Limit Long Time-to-Fill Woes with an On-Demand Hiring Model

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 14, 2018
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​Scott Wintrip, founder of Wintrip Consulting Group.

​It's a candidate's market, top-tier talent is scarce and many companies' hiring processes take too long. Best-selling author and hiring consultant Scott Wintrip has a solution: Start recruiting before your jobs are open.

Wintrip asserts that the way to succeed in a tight labor market is to design a system that generates a continuous flow of quality candidates who are ready to hire.

He is the founder of Wintrip Consulting Group and the author of High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant (McGraw-Hill Education, 2017).

Wintrip discussed his method with SHRM Online, as well as the common causes behind hiring drag and how to use automation to make hiring more efficient.

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

SHRM Online: We're constantly reminded that there's a talent shortage across many industries. But what are some factors that organizations can control in the struggle to fill open positions?

Wintrip: The lack of enough quality talent seems to be worse than ever, and the skills shortage is a big part of it. But there's another problem I call the hiring shuffle. It's a push-pull between hiring managers and HR/talent acquisition teams, where the job opens up and the manager needs candidates to fill it, but once HR/TA comes up with [the candidates], the manager is too busy. It's hurry up and wait. Hiring is an interruption to work getting done. I've noticed that when a seat opens up, it's kind of like an open wound to the hiring manager. It's a painful distraction. [They] suddenly go from having one job to having three at once. They have their day job, they have to make up the workload of that open seat and they must conduct hours of interviews to fill the job. Another factor is that interviews are proving to be slow and ineffective. At some companies, candidates are going through six or seven rounds of interviews before a hiring decision is made. And that's even before reference checking, background checks and assessments.

SHRM Online: How can employers accelerate the hiring process without sacrificing quality?

Wintrip: The first step is creating a blueprint for who's right for each job. Hiring profiles help leaders hire with their heads, not their hearts. They take the emotional impact out of it. We did a study of failed hires, and the big contributing factor was emotions. The No. 1 emotion was likability. When interviewers like a candidate, they'll negotiate with themselves regarding required criteria. When following a profile, it is a template you do not vary from.

That leads to the second step, which is improving candidate gravity, or the draw a company has on talent. The profile becomes the guide of whom to pursue. Candidate gravity is a way of determining if your flow of talent is weak, inconsistent or strong. And it shows you where to make an improvement. Companies that tap into talent streams including job advertising, sourcing, branding and referrals find they have more talent than they can hire. There's a process to fixing [poorly] performing channels.

That leads to maximizing hiring styles, or enhancing your natural ability to select the best candidates. Conduct experiential interviews, which prove instead of promise that somebody can do the job. Maintain a talent inventory of ready-to-hire people, especially for core roles, which tend to be difficult to fill. Lastly, constantly evaluate whether you have enough candidates in the pipeline. It becomes a circular system, with quality and speed incorporated at each step.  

SHRM Online: How does recruiting automation fit into your hiring model?

Wintrip: Automation can be used to make hiring more efficient, but I see a lot of problems with misuse of automation. Sometimes companies adopt automation not because it's right for them but because all the cool kids are doing it. The two extremes—[lack of] automation and technological codependence—are both bad. I believe in just enough tech to help you automate enough of your process so it's more streamlined and fits the following three principles:

  • Automation must reduce effort. Not all automation does in every circumstance. It's not that the technology is wrong, but in a particular circumstance it creates more effort, and in those cases it's not worth the effort.
  • It should be easy to use.
  • It should tangibly improve results.


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