It is a recruiter and an HR manager’s worst nightmare- the lengthy recruitment process! Lost candidates, angry board members, frustrated C-levels, and candidates who got lost in recruitment space, a long recruitment process has many problems to it. The good news is that there are some easy ways that you as the recruiter and HR manager can cut down on this process!

5 steps for a shorter recruitment process:

  • Track your sourcing

Whether it’s by Excel, Google Sheets, or an applicant tracking system, you need to track who you’ve talked to and what phase of the process they are in. When you can clearly see who is where, you can see where the pipeline blocks are, as well as ask for status updates in an easy manner (i.e. with a list of names versus piecemeal emails). If you are still using Excel or Google Sheets, I highly recommend a color code for each phase to also create a visual reminder of the phases (and a column labelling them too!).

  • Use a phone screen template

As boring as saying the same thing over and over is, you can easily get a 30 minute phone screen down to 15 minutes if you ask the important questions first, and even eliminate candidates within 10 minutes. The good candidates may take longer, but that’s ok because you’ll still save time overall. Bonus – you can then compare the good phone screens in an apples to apples way!

This especially works great for technical roles with specific requirements! For a client of mine in Seattle, I needed someone who wanted to code in Python on the daily. If the candidate doesn’t want to do that, even with a glowing resume, I know it’s a no-go.

  • Get the manager’s (or managers’) calendars BEFORE the phone screens

The travelling executive or the hiring manager who just doesn’t have the time is what turns my hair grey (and probably yours too). Getting blocked time on their calendars, before you even phone screen for them to get to their next step, can save time and prevent candidates from getting lost to other offers.

Think that if you source for 1-2 weeks, phone screen the next, you will want your higher ups to book slots for interviews about 3-4 weeks after the role opens. Get them to do it!

For example, at one particular crazy startup client, the Senior Marketing Manager had 5 open roles. So you can imagine how frazzled her and her team were. We got her to set aside time, from 5-6 pm Monday-Thursday, to have phone screens. Then, if we couldn’t fill those spaces, she knew she could play catch up at the end of her day, which really helped her stress level- win/ win!

  • Follow up on verdicts within 24-48 hours

When there are 10 candidates in play (like at the 5 open role for the marketing team), Susie and Johnny start to sound the same, especially if they interviewed 4 days ago. Get the hiring manager’s feedback ASAP after the interview and then provide it to the candidate within 24-48 hours. You can save their time, as well as your own, by not letting candidates simply hang out in limbo. You might even create a form for the hiring manager to fill out right after the interview (or like a scorecard from an applicant tracking system), or you might put a reminder in your calendar to send a wrap up/ verdict at end of day daily.

  • Force hiring managers to say why someone is rejected

How can a recruiter bring better candidates without feedback (as well as prevent lawsuits if there is something funny going on)? Ask for your hiring managers to give you the “why” a candidate isn’t moving forward, especially since you already approved the resume and phone screened the role. Was it a cultural fit? Personality? Or was there a qualification you need to ask about in the phone screen?

While the recruitment process can be long and stressful, it doesn’t have to be. These 5 steps are guaranteed to make your recruitment process faster and happier too! Spend less time on the process and more time training your new employees.

About Christy Hopkins:

Christy Hopkins, PHR, is a Human Resources consultant and writer at Fit Small Business. Her areas of expertise include full spectrum talent management (including recruiting & performance management), organizational change, and implementing HR systems. While being a part of Fit Small Business, Christy still maintains her HR consulting and recruiting firm that boasts over 30 small business clients spanning the U.S. from Vermont to Seattle.