As a recruiter, when I ask my clients “When do you want to hire by?” I’m always concerned when I hear, “When I find the “right person”. While I am not advocating a hasty hiring decision, I do think it is important to establish a reasonable time table for the hire and to make sure that everyone involved in the interview process understands their role in the hiring process and agrees with the timetable so that they can prioritize their schedules and make time for the candidates.

Too often, the Hiring Manager has one idea of when they need to hire the new employee typically “ASAP” because of the amount of work piling up while the position is empty, but others in the interview process are often not informed of the urgency to hire, or are brought into the hiring decision at the last minute, often times finding a calendar invite in their inbox without being given time to prepare properly for the candidate. Not only is this aggravating for the people who are part of the interview team, but is also frustrating for the candidate.

Lack of interview planning results in scheduling delays, hiring team coordination challenges, and interviewers asking canned or lack luster questions. Often, final decisions are delayed because a key decision maker is out of town or in constant meetings. Candidates get tired of waiting for an answer, get frustrated with the lack of follow up, and take other offers.

In consulting with my employers, my goal is to have them begin with the end in mind. If they can establish when the new hire is needed by and why, then it is much easier to work backwards to identify the steps in the interview process, which people need to be involved and why, determine the types of interview questions that are going to be asked at each stage, and agree on how the answers will be evaluated.

The advantages of coordinating the interview process up front before interviews begin is that there is the ability to establish buy-in by all members of the hiring team allowing for a much smoother and quicker hiring process. This way everyone is on the same page and knows the importance of their role in the hire. This also gives the interview team time to time to review resumes, prepare questions, and carve out time in their calendars to meet candidates.

Upfront planning allows for strong candidate follow up, prevents needless interview delays, eliminates candidate confusion, mixed messages, and reduces the chances of losing top candidates to other offers.

In my next post, I will discuss the importance of making sure that everyone on the hiring team agrees on the minimum qualifications that a candidate must have versus focusing too much on years of experience.