One way in which hiring resembles coatings technology is the often-forgotten principle that candidates and paint both have limited open times.
All paint and coatings people I know, and most of the general population as well, recognize that if you take the lid off a can of paint, stick your brush in it and start painting, you need to finish the job in a timely fashion. You can’t just paint a little bit, walk away, leave the brush or the roller out in the air, and come back a week later expecting to pick up where you left off (unless you are an artist using oil paint. And even then…). What happens in that interim time? When left alone, that paint will dry.
You have to have a certain sense of urgency to get the job done within the window of open time.
But while this is something pretty much everybody knows about paint, one of the most common reasons companies fail to land good candidates is that they act like there’s infinite “open time” – you can just engage a candidate in an interview, come back a few weeks later for another round, do the same thing again, and they will still be interested in your job. THIS IS NOT TRUE!!!
One really simple way to increase hiring success rates is to increase the sense of urgency.
Look at the length of your hiring process and see how long it is. If you are not relentlessly driving to close, and prioritizing the process, you risk losing good people: their interest has a limited “open time” just like paint. When you start the process, they are usually engaged and interested. The reasons why your company is a better option for them are fresh in their mind. Their pain with their existing employer, or whatever is causing them to contemplate making a change, is also fresh, and you have a great window of opportunity for them to make the emotional as well as the intellectual decision to change.
But that window doesn’t last forever. Inertia, competitive offers, internal promotions, fear of change, doubts about your level of interest are all there, and the longer the process drags on the more likely it will be derailed by one or more of them and you will miss the opportunity – the paint dries.
Many things in the hiring process are beyond anyone’s control (much as it irks me to say that, as a recruiter). This however is not one of them. And it is a secret to success that is about as simple as it gets. Next time you or someone in your organization has a good candidate in the mix, make sure you exert all the energy possible to finish the process fast (without, of course, compromising quality of interaction – a sloppy, hasty paint job is no good and neither is a sloppy, hasty hiring process, but frankly “haste” is hardly the most common problem). There is absolutely NO ADEQUATE REASON it should take a month or two months to complete an interview process (except some C-level roles). Have a sense of urgency (one of my favorite phrases, but infrequently descriptive of corporate hiring). Keep the candidate’s interest fresh. Close decisively. Watch your hiring success metrics increase. Don’t just watch paint dry.