Eliminating Waste in the Recruitment Process

Companies will develop strategic plans; invest in product development, marketing, sales and technology to ensure they are strongly positioned in the market to beat their competition. Most companies don’t apply the same prudence when hiring the workforce that will drive these requisites to success. Recruiters and staffing managers can achieve significant savings by taking a close look at the strategy and analytics for an existing recruiting program.

The Team
Contract recruiters can provide flexibility in work hours and skill sets, but the on-boarding process and the productivity time related to training, absorbing the culture, and building internal relationships may drain internal resources and limit the overall return on investment. Typically, once contractors conclude an engagement, they move to the next assignment. In a recruiting environment with specialized domain expertise, the recruitment team’s skills need to adjust as organizational changes occur.

Annual business fluctuations can cause periods of high demand that the team cannot meet without outside recruitment agency assistance, which increases the cost of a new hire? Conversely, during down cycles or periods of reduced effort, the team is overstaffed and probably overextended in its financial commitments to various recruitment tools, job boards and advertising. Consider a model using contractors during these high demand periods.

The Process
One area of major waste in the recruitment process is the lack of processes. Usually when the process cannot be tracked at all, this is the root of the problem. For example, you have an urgent need for an engineer. A hundred or more applicants submit resumes for the job. Resumes are delivered to the hiring manager, who examines the top two dozen or so resumes. The hiring manager takes the resumes home that night reviews them throughout the week and contacts the top eight to ten candidates for an initial phone conversation. He/she then choose five candidates that seem qualified for a formal interview and sets up times for them to meet the team.

If the organization is large enough, Human Resources may step in to inform candidates of their interviews, while the hiring manager runs the interview process. Considering the myriad responsibilities that fall on the manager, it is unlikely he/she is taking all the right steps to ensure interviews are done in a consistent, fair, effective and productive manner.

Instead, resumes likely are distributed to people who will take part in candidate assessment prior to the live interviews. Each person views the resumes, often guessing what the candidate will be responsible for if hired, but that person probably is not certain what he/she should be asking. Maybe one was told to screen for presentation skills. Another was tasked with finding out why the candidate wants to leave his/her current situation.

Otherwise, there isn’t much guidance for a team member who is probably not well-versed in the intricacies of effective interviewing. So they not only lose time away from daily work responsibilities, they
may duplicate efforts, use poor judgment and alienate candidates.

Imagine not defining product requirements or expecting a team to work without a targeted plan. This often happens when there is no well-defined plan for recruiting. Most companies feel they have a recruiting strategy. They predict expected number of hires annually, determine compensation levels, how much attrition to expect and establish recruitment budget for advertising and agencies. But they often miss the most important step – the process.

Without a systematically executed process, it is impossible to recruit at the most efficient levels. Examine current operations to see where small improvements and enhanced documentation can help cut recruiting waste. For instance, the interview process is a candidate’s first view into an organization. It requires definition — not just a basic overview, but defined roles and responsibilities at each stage to ensure successful execution.
The current employment market has produced more active candidates than ever before. Some candidates seeking employment are qualified; others may be completely off-target. Hiring managers need a system to evaluate resumes and ensure the best talent is not overlooked. This system must be
efficient, as managers cannot afford to spend a lot of time on this process.

Before getting started I recommend:

• Establishing standards to review each batch of new resumes.
• Providing staff members with a standard process to review resumes.
• Ensuring team members know what to look for, how to identify red flags and where to document questions, concerns and notes so interview team participants can follow up on those items.
• Establish standards to input data into an applicant tracking system or other system to log and track candidate information. Making sure this step is handled correctly can save countless hours and money as the organization grows.
• Make certain the company is in compliance with all EEOC guidelines, which will save time and potential costs in the future.

Effective Interviews
To conduct an effective interview process that has high impact and continuously produces the top level candidates, make certain each member of the interview team is used appropriately.

Create an interview plan. This plan should include timelines, interview teams and a task for each stage. Plans vary by organization. Some plans are time intensive or have multiple stages processes. Other companies need to complete interviews in one day. Define the plan in advance and stick to it. This helps set candidate and interview team expectations.

Assemble the interview team. Determine who will be included and at what stage they will be brought into the interview process. Outline responsibilities for each interviewer, if possible. Provide direction on the purpose for each meeting to increase awareness of the importance of the process being established.

Discuss interview roles and responsibilities. Review sample questions and ensure each team member handles something unique so as not to duplicate efforts. Confirm each team member is comfortable with his or her role and knows how to carry it out. For future use, generate an interview guide which team members can refer too.

Communicate. Don’t let the team’s valuable information and feedback go uncollected once interviews are completed. Follow through with the process and analyze interview results to facilitate the best hire.

Assessment. Inaccurate candidate assessment and ineffective communication of feedback among interview team members can eliminate a candidate for the wrong reasons. Each time a candidate enters the process and is not hired, the organization has lost approximately three to four hours of productivity. Multiply this by the number of candidates interviewed each year, and it is staggering loss of productivity.
An element of comparison is necessary to get to the best candidates. Ensuring overall agreement with expectations for a candidate to be hired — skills, experience, cultural fit, work style, etc. is crucial. Hiring managers must map out exactly what is necessary and reach consensus among all active participants.

I recommend:

Determining how each candidate is assessed? Determine when to invite various interviewers
into the process. What will flow best to generate candidate interest and gather the
necessary hiring information?

Documenting and understanding candidate feedback is understood. How will feedback is collected? Does every participant have an equal say? Every interviewer should have a weighted score based on the importance of the information they gather from the candidate. Set benchmarks so all team members are working from the same scoring system, ensuring each candidate is given an equal opportunity. Structure a feedback process to ensure candidates are not cut because of one participant’s thoughts, concerns or gut feelings.

Don’t discriminate when selecting candidates. People tend to gravitate toward candidates that remind them of themselves. This practice can lead to a lack of diversity in ideas, solutions and representation. Candidate assessments can help to uncover potentially unseen behavioral patterns that could clash with a team or organization.

Using Consultants

Today’s market requires a recruitment strategy which is able to change with economic challenges.
Recruitment programs require flexibility and the ability to balance and adapt to organizational changes. To ensure successful plan execution, companies should seek guidance from a professional. When tracking recruitment waste, the actual dollars lost may not be the most damaging, rather the lost opportunity to hire the best candidates for the organization.

Recruitment partners should understand an organization’s challenges and present solutions to meet those needs. Consultants can build internal effectiveness and adjust to an organization’s changing needs over time.

Recruiting is strategic. Hiring the right people to drive an organization is critical. Planning and developing well-defined processes will not only eliminate waste and increase productivity, it will
help take an organization to the next level.

Nancy Dube is the President of Dube Consulting. Dube Consulting provides Human Resource Services to Small Businesses. Call (508)769-2294 or email Visit us on the web at

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