Are you taking too long to hire?

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Our clients are always interested in the timeline to hire.

And for good reason, getting a position filled and that person kicking goals is always a top priority (otherwise why bother hiring anyone?)

In spite of that initial urgency the process can take a long time, often because the employer needs to follow lengthy internal procedures, get buy in from internal stake holders or just can’t make a decision about candidates they’ve seen so far.

Not only does this stretch out the time to hire but it increases the risk of losing the best candidates both now and in the future.

This issue is addressed in a post by John Hollon on Fistful of Talent and we’ve reproduced a large chunk of it below (you can see the full post here).

If you don’t time to read the full post then here’s the key takeaway:

A long time to hire causes good candidates to lose interest and damages your employer brand but you can mitigate this risk somewhat with constant and thoughtful communication.

A recipe for losing your best candidates

[Robert Half’s] Time to Hire survey points out:

Hiring is one of the most important decisions any organization makes. But stretching out the process can cause good companies to lose out on the best candidates.”

And what talent management professional hasn’t struggled with THAT?

The survey data does a good job of supporting the report’s basic premise:

  • For almost six in 10 workers (57 percent), the most frustrating part of the job search is the long wait after an interview to hear if they got the job.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) lose interest in an organization if they don’t hear back within one week after the initial interview; another 46 percent lose interest if there’s no status update from one-to-two weeks post-interview.
  • When faced with a lengthy hiring process, 39 percent of survey respondents lose interest and pursue other roles, while 18 percent decide to stay put in their current job.
  • Nearly one-third (32 percent) said a protracted hiring process makes them question the organization’s ability to make other important decisions.

In recruiting and hiring, how long is too long?

That last point is an important one, according to Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half:

The hiring process provides a window into the overall corporate culture. If people feel their career potential will be stifled by a slow-moving organization, they will take themselves out of the running.”

Of course, all of this discussion about taking too long to hire raises yet another question: What is the proper time frame to make a hiring decision, and what is considered “too long?” According to the survey:

  • From the day of the initial interview to the day an offer is extended, the largest percentage of workers – 39 percent – said a process lasting 7-14 days is too long.
  • One quarter of the survey respondents (24 percent) felt a time frame of 15-21 days was too lengthy.

These are pretty mind-boggling numbers when you consider that in 2017, the average hiring time (from start to finish of the interview process) was 23.8 days, according to a Glassdoor survey. And it was longer for some employment categories, with government hiring taking the longest at 53.8 days (no big surprise there).

Hiring remains one of the most critically important decisions a company makes, and, as the Robert Half survey analysis notes, “the risk of making a mistake causes some firms to draw out the process, adding days or weeks until a final decision is reached.”

But doing so often results in losing top candidates and starting the search over from scratch. “The key takeaway is for firms to tighten their timelines without skipping steps,” McDonald said.

Getting a message you didn’t mean to send

If you deal with talent acquisition in any way, you know this to be true:

If you leave candidates hanging and don’t get back to them in a timely manner, you’ll not only hurt your ability to hire people now, but you’ll send a message about your organizational culture that can be terribly damaging long-term.

My experience is that candidates will stick with you as long as you’re regularly communicating and helping them to understand where you are in the hiring process — and where they stand as well.

I say this a lot, but it bears repeating: A new job and new company should be at it’s very best when you’re at the beginning of the relationship.

If it’s not great then, it probably never, ever will be.

If you leave would-be employees hanging when they’re talking with you about a job, don’t be surprised if they get a message that you never really intended to send.

Image courtesy of 123RF