Create a Hiring Plan Before the Interview
, from Construction Executive
All too often, construction companies lose out on good candidates for preventable reasons. For example, one company lost three consecutive candidates after going through the entire interviewing and vetting process. The company made offers in each case, but discovered the candidates had already accepted other jobs.
The bad news is the construction industry is in the middle of a construction talent shortage. In today’s construction job market, competition for good candidates is fierce. However, the good news is there are simple steps companies can take to minimize their risk of losing premium talent to competitors.
BE PREPARED TO FOLLOW THROUGH
Companies should never begin the hiring process until they have a full hiring plan in place and are prepared to make an offer. In the current environment, the window of time an employer has to make a hiring decision is very short. If an employer does not act within that window, they are likely to find that the candidate they want to hire will no longer be available.
KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING
In the case of the company that lost those three candidates, the employer had given feedback in a day after the interview, which was good. However, it did not follow up with any news for three to four weeks. Employers cannot allow communication to drop for so long in a candidate-driven market. Carry momentum from the first interview through to the new hire’s first day of work by keeping in constant communication.
It is a best practice to give feedback immediately after the first interview and then follow up with frequent (at least weekly) status updates until the start date. Tell candidates where the company is in the hiring process, what the next step will be and when that next step will occur. Be as detailed as possible. If candidates must be brought back in for a second or a third interview, let them know when that interview will take place, to whom they’ll be talking and when they will receive feedback. Transparency and communication become even more critical if the vetting process is going to take more than one to two weeks.
HAVE A HIRING PLAN AND STICK TO IT
To increase the company’s chances of hiring the best candidates, create a plan for the process, including interviewing, due diligence, making an offer, handling counter-offers and onboarding. The companies losing candidates are shooting from the hip instead of following a hiring plan.
A well-organized plan can help usher a candidate through the hiring process as quickly and efficiently as possible. The plan can be as simple as, “If we like a candidate, we will have him or her back for a second interview within three days. If that second interview goes well, we will immediately make an offer and give a start date.”
In this construction job market, candidates need to stay excited about the potential of working for the company. When companies stay on top of the hiring process, they build excitement. Alternately, they run the risk of disengaging a candidate by allowing the process to drag on.
Delaying the process, while failing to communicate, leads to speculation. In my experience, speculation is always bad. Candidates never interpret silence after an interview as a positive sign. Typically, they are thinking the process is not going well and the company must be looking for other candidates. When candidates have gone four days or more without hearing anything from a prospective employer, it is almost impossible to get them excited again.
Having a hiring plan, communicating that plan, and then sticking to that plan will build a candidate’s trust in the company. Companies can almost guarantee a candidate will take a job if they set a schedule and follow that schedule. Companies are going to infuse the candidate with a significant amount of trust if they do exactly what they say they will do from the onset. Candidates will be more inclined to commit to the company if it has built trust. That is the type of company people want to work for.
Once a company starts interviewing candidates, the clock starts ticking. After that first conversation with a candidate, employers only have a short window of time to make a decision. And the better the candidate, the shorter the window.
Some of the best candidates out there are “passive candidates.” These are individuals who are highly skilled, currently employed and not on the job market. When a construction recruiter contacts a passive candidate about a particular opportunity and they agree to an interview, they become open to the possibility of taking another position. After that first interview, these candidates are much more likely to ask: “What else is out there?”
A company that interviews a passive candidate must work even faster to make a hiring decision, and they must do an even better job of communicating and following a plan. If such an employer is not organized and does not follow up immediately, then it is giving the candidate time to spread his or her wings and look around. There is so much competition in the market now that they are likely to be taken by a faster-acting competitor.
Sometimes delays are unavoidable. If a hiring authority is on vacation, or if there is some other legitimate reason for a delay in making a hiring decision, employers can lengthen their window of opportunity by being upfront and communicating the reality of the situation. If the company tells candidates they will receiving a definitive answer in four weeks, then they will typically be fine with that time frame. Employers earn a lot of credibility from candidates for sticking to their word and meeting the time deadline set for themselves at the beginning of the process.
Have a hiring plan, tell the candidate the plan upfront (and stick to it) and maintain contact throughout the hiring process. Doing that will speak volumes about a company. It will attract the right people and will significantly reduce the chances of losing good candidates.