How CEOs can improve recruitment at their company

Over the course of my career, I’ve had a lot of experience applying job after job – each with a 45 minute application process – and then never heard from again.

As a founder, director or leader of a company, you have the opportunity to monitor and change this process to improve the recruitment of candidates applying for jobs at your company.

Now that I’m in that position, I’m committed to creating a positive application experience for our candidates. So in 2014, when I became the COO of a fast-growing startup, I decided to apply for a job at my own company to make sure we weren’t one of the bad actors I had experienced earlier in my career.

I applied for a job with a disposable name, resume and email address. It’s easy to create a fake resume that must pass your company’s initial screening. In the beginning, I had no intention of faking the entire application process. I just wanted to see how long it would take between submitting a high-quality resume, receiving a notification from the hiring team (or a rejection), and booking an initial interview.

When applying to be a founder or executive at your own company, getting into a first phone or video screen is a challenge because everyone at the company will recognize you. So in a previous position, I went the extra mile and asked two friends with high-quality, relevant resumes to apply for open positions at my company and asked for feedback on the time between phases/steps. This helps to get an idea of ​​how fast our recruiting process is moving further down the funnel.

When a friend applies with a strong resume, they should be more fortunate to participate in an initial interview and hopefully move on to a secondary screening process such as a panel interview or assessment. My goal is always to get a candidate to the next step of the hiring process (or a rejection) within five business days.

Along the way, I’ve experienced some real frustrations with parts of my own recruiting process. And if I’m frustrated with our process, I know the candidates applying for our jobs feel the same way.

There are three quick changes I’ve made in the past to significantly reduce time-to-hire:

Use the rule of four: Todd Carlisle, who led HR/HR at Google and then Twitter, found that four interviews are enough to predict whether someone will be hired with 86% confidence or not. Each additional interviewer after the fourth person adds only ~1% of the predictive power. Google moved to the rule of four around 2010, and this change alone reduced their median time to enlist from 180 to 47 days. Assign a full-time planner to the hiring process: Most leaders think, “We already have administrative assistants or recruiting coordinators, so we’re in the right place.” The reality is that these jobs are extraordinarily complex, so appointing someone whose sole responsibility is to schedule interviews is a game-changer for candidates to act quickly between each step in the process. Set timers per interview phase: There are rarely any reasons why an individual stage in the hiring process should take more than five business days. There are many ways to do this, depending on the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) you are using. Allowing recruiters to see stats on how long candidates sit from the first application, to the first resume review, to the first phone screen is a game-changer, especially for large recruiting efforts. When you can see that candidates are more than 30 days into a particular hiring phase, you can take the first step to address a broader problem.

I’ve applied for jobs at my own companies every year for the past eight years, and every year I come out of this experience with a list of things to fix and improve, and a list of things to congratulate our recruiting team for approaching so good. Spending a few hours each year on this is one of the most transformative ways to spend time evaluating the hiring process, and it’s something I commend to all leaders in this challenging talent market.

Chris Bakke is the co-founder and CEO of laskie.

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