June 22, 2018

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Time is of the Essence in Attracting and Retaining Employees

Everyone wants to hire the best employees. However, in order to do so, you must keep in mind, there is more to recruiting than “help wanted” ads and word-of-mouth. Of course, it comes down to a question of time--most people either don't have enough or don't utilize it properly.

It happens when that ideal candidate for your organization appears out of nowhere and you don't hire him or her because you don't have openings at the moment. Or, what about when you take a long time interviewing an applicant, checking references, and making the final decision, only to have another company come along and scoop them up in a day? The solution--stop wasting time and start making decisions!

So many companies tend to start recruiting before they are fully ready to make offers. Unfortunately, by dragging our feet, the good candidates can slip away. In order to make the best use of your time, before you decide to even post a position, you need to make the following determinations:

Job description. What will the incumbent be doing? What percentage of the time will be spent in different areas? Who will the person report to? Who will be responsible for his/her development? What are the ideal requirements for the position and what is the minimum? Make sure to get top management's approval of a position before you start to recruit. Too many times candidates are lost when hiring managers attempt to get approval after the fact.

Time frame. Do you need someone tomorrow or two months from now? If the answer is two months from now, you're not necessarily going to take hiring for the position seriously, or your organization's requirements may change. If you need someone tomorrow, start cracking!

Compensation. What will it take to fill the position? What can you truly afford? Make sure to do your research. Look online at or other similar sites to see if what you're offering is realistic. Too many positions go unfilled because hiring managers have unrealistic expectations of what applicants will accept. Don't waste your time interviewing an applicant who is looking for more money than you can afford. You can run the risk of insulting the applicant and losing them forever as a potential hire. Keep in mind, just because you can't afford the person today, it doesn't mean that you can't afford him/her in a year from now.

Interviews. What will you ask the candidates? To aid your comparison and help you meet EEO guidelines, write out questions ahead of time and ask all applicants the same ones. When the right applicant comes along, interview quickly and make offers quickly! The companies you are competing with won't delay and neither should you. If you are unsure of the applicant, then they are either not the right person for the job, or you were most likely not ready to actually hire someone.

References. Check applicant's references quickly or make offers contingent on successful reference checks. Good applicants already know what you will find out and will likely accept the offer and give notice while you are checking references.

- Eileen M. Levitt, SPHR


Ms. Eileen Levitt founded The HR Team in 1996. Ms. Levitt has more than 15 years of human resource experience relating to employee communications, employee training, recruitment and retention strategies, executive/employee coaching, employee benefits, financial management, compensation, and policy/procedure development. In 2003 Ms. Levitt was named Maryland’s Women in Business Advocate of the Year by the US Small Business Administration. Since forming The HR Team Ms. Levitt has served numerous domestic and international clientele in the following industries: publishing, communications, technology, biotechnology, staffing, trade associations, manufacturing, banking/financial services, medical/healthcare, professional service, non-profit, research/scientific, landscaping, retail, and utilities.