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I think recruiting for new talent is one of the most exciting aspects of building a business. Not only is it a sign that you are healthy and growing, but it’s also an opportunity to bring in fresh ideas and abilities to help your organization get to the next level.

In our job as recruiters, we’ve seen how the recruiting machine—when it’s not properly managed – can be like a Metro bus attempting to get through traffic during rush hour. It can be frustrating and feel like you’re not making any progress. Who’s responsible for making sure the machine runs smoothly? In an optimally run process, it’s the recruiter AND the hiring manager. If they aren’t working together in lock step – look out – there is danger ahead.

“A confluence of factors—including a tight job market, the pervasiveness of all manner of tests and assessments, and the rise of hiring by committee—have conspired to make modern recruitment a long and fraught process at many companies,” William Tincup, CEO of Tincup & Co. told HR Magazine.

“Without a careful plan for [vetting and process management], hiring managers and recruiters can fall into the same trap that some online daters do: becoming so overwhelmed by the possibilities that they date perpetually without ever finding the one.”

The process begins with being “recruiting ready.”

Unfortunately, recruiters can’t help recruit the right talent if we don’t have a clear picture of where we are going. As fun as it would be, recruiters can’t get in a hiring manager’s head. When the recruiting team doesn’t have the information they need, the hiring process takes longer and ultimately costs more money. That’s why it’s key for the hiring manager and the recruiter to ensure they are in sync and to create a plan up front. Our recruiting team created a recruitment overview that breaks down the key phases and steps to help you plan out your recruitment process.

If you do some work and drill down about what you need and want in your ideal candidate, it makes a big difference. A “need” is a skill required to do the job. An example “want” might be the desire to hire someone from a specific company or school.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started sorting your needs in your ideal candidate:

  • What level of experience are you going to look for in candidates? (E.g., someone who can hit the ground running or someone who you can train.)
  • What behavioral qualities are essential to function well within your group and the organization?
  • How will you know that they have the most required skills? What clear evidence will you be looking for?
  • How much time can you realistically dedicate to the process given other demands on your time?
  • Who, if anyone else, will help you make the final hiring decision?

I know it can be hard to answer these questions. It’s even more difficult when a hiring manager or recruiter becomes obsessed with trying to find “the one,” as William Tincup mentioned to HR Magazine. During the recession, we were focused on running lean, doing more with less, and hiring people that had every skill we might want. In many ways doing more with less is still a very relevant approach and frankly, one we embrace at Resourceful HR. But when you’re looking for talent, there’s a balance.

The truth is one person with all the skills you’d love to have for what you can afford may not exist. As the recruiting process begins, it’s important to be reasonable. Instead of focusing on finding a candidate that possesses all the skills and abilities you might need, determine what the ideal candidate must, should, and could offer your organization. Prioritize the musts above all else to whittle down your list of interesting possibilities.

Are the lines of communication open?

Once you are recruiting ready, it’s easier to navigate and communicate with everyone involved. The process becomes smoother, faster, and more efficient. Our team of recruiters meets weekly with client hiring managers to discuss options, make decisions about next steps, and address any strategy and process issues. Early in the recruitment planning process, we ensure that the lines of communication are open by determining:

  • Who really needs to be involved in the hiring process, what input is required from them, and how decisions will be made? Who is responsible for what tasks in the process, and what happens if tasks aren’t completed as planned?
  • What’s the plan when we have new information? Weekly status meetings and frequent communication can help your recruiting team remain nimble when the road conditions change.  (E.g., perhaps you’ll get unanticipated funding and need to hire two candidates instead of one.)

As much as possible, think about what’s coming down the pike and plan for future hiring needs. Clarify early on what you’re looking for in candidates; determine who is involved in the process, and put a plan in place for how you’ll work together as a team. With that approach, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need, foster relationships that facilitate the process and be prepared to select the candidates who best meet your needs.

Trust me: with proper planning and a process, you can avoid rush hour and hire the right candidate at the right time for your business.