The double-edged sword of speed: Page 2

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"In this day and age, you can't sit on a resume--it becomes a piece of fish left out in the sun," Banyan's Miller concurs.

Figure out how to streamline your hiring process without rushing it. That involves knowing what can be thrown out of your traditional hiring process, what should be kept, and what should be added.
Meetings are another downfall. Hiring managers who are behind closed doors discussing networking are shooting themselves in the foot, according to Mhoon. "You need to make hiring a priority in your day-to-day business."

  • Get close with your human resources department. If your HR department is involved with the hiring process, make sure communications are crystal clear. "HR and IT should work closely together to come up with the job specification and then make sure HR understands how to evaluate the resumes when they come in," TemPositions' Essey suggests. Because HR doesn't always speak the same language as IT, make sure they know the software and hardware skills you need, with perhaps a profile of the person who previously held the job.

    Also, rather than having HR conduct the preliminary interview, candidates should quickly be passed to IT, Essey says.

    To avoid things getting lost in the shuffle, be sure everyone is on the same page in terms of the hiring process. "Sometimes, you're writing the job description and getting it approved, but someone else is simultaneously looking at candidates. People get lost in the process," Essey says. Instead, make sure everyone is clued in to what's happening and everyone is working toward the same goal.

  • Turn your HR department into a 24-hour service. Not all candidates will live in your time zone. So consider staggering your HR hours, having staff available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to accommodate the West Coast, Alexander suggests.

  • Be creative about sourcing. Here's a trick. You know the CD-ROMs that you get at job fairs, with all the attendees' resumes? "We look at those CD-ROMs from six months prior," Essey says. "Many of these individuals will have taken a six-month assignment, and then they become available again."

  • Learn how to use the Internet for sourcing, but use it judiciously. With its newsgroups, career sites, and automatic job postings, the Internet is a great hiring and sourcing tool. However, it can be a double-edged sword when it comes to time. Yes, you can get a job posted in minutes rather than days, and yes, you can accumulate a huge pile of resumes in a short amount of time. But the Internet's possibilities are so vast that a lot of time gets sucked into honing your technique.

    "I'm making more than 50% of my hires off the Internet," says Banyan's Miller. "But I probably spend more time on it than I should. As time goes on, the idea of having a dedicated Internet searcher will become more important."

    Internet sourcing can also get pretty complicated. In fact, there are books solely dedicated to teaching people how to do various types of searches, as well as week-long seminars on the subject. This type of training takes time, dedication, and money. "It literally becomes a full-time job for multiple people to do those things," Essey says. "If you don't have the time to devote to it, there's a question as to whether it's a great investment to learn everything about Internet sourcing."

So, as you gear up for another round of IT interviews, keep an eye on your speed limit. And keep in mind that the first subliminal images back in 1958 were flashed on the screen for just a third of a millisecond. Yet the fastest brain process moves at just 40 mph, according to the Skeptic's Dictionary. Hopefully we're not speeding up the world to the point where we can't keep up with it. //

Mary Brandel is a freelance writer in Norfolk, Mass., specializing in business applications of technology. She can be reached at brandel@cwix.com.

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