There’s never been a better time to be looking for work in the US. The current unemployment rate is at its lowest point in the past 18 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But as job openings continue to outnumber the qualified talent available to fill them, the reality of today’s candidate-driven market is starting to sink in for the hiring managers unable to net the in-demand experts they need.
Despite the growing talent gap in the IT and tech sectors and the resulting transition to candidates having more power in the hiring process, time to hire rates remain at 51 days for IT roles and 60 days for engineering roles, according to the latest data from Workable. Contrary to popular opinion, a longer hiring process does not lead to higher quality talent. It does the opposite.
The costs of a lengthy hiring process
You may think that taking your time when it comes to evaluating candidates will decrease your odds of making a bad hire, but it actually results in the best candidates dropping out early, forcing you to choose between the lower quality applicants. Today’s in-demand, qualified tech experts tend to only be on the market for one to two weeks, depending on their specialization level, before being inundated with recruiting requests and messages. A hiring process that lasts over two weeks will likely drive any interested applicants away to other, more immediate offers from competitors who learned the hard way not to let qualified applicants slip through their fingers.
If they don’t pull their application before you make a decision, then you’ll likely end up paying more for the talent you do make an offer with. A fast hiring process enables you to make a bid almost as soon as talent becomes available, meaning you’ll beat competitors to the offer. Failing to do so leaves room for competitors to make offers, typically leading to a bidding war which means you’ll end up paying more for talent you could’ve hired at an affordable rate.
As we all know well, hiring is an extremely expensive process. The longer the process takes, the more revenue and productivity is lost from hiring managers forced to spend a majority of their time evaluating and interviewing candidates. While these costs may be more hidden, they will undoubtedly be felt by the team doing the hiring and could also lead to increased dissatisfaction levels from fellow employees expected to pick up the slack during the hiring process.
A lengthy and drawn out hiring process likely increases your odds of making a bad hire, given the best candidates drop out early. Meaning all the time you’ve just dedicated to making the right hire will now have to be repeated when it could’ve been spent driving innovation and boosting efficiency.
How to speed up your hiring process
The good news is you don’t have to keep eating the costs of your lengthy hiring process. There are a few simple, effective strategies to implement to shorten the time to fill rate at your business and start netting the high-end, niche candidates you need for 2019.
- Start with the job description. The goals when crafting your job description should be transparency, clarity, and inclusivity. Don’t have the HR or recruiting team develop the job description. Instead, have those working directly with the potential hire do so to ensure it’s as detailed and accurate as possible which will lead to more applicants sooner. Additionally, consider outsourcing this need. A new, AI-powered, writing-enhancement service, Textio, helps highlight less inclusive phrasing and provides recommendations for how to edit. After implementing this tool, Nvidia saw their jobs filled twice as fast, and Evernote’s apply rates on Glassdoor tripled.
- Incentivize referrals. Once the job description is complete, tap into your employee network by developing a referral incentive program if you haven’t already. Your top performers likely know other high-level experts who may be looking for their next opportunity. Failing to tap into your employee network will lengthen the time it takes to fill the vacant role and could also lead you to miss out on a connection to talent that is passive or otherwise unreachable.
- Stop after 2 interviews. The key to speeding up your time to fill rates comes down to knowing when to trust your gut and go with the expert that will be the best fit. You’ve often already identified this individual in the early stages of the process, which is why a third or fourth interview is rarely necessary and most talent would rather ghost it than waste more time on a role they might not be offered. The only exception to this rule is for director-level or higher roles where a phone screen and in-person interview aren’t enough to fully evaluate if they will be able to grow with the business.
- Experiment with contract-to-hire. If a shorter, faster hiring process gives you anxiety about making the wrong choice, then consider adjusting the role to a contract-to-hire opportunity. It’s a win-win for both the employer and the candidate. You have the time to review their skills and evaluate the culture fit, without the pressure of finite time and a limited understanding of how they work day-to-day. While the candidate also gets a chance to see if the company and the role are the right fit for their career.
- Outsource, outsource, outsource. The fastest way to speed up any hiring process is to outsource to a qualified staffing agency. With teams of recruiters dedicated exclusively to your hiring need, you’ll receive qualified applicants within days of partnering with an agency at speeds that simply aren’t possible with your current resources. For an urgent hiring need, outsourcing the recruitment process will likely be your best option.
Don’t let the candidate-driven market dictate your hiring process. Instead, take back control by speeding up your hiring process with these strategies and net the qualified talent you’ve been losing out on.