What are the Real Roadblocks to Fast Hiring in Today’s Marketplace?

In this fast-paced talent market, great candidates are not waiting. They are in demand, meaning that our organizations must be able to hire fast and effortlessly. We need to be flexible and focused on who the best candidates are and when to take action before it is too late.

A CEB survey of 900 recruiters and 6,000 hiring managers found that time to fill increased by 50 percent from 2010. It now takes 26 more business days to fill a role than in 2010. The average vacancy costs 500 dollars per position per day, a loss of 22,000 per position over the average period of 44 calendar days. Slower recruiting increases the risk of losing talent to competitors, and the lost productivity costs over $8.55 million per 1,000 vacancies, on average.

Why Aren’t We Hiring Candidates Faster If We Have All the Tools & Technologies?

(CEB, Global Talent Trends) Aside from the bull market, we are experiencing, what’s the hold up in closing the deal faster with our best candidates?

SHRM’s latest recruitment survey reports the average time to fill is 41 days. But with hiring volume increasing this year and top candidates staying on the job market for only 10 days, recruiting teams are under pressure to reduce their time to fill. Companies need to be fast and nimble to secure the best talent. The window of opportunity for recruiters in this strong economic market continues to shrink.

What’s the Holdup?

Research from iCIMS showed that resumes spend the longest time under hiring manager review during the hiring process. Identifying potential bottlenecks like this makes it easier to build a business case for positive changes in the screening process and hiring manager communications. The reasons for the delay could be a number of things, including:

Too many candidates. Speed of hire is most important when you are competing against other firms for currently employed “in-high-demand” top talent. You simply must hire fast, because if you don’t, the competition will take this top talent off the market before you have the time to make a hiring decision. Having too many positions to fill at the same time will absolutely affect time to fill.

Work with hiring managers to prioritize open positions and “batch” release them so you’re dealing with a smaller pool in each phase. This is where agile methodology and recruiting can work hand in hand. Consider “hand over” of candidates from sourcers to recruiting coordinators, from recruiter to hiring manager and interviewers. This is critical to a faster and more efficient recruiting process which is. There are new and emerging recruiting technologies that I believe are making headway in this area including collaborative recruiting platforms like Comeet. It’s one I’m particularly passionate about so much so that I work with them as an advisor. Their tech nudges all parties involved in the hiring process automatically making hiring and recruiting more fluid and agile in its processes.

Unclear recruiter/hiring manager expectations. For recruiters, the biggest bottleneck in the hiring process is not with the candidate or even the sourcing or posting efforts; it lies with the hiring manager and the time they take from evaluating candidates, to interview to offer for the best candidate. This can be resolved by establishing a process that sets realistic timelines for review and follow up. Create a feedback loop that is positive and open to adjustment. Receiving feedback on a regular basis allows you to see what worked, what didn’t, and what internal improvements can be made for the next search.

Timing and scheduling. The hiring process can be optimized, but stakeholders must be able to work with reasonable expectations. Shortening time to fill shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of the hire. Filling a seat for the sake of closing a requisition could end up negatively impacting other metrics like cost per hire, turnover, or satisfaction. Short recruitment cycles give hiring managers the talent they need immediately. It also helps them understand if they are causing delays in the hiring process.

Budgeting. Cost per hire is a metric that should be seen in context with other recruiting metrics, as it can vary greatly from one position to another. For example, cost per hire for a senior executive position will be drastically different from a non-exempt position. It is also important to understand what is causing a high cost-per-hire (such as high time to fill). Once a hiring manager has access to this data, they can see how even a minor delay can increase cost per hire.

If a lengthy hiring process is a result of requiring an excessive number of interviews (more than four), the cost of hiring will go up because much more management, recruiter, and employee time will be spent interviewing. These added costs are often “hidden” because they are not included in the standard cost-per-hire calculation. If your process also unnecessarily requires more people to sit in on each interview, if it requires more than the top three candidates to go through interviews, or if each interview has a scheduled time that is longer than necessary, your hidden costs will go up as more employee time is devoted to hiring, rather than their normal duties.

Streamlining Hiring: Test and Scale

Once again, borrowing from software development agile methodologies, testing and scaling can help significantly accelerate the hiring process. Once you’ve created a new plan to share with hiring managers, test it with a smaller subset of positions for which you’re hiring. If it’s a success, you can roll it out throughout the organization.

This has several benefits: Buy in from an executive who may be uncertain about implementing new processes or software, hard data from the test can ensure enthusiastic adoption by hiring managers (anything you can do as a recruiter to make their jobs easier is helpful), and prove validity of a more streamlined approach to hiring. If it’s clear your new strategy is getting a better ROI, then scaling it makes sense for all stakeholders in the hiring process.

Streamlining Hiring: Technology

Based on iCIMS’ data, a resume spends 23% of its time in the screening phase. One major reason a resume gets stuck in the screening phase is that 71% of recruiters use an ATS that doesn’t have the option to rank resumes. The newest generation of recruiting software uses AI that automates resume screening by “learning” the experience, skills, and other qualifications of existing employees and then applies that knowledge to new candidates to automatically screen, grade, and rank them.

Using recruiting technology, you can also automate your resume screening, allowing you to present a shortlist of candidates who are ranked and graded based on their qualifications to your hiring manager, rather than a long list of applicants. Additionally, automating your candidate outreach enables you to collect information on candidates’ availability and assess their level of interest, which can help to encourage hiring managers to take action. This piece is critical to truly agile hiring. It’s technology plus a collaborative team effort between all the hiring stakeholders. 

The Bottom Line

There’s always room for improvement in a hiring process. The keys to change are getting buy-in from hiring managers and other stakeholders, looking forward towards adapting and streamlining your process (rather than seeking blame for a broken process), and investing in recruiting technology that lets you show measurable improvement. The myriad benefits of hiring better and faster are worth the time it takes to plan ahead.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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