August 9, 2023

Six Strategies That Take Weeks Off Your Hiring Process

by Mary Newgard

Do you think your hiring process takes too long? Have issues with timing cost you time, money, and the chance to hire top talent?

One of the first lessons I learned as a young recruiter was, “Time kills all deals.” Seventeen years later I still think this statement is spot on. Rarely do candidates or hiring managers mean to slow play the process, but it happens. It’s easy to get distracted. The problem when an occasional “cog in the wheel” becomes the norm is you start to form bad hiring habits.

Here are six ways you can push the pace in the hiring process.

1) To get the deal done, give permission to abandon your process

After a six-plus month search to find a commercial lines account manager, an agency finally found a great candidate but struggled to get the second interview completed because the people this person would work with couldn’t interview for two weeks. Rather than wait, the producer said to the service manager, “Do you like this candidate?” The manager said emphatically, “Yes!” To which the producer replied, “Then just hire her. We’re losing good people because our process is taking too long.”

2) Write simple, easy to update job ads

A client recently shared, “Our Chief Financial Officer was hiring a business analyst. We reviewed 200-plus resumes only to find out he required a designation that no one had because we didn’t mention it in the job ad.”

The sole purpose of a job ad is to deliver quality not quantity. I’d rather have one great applicant than 200 people I’m never going to hire. Short job postings allow you to quickly update and rewrite when you must refine the qualifications mid-search.

3) Deputize one person to screen resumes

“Sometimes our hiring managers get into Workday to review applications. Other times HR does it. Hiring managers aren’t in the system every day, so it causes delays.”

Recruiting is just one of 15 responsibilities hiring managers have. Relying on them to be consistent is a tall order. One person needs to review, screen, and delete applications. Involve hiring managers to interview a vetted list of candidates.

4) Automate as much information gathering as possible

Questionnaires, email templates, and “challenge questions” replace the 20 minutes HR spends on the phone or a hiring manager during an hour-long interview. Consider automated responses to job applicants that also gather critical screening information. Not only is this information easy to store, it’s also a good test of the candidate’s interest and willingness to engage. Consider these:

  • Thanks for applying for our position. While we review your qualifications, we need additional information. Please reply as soon as possible.
  • When are you available to start?
  • What is your compensation target?
  • Do you want a remote, hybrid, or office-based position?
  • Please outline the reason for your recent job changes.
  • Why are you considering new career opportunities?

5) Give managers a script

I just had an HR director tell me that a hiring manager asked how they could find out a candidate’s marital status.

Uh, no. Wrong question for lots of reasons.

A simple interview script — Do’s and Don’ts For Hiring Managers — accomplishes a few important things:

  • Keeps interviews on track and limits tangents/distractions.
  • Helps hiring managers feel prepared and set goals.
  • Avoids E&O issues by clearly outlining inappropriate and/or illegal questions.

6) Combine hiring teams for similar positions

If you have similar job openings for multiple teams, combine the job ads and interview activity as much as possible so you can:

  • Get more bang for your buck using one job board slot for several jobs.
  • Put less strain on your HR team to organize and screen applications.
  • Send bulk referrals to all hiring managers which speeds up interview requests and avoids candidates slipping through the cracks.
  • Schedule joint interviews. Candidates love it because they meet multiple people and find the team/position that fits them best.

“Ask the Insurance Recruiter” is a monthly column written by Mary Newgard, Partner and published in partnership with Insurance Journal Magazine. Visit Insurance Journal Magazine’s website for a complete list of previous articles. For questions and comments, email Mary at


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