In the 2004 NFL draft, as the first overall pick the San Diego Charges selected Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning. Love him or hate him, he now has two MVP trophies and two Super Bowl rings, joining the likes of his older brother, Peyton Manning and Troy Aikman, who were also number one draft picks.
But this article is not about football, nor sports. It is about, as Jim Collins so famously phrased it in his book Good to Great, “putting the right people on the bus” – and building the right team.
The most successful organizations are the ones who can attract, hire, train, and retain the best people.
Attracting the best people isn’t just about offering a fun and creative work environment for your existing employees. It starts with the draft. In Corporate America, the draft is the interview stage, where managers and HR teams recruit people to build their organizations. This is also where companies often lose some of the best talent, because unlike the NFL draft where everyone gets to pick in a fair and orderly system, recruiting can often look more like the doors opening at Wal-Mart on a Black Friday sale.
The longer a company takes to extend a job offer, the less likely the candidate will accept.
And it is not a gradual curve. The curve is steep and gets steeper very quickly.
Among sales professionals, there is an old saying that “time kills deals.” That absolutely holds true when it comes to recruiting. If it takes an organization three to four weeks to interview and then hire a new employee, then that company will lose out to the company who can do it in two weeks.
Think about it as if you were the candidate who is interviewing for the job – this should be easy to do, because at some point, we’ve all been the person who is interviewing for a new job.
Maybe you are unemployed, or maybe you are currently working and looking for a new opportunity. You have two potential new employers. One of them is excited, and telling you they want you and after a few interviews they make you the job offer. The other company can’t seem to find the time because they are too busy to pull the bus over and allow the right people to get on.
(Note: anytime you don’t call someone back because you are “too busy”, the message you are really sending that person is, “you are not the highest priority right now”)
Most candidates, around 90%, will accept the first job offer they receive.
Would you turn down a job offer for a company that you have been interviewing with because another company might make you a job offer after another two weeks of interviewing?
Maybe if the economic market was stronger. But right now, when many people are still just happy to have a job, candidates are less willing to take risks that could land them in the unemployment line.
Pro Tip: When you are looking to bring on a new employee, take a few minutes to plan for interview times. Put them on your calendar in pencil. Make it a priority. If something falls through, you can always use that time you’ve blocked off to do your regular 9:00 to 5:00 job. But if your team cannot find the time to interview and onboard new talent, you will lose the best people to the companies who can.
Ask yourself would you rather have the #1 pick in the draft? Or would you rather wait until everyone else has built exactly the team they want, and then try and build your own group out of what is left?