The shelf life of talented candidates is shrinking as we speak. In this very competitive labor market, you must make quick decisions or risk losing out on making a strategic hire. There’s plenty of talent out there – according to recent worker surveys, over 70 percent of employees are open to new offers in the next few months.
And they’re getting them. There’s a bidding war happening, even for entry-level employees. Fast-food chains and retailers are offering signing bonuses, and companies are looking at everything from 100% work from home policies to four-day work weeks to attract and retain workers with critical skills.
In this environment, companies that cling to their long and complex hiring practices risk losing out on top-notch talent. LinkedIn says that the average time to hire across all industries was 30 days in 2021. SHRM puts that number higher at 36 days. It will probably come as no surprise that methodical people make methodical decisions; LinkedIn’s data indicate that Engineering companies top the list for long hiring processes, as it takes an average of 49 days for candidates from submitting their job application to starting their first day on the job. Technical positions in research, finance, and information technology follow closely behind, taking 48, 46 and 44 days on average to fill. It takes some time to make a quality hire, but staffing firm Robert Half says that 57% of candidates will lose interest if the process is lengthy.
Time is money, so reducing your time to hire will not only improve the quality of your hires but also save money. Here are some ways to shorten your time to hire.
In order to fix your processes, you’ll need to assess your processes. You may have an idea of how long your total time to hire is, and even how you compare to your industry’s average. But you may not be measuring how long it takes candidates to move between stages of the hiring process: from the application stage to the phone interview stage or from the phone interview stage to the in-person interview stage, and from offer to onboarding. We know a company that only starts new hires at the beginning of a pay period, which might mean a delay of two weeks for the unfortunate candidate who gets an offer after day one of the current pay period. We don’t blame candidates who move on to something else during the wait.
When you can see where your hiring process slows down, you can work with the staff causing bottlenecks to make their stage more efficient. You can help them see that hiring and onboarding should be a priority for any manager, especially in this volatile and challenging labor market. You can also consider automating processes, implementing an applicant tracking system or adding an assessment to the application process so candidates are pre-screened.
You should also be looking at the ratio of qualified to less-than-qualified applications you typically get (this will help you diagnose if the slowdown is happening in the sourcing phase.) If your sourcing is not providing a good pool of candidates, you may consider bringing in a trusted staffing partner to help you. They can advise you on developing better recruiting ads, improving your job postings, or sourcing and screening candidates for you. Of course, a staffing partner can help you with interim talent and offer temp-to-hire solutions that will allow you to make faster decisions about candidates.
You’ll also want to standardize your hiring processes. Without guidance and structure from HR, managers may be developing their own hiring processes, which may vary greatly in both length and quality. They may also start from scratch each time they have a new position to fill. Create a simplified visual map that managers can follow so they know what needs to be done at each step of the hiring process and how long each step should take.
Finally, you can build a reliable talent pipeline that’s open all the time, not just when you have an opening. We’ll cover how to do that in a future post.
About the Author:
Rich Thompson, CEO of XPG Recruit, is an expert on staffing, human resources, training and leadership development. XPG Recruit provides recruiting for staffing companies. For consulting to increase engagement and/or retention, check out the services of our sister company, Xtra Point Group.