5 Tips to Speed Up Your Hiring Process in a Red-Hot Job Market

By Jamy J. Sullivan, JD

Hiring is a crucial process that affects every part of a business. So why do many employers in the legal field approach it at a leisurely pace? 

recent Robert Half study found that a third of companies are taking more time than before to fill vacancies. This is at odds with what candidates want, as 62% of applicants said they lose interest if they don’t hear back from potential employers within two weeks after an initial interview. 

In today’s candidate-driven hiring environment, with competition for talent now as fierce as it was pre-pandemic, law firms and legal departments should act as quickly as is reasonable when recruiting. Skilled applicants may find themselves juggling multiple job offers. If you don’t snap them up, your competitors will. To help tip the balance in your favor, your hiring process needs to be faster. 

1. Nail down the job requirements ahead of time 

Hiring can sometimes stall because there’s indecision among the decision-makers about who’s best for the role. Resolving this hesitation often requires additional candidate outreach and interviews. While you’re trying to make up your mind, applicants are considering other offers. 

Work out your exact requirements before you start recruiting. Get all stakeholders to sign off on a detailed job description, then build your ideal candidate profile. If everyone agrees on the kind of professional you need, you’ll be able to fast-track a great applicant the moment their resume comes in. 

2. Leverage remote technology 

At the height of the pandemic, around 75% of employers were conducting remote interviews. Over time, most firms managed to build a hiring process that worked in a physically distanced world.  

That approach can still work well, even as workers return to the office. Scheduling a video interview is relatively quick and easy, which could give you the jump on competitors who insist on in-person sessions. You can also record video calls and share them with senior decision-makers, giving them a chance to offer thoughts and feedback. 

3. Don’t drop breadcrumbs 

Some hiring managers can be guilty of stringing candidates along, adding extra interviews and aptitude tests for the sole purpose of keeping the applicant engaged. This is known as breadcrumbing — as in, you’re dropping a trail of breadcrumbs to lead candidates forward at your preferred pace. 

Of course, not every delay is a breadcrumb. For example, lawyers moving from firm to firm are often subject to conflicts of interest checks, which can take several weeks. Just be sure to have regular, meaningful interactions with your candidates so they understand precisely where they are in the process. 

4. Measure only what you need 

Hiring managers need to get a detailed picture of each applicant. To facilitate this, some law firms and legal departments subject candidates to a battery of tests, including logical reasoning, situational judgment and critical thinking. While this can yield useful insights, each step in the process means a longer time-to-hire — and you risk losing top candidates. 

If you’re in a hurry, design an evaluation process that focuses solely on what you need. Use the detailed job description you drew up in step one to pinpoint the role’s must-have skills and experience. Any interviews, tests or exams should be laser-targeted to assess those attributes. 

5. Work with a talent solutions firm 

Being short-staffed can put employers in a bind. You need to hire as quickly as possible, but if your team is depleted, you probably have less time to focus on recruitment. 

Partnering with a talent solutions firm can reduce your time-to-hire and give you breathing space to focus on other tasks. Your talent solutions contact will connect you with pre-evaluated candidates who are suitable for the role so you can secure the services you need when you need them. 

It’s a red-hot job market right now, and candidates can afford to be choosy. The faster and more streamlined your hiring process, the more likely they are to choose you.