Of course you want to find the right person for your business, and there is no clear way to know how long that will take. But going into a process without an actual hire date in mind leaves too much wiggle room. If we adopt the notion that there might be something better if we just hold out a little longer, there’s no end to the process.
Great candidates can turn into the perfect employee once they’ve been given the chance. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to lose the great candidates you’ve found for reasons like you might find a better candidate, the manager is busy, no feedback to the candidate. Rather than leaving your timeline open to see if 'one more candidate might turn up', set a hire by date for the role and try to stick as close to that timeframe as possible. Of course the timeline shouldn’t be a reason to hire someone that isn’t right for the role. But timelines are important to help manage a process that could take longer than everyone would like.
Keeping the interview process consistent will ensure it remains efficient. Clearly outline who should meet candidates for a particular role before the process gets started. If your process includes the candidate meeting a long list of people, try scheduling multiple interviews in one day, or even having the candidate meet more than one person at the same time. This isn’t to say that the candidate should only come to the office once. However, many candidates have full time jobs. It’s important that your hiring process is respectful of the candidates’ time constraints. Excessive, long drawn out interview processes that transmits a sense of disorganization leaves a lot to be desired. It’s important to remember that the candidate experience of all the candidates you interview, not just the ones you hire, can have a lasting impact on your future hiring efforts and the company's reputation.
With so many applicants at various stages of the interview process and with multiple jobs to fill at times, following up with candidates can easily take a great deal of a HR Managers/Hiring Managers/Recruiter’s time. Clear communication of your timeline, hiring process and expectations of next steps are however essential to managing the candidate experience. It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of the candidate. Not knowing if you’re moving forward in the process, if you’re no longer in the running or are just in a holding pattern until an executive comes back from vacation can cause unnecessary angst in even the most confident job seeker. Your company’s hiring process doesn’t need to serve as a stressor for your candidates. If it’s going to be a few weeks before you move forward with next steps, let them know. The silence on your end can be interpreted as a lack of interest or unprofessionalism and actually motivate the candidate to consider other options more seriously. Why give them the opportunity to fall in love with another company before it’s time? When you and the candidate are on the same page, everyone feels better about the whole process.