It’s Time to Change the Ten-Second Rule (for recruiting, that is)

We’ve known about the ten-second rule since we were kids: even if the cookie hits the floor, it’s still good to eat, as long as it’s picked up quickly.

Rather than debate the experts on whether or not that’s true (though I’m still here to write this article, is all I’m saying), I would like to address another ten-second rule that causes recruiters to miss out on great candidates. Believe it or not, the typical amount of time a hiring manager takes to decide whether a candidate is in or out is – you guessed it – ten seconds. And that needs to change.

Why hiring managers dismiss candidates so quickly 

There’s no question HR departments are busier than ever. From executing and updating corporate policies and addressing employee issues to administering perks and benefits, the to-do list is always full. Now, add in the ultra-competitive job market, which is making recruiting more challenging than it’s been in decades, and you can see why hiring managers are moving quickly when deciding whether to pursue a candidate.

Further, they tend to stick to the requirements listed in job advertisements: education, experience, certain skills, and perhaps a “unicorn” talent possessed by the previous employee. Don’t have a bachelor’s degree/5 years of experience/ability to use a certain software program? You’re out. In the current environment, that approach is not only shortsighted, but also puts an employer needing to hire at a distinct disadvantage.

In a tight job market, take a deep dive into candidates  

With more job openings than candidates to fill them, recruiters need to drill deeper when reviewing candidates. Rather than making snap decisions that rule candidates out, it’s time to go the extra mile to find those that can be a good fit.

What does that mean? It often boils down to reading between the lines on a resume. Perhaps a candidate has demonstrated in a previous position that they are adaptable to new roles or responsibilities. Or, they may have shown an aptitude for learning new technologies or seamlessly tackling the introduction of a new tool. In each case, the candidate has proven they can adjust to a new situation, which may mean they can do the same for your organization. 

In the same way, rather than pinpointing one specific skill, look at the broader competencies a candidate possesses. If they’ve mastered 4 different software programs, doesn’t it seem likely they could do the same for the one you need? And while they haven’t managed a team or project in your industry, doesn’t the fact they’ve been successful in other sectors mean they could also do a good job for you?  

As the war for talent shows no signs of easing – and in fact, will likely become more difficult in the months ahead – companies need to be open-minded when it comes to reviewing candidates. Rather than making them fit into a pre-designed set of specs, seek out attributes that will allow them to thrive in your organization. 

Alaant’s experts spend all day, every day working with candidates and companies, and we know how to connect the right professionals with the right employers. Can we help your business to make that happen? Contact us today and let’s get the conversation started!

About the Author

Tom Schin Director, Talent Acquisition Partnerships & Recruiting Consulting Services for Alaant Workforce Solutions

Tom SchinDirector, Talent Acquisition Partnerships & Recruiting Consulting Services

When he’s not working, Tom is an avid board game enthusiast, from Catan to Canasta, who makes sure game night is fun for everyone (even though they’ll probably lose). He’s also fond of celebrating his status as a child of the ‘80s by watching Star Wars, listening to U2, and reminiscing about his (gone-but-not-forgotten) Andre Agassi haircut.