7 Preventable Hiring Process Bottlenecks

by Lauren Girardin on September 06, 2018

Bottlenecks are the enemy of any hiring process. They are spots of inefficiency that kill the momentum you worked so hard to build into human resources.

The bottlenecks in your hiring process can often feel entrenched, having existed at your organization for as long as anyone can remember. But, bottlenecks should never be accepted as part of standard operating procedure. You can and should wipe these time-wasting, energy-draining, morale-depleting sources of congestion from your hiring process.

These bottlenecks are usually preventable—especially if they’re the result of something within your organization’s control, like a shortcut that shouldn’t have been taken, a step overlooked, or simple miscommunication. Or, there may be a corrosive underlying cause you need to fix in order to unclog the bottlenecks plaguing your hiring process. 

Disagreement on what the job should be

Job descriptions can go through endless edits, bogging down a key step in the hiring process. Sometimes you’ll need to help people come to agreement on their visions of which job duties are critically needed. Other times, you’ll have to wrestle with a bigger issue. Perhaps a team’s various job roles are a mess, the entire organizational structure is flawed, or your organizational goals are poorly understood.

Lack of a hiring strategy

It’s hard to run an efficient hiring process if the decision to hire is usually a result of someone’s unplanned and unpredictable whims. A hiring strategy prevents this bottleneck by setting out a clear plan for the skills and people your organization needs to hire over the coming year to achieve its goals. The hiring strategy should also describe how you’ll build a talent pipeline so you’re not always scrambling to fill job openings. 

No recruitment marketing plan

Without marketing, your job openings will spread slowly—or not at all. To entice quality applicants, create a simple recruitment marketing plan that describes what you’ll do to get the word out. Include time-tested tactics such as staff referrals, an effective recruitment website, posting to job boards, and attention-grabbing recruitment ads.

Burdensome application

If your job application website is outdated, buggy, or confusing, you’ll discourage qualified job candidates. Collect candidate information as needed rather than all at once. You can always get more information from top candidates you’ve decided to interview. Use recruitment software that lets people easily import their employment history, get updates via email, and schedule tests and interviews. 

Sluggish applications processing

Take too long to decide who to interview, and the best people will already be interviewing for and accepting other job offers. Your hiring process is only as efficient as the system you use to manage all the data. Applicant tracking software can clear this bottleneck by making it easier to review, identify, and rate the most qualified candidates, and share their information with your hiring committee.

Prioritization difficulties

Nothing slows down the hiring process like decision-makers who don’t treat recruitment as a priority. They need to make time in their schedules for reviewing applications, candidate interviews, key hiring meetings, and more. Human resources needs to be a fierce project manager. Create a hiring timeline for each position, and make sure every decision-maker knows their role and follows through on their responsibilities.

Decision making stalemate

Your hiring committee is flip flopping between several top contenders. Or, they’re holding out for some perfect but unrealistic candidate who doesn't exist. Sound familiar? If so, work with your team to decide on the nice-to-have versus must-have candidate qualities. Give an unconscious bias training to help people overcome their preconceived ideas of who they’re looking for. Push your organization past this bottleneck and the only person left who will need to make a decision is the person you’re all excited to hire.

Lauren Girardin

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and speaker based in San Francisco. She helps organizations engage their communities and tell their stories. Her website is laurengirardin.com and you can connect with her on Twitter at @girardinl.