget for the salary and determining your limits for compensation packages
  • Determining the interview process
    • Creating the position description
    • Creating the job ad
    • Posting the ad
    • Application screens
    • Phone screens
    • Interview rounds
    • Final decision maker
  • Determine other information you will need
    • References
    • Background checks
    • Drug screens

Once you know all the steps, set hiring timeline goals with the hiring manager/recruiting team. Create milestones and due dates.

When you review your current hiring process, eliminate any steps that really aren’t necessary.

  • Is your online application user friendly? Or does it discourage candidates from completing it because it’s clunky, slow, and asks for too much information that has already been submitted on the resume?
  • Are all the steps really necessary? Can you combine any of them?
  • Is each step accomplishing something?
  • Do any steps create a bottleneck and slow down?

By reviewing your process, you can discover which steps are bringing progress and which might be holding you – and potential candidates – back.

Also consider what steps can be taken simultaneously or earlier in the process. For example, traditionally, references are collected at the end of all the interviews. However, there’s no reason why you can’t collect them with the application and resume, or after the first phone screen. You can still reach out to the references when appropriate, but collecting the information as part of another step will save you time later on.


One of the most significant ways you can change your hiring process is to start at the first thing the candidate sees – the job advertisement. Once upon a time employers posted excerpts from the job description – basically, “here’s the work you have to do for us.” That is not going to get you top talent who want more from a job experience than a paycheck.

To fully leverage the job ad, it’s important to really think about the candidate you want to attract. First, make sure that the job title you are using is something job searchers will recognize. Highly specific or original job titles are great once they enter the organization, but if a title is not recognizable to most of the candidate pool, you are going to miss your target audience. Then, be sure to lead with benefits. Why should the candidate work for you instead of that other company? This is a candidate’s market, and you must convince them as much as they must convince you. This incudes highlighting your company culture as a benefit. Oh – and do include compensation. I know a lot of companies are reluctant to do this because of current employees seeing the rate and what kind of issues this can cause. However, you simply will not get candidates without posting the compensation.

For the role itself, give an overview of the position, as well as accurately describing the responsibilities. This should be a high-level overview of what this role is all about, what impact they will have, what other teams or positions they are going to be working with, and what an ideal candidate would look like. Then, use action words to define required job responsibilities and expectations – be sure to tell the job requirement, but not necessarily how to do the job (remember, high level responsibilities, not processes).

Finally, be sure to include the required qualifications. If there are requirements that would disqualify a candidate who did not have them, these need to be outlined clearly up front.


The interviews are the most critical part of the process. They take the longest, they have the most opportunity to determine organizational fit, and they have the most opportunity for risk if hiring managers aren’t trained well.

However, things often fall apart during the interview process. Here’s what to avoid:

Asking the Wrong Questions

There are an abundant number of references online about interview questions to help you get to know your candidate. Here are a few I found from a simple web search for “questions to get to know your job candidate”:

  • How many ping pong balls fit in the fuselage of a 747 airplane?
  • Explain the internet to someone from the 1800s.
  • If you could be one item in the kitchen, what would it be and why?
  • Can you tell me your story?
  • “Who would play the lead role in a movie about your life?”

Don’t ask any of these questions. Unless, of course, the job is packing ping pong balls into the fuselage of a 747 airplane. These questions came from highly reputable recruiting or business websites – and they are all really poor advice. Not only are they not job relevant, they open the door to you finding out information that not only do you not need, but you really shouldn’t have during the interview process.

Instead, develop a list of questions that will help you find out what you really need to know about the candidate, and ask this same list of every candidate. Develop a method for taking notes for every candidate’s answers. This will give you the opportunity to compare candidates on a level playing field after all of the interviews without having to rely on memory or impressions.

Not being prepared

You expect your job candidates to have researched the company and to know something about the job for which they are applying. Likewise, they expect you to have read their resume. Don’t go in and ask them to give you their work history. Instead, ask them specific questions relative to the history they have already provided to you.

Decision by Committee

Determine if it’s really necessary for everyone to contribute to every hire. While this may have been great and necessary when your company was small, you may have outgrown this but are still carrying on this practice. By having too many people involved, you may be creating a situation that is difficult to schedule and difficult to finalize.


If you really like a candidate, keep them engaged. There’s no faster way to lose a candidate than to let them think that you are not interested or that you are apathetic. Let them know what to anticipate and keep them updated along the way. Let them know you’ve received their application, follow up after each interview, let them know when they can expect to hear back and if you miss that mark, update them. Continue to provide more information about the organization as you move through the process.

While automated communication is great and makes this process easy early on, once you have narrowed down the candidate list, work to make the communication more personal and rely less on any auto replies. The recruiting process is a courtship – you have to woo your candidate through the process.


Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This can reduce time from your hiring process and increase efficiency by automating key workflows. When everything is automatic, no one has to wait around to be told what’s next. It can also guide hiring managers into the same consistent process.

You can also partner with a Recruiter to find the best talent. All the steps we outlined above will be handled by your Recruiter. At HR Affiliates, we do all the process management for our clients so that all they have to do is meet the candidates in the interview process and provide feedback. As the recruiting partner, we are also able to act as a strategic advisor to prepare the interview strategy and adjust according to the individual market.


The best way to improve your recruiting process is to consider what it looks like as a candidate. If you have an automated system, have your hiring managers apply through it and walk through the system to identify any pain points. If they find any steps confusing or slow, chances are the candidates will as well.

Also, be flexible and adaptable for your candidates. While your hiring managers may work 8-5, if your current candidate has a full-time job, recognize that they may not be able to reasonably get away for an interview during business hours. Be willing to be flexible when meeting with them, even if it means an evening interview.

Be supportive of their success during the interview process to demonstrate that they will get support as an employee. For example, when you set up their interview, share information about the people who will be interviewing them.

Finally, seek their feedback after the process. If a candidate drops out, try to find out why. See what their overall impression of the process was. Let these impressions help make the next experience better.

How does your current hiring process compare? Scratching your head on ways to do it better? We can help make it EZ for you. Call us to learn about EZ HiRe.


June 13, 2024

Paula Agee, VP of Human Resources and Chief People Officer

When You Snooze You Lose. Don't Be A Snoozer.

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