Ten tips to make selection processes quicker

Selection processes can be unnecessarily long, taking months to finalise a decision. This can result in losing the staff you’ve chosen, frustration for applicants, tarnished reputation.

How do you make the process more efficient so it takes less time? Here’s ten tips:

  1. Give staff recruitment a high priority. Make sure managers accept their responsibilities and commit to completing the process within agreed timeframes. Have a senior manager oversea recruitment.
  2. Encourage staff to take their turn on selection panels by emphasising the strategic importance of this work for the organisation. Poor selection decisions are costly. The process can be held up by managers searching for volunteers.
  3. Develop a policy with timeframes for completing the process.Monitor whether these timeframes are met. Take action if people don’t meet the agreed timeframes.
  4. Make sure delegates are available to complete approvals. The manager may complete the process quickly only to have the selection report sit in an in-tray for weeks waiting sign-off.
  5. Reduce the number of approvals in the process. If managers have to obtain multiple approvals at various stages during the process, each of these is a potential bottleneck.
  6. Provide resources for selection panels to reduce the workload. In addition to the formal documents (e.g. selection report) provide examples of well written selection criteria, quality interview questions, examples of work tests, so each selection panel isn’t starting from scratch.
  7. Make greater use of Orders of Merit.
  8. Use bulk recruitment at level rather than recruit for individual positions.
  9. Put more effort into defining the position: duties, accountabilities, outputs and outcomes, selection method choices, establishing assessment standards. Making decisions will be much easier if this work is done up front.
  10. Ensure staff on selection panels are trained. Not knowing what to do can hold up the process. Uninformed actions can generate problems later.
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.