August 21, 2021

Slow Down to Go Faster

Speed in business is important, but achieving it is not about simply going faster. It’s about Trust.

If you are a Leader in a company of any size, talent has become one of the critical components to your success.   The pressure you feel to go faster than the competition is real, but it creates demands on employees to move just as quickly and for some parts of your business faster isn't always better.

This is especially true in Talent Acquisition. 

Speed in business is important, but achieving it is not about simply going faster. It’s about Trust.

Stephen Covey said that when we trust the other side of any conversation, business or personal, the conversation naturally moves faster and bypasses all of the bullshit that people need to get through in order to make a decision about whether to engage or not. I maintain that the success of any recruiting effort is directly proportional to the amount of time spent building trusted relationships. It is the most critical thing a recruiter can do. If your recruiters feel they aren't empowered to invest the time in an activity that may not yield an immediate result, then you, as a company, are dependent on the luck of the draw, i.e. who is available through inbound and cold outreach.  

That slows down the process.

Companies have tried to solve this issue with recruiting technology. They spend tons of money on employer branding and content marketing to candidates to create awareness. If this was THE answer then why does recruiting often lag behind demand. I would offer that its because leaders have transactionalized the act of recruiting, thinking that solving the equation was about volume and speed of interactions only, rather than the quality of the relationship that is being built.

What’s the solution:

First don't abandon your tech or stop your branding or content efforts.  rather, take time to understand their place in the process. Revamp your views on how recruiting happens. Encourage your talent teams to spend time on the right activities, measure those things, and give your people the space to do the good work.

A Recruiters primary job is to build relationships with talented people you may want to hire at some point not processing applications. They should continue to measure “time to hire” but work in metrics, like “quality conversations” or “new relationships” rather being forced to run with blinders on toward speed metrics only

To make this happen, work with your Talent leaders to simplify the role of the recruiter so that they can focus on the right things and not get buried in administrative tasks. There are technology solutions and team structures with more coordinators and support that can help make this happen. Look, Candidates are smart and Its not a buyers market despite what you might think. The where, when and how of work is changing. Being able to compete will mean having relationships with candidates at the right time.

I am 100 percent positive that someone reading this is saying, "That sounds great Ron but we have tons of inbound applications to keep us busy".

Busy doesn’t equal productive. 

Unfortunately, with inbound applicants only a small fraction of these folks make it to the interview stage and an even smaller portion get offers. Take a hard look at your engagement metrics outside of the inbound applicants you get. Look at response rates to emails, InMail's, social outreach and I think you will see there is a lot of unproductive activity going on and not because your teams are not trying. Inadvertently you may be pointing them in the wrong direction by assuming pipeline speed = quality hiring.

Think of it this way, would you send a sales person out to represent your company and then hang so much admin work on them that they couldn't generate new business. Of course not. It is time to acknowledge that recruiting is a sales role inside your people function. Stop thinking of them as processors but rather as ambassadors for your company that need to be focused on building new relationships in order to keep the talent pipeline flowing

If you continue to transactionalize your talent process, exclude outside vendors who can help you fill in gaps in your process while you transition to this new way of thinking, and you fail to understand that candidate preferences are changing again, you do so at your own peril.

Stop focusing so heavily on cost per hire look at the cost of “not hiring the right one”

Going slower seems counterintuitive but if you can adopt this approach, speed will increase, quality of hire will go up, attrition will go down  and you will have an opportunity to deliver a candidate experience unlike any other.  

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