Recruiters and hiring managers can avoid a long hiring process by taking these steps.
Here's what you need to know:
- When job seekers are sparse, a long hiring process means losing out on top talent
- A slow process deters job seekers so recruiters and hiring managers should respond quickly
- To reduce time-to-hire, prioritize local candidates and let job applicants choose how best to communicate
- Interview candidates virtually and communicate with job applicants continuously
- Start with a verbal offer and let the candidate know a written offer with more details is on its way
Time-to-hire is a metric that challenges every business. Vacancies cost business money: in lack of productivity and pressure on colleagues to pick up the slack while possibly neglecting their own work. Filling the job with a qualified candidate can minimize the drain on resources: filling it quickly is even better.
Most companies believe the higher up the corporate ladder the longer it should take to hire — you want to thoroughly vet every candidate. But many companies find time-to-hire just as lengthy throughout the organization.
Market conditions may be a contributing factor, but businesses add to the problem with sluggish recruitment practices. When job seekers are abundant, a long hiring process is expected. When they’re sparse, a long hiring process means losing out on top talent.
Time-to-hire impacts recruiting in all industries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics published February 2022 data on open jobs and turnover for the month. Nearly 11.5 million vacancies were reported: 6.7 million new hires for the month versus 6.1 million separations.
CNBC reported that for December 2021, there were 4.6 million more jobs than unemployed applicants in the U.S. Market conditions continue to pressure organizations in the fight for talent. Time-to-hire may be worsening those conditions.
A CareerPlug survey revealed time-to-hire statistics across 10 industries. The data varies somewhat, but on average employers took up to 10 days to make initial contact with an applicant: then up to 34 days to complete the hire.
The longer it takes to hire and onboard a job seeker, the higher the chances they’ll find a job elsewhere.
Another survey from LinkedIn found time-to-hire for professional positions, like engineering, can take up to 49 days. The shortest applicant to new hire conversion they found was for administrative professionals at 33 days. Recruiters know the longer it takes to hire and onboard a job seeker, the higher the chances they’ll find a job elsewhere.
Check your stats with time-to-hire and time-to-fill
To see if you can improve time-to-hire, create a baseline of where you are today. You may examine different time-to-hire metrics for different types of positions, average them out, or keep them separate. Remember that time-to-hire and time-to-fill are different.
Time-to-fill is measured from either the date you find out there’s an opening (or the date you post the position as available) through an applicant’s 1st day on the job. Time-to-hire is measured by the 1st date the application is received through their 1st day on the job. Once you have your current data, see if you can improve in any of these areas.
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How companies can reduce time-to-hire for open positions
Reducing time-to-hire begins with your job posting and ends when the newest member of the team reports for employee onboarding. How you structure your processes, from 1st point of contact on, informs whether the candidate will have an easy time applying and getting the job.
A slow process deters job seekers. A quick 1 messages a sense of urgency and excitement to add a new staff member.
Where to post vacancies to find job candidates
Posting your openings on national job boards may increase your reach, but it may also increase time-to-hire. When you’re screening applicants from around the country, you may be missing out on local talent.
Don’t give up on large boards, especially when talent is scarce — but prioritize local candidates when you screen. They’re faster to set up for an interview and faster to hire.
Let job applicants choose how they respond
For better time-to-hire metrics, give job seekers a choice on how to best connect. If you’ve optimized your recruitment process for mobile applicants they’re probably more interested in a text response than email or phone calls. Let applicants chose text, email, or phone preferences when they apply and respond via their preferred method quickly.
Your inclination should be text messages: on average 15% of emails are opened versus 97% of texts. LinkedIn reports 90% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes, meaning you have a higher chance of getting a response by text than any other communication route.
Recruiters and hiring managers should respond quickly
As quickly as candidates respond to your posting you should respond to them. Recruiters and hiring authorities should set notifications whenever an application is received so they can do a quick review and response. If you’re working with an applicant screening system, you can automate the process for even faster notifications.
As quickly as candidates respond to your posting you should respond to them.
Use software that invites any candidate who meets your criteria to self-schedule either a phone screen or 1st interview. Immediate scheduling interviews boosts candidate experience and reduces time-to-hire. Instead of playing phone tag with an applicant, they’re already on the books.
Interview candidates virtually
You may have started virtual interviews in response to the pandemic, but adopting them for most positions can boost time-to-hire metrics. Rather than spending time commuting to your location, a virtual interview is fast and convenient. It can give you a 1st look at an applicant, to screen they fully understand the job, hours, and responsibilities before you schedule them with the team.
For busy groups, getting together online to meet with a prospective hire is simplified with virtual interviews, particularly if some of your staff is hybrid or remote.
Communicate with job applicants continuously
Recruiters may take a lesson from sales personnel when it comes to applicants and treat every one of them like a potential bonus. Staying in contact with candidates, to let them know where they are in the process, what to expect next, and when, are critical to establishing a rapport with potential hires. That rapport translates into job offer acceptance.
Decide quickly whether to hire a job candidate…
The days of waiting to see if someone better applies for your opening are long gone. If you find talent that meets your needs, don’t take too long to extend an offer. Yello found 20% of Gen Z applicants expected a job offer within 10 days of their 1st interview: the remainder expect an offer in 2 weeks maximum.
Start with a verbal offer and let the candidate know a written offer with more details is on its way. You can speed the process even further by allowing the candidate to sign the offer using electronic signature software.
…But qualify your job offer
Your written offer should include any information that needs to be verified before the 1st day on the job. You may do reference checks, physicals, or other background checks before an offer but you can speed the process by making a job offer contingent on these being passed.
If you’re doing the checks yourself, prioritize completing them as quickly as possible. If you’re using an outside vendor, make sure they have the answers you need in advance of the start date.
Most companies can improve their time-to-hire metrics. If you look at your processes, you can likely see where things are moving quickly and generating excitement and where they’re slowing down and creating frustration.
Remember to view the application process from the job seeker’s point of view. They apply to your company because they’re excited to work for you: moving quickly on that momentum lowers time-to-hire and increases the chances of snagging a great new employee.