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The Smart Job Candidate: Know the Hiring Process

LinkedIn's Head of Recruiting wrote a blog post about optimizing the hiring process. These posts are used to help internal Recruiting organizations run a strong, collaborative hiring workflow. Interesting for recruiting leaders, but how does this help a candidate? The short answer: plenty.

The more you know about an organization's recruiting and hiring process, the better you can gauge how you candidacy is moving. The LinkedIn model can be broken into 3 stages: Planning, Active Recruiting and Filling the Position. Here's the breakdown:


Steps: Requisition, Job Description, Panel, Align

This is the back office "sausage making" of recruiting and hiring. This is where a job requestion is requested, and written up in detail. The panel and align steps are to double (and triple) check the Hiring Manager and Team are really clear on the position.

The best analogy is from carpentry: Measure twice, cut once. There's nothing worse than a Hiring team tells a recruiting team that they "changed their minds" on the skills needed for the role. With a pool of candidates already in place - this is problematic. No recruiter wants to tell a candidate, "sorry we changed our minds about the role."

Active Recruiting

Steps: Recruiter Phone Screens, HMS and Onsite

As a candidate, this is your core involvement and where you must understand the orgamnization's recruiting process. You will talk with a recruiter on the phone. Passing that you'll then talk to the Hiring Manager, (HMS stands for Hiring Manager Screen). That goes well, you then go onsite for group interviews.

Keep in mind each organization has it's own methods and process. Ask upfront (ideally with the recruiter) the hiring process so you understand each step. Nothing worse than getting surprised when you have to go onsite a second time, or there's a small project you need to complete

Negotiate and Close

Then comes the negotiation and close.

The Timeline

The first thing I noticed about the graphic - the timeline. I initially thought it was long. Here's the breakdown by the major categories estimates:

Planning: 6 Weeks

Active Recruiting: 8 Weeks

Negotiation and Close: 2 Weeks

Planning can take that long in a larger organization. I can see it taking half the time in smaller companies.

Active recruiting 8 weeks is long, but not too far off. I worked in smaller organizations and it was typically 6 weeks. This depended on how complex or unique the role was. For complex positions we'd hit 8 weeks and sometimes longer.

Negotiations are impacted by the organization's approval process and the back and forth of the negotiations. In most cases, my recruiting team's offers took less than 2 weeks.

Candidates Need to Know

The key is to understand the organization's hiring process - and where you are in it. The key is where are you "in line". That means how early are you in the process, the first candidate or are you in there late.

Remember a candidate can "manage the process too. Especially if you ask for information - and continue to verify it throughout the hiring process.

Key Questions Candidates Need to Ask

What's the hiring process?

How early are you in the Hiring Process?

How many candidates are currently being considered?

How far along are they in the process?

What's the ideal start date?

Knowing the process and having good questions to collect information is essential. Never assume the process is the same from company to company, or even within the same company.

This info will also take some anxiety away, helping you focus on sharing your background and ideas - and hearing the same from the hiring team.


I'm a certified Career Coach, long time Silicon Valley Recruiting Leader and lead Job Search, Career Development and Career Success programs at the Wharton Executive MBA Program in San Francisco. I also coach through HireClub.

If you’d like to discuss the ideas in this post or other areas where Coaching might help - I’d love to share. All initial sessions are free and we dive right in. There is never any pressure or push.

My email is

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