Shorten Hiring Cycle to Bring in Best Talent, Says Expert

Rance Hesketh, a seasoned entrepreneur and executive, believes that a single day is enough to screen and appoint a candidate. (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

The length of the hiring process can have a big impact on a company’s recruitment efforts, says a seasoned entrepreneur and executive, who believes that a single day is enough to screen and appoint a candidate.

“I think the biggest takeaway…is how you find the right people,” Rance Hesketh told Via News Agency when asked about the lessons learned throughout his decades-long journey of building and managing companies.

Rance has founded or co-founded four companies, and has held senior positions at companies such as the Kraft Heinz Company, Workshop Cafe, Burger King, and McKinsey & Company.

He likens the hiring process in most companies to a “long march” that sometimes takes three or four months and recommends that businesses, including newly-founded ones, shorten and streamline the recruitment procedure to attract the best talent.

“When you’re starting a company, you have a sense of need, you have a sense of urgency, you have a sense of the necessity to get things done quickly. The only way to get that done is to have people to help you do it because you’re not walking into a company with a team that’s already assembled. So you need to bring people on board very very quickly.”

Hiring in 1 Day

Sharing his approach to dealing with such a situation, Rance said he asks for the help of people he trusts to evaluate candidates in the right way.

“I’d set up a group of five or six people that I trust, and I would bring in the candidates on one day. I would let those five or six people interview a candidate, and, at the end of the day, we would get together and if all those five or six people agree that this candidate is the right candidate, we would hire that person on the same day.”

He added that he would then let the “candidate” interview him rather than him interviewing the candidate.

“I would let them interview me. So my job is to communicate what the mission of the company is, what we’re trying to accomplish, and what the expectations are—not to find out where they went to school or what they’ve previously done. I had a team that did that, and I trusted that team. If they are aligned and think this is the right candidate, then it shouldn’t take more than a day to hire somebody.”

Rance, who has vast experience in restructuring distressed assets, says he has followed the same procedure time and again under various circumstances throughout his career and has found it to be very “effective”.

Also, it is “far less frustrating” for the candidate as well, said the former senior vice president and global head of development at Burger King.

“If you’re hiring people over a three, four, or five-month period, you’ll have all sorts of different impressions. Somebody interviews them on a day when they’ve had a bad day at home. Next time you can’t remember who the guy is. In three months, you won’t even remember the candidate. So how can you possibly get a consistent reading of a candidate over such a long period?”

In Rance’s opinion, such an attitude and such a drawn-out hiring process could lead the candidate to take up an opportunity at another company.

“If you’re looking to garner talent, you need to find a way to collapse the time frame that you apply to attracting talent. I think that’s probably one of the biggest lessons learned.”

Level of Communication

The former CEO of Workshop Cafe also maintains that it is crucial to keep employees motivated through communicating a focused, trimmed-down message.

“You get into some companies and they’ve got 17 objectives and you ask yourself: ‘How can anybody focus on 17 objectives?’ So you need to keep it very tight, and you need to communicate that constantly.”

He says some team leaders are under the false assumption that they are communicating enough with their employees. “But it’s sort of a rule that if you multiply the level of communication you have by four, it’s probably still a little short of where it should be.”

Shared DNA

About his experience of working at Burger King, Rance said they managed to open around 4,000 Burger Kings over four years in about 20 countries as a result of building partnerships with their master franchisee partners.

“I would talk to a lot of investors who were interested in the opportunity and I typically talked to them about what we were looking for and they were all very curious,” he noted, adding that most of them thought the goal was more money or more restaurant openings.

“I would tell them: ‘We’re looking for shared DNA. We’re looking for people who think the same way we think in terms of the opportunity. You’re gonna run the business because you understand the market better.’ …But the key was that we shared the same view of what we wanted to build…and once we had that in place, it typically was very very successful.”

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