Recruiting to a timeline

Recruitment delays can be disappointing and costly.

We recently heard from a candidate involved in an interview process lamenting the lack of response following a recent interview. They had applied for a job, been selected and attended a shortlist interview, provided their referee details and then… silence. After three weeks of following up with the employer the candidate decided to accept another job offer that was on the table.

Around the same time we had a discussion with an employer about a role they were filling as we noticed they’d gone back to market despite receiving a great response from their advertisement at the Sportspeople Jobs Market. It appears they went through an interview process and after conducting shortlist interviews they had 4 candidates to whom they could offer the role. They then struck a problem as they waited for their Board to ratify their recommendations. The delay was a full month after the shortlist interviews and they’d overlooked keeping the candidates updated. All 4 candidates progressively withdrew as they were offered and accepted other roles in the interim.

What are the lessons from these experiences?

If you are an employer you should set your recruitment timelines before you go to market. This includes:

  • Deciding who will be on the Selection Panel.
  • Deciding whether the Selection Panel is empowered to make the appointment OR whether the decision needs to be ratified by a Board or others.
  • Set your critical dates to include the date the role goes live to market (the open date), the close date, the date the Selection Panel will discuss the candidate group, the shortlist date and finally the date and process for sign off of the appointment.
  • Once you have all these critical dates in place, check the availability of all members of the Selection Panel AND those involved in the ratification of the decision.

As a minimum your advertisement should include these key dates. By signalling these early in the recruitment process, candidates have a clear understanding of the timelines, they can check their availability and advise you of any potential problems if they do make the shortlist.

If you look at all the positions managed by Sportspeople Recruitment you’ll see very clear timelines. The Sportspeople Application Form also checks the availability of candidates against these timelines, in particular the critical dates such as shortlist and start date. Sometimes our recruitment timelines are short and equally, there are others that are reasonably long to work around the availability of the Selection Panel and other key decision makers. Regardless, candidates are kept informed of the process and know in advance the general timelines.

Candidates will respond in a positive way if they understand the expected timelines and are informed if there are unavoidable delays. In a highly competitive market where candidates have good choice of jobs, they simply will not wait for you while you dither. Keeping in touch with them to inform them of progress or delays is essential. Remember “there is no news” is news to the candidate.

Our advice? Don’t dither and remember what your grandmother taught you about good manners.

RM – Sportspeople Recruitment
First Published 2017

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