Until a few years ago, prospective Google employees had to endure a hiring process that could involve more than 10 interviews. The resulting length of the hiring process created a time-intensive ordeal for hiring managers, causing the company to frequently lose top talent to its competitors. Two years ago Google overhauled its process and limited each candidate to five interviews, recognizing that the longer candidates are on hold, the more time they have to get another job offer or accept a counteroffer.

While Google’s previous 10-interview process is atypical, many companies employ a lengthy interviewing and hiring process. Some organizations recruit in this manner because of lingering practices developed during the recession when companies focused on filling only the most vital roles, incorporating lengthy interviewing processes to avoid making hiring mistakes. Other employers simply argue that their process has historically proven to be successful in ensuring great hires within their organization. In either scenario, these companies don???t realize that lengthy interviewing processes are no longer effective in today???s executive, managerial and professional job market. In this space, which is largely candidate-driven and where the talent pool is small, top candidates are being courted by several companies and have many options at their disposal. A prolonged search not only hampers companies??? ability to recruit the best candidates, it also keeps employers from seeing the potential of well-qualified individuals who may be missing some of the job requirements.

ChartEmployers frequently look to recruiters to help them locate talent that are a perfect match to job descriptions, however the purpose of all new hires should be not only to match job requirements but also to bring in people that have the growth and leadership potential to help companies move their businesses forward.

“It’s important to learn to recognize potential in candidates who can become ‘perfect’ employees through guidance and leadership,” advises Rob Romaine, president of MRINetwork. “Don’t focus only on how closely they match your job description, but also consider whether they can evolve into the current role and beyond.”

MRINetwork recruiters typically offer the following advice to companies trying to evaluate whether they should streamline their hiring processes:

  1. Determine if your interviewing process is time-efficient and considerate of candidates??? time. The best candidates are typically employed and are interviewing with multiple companies.
  2. Review whether you struggle to hire your top picks or if you are losing them to counteroffers and other job offers.
  3. Keep the lines of communications open. Explain each step of the interviewing process to the candidate up front. Provide feedback within 24 hours of the interview and explain next steps to keep them engaged in the process.
  4. Consider what your interviewing process says about your company culture and brand. A lengthy process could give the impression that there is always a lot of red tape with getting things accomplished or approved. It can also give the wrong impression that you are no longer interested in the candidate.

Adds Romaine, “The most successful companies realize that recruitment is not about finding candidates that perfectly match job descriptions.” “It is about matching talent that have the experience, skills, maturity and cultural fit to impact the company and lead it into the future. Most job-related skills can be taught within three to six months, but intelligence and leadership skills are something candidates either have or they don’t. It is up to hiring managers and highly-skilled recruiters to be able to discern whether talent have the potential to not only fit into a given role, but also become strong leaders in the company.”

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