The hiring process is always evolving. Recruiters do one thing, and applicants adapt. Recruiters do another, and applicants adapt again. Build an algorithm that will filter CVs for specific keywords, and candidates will pack their CVs with those keywords in order to rise to the top. Craft a good interview question and an online forum will offer up the perfect answer. Create a test for candidates to complete, and training centres will coach them on how to ace it. This keeps the North American job application process exciting and means that new approaches are always being developed to help recruiters find top talent.
But it's a delicate balance. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, these new processes actually started hurting recruiters. What's intended to help hone in on top performers has made the process significantly longer.
Average Time to Hire
In 2010, the average time to hire was 12.6 days. In 2017, it bumped up to 23.7 days. Now, it takes the average company between 33 to 49 days to fill to fill a position once the job ad has been posted. Combine that data with the worrying statistic that “62% of professionals lose interest in a job if they don't hear back within two weeks of the initial interview,” and it’s clear that there’s a problem that needs to be solved.
So, what’s a recruiter meant to do? Here are some solutions for reducing your time to hire in a competitive job market without sacrificing the quality and rigour of your process.
What Is Time to Hire?
Time to hire refers to the amount of time it takes to fill a position once its job ad has been placed. It’s an important metric that’s worth paying attention to, as the longer it takes to hire a candidate, the more likely it is that a competitor will swoop in with an offer before you do. Longer times also lead to additional costs due to:
- Recruitment costs
- Job posting costs
- Lost productivity costs incurred from leaving the role vacant
Time to hire also works as a good KPI for your team, demonstrating how efficient or inefficient your hiring processes are. More than that, though, it gives you a good foundation for forecasting how long future hiring efforts are likely to take. As a result, your time to hire will be an essential factor to consider when planning future growth.
Is Your Hiring Process Costing You Talent?
It’s difficult to find a balance between a thorough process and unnecessary loopholes that may be doing more harm than good. If you find that your hiring process has lengthened considerably, or that you’re consistently missing out on candidates who drop out of the process or get scooped up by your competition, here are some ways to evaluate your current approach.
Data Driven Hiring
According to a recent survey from Gallagher, “More than 7 in 10 employers (71%) have one or more strategies for HR tech, an increase from 64% last year.” So if you aren’t currently utilizing HR tech solutions like a hiring platform, or aren’t using the solutions you have to their full potential, it could be worth looking into.
Use your hiring platform to take a look at the numbers behind your hiring process and ask yourself the following questions:
- How many steps does your current process have?
- Where are the longest gaps or bottlenecks within that process?
- How long is your time to hire?
- At which point are candidates most at risk of dropping out?
- How long do new hires stay at your company?
- How do passive hires, direct hires, internal hires, and referrals compare?
Candidate Feedback on Interview Process
Consider using surveys to uncover how candidates subjectively feel about the experience. You can ask:
- How they felt about your hiring process
- Where they would have appreciated more clarity or more efficiency
- Which parts were the most frustrating
- Which parts they enjoyed (or found to be better than other interviewing experiences they’ve had with competitors)
Doing an audit of your hiring process can help you uncover which changes will provide the greatest benefit. For example, according to the Harvard Business Review, “In their review of their hiring processes, Google discovered that they could capture 86% of the value produced by interviews in the first four interactions. While each additional interview would increase the predictive accuracy by about a percentage point, Google decided this was not worth the cost, including the risk of losing good candidates.”
How to Improve Your Hiring Process and Reduce Your Time to Hire
If you’ve taken a good hard look at your hiring process and can see a pressing need to shorten your time to hire, here are a few ways to go about it.
How to be an Effective HR Business Partner - Make the Most of Kickoff Meetings
Hiring managers play a critical role in reducing time to hire, as it's a partnership with the recruiter. The kickoff meetings you have with them can therefore either significantly lengthen or dramatically shorten your time to hire. Vague communications, unclear expectations for the role, and a lack of alignment can lead to:
- Passing along candidates who aren’t a good fit
- Unnecessary back and forth throughout the hiring process to redefine goals and expectations
- Frustrating candidates and potentially losing out on a good hire
- Hiring a candidate for a role that the company doesn’t ultimately need
- Hiring a candidate who doesn’t have the experience necessary to handle the responsibilities of their new role
Fortunately, there’s a lot that you can do to avoid this. To properly prepare for the meeting, you can:
- Conduct research on the role, such as typical salary ranges, qualifications, and responsibilities
- Examine your talent pipeline for potential candidates (more on this later)
- Look through the data you have on previous hires, how long they stayed, and where they were sourced
- Set a detailed agenda for the meeting in order to keep it quick and on track
- Find profiles of who you think would be an ideal fit for the role, which you can then compare with profiles your hiring manager selects to determine if you are aligned
This preparation will help keep the meeting focused as well as help you precisely define the role, the need for the role, and what qualifications the ideal candidate should have. During the meeting, you and the hiring manager can determine:
- Which qualifications are necessary for the role, and which ones are simply a nice to have
- Who the new hire will report to and who the new hire will manage, if applicable
- The new hire’s core responsibilities, salary range, work location, etc.
- The timeline and priority level for filing this position
- Objective scorecards to help keep interviews and candidate evaluations on track and unbiased
- Which core business needs this new hire will help address
- If internal candidates will be considered for the position
- What training or support you can provide to the hiring manager
Taken together, this information can provide an excellent framework on which you can build the rest of the interview process. For example, as we discussed in our blog post on hiring bias, objective scorecards can be a great way to help eliminate bias in your hiring process. Scorecards can also help make it easier to compare candidates without relying on gut feelings, update other parties involved, and promote consistency. Taken together, these benefits can help streamline the hiring process while adding rigour rather than sacrificing it.
Build a Strong Talent Pipeline
According to Indeed, “80% of people in the United States are currently looking or open to a new job, and 92% of people hired within the past year actively looked for a job within the six months prior to being hired.” Having a strategic approach for attracting and engaging this “passive” pool of potential candidates is, therefore, a worthwhile investment.
A good talent pipeline can have a significant impact on your time to hire. By building up a talent pool of interested and qualified candidates, you’ll be able to quickly fill new roles. To effectively build up your talent pipeline, you should:
- Create candidate personas in order to focus your efforts and maintain a talent pool of candidates who will be good fits for future positions
- Connect with local colleges and universities to source new talent
- Personalize email nurture campaigns for candidates in your pipeline in order to keep them engaged with your employer brand
- Allow candidates to submit their resume, even when the specific role they want is unavailable
- Network with talent to grow your candidate pool
Involving your hiring managers in the process can also be especially effective. Networking efforts, for example, can have a greater impact when undertaken by hiring managers. By already knowing the person they’ll be reporting to, potential candidates may be more likely to consider an opening at your company.
Of course, when building your talent pipeline, you need to strike a balance between nurturing candidates and breadcrumbing them. Stringing candidates along with false hope can damage your employer branding and turn candidates away. To this end, it can be a good idea to implement expiration dates on talent pools. Make sure that interactions with potential candidates provide real value to them, and that you only contact them about a role once it is open.
Use Fast Background Checks
If you want to reduce your time to hire, one of the easiest and quickest ways to do so is to switch to a faster background check provider. We’re admittedly a little biased here, but part of that comes from seeing first hand how much the background screening process can affect hiring times and hiring costs. For example, when Trucking Experts LTD. switched to Certn, they saw an 80% reduction in their hiring time.
They aren’t the only ones who’ve experienced dramatic results after making the switch. “Since switching to Certn,” observed one happy G2 reviewer, “we have been able to speed up our hiring process by about 3 weeks compared to our previous background check vendor…”
How is all of this possible? To start with, it’s worth looking at how hiring times got so long in the first place. According to some experts, part of it has to do with the fact that “...extra hurdles like drug tests, personality tests, background checks and skills assessments have become more common, adding more steps to the recruitment process.” If that added step involves having candidates hunt down and send over various files, navigate a confusing platform, and wait on hold with customer service, then it’s a step that becomes even lengthier.
How Certn Helps HR Managers
With Certn, these barriers aren’t a factor. On G2, we’re consistently singled out by reviewers as the easiest to use due to our intuitive and mobile-optimized platform. Recruiters can order the checks they need quickly, right from their hiring platform thanks to our open API. Crafting and saving packages for different roles is also a simple process. In addition, candidates are automatically sent reminders and can complete their background check with just a few clicks, right from their smartphone. And once completed, results are delivered quickly in easy-to-read reports. For our clients, these benefits make the background screening process significantly more efficient, which, in turn, speeds up their hiring process.
Part of what makes this solution so appealing is that it’s a quick fix that doesn’t involve a prolonged deep dive into your hiring process. Setup is free, quick, and easy, and our open API can be easily integrated into your favourite hiring platform. As a result, you can quickly have a dramatic impact on your time to hire.
How to Recruit Faster
When it comes to creating an effective recruitment strategy, time to hire is an important piece of the puzzle to consider. A longer time to hire could mean missing out on top candidates, as they receive offers from competitors while waiting to hear back from you. Of course, shortening your time to hire shouldn’t involve sacrificing the rigour build into your process. You don’t want to open yourself up to a negligent hiring suit, for example!
To speed up your time to hire, consider:
- Using data and questionnaires to evaluate your current approach
- Making the most of kickoff meetings with hiring managers
- Building up your talent pipeline
- Switching background check providers
Want to know more about why a background check is important when hiring? Take a look at our blog on how the right provider can benefit your HR department!