As the days lengthen toward the Summer solstice and the weather warms, plans move to vacations and offices shift to more relaxed summer hours or flextime schedules. Conventional wisdom holds that Summer is not an advantageous time to conduct a search for talent. However, as HireBetter President Chris Carmouche wrote in a previous article, Summer is actually a great time to launch a talent search because:
- The time to lay the talent groundwork for Q3 and Q4 success begins now.
- The labor market has increased availability.
- Candidates prefer a summer relocation over other times of year.
Still, the hiring process tends to drag as vacation schedules can get in the way of moving candidates forward. This is especially challenging for executive candidates who often have multiple interviews with a variety of stakeholders. How do you not lose game-changing talent in a quickly shifting candidate market? To paraphrase Dwight D. Eisenhower, plans are of no value, but planning is indispensable.
PLANNING THE PLAN
- Once the candidate search has begun, I recommend that you block time on your calendar for interviews. If you know that you will be unavailable to meet with a candidate, write down your key questions so that other executives can incorporate them into their interviews. Provide them with an overview of the answers you are looking for as well. This will allow the team to move forward with an offer if you are out of the office for an extended period of time.
- When it is critical that every person on the hiring team interview the candidate, utilize technology like Facetime, Skype, or international platforms like Zoom so you can stay engaged in the hiring process while enjoying a well-deserved vacation.
- If you know that the interview process will extend longer than your company usually takes, be upfront with the timeline and keep candidates updated throughout the process.
- Schedule on-site interviews during a time when the office best reflects the working environment. Bringing a candidate in on Friday afternoons at 4PM might work well with your schedule, but if summer hours means that most of the employees have left the office, the candidate won’t get a sense of the energy of the team or the culture of the company.
- Ensure that the offer letter template and benefits information is readily available. I once worked with an outstanding candidate who was ready to accept a written offer, but the offer letter was password protected and no one had the password. The human resources director was vacationing on a sailboat and could not be reached. By the time the hiring manager connected with the director, the candidate had accepted another offer.
True, the months of June, July, and August are an opportune time to personally refresh and recharge. But that doesn’t mean you need to let up on the gas on hiring. After all, Q4 will be here before you know it and you will need to position the company for a strong finish!