Speed to Hire

Speed to Hire

When companies hire executive recruiters, they typically have exhausted their immediate network and feel a sense of urgency to get their leader in place, especially when hiring sales leaders due to the pressure to hit annual revenue targets.

For recruiters, the time it takes to hire is dictated by one single factor: the client’s interview process. Great recruiters have a network they can immediately activate for a search and know what it means to hustle and deliver. They have an exceptional understanding of the marketplace and do the work upfront to understand the company’s vision, business needs, and requirements for success in the job. Great recruiters can typically present A++ candidates within a few weeks after launching a search, and a hire can be made within 45-60 days, if the client commits to a rigorous interview process, co-created by the recruiter and the client.

Here's what a great interview process and timeline can look like:

Weeks 1 and 2 – Discovery and Organization: Within two weeks of signing a contract, the recruiter should complete the following:

  • Discovery: The recruiter dives deep into understanding the company, the role, the culture, and the requirements for the position.
  • Profile Specification: The role specification should be a marketing piece. This well-thought-out document provides candidates with a deep understanding of the position, culture, company, and skills and experiences, needed for success.
  • Company and Candidate Target List: By the end of week two, there should be an initial set of candidates identified as strong target candidates for the role.

Weeks 3 – 7 – Interviewing: Running a tight interview process accelerates a search. To do so, it is critical that the following happens:

  • Define the Process: By week three, the CEO and recruiter should have defined who will be interviewing the candidates, the order of the interviews, how to gather interview feedback, how to advance candidates, and if a project or assignment will be required by the top candidates.
  • Time Allocation: To make a great hire, interview time must be prioritized. The biggest delay in hiring occurs when CEOs and other business leaders don’t allocate weekly time for interviews. A company cannot scale without great people, and prioritizing other company activities over interviewing delays a hire and can leave candidates questioning how important the role is to the CEO.
  • Weekly Meetings: The weekly recruiter/client meeting should be viewed as sacred and not to be moved if momentum is to be maintained. Exceptions include vacations and unforeseen events, but business travel, client meetings, conferences, and other regular business activities should be scheduled around the weekly meeting to ensure candidate feedback is delivered, existing candidates advance in the process, and new candidates are introduced.

Weeks 6 - 8 – Offer and Negotiation: If everyone is prioritizing hiring, and the interview process is very tight and rigorous, it is reasonable to expect to be making an offer within 6-8 weeks of signing the contract.  Negotiation can sometimes take another week but the way to avoid significant back and forth, is to do the following:

  • Be clear on compensation early: Having a clear understanding of the candidate's compensation needs, married to the target compensation for the position, is essential to have before a client meets a candidate.  No candidate should be dismissed without sharing the candidate's compensation needs with the client but no candidate should ever be introduced to a client unless both parties agree that the compensation can be met, should the client choose to go to offer.
  • Create a "no surprises" offer: When everyone is transparent about the business health and needs, the company culture, the compensation requirements, and target goals, offers get accepted quickly.  Both the hiring manager and the recruiter should be in lock-step in this communication so that the candidate has very few questions left, if any, when the offer is officially made.
  • Transparency: It is important for candidates to be transparent if they are interviewing at another company, and where they are in the process, as well as where the company sits in their ranking.  Nobody wins when companies are pitted against each other and a bidding war is created for talent.  Career happiness is far too important, and to get the job you want, at a great offer that works well for both company and candidate, transparency and trust is key.

A recruiting process should never feel frenzied or too fast. Running a very organized process enables the CEO and hiring team to fully understand the talent marketplace, meet and interview top leaders in the industry, and to make an exceptional hire in a time frame that will positively impact the business.