You snooze you lose when you fail to hire quickly

A recent article in Business Insider reported that Yahoo’s hiring process is taking so long that they are losing out on talented people (and aggravating their employee base). The culprit? CEO Marissa Mayer’s bureaucratic tendencies. I believe that CEOs should be as involved as they can in hiring, but the process described by Business Insider’s source is excessive:

  • Mayer requires teams of at least four people to interview every single new candidate.
  • Then each interviewer fills out a series of forms.
  • Then HR compiles each form into one master form.
  • This form then goes to Mayer’s office, “to sit from between six weeks to two months before she gets around to approving it. This is not [the] wait [time] for the whole process, which takes longer, naturally, it’s just the Mayer-approval wait.”
  • Then there is more waiting.

Top talents won’t wait around this long. Speed of engagement will get you more A players than anything else. If you act quickly to engage an A player, you will blow away your competition. In my companies, I set a goal of two weeks from when we first get the candidate’s resume until we have a job offer in their hands. If the candidate is ready to move, we should be able to take care of everything in that time.

Why don’t more companies hire quickly? Besides having a bureaucratic process like Yahoo, it’s pure laziness. Companies will put out an ad, and then the hiring manager will go on vacation for two weeks. Any candidates who respond will either not hear from the company at all for at least two weeks or will get a “Well, sorry; the hiring manager’s on vacation.”

Then why’d they put the ad out?  I mean, somebody should have asked the question:  “Are we ready for resumes or not? What if I get a good one?  Can I hire him tomorrow?”

The most excited a potential employee is about working at a company is usually the moment they push the button on their computer and send in a resume. Every day that goes by without hearing from the company causes a candidate’s enthusiasm to wane. The same thing is true once the interview process starts. The longer the time between the interview and an offer, the less excitement the candidate feels.

I am not saying that you should not be thorough in your hiring process. But you should build your systems and processes around hiring quickly. The less time it takes from resume to employment agreement, the more likely you are to hire the top talent that is so integral to your success.

Related article:

Yahoo’s Mayer gets internal flak for more rigorous hiring (Reuters)


  1. Excellent points Joel. I have personally waited just over a month before I received an offer before. By that point I had basically lost all interest. If it takes a company that long to tell a person they are wanted, it just makes the person feel like they didn’t want them bad enough to let them know sooner. So, to your point, top talent doesn’t stay on the market long enough for you to wait a month or more to get back to them.

    • Thanks Jonathan for providing a real-world example of this. I appreciate you reading the blog!


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