We all know that a bad hire is bad news. The wrong fit can cause all kinds of problems, from a toxic work environment, morale issues among other employees, and lost time to a financial cost of tens – or even hundreds – of thousands of dollars.
Most employers tread cautiously during the hiring process for just that reason. By working through multiple interview stages and various tests, checks, and assessments to zero in on the perfect candidate, the average time-to-fill is about 25 days. But, for specialized fields, it’s considerably longer. An analysis of data on LinkedIn showed that, for positions filled between June 2020 and March 2021, it took an average of 49 days to hire engineers and an average of 44 days to hire IT professionals.
A lengthy hiring process is problematic for all involved. The costs to a company and the inconvenience to a candidate can be considerable. As well, top talent has always been in high demand, particularly in the engineering and IT fields. While waiting for your decision, a candidate may receive multiple job offers. A recent survey reports that almost 50% of job seekers drop out of the recruitment process because it takes too long.
The problems inherent in a lengthy hiring process have become intensified in the wake of the pandemic and the Great Resignation. We are in an era of record-level job turnover, a trend that’s expected to last into 2023. As companies struggle to fill empty roles, the balance of power has shifted from employers to employees. In order to recruit top talent in today’s job market, it’s critical for employers to speed up the hiring process, enticing candidates to come on board before a more lucrative offer comes their way.
But, the care taken to hire the best candidate is certainly understandable. How, then, can employers save time without compromising the suitability of new hires?
Transform Your Job Postings
It can be a struggle to write a strong job posting at the best of times. In today’s job market, postings need to be crafted to attract attention. Postings also need to be clear about the role and the company so that no one’s time is wasted during the application or interview process.
If you are creating a new posting from scratch or revising an existing job description, consider:
- Revisiting the job requirements. Don’t set your sights on a unicorn candidate by including highly-detailed and precise job requirements, like a highly-specialized degree, a non-essential certification, or a specific number of years of work experience. Encourage all interested to apply by focussing on skills and talent, with the intent of offering training or professional development opportunities to a great candidate.
- Being upfront about benefits and perks, including vacation days, remote and/or hybrid work arrangements, and bonuses.
- Including a motivating look at the impact that the person in the role will have in your company and community. Working for a team that takes part in social impact initiatives is appealing to many, especially those who are seeking an improved work/life balance post-pandemic.
- Including stories about or quotes from your current employees as a way to demonstrate your company culture.
- Including details about your company’s projects and growth projections so that candidates know working for you will remain interesting and challenging well into the future.
- Keeping it clear and concise while explaining what you are looking for and why you are a great company to work for.
Invest in Technology
Automating some of your process requires an investment of both time and money, but it is well worth both.
There are several ways that you can use automated processes to help with recruitment, including:
- Creating and maintaining communication streams (such email marketing and automated social media posts) to help candidates keep you top of mind and easily get word out about job openings;
- Collecting referrals from successfully-placed candidates;
- Using an applicant tracking system (ATS) to sift through resumes and rank them in comparison to keywords in the job description;
- Introducing technology into the interviewing process, by allowing candidates to book interview slots online and holding video interviews;
- Preformating templates for letters of offer and contracts;
- Introducing virtual onboarding that would move a new hire through a “series of formal and informal experiences that aim to simulate a sense of community through built-in touchpoints.”
As pointed out in a helpful blog post, although automation can help save time and money, it’s important to remember that there is a person on the other side of all automated processes. Wherever possible, messaging should be personalized, which will help the recipient feel more valued and ergo more inclined to apply for positions with your company and follow through with the interview process if invited to do so.
Although contract work is often associated with blue collar jobs and companies like Uber, Instacart, Bellhops, AirBnB, and Rover, contract positions are extremely well suited to the engineering and tech sectors.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, America’s gig economy was flourishing. It was expected that 52% of the American workforce would be involved in contract work by 2023. The disruptions caused by the pandemic and the accompanying restrictions, lockdowns, and job losses accelerated that expected growth. Some people turned to gig work as a way to supplement their income. Others turned to it in response to remote work – they enjoyed the flexibility of life away from the office so much that they decided to abandon traditional office-based work entirely.
There are a lot of highly-qualified contractors out there and their ranks are growing. As we pointed out in past blog post:
There are substantial benefits to the gig economy for employers … First, hiring contract workers means that they can easily adjust staffing levels to their current project loads. As well, because contract workers are often situated remotely, they don’t have the same overhead costs as full-time on-site employees. In addition to these cost-savings benefits, gig workers are often highly skilled, since those with established skills and experience have the most success navigating the gig economy.
One further benefit of hiring contract workers: it’s faster. Because the position is short-term, and often situated remotely, there doesn’t need to be as much concern about finding the perfect fit for your environment and culture. As well, many recruiters maintain a pipeline of contract workers. Because of the nature of the work, some will be available to slide right into a role, without the need to give notice to their current employer. If you’re not currently working with an external recruiter who has access to a pool of highly-qualified gig workers, you could try spreading the news about your contract position through “word of mouth” (referrals, social media, email marketing, networking) rather than going the formal route of a job posting and interview process.
Work With a Recruitment Agency
Let’s be honest here: since a recruitment agency gets paid once a candidate is successfully placed, it’s in their best interest to work quickly. And they already have the tools in place to do so.
Working with a recruiter who specializes in your sector will further hasten the hiring process. Niche recruiters understand your sector and the roles within it well enough to competently match candidates from their existing hiring pool with your job description. They’ve often established a relationship with their candidates as well, so that they can help decide if a person has the needed soft skills or the right personality for your company’s culture.
A recruiter will also help the candidate navigate the various stages of the hiring process, doing things like helping them to refine their resume to demonstrate their suitability and assisting with salary negotiations, which can speed up the process considerably.
Yes, there can be a significant cost to hiring a recruitment agency. The flip side is that your roles are filled quickly and competently and top talent doesn’t slide through your fingers during an interminable hiring process.