Filling Vacancies – Why quick isn’t always best!


I have been helping a number of my clients find candidates to fill vacancies lately – so I thought it was timely for this Blog topic.

Let’s face it – every day that passes with an empty desk is another day of lost productivity, customers not receiving your best service and other employees potentially working longer hours to pick up the slack.  Not a great situation and one that managers often feel pressure to fix quickly.  

Sometimes fixing it quickly can mean convincing the employee to stay and offering them more money to stay, taking a resume from a friend or colleague and hiring that person without proper interviews or reference checks or rushing the process and picking the first person and not necessarily the best person for the job.  All of these seem like really good ideas at the time but potentially could have huge costs associated with them down the line.  

It has been my experience (in my 20+ years of HR) that convincing an employee to stay after they have handed in their notice is usually not the answer.   Unless they reveal a specific reason for their termination and you can rectify that specific situation – then you can have a win.  Generally an employee is leaving for more than one reason.  By the time an employee has gone through the process of looking for another job, interviewing for that job, accepting that job and handing in their termination to you – they have made up their mind.  If you can convince them to stay it will generally be short lived and not a positive experience.  

Acting quickly and hastily is generally not a wise course of action.  You can all give me 100+ reasons why you need to make the decision fast and they are all valid reasons- but so is having a process and following the process.  Consider the ramifications of a poor hire.  We have all worked with the under-performer, the negative person that erodes the culture of the team, the person with the incredibly high absence record, the person who creates a safety risk to themselves and others – once they are on your team – they can be difficult to manage and can cause a lot of collateral damage to your team.   

Interviewing and choosing the best candidate is a process.  Sometimes a long process, but if it is done correctly – generally you will find a better quality of candidate and good fit for your team culture.  

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to interview candidates:

  • Keep the interview questions relevant to the job – the purpose of the interview is to determine a candidate’s capability to perform the essential functions that have been defined for the job
  • Evaluate all candidates for the position equally and by the same set of questions
  • Remember there are legalities involved here…

Manitoba Human Rights states:  

“There are human rights laws in every province and territory across Canada and there is also a federal human rights law. These laws all promote the principle that we are entitled to be treated on the basis of our individual merit and should not be subjected to prejudice or stereotypes. These laws ensure that we have equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination, principles found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They ensure that we are all treated on the basis of our own merit and not subjected to prejudice and stereotypes.

Discrimination is treating a person differently, to their disadvantage where it is not reasonable to do so on the basis of their:

  • ancestry, including colour and perceived race
  • nationality or national origin
  • ethnic background or origin
  • religion, religious belief, association or activity
  • age
  • sex, including pregnancy
  • gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • marital or family status
  • source of income
  • political belief, association or activity
  • physical or mental disability
  • social disadvantage

Discrimination demeans a person’s individual worth and dignity and is prohibited in employment.”

Keep an open mind with all of the candidates that you are interviewing.  Everyone brings different experiences and knowledge; ask the appropriate questions to ensure that you are bringing out the best in every candidate interviewed and then rate every interview.  Don’t make it a race to fill the job – ensuring that you pick the best candidate for the job and the culture of your organization is a “win” for everyone! 

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