While a start date is the last agenda item of the hiring process, it's among the first things that should be considered.
Asked when they would like a candidate to start work, hiring managers typically answer, "Yesterday." Although they really would like the position filled immediately, if not sooner, the likelihood of having a new candidate ready to go in a period of less than six to eight weeks is extremely slim. Hiring managers can be surprised and disappointed by this news, believing that the process takes far too long.
In order to provide a realistic estimate of when they’ll have the position filled, along with the new hire’s start date, we offer a Search Project Schedule. Submitted after our initial conversation, this document supplies hiring managers with the six major steps required to take place prior to start date, the estimated time for each, and the projected start date itself.
After we go through the full Schedule and timeframe for each step, as well as take into account the candidate’s two-week notice, they realize that, often times, it’s not the candidate or recruiting firm delaying the hiring process — rather, it’s the company or even the hiring manager him or herself. Specifically, they realize that three of the six steps require participation by the hiring manager and/or company.
They may even look at those steps - primarily interviewing and decision-making - and conclude that they cannot complete them within the projected timeframe. Maybe the hiring manager is vacationing at the time of the interview dates. Perhaps he or she has a deadline and is simply too busy to conduct an interview, or other members of the team are unavailable for consultation, or position’s budget has not been approved, etc. etc. Any of the above delays in the interview process will, in turn, delay the start date.
The bottom line is that, whether using a recruiting firm or not, a company should devise the steps involved in their hiring process, as well as a timeline to complete those steps. With a projected start date in place, they can efficiently go to work. If the timeframe is realistic, and all of the individuals involved in the hiring process are able to complete their allotted responsibilities, you’d be surprised by just how often the projected start date becomes the actual start date.
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