Some organizations, attempting to deal with shortages of candidates and much needed skills, are implementing “fast track” hiring. From my perspective, it’s come about 15 years too late. It has been needed for a long time. But because it’s now an emerging trend, it’s important to examine the implications for candidates.
Related: How Hiring Managers Make Decisions
Several years ago I was making a presentation to an audience of about 500 health care professionals. The topic was focused on hiring and interviewing, primarily on the need to develop performance profiles as an alternative to typical job descriptions and on the need to significantly upgrade the quality of the interview process.
At a break in the presentation, I was approached by a small group of participants from the same organization, a hospital. They expressed their delight with my message but wondered if I had any insights into the struggle they were having with hiring staff. I asked a couple questions about their process and learned that a “typical hiring cycle” – from an application being received to an offer being made – was four to six weeks.
With forced reserve on my part, I asked what the typical response they received was when they made an offer after six weeks. They told me that almost all of the candidates had already accepted offers from other hospitals. In times of employee shortages and high demand, the best candidates are not going to be available for six weeks.
Contrast this with a millennial that I’ve been coaching. She has an outstanding record in the food service industry but a desire to leave her current position. We worked on her resume, her LinkedIn profile, and advice for interviewing effectively. She decided to submit a letter of resignation giving her current employer about five weeks’ notice. At the same time, she applied for a position that, based on the online description, appeared a good fit. And she found herself in a “fast track hiring” situation. In about ten days, she had a video interview, a phone interview, and two in-person interviews – in about seven days, followed by two more phone interviews including some negotiation on salary – and an offer.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal, this may not even be a “fast track” situation although it certainly beats the reported “average” of 29 days. Some companies are making decisions with a three-day window and one fast food company attempted to hire several thousand employees in one day.
As I coached and supported her during this process, I was curious about the steps in the process, the video interview, multiple phone interviews, and the quick scheduling of in-person interviews. I began to think about how candidates need to be prepared for “fast-track hiring.”
Obviously if a company is making decisions in a “daily” format, there is little you can do as a candidate, except that you need to be sure about what you’re seeking in a position. About the only thing possible is to immediately send a follow-up e-mail when possible. This advice extends to anyone facing what might be a “fast-track” format.
If you aren’t given a decision timeline at the end of an interview, ask. It’s an expected question and the majority of interviewers will give you an honest answer.
2. Fast Thank You’s/Follow-Ups!
When the hiring cycle is 30 days plus, the typical candidate waited a day or two after an interview and then followed up with a thank you note. The note was intended to do more than say “thank you.” It was an opportunity to clarify something discussed or add something that’s not on your resume. And it still serves these purposes. However, now there’s another purpose. In a “fast-track” hiring world, you want to immediately send that “thank you” via e-mail. Send it to the hiring manager and/or HR recruiter. You can’t wait in this situation to send a more formal thank you note via snail mail.
3. Quick Review!
You may have to do your own self-review of an interview – or if you’re fortunate to have someone knowledgeable as a coach, do it immediately. This will help you in composing your follow-up messages – and could significantly help you if there are follow-up interviews. I have a lengthy exchange of text messages with the woman mentioned earlier.
4. Be Prepared To Decide Quickly!
In “fast-track” hiring, companies are making offers faster and they’re also expecting candidates to respond quickly to offers. While there may still be a formal, written offer, a “fast-track” offer may be delivered by phone with an immediate response expected. As a candidate, you need to be aware of your goals and ready to make a decision quickly.
5. Continuous Improvement!
You resume and LinkedIn profiles were never, but definitely aren’t now, elements of your job search that you create and then you’re done. You can’t even wait until “next week” to make adjustments. Every interview, video, or phone, or in-person, provides you with feedback that can help you refine your information. Use it!
If companies are going to implement “fast-track hiring,” candidates need to respond with become “fast-track” candidates.