My new husband, age 41, is learning how to drive. We have been practicing together every morning. Which means that I clutch the armrest in utter terror in Boston rush-hour traffic, while gritting my teeth and forcing my voice to be calm, saying, “Next time, let’s observe that stop sign.”


Parallel parking is a particular challenge. Have you noticed that everyone has a different opinion of how to do it? My method, for the record, is to line up my mirrors, think of a grocery cart, and go. (Trust me, somehow it just works.)

Other well-meaning friends have shared their tips, most of which involve calculating obtuse angles and other fun memories of ninth-grade geometry class.

The key to becoming a good driver quickly? Practice, of course. Practice until all the little details become second nature.

Recruiting is similar. There’s a difference between a recruiting process that hums and one that stalls. In observing several companies’ recruiting processes, I’ve collected ten practices that separate the companies with their recruiting foot on the accelerator from those with their recruiting foot on the brake.

If you are hiring for analytical marketing talent in today’s market, you have likely already seen that you need to be fast and candidate-friendly. By getting the details right, you can get there.

Is your recruiting foot on the accelerator or the brake?  Where do you want it to be?

For each pair below, pick the sentence which best describes your recruiting approach.

1)      Flexible interview scheduling
a.      We will interview candidates early in the morning, late in the day, or even sometimes on weekends, in order to move the process along faster and be more candidate-friendly.
b.      We are guilty of dragging out scheduling and rescheduling interviews repeatedly, which can lead to lost candidates.

2)      Pipeline-building
a.       We’ll meet good people for networking, even if we don’t have a clear role available now for them. And we’ll consider redefining a role for the right individual.
b.      We’ll only talk to people about specific openings now.

3)      Evaluating candidates with assessments
a.       We ask candidates to bring work samples to talk through. And we use assessments in addition to interviews so candidates can demonstrate how they think. This often separates the truly skilled from those with shiny resumes but not much else.
b.      We use question-and-answer interviews only.

4)      Compelling job previews
a.       We have great job specs and other materials that show what the candidate will learn and become in the role.
b.      Our job specs read more like grocery lists than authentic job previews.

5)      Preparation for interviews
a.       We always identify and prioritize what we’re looking for in our next hire. We read a candidate’s resume thoroughly before each interview to prepare for a meaty discussion.
b.      We are likely to scan a resume while walking to the interview, and ask generic questions that probably leave something to be desired on both sides.

6)      Sponsoring international candidates
a.       We’ll sponsor international candidates. It widens our pool. Plus, immigrants often score high on ambition and adaptability.
b.      We don’t sponsor international candidates and don’t necessarily have a clear reason why.

7)      Clear roles for interviewing team
a.       We clearly establish which interviewers are the decision makers and which are providing input.
b.      We have too many cooks in the kitchen when making hiring decisions, which clouds the process and slows down decisions.

8)      Proactive employee referral program
a.       Our employee referral process is proactive and gets the right nourishment and sponsorship. (Here’s a good piece on getting the best from your referral program.)
b.      We send the occasional email to employees, saying, “You could get $2000 for referring your friend.” We wish this produced more results.

9)      Limited interviews
a.       We’ll limit interviews to four or five in most cases, and we’ll let candidates know the process to expect in advance.
b.      We do many interviews to give multiple people the opportunity to weigh in, even though we know they have diminishing returns and slow down the process.

10)   Test and learn recruiting culture
a.       We monitor and act on what works and what doesn’t, including which messages resonate with which talent segments, and which referral sources are most fertile.
b.      Yikes, we seem to reinvent the wheel for every recruiting cycle.

What other things have you done or seen to make recruiting hum along? I am eager to hear from you. And of course, if you have a fail-proof parallel parking strategy, please share it!