ABC’s of Hiring #24: How to Hire in 90 Days or Less

Your hiring process can ensure you get the best candidates and not lose out on top talent. It starts with having a strong brand and a reputation in the marketplace as a great place to work. For the hiring and interviewing process to work effectively, you have to make it a priority. The longer it takes, the higher your costs will be. Remember, the goal is to find out if the person is a good fit for the job and will likely be successful.

Get prepared

  • The first step in any hiring process is to determine the need for a new or replacement position in your company. What problems are solved by this position? Do you really need it?
  • Think creatively about how to accomplish the work without adding staff (improve processes; eliminate work you don’t need to do, divide work differently, etc.).
  • Determine the goals and expectations for the position.
  • Develop and prioritize the skills, experience and attributesyou seek in a candidate. Do you need industry specific experience for success in this role?
  • With HR department assistance, develop thejob description for the position.
  • Determine thesalary range for the position. Do you have a budget for relocation expense?
  • Get management approval before taking action.
  • Form the interviewing team, prepare them and train them. The team should consist of the hiring supervisor, the manager of the hiring supervisor, HR, a member of the management team who will work with them and someone with relevant technical/functional skills to validate their skillset. Make sure that each member of the team knows what you are looking for in the perfect candidate.

The preparation phase normally requires 1 to 2 weeks to be done properly.

Take action

  1. Post the position, place an ad, use a recruiter, network for referrals, perform an internet search and use whatever other means available to you to attract candidates to your opening. Don’t wait on a slate of candidates; when you have a potentially solid candidate, move the process forward and try to keep generating more candidates in the meantime. Your ability to continually network should fulfill this need.

This normally would require 1 to 2 weeks but is truly variable based on your ability to generate candidates worthy of interviewing.

  1. Select a candidate to telephone interview and validate the skills and experience reflected on their resume. Skype is an excellent tool in this regard. If they are a potential match to your stated requirements, set up a face-to-face interview. If your company uses some form of testing, this is the ideal time to administer it. You will then be able to use the results of the testing to guide questions during the interview that follows.

From the time of the telephone interview to the face-to-face should be 1 to 2 weeks.

  1. The purpose of the interview is for both parties to determine if this is a good potential fit. Whether you use behavioral or situational questions, the goal is to validate what they say they did with questions on how they did it, and how they calculated the results claimed on the resume. While the candidate must clearly show why they are qualified for the position, it is vital for the hiring manager to “sell” the candidate on the position, and the company. The candidate must get a clear view of the role and what is expected, as well as, why the company is a great place to work. Avoid salary discussions which ruin twice as many interviews than they help. The interview team should be debriefed and a decision made on whether to hire this candidate. If you have more than one qualified candidate, then compare and choose the best one.

From the face-to-face interview to an offer should be 1 to 2 weeks.

Close the deal

Keep your candidates informed regarding the progress of the process. Create expectations regarding next steps and then stick to it. If they are no longer a candidate, tell them as a soon as possible. That creates a positive impression of your company.

  • This is the time to check references. Use references to probe any area of uncertainty raised during the interview or to validate their ability to perform well in the new role.
  • With the knowledge of the candidate’s current salary, prepare an offer within your range that provides clear motivation to them and offers an increase in the 10% range. Remember to take into account any cost-of-living differences if relocation is required.
  • Have HR or a third party recruiter call the candidate and test the offer. Too many times, when the hiring manager presents the offer there is little room left for negotiation and often hard feelings can result. Find out if there are any bonafide objections that you were not previously aware of and address them.
  • When making the written offer, include contingencies based on signing a non-disclosure agreement, a non-compete agreement, a drug screen, a background check and validation of degrees and certifications.
  • Normally, a prudent person would ask for several days to review the offer before accepting. Provide them with the weekend to decide unless there are unusual circumstances. Also, limit the transition time from when they resign, to 2 weeks’ notice. 


Can you compete for top talent? Does your interview process need to be streamlined? Employers need to do some soul searching and perform an honest assessment of their hiring process. Interview quickly, make a decision quickly and present an offer the candidate can’t refuse. You are competing with offers from other companies, and counteroffers from the current employer. Are you prepared to present a job offer within two weeks of the first interview? The entire process should be completed in 3 months or less. Delays can be costly particularly, if you lose out by not attracting the best available talent. If it takes longer, it will likely be due to an unrealistic job specification or your inability to attract the right people. Take a hard look and reassess your process.


Bob Harrington Associates has been in the executive search business for 20 years and can help you find the best people for your business.

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