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Your Hiring Process Is Taking Too Long and It’s Hurting Your Business

Written by: Greg Weiss

Your Hiring Process Is Taking Too Long and It’s Hurting Your Business

Earlier this week, I read a story about holiday shopping that resonated with my feelings about the current state of the hiring market. Consumers are struggling more than usual to nab hot holiday gifts for their family and friends – whether it’s a PS5, Xbox Series X, or any other big-ticket item – because they can’t move fast enough. Scalping bots descend on eCommerce websites, buy up the stock, and resell it for double or triple the price. Before you can even click “add to cart,” these commodities vanish.

To me, that feels like the way many business leaders have described the hiring process as of late. They encounter appealing candidates, verify credentials, conduct interviews, weigh their options, and then start over as the original batch has accepted competing for offers elsewhere. In essence, many sense they’re not moving fast enough – and the truth is they’re right.

A LinkedIn survey found that the average time-to-hire for information technology positions is 44 days. And with an average that high, you can safely assume many companies languish with vacancies even longer due to indecision or a sputtering process.

Some decision-makers may wonder: what’s the difference? They’re offering candidates great opportunities worth the wait, right? Yes and no. Based on our experience, here are the ways in which that mentality hurts your business and some strategies to accelerate the process when your hiring process is taking too long.

Professionals urgently want better compensation

If professionals didn’t know their worth before, they are realizing their bargaining power now. Even with the economic fallout of a global pandemic, wages for professionals grew 3.6% between 2019 and 2020.  With a multitude of reports like this available across Dice, Payscale, Glassdoor, and other sources, professionals have a better understanding of the dollar amount of their talents. And they’re not afraid to use that intel in their negotiations.

More than just an amplified awareness of their net worth, candidates also have a sense of urgency to move forward with higher-paying jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns offered a wake-up call for many Americans. With time to reflect on their goals, many in tech concluded they were ready for a change. According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index survey, 40% of the global workforce was considering changing jobs. Combined with the fact that this year’s inflation is prompting many to seek out a minimum 4.87% raise (whether with a current or new employer) to maintain their buying power, you have a talent pool that is eager for opportunities.

Why does time-to-hire matter in this instance? If companies dither over desired compensation for a particular job seeker, that person can and often will accept an offer elsewhere. Waiting for an uncertain opportunity, especially with lax communication, is a needless gamble for them in a marketplace that favors high-quality talent.

Delays cause committed candidates to leave

Even professionals who are excited about your projects, technologies, or culture can be lured away if delays persist. Without regular reassurance, a long hiring process sends unintended signals to your candidates. They may assume you have lost interest or are putting particular projects on hold without notifying them. Just about every candidate has been ghosted enough times in their job search by organizations with poor communication etiquette to develop some sensitivity about the silent treatment.

Those companies that do send regular updates to keep the candidate warm aren’t doing themselves many favors either. Lengthy hiring processes can indicate to candidates that your management is sluggish or prone to inaction, which might make their tenure on your team an ongoing stress headache. Whether or not that perception is true, some candidates will take your inertia as a sign to take their toys and talents elsewhere.

That’s only the beginning. If those disaffected candidates share their negative experiences with people in their network, you might diminish your candidate pool before your search even starts. Unless you have the excess capital to conduct a PR facelift (we’re looking at you “Meta”), then some stigma might stick with your business.

Where you can accelerate your hiring processes

It’s clear that slow and steady won’t be winning any races. However, there’s a big difference between knowing there’s a problem and having the insight to make concrete changes.

The good news is that there are numerous ways in which you can speed up your hiring process without sacrificing quality. Here’s a snapshot of a few that are easy enough to implement.

Reduce the stakeholders involved – Who needs to have a say about new hires? Many companies default to an excess of stakeholders to review, interview, and decide upon candidates. If everyone has parallel thinking, that’s not horrible, but the proverb about the camel being a horse designed by a committee is all too often true. Different leaders have different perspectives and stances. In the time it takes to hash out your differences and reach anything near a consensus, weeks can pass, and candidates can vanish.

Always narrow down decision-makers to the bare minimum. The candidate’s direct leadership should have a say along with potentially anyone a level up in the hierarchy. Other viewpoints can muddy the water and drag out the process. Eventually, those other folks will have a chance to get to know candidates from occasional interactions or they won’t at all, which negates their need to review that person in the first place.

Use technology to your advantage – Though technology isn’t at a point where it can replace the human touch, it does enhance the way we can communicate and our ability to move through each step of the hiring process. You just need to make sure that your organization or any consulting firms you work with are applying top tools to your hiring process.

Everything from video interviewing tools, which allow candidates to record responses in advance, to email automation, which can send out messages routinely throughout the process to keep candidates warm, can help to maximize or even expedite your timelines.

Streamline your screening process – Effective verification takes time. You need to build relationships to identify the strengths and see through the cracks of any falsified skillsets or fake employment history. Trying to conduct verification while you’re hiring can add extra days to your timeline, which will cause some candidate falloff.

On the other hand, when you work with a staffing and consulting partner, you receive the benefit of their extensive and vetted talent pool. This allows them to cherry-pick the people they know will align with your technical needs, desired experience, and culture fit (or offer someone exceptional who can grow into the position). You can still conduct some technical tests or entrust your staffing partner with that responsibility, but the process won’t drag on for days in the same ways as traditional screening.

Working with partners who prioritize speed and quality

One of the biggest reasons why your hiring process is taking too long is that, unless you’re part of a massive corporation, you’re probably not hiring with enough frequency to stay current with trends, consolidate steps, and improve the process. Frankly, that’s all we think about as part of a staffing and recruiting company.

We have created the processes and built the internal expertise to find top talent, vet them, and present them to our clients. We’re like the aforementioned bots, capable of helping you snatch up high-quality candidates long before the competition – except we care about doing right by your business and offering cost-effective solutions. Working with the right partner means you can sit back, relax, and not worry about if you’ll have the gift of great professionals on your team this year.

Greg Weiss

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Greg authored 3 practical Career Books, and 1 Book helping Visionary leaders scale their businesses. He is one of Australia’s most experienced HR consultants and leading career coaches. He is the founder and owner of Soulidify and Career365. As an entrepreneur/business owner, Greg has experienced first-hand the joys and frustrations of starting and growing one’s own business.

You can find him on LinkedIn or Linktree.