Editors note: I first met Rodney Apple in 2015, when I moderated a round table on challenges in the supply chain work force at the APICS conference in Las Vegas. At the time, recruiting, training and retaining supply chain talent was one of the most talked about topics at supply chain conferences. Since then, I think it’s safe to say the issue has only gained in importance. This is the third of ten columns by Apple that we’ll publish on SCMR.com over the next three weeks. As always, you can feel free to email me with your thoughts at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, Supply Chain Management Review.

Hiring within the supply chain discipline has changed over the years, as developments in technology created new roles and revolutionized the way we buy, make, sell, plan, ship and return goods. To keep up, it’s imperative that you focus on doing whatever it takes to remove bottlenecks that delay your ability to make quick hiring decisions.

Speed is critical with our tightening labor market, especially as it relates to how quickly you can move candidates through your end-to-end hiring process. Developing a streamlined hiring process that increases recruiter productivity, mitigates administrative burdens, and creates a positive candidate experience can give your organization a competitive advantage over your competition.

Use S.W.O.T. Analysis to Breakdown The Current Process
A great place to get started is by breaking down every aspect of your current hiring process.  Administer a S.W.O.T. Analysis to better understand the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within your hiring process. You’ll want to develop a cross-functional team for this effort consisting of recruiters, key hiring managers, and HR business partners. Here are some questions that you’ll want to review together:

● Who does what, when and how within our organization as it relates to the end-to-end hiring process?

● Where do we have bottlenecks in the process that create a negative candidate experience and increases our time to fill metric?

● How do we kickoff a new search opening? What information is captured regarding the opening and are we giving our recruiters all pertinent details needed to effectively source the right candidates?

● How is the organization performing against its hiring objectives and KPIs e.g. quality of hire, time to fill, offer to acceptance ratio, etc.?

● Is our interviewing process sufficient for quickly vetting candidates and maintaining a positive candidate experience?

● Is our approval process causing delays as it relates to approving new requisitions and job offers?

● Is our recruiting team alerted the moment we have a backfill or new requisition approved or the last in the organization to find out?

Identify Bottlenecks
Through my experience in both corporate recruiting and agency recruiting, I have observed two areas where many employers tend to have bottlenecks. The first is with their requisition approval process. For some organizations, it can take several days or even weeks to approve a new position due to requiring too many approval signatures from leadership. By the time the requisition is approved, there’s added pressure on the recruiter to get it filled quickly and the company suffers while the position is left vacant longer than necessary.

The second is making hiring decisions and approving job offers. Delays with extending job offers can lead to losing out on top candidates, as most candidates will have multiple interviews going on when they’re in job search mode. Maintaining a strong sense of urgency when it comes to hiring is critical for success.

Determine Opportunities for Improvement
Once you’ve broken down the end-to-end hiring process, determine where you have opportunities for improvement and develop corrective action plans to close any performance gaps.

It may be beneficial to bring in a talent acquisition consultant or Lean expert that can help map out and optimize your hiring process. You should also benchmark leading companies that are known for having great hiring practices such as Google for example, and apply similar tactics to your hiring process.

Optimize Key Hiring Forms/Documents
While it requires more work on the frontend, make sure you have a detailed “intake” process form that captures the right information needed regarding the opening. You’ll want to capture more than just the job requirements, but key deliverables, department culture, supply chain objectives and challenges, etc.

You’ll want to develop strong job descriptions that go beyond listing out your ideal job requirements and job responsibilities. Ensure that your job descriptions provides a solid overview of your company, pertinent details about the organization/operation that the position leads or reports into, details the main objectives of the role, explains how the candidate would benefit from joining your organization, and provides other key information that helps to attract top candidates.

Improve the Interview Process
When it comes to the interviews themselves, many companies rely on HR to develop interview guides with questions that aren’t always applicable to every role in your organization. Take a collaborative approach to help put together the right set of interview questions that enable you to properly vet candidates based on past performance against the most critical functional, technical, leadership and cultural fit criteria.

Strive to put the right balance of interviews in place that properly assesses candidates and enables quick hiring decisions. We recently worked with a large 3PL that required candidates to go through up to EIGHT round of interviews. We ended up firing this client as every candidate that we put through the process became frustrated and ended up opting out of consideration or accepting other job offers.

Train Your Employees to Master the Art of Interviewing
Due to the supply chain talent gap and a tightening labor market, it’s imperative that your hiring managers and interviewers are well equipped to “sell” candidates on joining your organization in addition to assessing them. Consider putting together a training session for interviewers and new hires that join your organization so everyone communicates using the same message when it comes to how to sell your company to candidates exploring opportunities with your organization.

Rodney L. Apple is the managing partner of SCM Talent Group, a supply chain recruiting agency. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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