7 December 2023

Tips to Efficiently Execute a Streamlined Recruitment Campaign

Steve Halsall

Red Tiger Consulting


This blog post will provide practical advice in order to create a harmonious working relationship between hiring managers and your internal/external recruitment advisor.

I have spoken before about how the efficiency of the recruitment process is important in getting the right candidates to start within your timescales.

1. Kick off Meeting

When Red Tiger have a new client engagement we set up a kick off meeting with the hiring manager / internal HR resource. The purpose of this kick off meeting is to clarify what the client is looking for in terms of candidates, what specifics in the job description are ‘must haves’ (most job specs tend to have a long list of requirements), budget, and timescales (to receive CVs, conduct 1st/2nd stage interviews, offer, contracts exchanged and ideally start in the role). It is also to determine the interview process in terms of stages.

We always outline the need for the client to be responsive in an ever-competitive market where there are usually few decent candidates chasing few roles. It may be useful at this point to agree the tentative dates and timescales for 1st and 2nd interview and block out diaries accordingly. There is no reason why the whole recruitment process should take any more than 1 month from initial receipt of CVs to receipt and signing of offer letter.

2. Candidate Search and Screening

The second stage for Red Tiger Talent is the candidate search and screening. The recruitment partner will put a lot of effort into searching and vetting candidates for a potential role.

This search will start with a brainstorm on who may be suitable, posting adverts, searching candidate databases as well as looking on LinkedIn for other candidates that match the search criteria. Once that list is created we will contact all candidates and arrange a chat. This chat is to firstly find out where the candidates are in their job search process. Secondly, we will assess them in terms of goodness of fit from a skills, experience and personality perspective.

We’ve documented before how our efforts in speaking to potential candidates may uncover candidates who are not actively looking for a new role. Our client may therefore benefit from ‘first mover’ advantage. Our conversation may turn the candidate’s head when they previously weren’t looking and trigger them into conducting a wider job search.

The clients who respond quickest and get candidates through the process as quickly as possible are the ones who will benefit. In this stage it is critical that those tasked with reviewing CVs and feeding back on candidates they would like to progress to 1st stage do so in a timely manner. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen – usually because they are too busy or the people needing to make the decision haven’t scheduled the time to review the CVs.

I fear it could be a perception of time needed to review CVs. Let’s break it down. 10 CVs would typically take 20 minutes to properly review on the basis of 2 minutes per CV (bear in mind that general ‘rules of thumb’ suggest 6-10 seconds per CV!). Add in 10 minutes to draft an email back to the Recruiter with feedback and the total time would be no more than 30 minutes.  

There is nothing more frustrating as a recruiter than finding some really good candidates, sending them to the client in a speedy manner and then experiencing delay to the process. If it is an excellent candidate that is in high demand, the longer the delay to the process, the more likely these candidates will progress with other companies and potentially no longer be on the market by the time you come to feed back.

3. 1st Stage Interview

Most of our clients are now using MS Teams or Zoom for first interview and the first interview is typically where there is an opportunity for them to assess the candidates in terms of goodness of fit, their understanding of the role, and suitability for the job.

The biggest delay here is usually in co-ordinating diaries between the interviewers and the interviewees. At the first stage a video call or phone call would be typical – meaning that the barrier of getting people in the same place at the same time is overcome.

Ideally it would be best to only have a single interviewer – and that person should have some dates/times ring-fenced in their diary from the kick off meeting.

4. 2nd and Final Stage Interview

Diary co-ordination typically gets more complex at stage 4 where the interview usually involves more than one person and is more likely to be face-to-face. This stage could involve further interviews with key stakeholders, a presentation or discussion with a wider audience, and/or a task to assess more deeper technical or experiential knowledge relative to the role.

Given how today’s working environment is very much focused on flexible working, it is sometimes hard to find gaps in peoples diary when the relevant people are in the office at the same time.

Again, one way around this would be to tentatively schedule and block out some dates in advance so that the key people are available once 2nd stage interviews need to happen. It is also important to ensure that the time between 1st stage and 2nd stage is compact. Too much of a gap and the candidate may be chasing you, which is good in some respects but it may not provide the candidate with a good impression of the hiring business, or have pursued other roles. I have had a number of candidates withdrawn at this stage due to accepting other offers.

5. Offer Letter and Contract

A common area for delay is in the sending of offer letter and/or contract. Clearly there is a sign off/approval process that must be followed but it may be worth planning ahead to try and ensure that the paperwork is sent in a timely fashion. We would expect that this paperwork should be sent no more than 5 working days from the date of verbal acceptance. For the hiring manager or the recruiter it may be worth ensuring that all the information needed for this stage is received in a timely manner. Typically this could be address, proof of permission to work, contact details for any references, and anticipated start date.

Responsiveness in Your Recruitment Campaign

In summary, recruitment is a two-way street. Clearly the candidate is there to sell themselves and their potential to fulfil the role, but it’s also a prime opportunity for the company, the team, and the hiring manager to sell themselves. Part of that is in being responsive and showing the candidate that you are keen. If the candidates’ experience prior to joining isn’t particularly smooth then surely they may have doubts once they are on board?

I do understand that there are delays to the process, but a lot of these delays can be mitigated. I once sent a number of CVs through to a client to be told by the HR contact that the hiring manager was away for a month!

I also understand that other things get in the way, and that people are working to their own priorities and timescales. Ultimately people are recruiting because they are not at optimal headcount. Often they are recruiting to alleviate the time pressures on themselves, so it’s important to remember how in the long-term view, this new hire will actually help with these constraints.

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Remember that the recruitment consultant is there to try and manage the process and be as efficient as possible from initial kick off all the way through to the candidate starting. Recruitment does need investment of people’s time but in the long run if the roles are filled as efficiently as possible then everyone will benefit.

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Published by Steve Halsall

Steve is the founder of Red Tiger Consulting. He has worked in Location Planning for over 20 years – both on the consultancy side and client side. His passion is building successful teams that evolve their capability (skills, software and data) to meet the ever changing requirements of analysis. In his spare time he is mainly kept busy with his two children, falling in and out of love with Liverpool FC and at some point he wants to re-start his golfing ‘career’.


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