February 21, 2022

Fast Hiring Isn’t Always Good Hiring


Episode Highlights

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You need to interview as fast as possible to even have a chance.

That’s the industry consensus, anyway. While we don’t disagree, we have noticed that an expedited hiring process can have drawbacks. We’ve seen a lot of situations where candidates are leaving jobs 3-6 months after starting.

Not because of pay. Or a bad environment. Or a lack of growth.

But because they had a hard time assessing the company or the role during a fast interview process.  Think about it.  Two years ago, a hiring process was typically a phone interview.  Maybe two.  Then a 2-4 hour onsite interview.  And then maybe another onsite interview.  

Now, it can be 3-4 45 minute zoom interviews over the course of a week.  Or even a few days.  There is less connection between both sides.  And job seekers don’t get much of a window into the company or the job.  Especially if they don’t know what to ask.  Or what to look for.

Hiring fast is great, but what’s the point if it doesn’t last?

Barclay Burns and James Hornick recorded a segment “Fast Hiring Isn’t Always Good Hiring.” They covered a variety of caveats:

  • Seniority of the position
  • Familiarity of the hiring team with the skill set
  • Candidate’s preference
  • Level of transparency
  • Length of the interview themselves

If you’re looking to hire well (pun intended), you’ll want to give it a watch.

Episode Transcript

All right, everybody. Welcome to the Talent Insights podcast, part of the Talent Insights series brought to you by Hirewell and Sourcewell. Joining me today is one of my colleagues Barclay Burns. Hello. Hello. So everyone out there, we have a kind of a whole crew of people who get involved in Hirewell’s content.

Barclay has been a regular contributor. And the thing was funny because I actually talked about this the other day on LinkedIn and what we want to talk about, I guess we’re going to call today’s show ‘How hiring fast is overrated’ which people are going to probably throw up on, like what are you talking about?

Like you have to hire fast to get anything done, which is the point, but you and three or four other people like in the same conversation that one week have noticed there has been this trend where people who started a job six to 12 months ago, last year or 2021 are leaving their job. But for reasons you would- like when people leave you’re thinking, okay, they got better pay or the place is a train wreck or- and it’s not any of those things.

It’s just that they didn’t realize what they’re getting into because in their retrospect, their interview process was so fast, they really didn’t get to dig into everything that was there and found out it was a kind of different on what they expected. Right. I think it was reasonable in spring of 2021, when the job market really started to heat up companies reasonably reacted and started accelerating their interview process because candidates were getting multiple offers, multiple interviews, and in order to compete, they hurry it up.

And with remote interviewing, zoom interviewing, that allowed for that very efficiently. But we’re starting to see the- few months down the road, the ramifications of hurrying a little bit too fast, I think in some cases. Yeah. And that’s the other thing too, is like it’s not just- I mean, I think it’s kind of two problems that are combining. So one is that, fast interview processes, like anytime in the old world, if you get to interview with people

you get to see the office, you get to see how they interact with each other. A lot of times conversations, you’d be a four hour onsite interview, things would naturally go longer if they needed to, if the conversation was good. So it’s part that there’s such pressure that people are flying off the market.

We need to get this done as fast as possible. People don’t have time to reflect after their interviews or think about okay- because you think you and I have a conversation now. You know, you’ll think different five minutes after it’s over, you’ll think differently than two days later, three days later.

But the second part is like that Zoom aspect, you know? There’s so much, so many nonverbal cues you would pick up going to an office, meeting the receptionist, seeing how the people in the hallways talk to each other, like, are people happy? What’s the environment like?

You just don’t get any of that when you’re just talking to three people over a Zoom, so. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I know. At least it allows for a longer horizon of the meetings so that you’re seeing people over the course of a number of weeks. And that gives you a chance to kind of process and kind of land at a point where if it keeps going and you probably are reasonably assured it’s, it’s a good fit.

But if we combine that, if we do the lack of office experience, and also a very fast Zoom experience, then you’re kind of getting neither. Yeah. And you’re having to make a decision based on that. The other thing that’s interesting too, is I just look at our own hiring experience and I’m saying this not from a Hirewell the recruiting firm, but Hirewell the place that hires people. We doubled in size last year. We started the year around 45 and we ended the year on 90. And the feedback we had gotten from most people was that they liked the fact they got to meet a lot of people, you know, and they got a better idea. Sometimes we would move super quick when we needed to, sometimes we would slow things down when people wanted to.

And that’s really what kind of shaped my thinking on this is that there’s so many caveats and I think that’s the hard part about this. And that’s what I want to kinda like talk about a little more too, is that it’s really hard to make hard and fast rules about this. We’ll kind of go over like a couple of these things.

There are times where you probably have to hurry, you know? Like lower level sales rep, BDRs and SDRs, it’s so competitive. You have to hire so many of them. And I hate to say, you know, people who are maybe a little more junior in their career, they’re just looking to learn, you know. They might have less things they’re picky about because they’re very much a blank canvas. But that’s very different than someone who’s more, that’s more senior, you know?

So if you’re trying to hire- I mean you don’t even have to take it the executive level, what may be a very experienced individual contributor who’s got more years out of their belt and more picky, if you’re in that mode of, okay, we need to hire as fast as possible because like for some of these roles we’re doing it then other roles

like you just have to treat it differently. Right. I know, I know and I’m coming from more of that executive level or senior level search perspective. And I think trying to rush that is just, it’s just not- it’s does not work. But it’s true. There are instances where you do need to accelerate and I think you can do that.

You can define an interview process and try to get the candidate through efficiently, in a timely manner with some sort of regular cadence so there’s not gaps where they’re wondering what’s going on and then the candidate experience starts to falter. It’s a living, breathing process sometimes too, where you might define “I want candidate to meet XYZ” but then as you’re going through it, you’re like you know what, it’d actually probably be a good idea for you to meet this person, that person.

And that’s reasonable. And if the candidate starts to turn away because of that, then maybe not the right candidate. Also, maybe the candidate might think of somebody that they want to meet that the hiring company didn’t think of. And I think that’s a reasonable, allow for that.

Yeah. I also think there’s a level of domain knowledge within hiring the same skill set again and again. When you think about, what’s going to dictate the length of a hiring process, you know, some of it is candidate driven, some of it’s company driven. If you make, whether it’s software developers or whatever the skill set is that you tend to hire a lot of, you’re probably pretty good at that,

you know. You should be able to make fairly quick assessments. You still have to worry about like them assessing you but I do think that there is some cases where companies they may have a fairly quick process because they know how to assess certain talent, but then again, that’s something different. They’re hiring their first head of marketing.

They’re hiring their first, maybe they’re building the first dev ops person, which is maybe newer to them, but they’re hiring like an accountant that they haven’t really hired before and trying to do it just as quickly, because you’re feeling the same pressure, it’s just more likely that you’re going to botch something in your evaluation or not sell correctly or not kind of present who you are correctly.

So it’s just kind of like another caveat you have to think about too, is just like is this, if it’s new to you, even though you might feel the external pressure that you need to move fast because candidates seem to be in high demand, doing so still might cause problems. For the earlier example where it’s maybe a position with perhaps a lower level, perhaps it’s something you’ve already hired a few of in the past year,

and like, Hey, we just got funding to hire a few more people in this team, if the hiring manager at that point says, “No, you know what? I still want to get a minimal of three applicants before I make a decision.” That’s when recruiters are like “No, we do not need to do that. If we find the right person you’ll know it. Let’s act quickly.”

But yeah, I mean on the other end of the spectrum, if it is a leadership role, if it’s newly created team, some new thing that they never really recruited on before, even if they won’t say so, they typically have in their mind some minimal number of slate of candidates they want to interview before they can reasonably move forward.

And that makes sense. And I think that might result in losing a candidate. It just may happen, especially in this market. Yeah. I think you can think of it too in terms of like delays, like there’s good delays and there’s bad delays, you know? So like good delay: opportunity to meet more people.

Bad delay: someone’s out on vacation, you have zero backup plan for anyone else who can do that evaluation where they’re gone for two weeks. You know what I mean? So it’s kind of thinking of that too. I don’t know. Yeah, I know. And it gets a little, it gets a little tricky if you have maybe a few candidates- maybe there are a few candidates that you like and you’re trying to get them both through the process before you can make a decision, but one might be a step or two ahead of the other one.

And try to kind of communicate that in a way where it does keep momentum going without making it seem like you’re just kind of stringing them along while actually pursuing the candidate you actually like, that may not be true, but that’s a perception that the candidate will get with any sort of odd delays here and there that come out out of the blue.

And that’s- you kind of bring up a good point. I think that’s also why it’s so important for companies to, I hate to say sell. Like sell the opportunity, but I give the candidate the value they’re looking for, because if you can build a positive- if you can build rapport, build a relationship, build a positive impression, it buys you time. Candidates are more likely to deal with a little bit elongated interview process if they’re excited, if it’s transparent, if there’s a good candidate experience. If you’re short-cutting that like, then it’s just won’t work. If you can explain why you need a little more time to make a decision in a rational way and you’ve already

built the credibility to do so, because whether it’s your recruiter, your hiring manager or whatever, they’re excited about you, but they also trust you that you’re kind of shooting them straight. I mean, it makes all the difference in the world too so. It makes all the difference, you know? And you think like, “Oh, I don’t want to deliver this message that there’s a delay” or even maybe that there’s another candidate in the process and they can’t make a decision till they see through

and that’s why there’s a delay- most people are going to hear that and appreciate the transparency and not think, Oh wait! No you’re interviewing somebody else. I thought I was the one” you know. Yeah. Yeah, it’s just so simple. Sometimes it just goes back to communication, a regular contact point from the recruiter, whether it be an agency or internal or the hiring manager, and

that could also go a long way, just on a side note, as well as hearing directly from the company. So not every message is coming just from the recruiter. Yeah. Now everyone out there listening, Barclay and I were trying to make some, we originally thought of a flow chart. Let’s make a- there’s a lot of caveats here.

You know what I mean? Of how quickly you need to move or how much time you can take. The problem is I just, I don’t think it’s possible. Like I think every, so what we’ll talk about kind of a few different fixes we have here, but I mean just the level and skill is a caveat, how quickly and easily you can identify as a fit as a caveat, how a candidate needs to be sold, which is going to kind of depend like, you know, how much information are they looking for?

How far long is one candidate in the process versus another. How fast that individual wants to move and it’s fluid and there’s probably infinite number of permutations, but I think that’s kind of like the first thing- which I think that whether it’s your recruiter or whoever is like maintain that contact.

And this was kind of my biggest takeaway of the whole thing, as a recruiter, there’s always certain questions you have in your mind or certain like checklist, okay, all the process things I need to do to make sure this is done right. And I think the new one for this year that everyone needs to be doing is asking people how fast they want to move.

You know, the job seekers I mean. Ask them at the onset, you know? Understanding if you’ve built a level of trust where they’re telling you kind of, well, what else they have on their plate, when they need to make a decision by and what they want to know. Then asking them, do you feel like you’ve met enough people?

Do you feel like you have a good handle on kind of who we are? Are you comfortable making a decision with us? Because in making it clear to them that if you want to talk to more people, that’s okay. We can make that. Yeah. And also that, if you get done with an interview and maybe you didn’t get every question answered,

that’s okay. We can always schedule a followup meeting with that person. Or if there’s so many, you never get a chance to meet, we can do that. I think most hiring companies would love to hear that, to hear from a candidate that they actually want another step in the process. That would be- the opposite of a red flag.

That would be a huge, like, wow, this person’s engaged and cares. So I think that even to kind of describing your process up front, like in the first steps, like we do three interviews, plus whatever you want. Making that very clear, kind of at the very onset, that it’s not necessarily a set number, but it’s one kind of dictated by you.

Another one too is, the other thing I want to mention, and this is something I’ve noticed as well. Just the everyone’s in the mode of the 30 minute Zoom. It seems like that’s a standard. It’s a standard calendar length invite, and I just- what can you, I don’t think it’s long enough.

Like I hate saying it, you know what I mean- that I want the interviews to be longer. But in terms of like both sides getting to know each other, I think it’s enough for me to get to know you, but is it enough for you to also get to know me? Which is the whole point of it. And I think that, I know that that’s a big ripe among job seekers, is that they’re grilling me, they’re finding everything out they want to know, but I didn’t have enough time to really ask my questions. I don’t know if you know, frontline recruiters are just scheduling 30 minute meetings right after another

and if it’s 45, that kind of messes the flow. I know that sometimes hiring managers, you don’t want to commit to an hour meeting with a candidate they’ve never met before just because what if it goes badly right away, and you’re locked in to an hour. So then it’s like 30 minutes? Oh 30 minutes wasn’t enough. Can we reschedule or can we schedule another meeting?

I mean, if the recruiter was doing their job and they feel strongly about the candidate and they recommend an hour, I think the hiring managers should go along with that and trust the recruiters judgment. Well, the best thing on this was actually something you said to me before this, but I was going to give you an opportunity to say it now, but you didn’t say it so

I’ll fill it in. Yeah. 30 minutes is too long if it’s going badly, but 30 minutes is nowhere near enough, if it’s going great. Like anytime you’ve had a great conversation, I mean this from both sides with the hiring manager and the candidate, and it’s wonderful and you’re really digging in and you’re getting excited,

like you’re going to blow through that 30 minutes no problem. Then you’re going to schedule another interview, but anytime either side knows right away, it’s not a fit, that seems like an eternity and you’re ready to peace out by minute 10. So I don’t know. Exactly. I mean, and hey it’s sometimes, you know, 30 minute intro and then get the niceties out of the way and then a follow up meeting where you can actually dig in.

That’s not a bad idea either. Again, back to your thought about once we start thinking of caveats, it just spirals. There’s just so many. I mean, there is no one way to do this, but I think it’s helpful to really kind of think through- so much has changed. So much has changed in the past couple of years, obviously, but with regard to interviewing, the idea of getting an offer through only Zoom was unthinkable, not that long ago.

And there’s so many upsides to it and with the frenzy of hiring that’s going on, I think yeah, we’ve done it almost to disservice to the process by hurrying so fast. So to kind of take a step back and just kind of think, all right well, not always.

So anyways, in summary, good conversation. Moving fast is important but not at the expense of losing people because that drives down the retention anyway because people made a bad decision, you know, whether it’s you or the candidate, whatever it is. Fixes again, recruiters and whoever else has kind of maintained the conversation, ask upfront and throughout the process, how quick they need this to move, as well as how many people they want to meet.

Keeping in mind that 30 minutes for a Zoom is probably not long enough to really assess people if it’s the conversation’s going well. And just make sure you’ve got some openness to kind of elongating things, if you think it’s needed. And just to highlight that asking the candidate piece was the big aha moment for, as we were talking about this, just because I don’t know that I’ve necessarily done that as my- I definitely haven’t done it as much as I should just

sort of asking, cause it’s always, usually the process is being dictated by the hierarchy. That’s expected. They say, we’re going to have this interview, that interview, by the way, we need you to meet with this other person. That candidate will agree to that. Yes. Yes. But to say, “Hey candidate, do you want to add a step to the process?”

Yeah. Because I mean, recruiters just kind of want to make the process as efficient and quick as possible as well. But that’s not necessarily always the right way. Cool. I hope this helps some people out there. Just a different way of kind of thinking about things, you know. If this keeps you from making a hire or if the job seekers, this keeps you from taking a position that you’re later going to bounce on in three to six months because something was a shortcutted, then we did our job here.

Right, exactly. All right. Everyone out there, thanks for tuning into the Talent Insights podcast, part of the Talent Insights series, which is always available for replay on talentinsights.hirewell.com as well as YouTube, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon. Barclay, great to see you as always.


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