/ Employee onboarding

Where to reduce friction in your hiring process

Many tech companies are founded with the aim of reducing friction in a given industry, and this is a great way to think about your hiring.

Tackling sources of friction in your hiring process improves the candidate experience, helps your team to use their time productively, and keeps people progressing through your interview stages.

Reduce your time to offer

“I’d like to withdraw from the process as I’ve accepted an offer from another company”.

Reducing the average time between first candidate contact and making them an offer (time to offer) should be a key aim for any talent function. It’s rare that a great candidate is only interviewing with one company - even if you’ve headhunted the individual, this is typically a trigger for them to start considering their options.

Shortening the time to offer means you’ll be less likely to receive a message like the one above. It also increases the likelihood that you’ll be the first to give that candidate an offer, which has a psychological benefit known as the endowment effect. The candidate will tend to favour the offer they hold over spending time pursuing other interview processes.

Teach hiring managers how to give great feedback

“We’d like to make Sam an offer, so you can reject the other candidates we’ve seen”.

Poor quality feedback from hiring managers is terrible for a talent function in two ways. It prevents recruiters from refining their search, which increases the time it takes to fill a job vacancy as they’ll continue to find candidates who aren’t the right fit.

It also damages your brand as an employer. If a candidate has taken the time to interview with you and receives generic feedback in their rejection email, then you’ve wasted their time and denied them the opportunity to learn how they can improve. That person is more likely to speak negatively about your business to friends and colleagues than someone who you were able to give great actionable feedback as to why they didn’t pass the process.

This guide from Google covers the advice they give to interviewers on writing helpful feedback.

Learn to map the market

For some vacancies where there is a shortage of talent available, adding your role to a job board and asking your current team for referrals will not result in a hire. In this instance, some companies turn to external headhunters to increase their pipeline. Assuming you want to use your internal talent function instead, they can mimic some of the processes agencies undertake in order to find candidates who would be interested but aren’t actively looking. Primary amongst these is market mapping.

Businesses generally know the ideal places they would like to recruit from. Everybody wants to poach a software engineer from Google or Facebook. Most start-ups are keen to hire from other start-ups where the employees are used to working in a fast-moving environment.

The problem is that this list is often formed of companies which are good sources for the bulk of an employer’s positions e.g. a London-based credit card company might always look to hire from other financial services businesses in the city. However, if they’re hiring a product designer then there’s no reason why that individual needs to come from a bank - the best are as likely to be in other sectors.

Market mapping can help you to uncover where these people are working. The process is covered in detail here but it’s primarily a research task. For example, a market mapping process for the credit card company in the previous example would uncover that Burberry and the BBC have some of the largest product design teams and alumni in London.

Over communicate after an offer is accepted

Starting a new job can be a nerve-wracking experience. You have to build an internal network from scratch and get up to speed with an unfamiliar set of processes.

That nervous feeling is not helped by the fact that most companies don’t communicate with candidates once their contract has been signed and a start date agreed, bar an email shortly before their first day saying who to ask for on arrival.

You should be inviting them to team events before their start date, setting up a coffee with their manager or afterwork drinks with the team. Send that email introducing them to their buddy or manager soon after so they can ask any questions. Ask for the equipment requests so they’re not using their own laptop for the first week. All of this helps your new starter feel welcome. Onboarding starts from the day their contract is signed.


While these steps will initially require more of your already stretched talent function, they’ll make it more efficient in the long run as you see a decrease in the number of candidates dropping out of your interview process due to the reduction in friction.