How to Slash Your Hiring Time By 50%

“Show up and throw up”

time-is-money-hourglassSadly, that’s what most salespeople do. They don’t ask questions. They don’t listen. They don’t qualify. They just start selling.

So, when you do exactly that same thing while hiring, you’re wasting a ton of time. The candidate’s and your own time, too.

You’re literally wasting your breath.

Here’s how to save your breath… and half of your hiring time.

In 10% unemployment days (remember wayyy back in 2011?), you had the candidate’s attention. It was raining candidates. You could just pick and choose the ones you wanted. You could assume they’d have an interest in your job opportunity. And so, you could jump right into selling them on the role.

Today? Not so much.

3.8% unemployment and – unless your candidate applied from one of your job board postings – you have no idea if they’d be interested at all.

So, you probably spend a buncha minutes explaining the company, the industry, the role. Just to get them activated and see if they’d consider a conversation.

Over and over, with every candidate you encounter. Add up all those minutes and your wasting a truckload of time.


Before you waste your breath again, ask the candidate what they’d be interested in. I ask this precise question within two minutes of starting the conversation:

“Before I take your time telling you all about the company and role, I’d love to learn a bit about you. If you were to make a move, what would it be? What type of product, what size company, what location, what would you be doing in the role?”

And then I’m silent.

Now, everybody loves to dream. So, precisely 100% of candidates (active or totally inactive) will answer this question. As they do, I quickly get a sense of whether there’s even a modicum of a match: a tiny bit or a ton.

I learn whether I should even waste my breath, and I learn which elements of the opportunity I should emphasize.

If she says, “I’m at a startup that’s failing, and I don’t have the risk tolerance for another one, so I’m looking for a larger company,” and I’m hiring for my startup, then I move on. (Gracefully, of course.)

But, if her answer precisely describes the opportunity I’m offering, then ding. ding. ding. I tell her that “this checks many of the boxes you described, and I’d love to tell you all about it.”

Just as in sales, hiring is a funnel, and that means investing your time on the prospects that might want to purchase and moving on when they don’t.

Qualify first… Not after you’ve spent 20 minutes selling a poorly-qualified prospect on a role which they’d hate.

This article from Chief Executive magazine will save you even more time when hiring.

Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman is the author of Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business. The Chief Talent Officer at Chicago-based Strong Suit Executive Search, Hyman currently teaches the MBA course on recruiting at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and hosts the five-star Strong Suit Podcast. Jeff has been featured by Inc., Fortune, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg, and other media outlets. Learn more at

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