Prevent Panic Hires

The ABC’s of Preventing Panic Hires: Be Prepared

Panic hires don’t happen to prepared companies. If you want to prevent panic hires, the secret is to always have a team of qualified “players” on the bench, ready to jump in the game when called upon.


Good coaches know that the “winningest” teams are built through constant development. Winning teams start with cherry-picked players — the very best the coaches can get. And they are constantly on the lookout for the next great player. Why shouldn’t your company constantly be on the lookout for its next great hire?


No More Panic Hires

The “Always Be Courting” (or ABC) approach is an important component of a ready-for-anything, agile approach to hiring. Essentially, it’s ongoing recruitment and hiring. It’s about positioning your “team” to respond quickly, efficiently, and with positive results when a “player” is pulled out or booted from the game. In other words, no more panic hires.


The ABC approach is well-suited to the new reality of what CareerBuilder has termed the “candidate-powered economy,” reflecting the power shift from employer to candidate during the recruitment and hiring process. In a candidate-powered economy, competition for qualified candidates is fierce, and companies with slow, clumsy hiring processes lose good candidates. Savvy companies get ready and stay that way.

always be courting to build your bench


For an ABC approach to succeed, you must lay the proper foundation for a hiring process to identify what your next right fit hire looks like and ready them to hit the ground running. That means doing the work to:

  • Define your corporate culture and values.
  • Develop a compelling and authentic employer brand.
  • Involve team members in defining and articulating your roles and job descriptions so that:
    • a) they are accurate and specific, and
    • b) you can easily categorize resumes based on clear, pre-defined qualifications.
  • Get team members invested in an employee referral program to attract great candidates.
  • Advertise your positions well enough, long enough, and in enough places to attract the attention of the right candidates.
  • Vet good candidates early and quickly with phone screening, assessments, reference checks, and background checks, so you have a qualified, vetted pool ready to move to interview when you need to hire.
  • Create a standard candidate scoring sheet.
  • Identify your hard to fill and potential future positions so you can build candidate pools in advance and hire quickly when warranted.


Stop Making Panic Hires

We recently wrote about how to make the best of a bad situation if you must make a last minute “panic hire.” At that point, if you have not already laid the groundwork to hire properly there is little you can do at the last minute to make a bad situation good. It’s more about mitigating damage and considering postponement (a smart move, considering that 73% of employers say a bad hire is “far more costly” than leaving a position open, according to CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior Study).


On the other hand, if you have taken the necessary steps to prepare your company for a last minute hire, then it is entirely possible to make a last minute, same-day hire with a great outcome (see Dr. John Sullivan’s discussion of how to pull it off). Such a one-day hiring system (fast yet strategic) is a great addition to your hiring repertoire and depends on your ability to implement the ABC approach and have an established hiring process in place.


What does it get you? Here are the many potential benefits of an “ABC” approach:

  • Avoid making last minute “panic hires” (associated with a low success rate).
  • Avoid making slow hires (which results in a lower-quality pool of applicants because the most in-demand applicants are quickly scooped up).
  • Gain access to a larger applicant pool, including more of the in-demand candidates who often do not stay on the job market for long.
  • Reduce open positions by hiring ahead of need.
  • Reduce time positions are vacant, with less negative impact on productivity and employee morale. (A 2013 CareerBuilder survey found extended vacancies negatively impact employee performance).
  • Reduce your cost per hire. 54% of HR professionals surveyed by CareerBuilder said continuous recruitment reduced their cost per hire.
  • Raise the bar across your company by infusing your team with the best talent.
  • Help protect your company against threat of attrition. 86% of employees are seeking new work outside of their current job ( data, in Fortune). Yes, work to retain them, but don’t neglect a viable Plan B.


What are you doing to build your bench in the new candidate-powered economy? Let us know in the comments or on social.

Subscribe to the VisionSpark Blog


Related posts:


Image credits: © davidfranklinstudioworks / 123RF Stock Photo;  © dotshock / 123RF Stock Photo; modified by cropping, resizing and text overlay.