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You may have heard the story of Mike Conley, the job seeker who pulled out of the running for a position after going through ten interviews. His post went viral on LinkedIn because so many candidates are experiencing the same frustrations. While this is a problem for candidates—it’s a problem for the organizations too. 

Many of the comments on Conley’s post were from candidates who pulled out of the running for jobs because they no longer wanted to participate after multiple months of interviewing. If your interview process runs longer than two months, you risk losing great talent and wasting time and money in the process.

Fixing this problem, however, is as simple as creating a better plan from the start. When re-thinking your hiring plan, avoid these common pitfalls, all of which are dragging the interview process on longer than needed.

Pitfall: Lack of Clarity at the Start
Create a better plan: Identify and understand your need

Before putting out a job ad or taking a single interview, you need to have a clear answer for this question: what problem are we trying to solve as a company by filling this position?

The idea here is to front-load the process. By understanding the company’s need, not just what kind of candidate you’re looking for, you create more clarity at the start of the process. For example, a company that’s looking to scale significantly through acquisition or organic growth over the next few years needs to consider finding someone with a proven track record in that type of environment—as opposed to relying on generalized ideas and standards of what a person in this position “should” look like.   

Ultimately, companies need to consider which problems need to be solved as a key component of their search criteria.

Pitfall: Letting Too Many Voices Have a Say
Create a better plan: Be strategic about stakeholders 

Get clear on who needs to have input before the hiring process begins. This is key to making the interview process less time-consuming and more efficient. To do so, come back to the need this role is filling within the organization to determine who needs to be involved. 

For example, hiring for the role of CFO for a hospital means there are likely dozens of potential stakeholders. This might include all c-suite members and department managers and supervisors that report to that person, like those from the strategic planning team and the revenue cycle team. Narrowing down this list of people is an important part of the hiring process because it ensures candidates speak only to the most necessary people, which in turn streamlines the experience.

In addition to having fewer stakeholders, update your hiring process to include a system that allows you to engage and gather feedback from stakeholders most effectively. For example, create a process where stakeholders can share their feedback in a single meeting after each interview. The hiring lead can then consolidate that feedback and move forward as needed without coming back to each person more than once for further insights.

Pitfall: Having Unrealistic Expectations for Candidates
Create a better plan: Create clarity around key qualifications

If you’re looking for perfection, rather than a high-value probability of success, you’re going to lose great candidates. Adding unnecessary or unrealistic qualifications, when someone who meets all the foundational criteria would be just as able to fill the position, can drag out the interview process. Why? This leads to unnecessary discussions about experience, credentials and characteristics that don’t really matter.

This is why it’s key to bring realistic expectations to your plan up front. This starts with having clarity around key qualifications. Go back to how this role fills the needs of the company and use that as a basis for what qualifications are truly necessary and which are optional. 

To ensure you’re hiring the right person, look for candidates who fit your criteria but also show an interest in learning and growing within the role. While they may not have the highest-level qualifications right now, they can still be successful in the position and exceed expectations as they evolve in the company.

Work With a Recruiter 

In today’s hiring world, working with a recruiter is often the best way to manage the process, gain clarity around who you’re looking for, and ensure you’re speaking with the best candidates. 

This outside perspective can be powerful for creating a hiring process that works for you and the people going through it. For example, a recruiting firm can:

  • Hold you accountable and keep the process moving
  • Help you create clarity in determining who you’re looking for. 
  • Provide fully-vetted and better-aligned candidates.
  • Work with stakeholders to manage feedback and expectations.

The right recruiting firm can work as a partner with your in-house senior leadership, supporting and filling in gaps for a more successful and timely search.

Fix Your Hiring Process—Or Risk Losing Talent

Don’t risk losing potential candidates to a hiring process that’s easily fixed. Use this time to address issues like improper expectations, too many stakeholders and lack of clarity around candidate qualifications to ensure that the best person for the job is willing to stick around long enough to accept the offer when you give it.

Marion Spears Karr MA, FACHE, Managing Director, Atlanta is Comhar Partners’ Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice Leader. He has over 30 years of experience in healthcare executive recruiting and talent acquisition. He brings a distinguished set of skills in leading successful recruitment teams that specialize in nursing leadership, C-level, Vice President and Senior Director-level searches. He has developed a deep understanding of the complex challenges facing healthcare leaders across all sectors in the current market.