The simple answer to this question is any amount of time that causes you to lose the best talent for the position. Unfortunately, determining the length of the hiring process is really not that simple. I used to advise companies to “hire slow and fire fast.” Because of the nature of the world today, I have had to revise this advice to”“hire carefully, fire carefully.” People misunderstood my earlier admonition to hire slowly as a reference to time. However, I meant to imply a reasoned, deliberate process that also needed to be conducted as quickly as possible.

Time is of the essence

“Time is of the essence” is an old saying (and a legal saying) that advocates accomplishing tasks in as short a period of time as possible in order to obtain the maximum benefit. This statement is as true today as it was when it first appeared in our lexicon. In fact, today this perspective can provide you with a competitive advantage in acquiring a new talent and putting them to work as soon as possible. According to a survey from Dice Holdings published in the Wall Street Journal, in 2014 employers were taking an average of 24.9 days to hire. A year later, another measure from the same researchers indicates that the average time to fill a vacancy has risen to 27.8 days. Economist Steven Davis said this trend suggests that “it has become harder for employers to find the right person for the job or that the recruitment and hiring process has become more cumbersome and drawn out—or both.” If a company had a process in place to avoid this rising metric, they would gain a competitive advantage in their marketplace. A faster hiring process takes talented candidates away from their competitors and starts producing revenue from new employees more quickly. But how can you speed up your hiring process without sacrificing attention to detail?

Tips for faster and better hiring

What companies need is a method that allows them to identify, court, and then hire talented candidates faster than everyone else. Here are several suggestions to consider when revisiting your hiring process.

  1. Have a complete understanding of what is required of the incumbent right now. A thorough job description helps everyone sing from the same page.
  2. Don’t make HR function as the sole recruiter. Everyone – yes, everyone – should be recruiting for the company, especially managers. When they attend trade shows, managers must be scouting for talent. If they visit customers, they need to pay attention to who the customer is talking about. For that matter, they also should pay attention to who is working for the customer. When you have a technical person attend a users’ group, charge them with the responsibility of judging talent and collecting business cards. Since all employees should be reading industry news, encourage them to note the names of people mentioned in the reports.
  3. Establish a profile of the ideal candidate from your successful employees, then use technology to search for people with those backgrounds. The age of big data is upon us, so why not participate?
  4. Quick and easy online assessments will help identify candidate matches for both skill levels and cultural fit. Too often these assessments are administered later in the hiring procedure. Using them earlier would improve the selection process.
  5. Always be recruiting. I mentioned this above, but it bears repeating. Recruiting for talent is not an occasional event. It should be – it has to be – an ongoing event. If you came across a great candidate that could be worth $2 million in product development, sales, or customer service, can’t you find a place for him or her in your company? This is part of your long-term planning. Similarly, you need to know the dollar value of each of your employees to understand what you need in a new team-player.
  6. Don’t sit back when making a decision. Don’t let one HR person or one hiring manager act as a roadblock to making a quick, quality hiring decision.

Hiring with speed and accuracy

Following these steps could improve the speed and accuracy of your hiring process. Simply snagging a candidate one day earlier than your competition could mean millions in revenue. It is important, however, to be refining your process consistently and constantly. Get feedback from everyone involved and change what you do to make it better. Remember that recruiting talent, regardless of the level, is one of the best management skills anyone can have. Value the people that have a great “eye for talent.”

Andreea Hrab

International HR Director for OSF Global Services, Andreea is a veteran recruiter who has seen them all. She developed HR recruiting strategies and retention programs that guarantees the success of the company. She is a people person and she handles very easy new relationships with new employees, but her most interesting challenge is to find the middle way between company’s best interests and employee’s needs. To learn more about Andreea contact her on LinkedIn.

3 Comments

  • Avatar Miranda L. says:

    I read about this a little while back, and it doesn’t look like the situation has improved. I think in big companies, the problem is a mix of too little HR people for too many open positions, evaluating abilities they don’t necessarily know about, and guessing which candidate will best fit in with the team.

  • Avatar Stephanie P. says:

    Having managers recruit for their own departments or be part of the process at a certain point would be beneficial for the company. If they are not using assessment tests, recruiting time will continue to expand and that will lead to losing good employees.

  • Avatar Lynda Johnson says:

    I would say some companies still use outdated recruiting steps, conducting endless interviews instead of focusing on the skills of the person. And when it comes to checking those, they either turn the experience into a very long testing period or they don’t put any emphasis on it at all.

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