Are you caught in the “perfect storm” of hiring season? It’s crazy how that happens. One minute you’re humming “Feliz Navidad” to a half-empty office, and then suddenly everyone’s back from vacation and wondering how quickly they can get new staff hired and on-boarded. And did every jobseeker’s New Year’s resolution involve applying to work at your company?
If it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of emails, resumes, scheduling and job description revisions, let us throw you a line.
Here are four things you can do to say afloat during the perfect storm of hiring season.
Establish a Process – And Stick to It
Map out the entire project timeline for hiring a new employee, from crafting a job description to making an offer, and establish protocols for each part of the process. Who must provide input on the job description, and who has final approval? How many interviews are required for each position, and which stakeholders should be engaged? Who is responsible for evaluating work samples? The answers to these types of questions should be clear to everyone involved. Otherwise, you’ll end up backtracking, redoing work and wasting time. Of course, there will be special circumstances that require you to be flexible in order to hire the best possible candidate. Be accommodating when absolutely necessary, but do your best to enforce the guidelines you’ve established.
Use a Hiring Dashboard
Once you have your process in place, you’ll need some kind of tool to manage each opening and track its progress. Depending on the volume of new hires and your company’s HR resources, it may make sense to subscribe to a recruiting pipeline platform like FirstJob, or use a project management system like Asana or Basecamp.
Alternatively, you can customize a spreadsheet or use a folder system. Just make sure whatever tool you use allows you to stay organized and generate quick updates and progress reports for meetings and check-ins. So, for example, if the operations manager asks for an update on the receptionist opening, you should be able to glance at your dashboard and let them know that four candidates have made it to the final round of interviews.
Schedule Your Correspondence
It can be tempting to respond to applicant emails as you receive them; you want to keep strong candidates engaged and clear out the “DEFINITE NO” clutter immediately. But, especially if you’ve got an excited jobseeker on the other end of the line, it’s easy to fall into a back-and-forth chain filled with unnecessary emails. This kind of correspondence is inefficient and time-consuming, and it sets an unrealistic precedent for response time on your end.
Set aside a block of time to answer non-urgent emails regarding applications, interviews and general inquiries. (Use a timer or calendar reminders if you need to.) Once that designated time is up, move on to your next task. A 24-hour response time is completely reasonable for most candidate inquiries. Plus, by allowing a full day to pass, you’ll likely have more relevant information to share when you do hit “reply.”
Ask for Help
Managers often underestimate the time and resources needed to recruit and hire high-quality candidates. If your workload has gone from “overwhelming” to “unmanageable,” speak up. A temporary assistant or an intern can help with organizing job postings, scheduling interviews and vetting applications while you stay focused on the bigger picture. Even just a few hours a week may help you get your head back above water, and a good manager will view the added expense as a worthwhile investment in your company’s hiring strategy.
Jenessa Connor is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and young adult author. If you don’t find her in front of her computer, check the local movie theaters and restaurants, Prospect Park or the gym at CrossFit 718.