When It Comes To Hiring Top Talent, Only The Speedy Survive

Nothing can be more annoying to hiring managers and great candidates alike than the blockage created by a hiring process that no longer fits today's fast-paced world of hiring. It's time to clean out your recruitment processes to allow talent to quickly enter your system. Here's how you can make this happen.

My cousin's son was recently offered a position in the management training program at The Yard House. The chain, which was launched in 1996, now has 39 restaurants across 13 states and was recently purchased by Darden Restaurants, Inc., owners of Red Lobster and the Capital Grill. The fact that he was offered a position in their management training program isn't exactly headline news, unless of course you are his mother. However, there is more to this story.

This gentleman was a highly sought after candidate who had experience with another restaurant chain known in the industry for their ability to select and develop talent. Within one minute of completing his online application, this young man received a call from a recruiter at The Yard House. There was none of this, "We need to wait a few days so he doesn't think he's all that special," game that often plays out when companies are courting candidates. Nope. They wanted him to know that he indeed was special. Their quick actions resulted in him saying yes to their offer.

If you had to, would it even be possible for your recruiters to respond so rapidly? If not, why? Perhaps it's because you don't have any recruiters or the ones you have are trying to balance the demands required when trying to fill more requisitions than humanly possible. Or is it because you aren't really clear on what an ideal candidate looks like for your company so when one arrives in your inbox you don't even notice?

When working with my clients to help them accelerate their ability to bring in top talent, I always begin by asking my client to try and apply for a position with his or her own company. Every now and again, a CEO or a VP actually gets through their own system before giving up. However, this is rare. Most roll their eyes and head straight to the HR department to see what the heck is going on over there. In the meantime, many terrific candidates have been lost. Most never to be found again.

Simplicity is key when you are looking to attract top candidates to your organization. Crazy pre-screening math exams or requests for essays about what candidates would do to prevent global warming are useless exercises that often turn candidates off before you've had a chance to ignite their interest. I'm not saying these exercises have no place in the selection process. That place just shouldn't be their first and often their last impression of your organization.

It's certainly nice to get other people's opinions when hiring, but not if it means having the candidate wait months while John returns from his six-month sabbatical or waiting for Mary, who won't even be working with this person, to come back from her trip to Disneyland. Speed trumps perfection every time!

Companies today are taking way too long to hire talent and while they are doing so, others who are moving swiftly are returning home with the lion's share of great people. It doesn't have to be this way if you are willing to clean out your old system and begin anew with a process that works in today's fast-paced world. What are you waiting for? The clock is ticking.

—Roberta Chinsky Matuson is an internationally recognized expert on increasing profitability by maximizing employee contribution. Her website is matusonconsulting.com. She is the author of Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, a Washington Post Top-­5 Leadership pick. Download a free bonus chapter. Her new book, The Magnetic Workplace: How to Hire Top Talent That Will Stick Around, will be published in 2013. Sign up to receive a subscription to Roberta’s complimentary newsletter.

[Image: Flickr user Bernat Casero]

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