Rush to Hire

The author addresses the pressure of hiring, the downfalls of not taking your time, and how to combat rushing to hire.

The staff is drowning in work thanks to new management goals. A key employee resigns, placing an even bigger burden on the remaining team. The hiring manager just got approval for headcount and tells you that you need to fill this seat and it needs to be done yesterday. You spring into action and begin your search.

But then a week passes, and no dream candidates have presented. You start to feel concerned. The hiring manager won’t stop blowing your inbox up asking for status updates, and there are none to give. Another week flies by and you start to hear water-cooler talk of a possible hiring “pause”.

Must. Hire. Now.

In times like these the pressure to get someone—anyone—into that vacant seat can be overwhelming, and it can often lead to poor outcomes. The unfortunate truth is that when hiring managers and recruiters rush to hire, they often make mistakes.

What could go wrong when you rush to hire?

  • Wrong Culture Fit
    You bring the first qualified candidate you find on board, ignoring organizational fit. They invariably underperform in their new role.
  • Overfocus on Resume
    You bring the first qualified candidate you find on board, ignoring their soft skills. The new hire disrupts rather than complements current team, lowering morale and group productivity.
  • Red Flags Get Ignored
    Standard red flags such as behavioral issues get ignored. Now you’re stuck with a challenging employee who does not play well with others in the sandbox.
  • Overpayment
    In the rush to “get the deal done” you capitulate to salaries that exceed industry norms. You risk wage compression and all the issues that come with it: resentment, lower employee morale, passive flight, even potential legal liability if the hire isn’t diverse.
  • Scare Good Candidates Away
    Nothing makes a candidate more nervous than a company that’s desperate to hire. It signifies a poorly-managed business that has trouble attracting top talent.
  • Candidate Pressure
    Candidates who feel pressure may accept offer despite reservations or lack of enthusiasm. Reluctant hires usually self-select out in a matter of months, putting you right back at square one.

As you can see, the rush to hire can be a real detriment to your organization. The urgency to fill the role should never undermine the effort to fill that role with the best possible person. Luckily, there are some easy and practical ways to strike this balance.


What should you do when you have a “rush hire”?

  • Slow Your Roll
    “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” Urgency causes unforced errors. Instead of trying to move quickly, move at a speed where the process works smoothly.
  • Be Honest
    Pinpoint the “musts” for the position vs. the “nice to haves”. Know what candidates absolutely need and what they can get by without.
  • Remember Soft Skills
    Soft skills can be just as important as the technical skills, so remember to look beyond the resume when interviewing candidates.
  • Partner Up
    Dedicate time upfront with your internal or external recruitment partners. Share feedback and thoughts on what you’re looking for throughout the process.
  • Get Your Game Face On
    Be mindful of your eagerness when interacting with candidates. There’s a fine line between showing interest (best practice) and being overzealous.

Always Think About Talent
The best time to begin work on a rush hire is before it gets dropped in your lap. Get involved with the talent community and build a robust network of contacts. The next time you have seats to fill you’ll have a pool of eligible applicants and referrals already queued up.