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Addressing the Job Search Marathon

Kennedy's Column

Selecting the right candidate takes time, but if it's too drawn out, an organization risks losing qualified applicants. This is especially common for candidates enduring prolonged job searches who are too frustrated to handle a lengthy selection process. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) recently asked me to comment on this for an article entitled, "Going the Distance: The Job Search Marathon." I offered several ways companies can make their selection process system more efficient.

First, be prepared for the candidate. Before any interviews take place, all interviewers must have a clear job description and competency profile for the vacant position. A strategy should be developed for the interview team to fully assess the candidate and avoid redundant topics or questions. Bear in mind that just one unprepared interviewer can create a negative impression with the candidate.

Organizations should also avoid multiple call-backs by scheduling interviews in a manner that requires one or at most two visits. If there are still concerns or uncertainties, a final call-back may be necessary. As I stated in the SHRM article, an organization may not be thinking about the impact repeated visits have on the candidate. It can be burdensome and may force a candidate to withdraw from the process.

Finally, companies need to make a decision quickly. A 2-3 week lag time between an interview and a response makes a company look inefficient and indifferent towards individuals. When delays occur, communicate the reasons to the candidate directly and offer a realistic timetable for a decision.

Companies should always be cautious of making hasty hiring decisions, but at the same time, they should be proactive in getting candidates to the finish line sooner.