Let’s Reduce that Time to Hire
No one likes a long hiring process – not the hiring company and certainly not the candidates. Roles need to be filled and candidates are eager to fill them, yet there often seems to be a bottleneck. Blame it on a tight labor market, inefficient processes or lengthy hiring protocols, the typical time to hire can be close to 30 days, depending on on the position. The average time to hire for IT/Design is 26 days in the U.S. and 28 days for an engineering position. That’s a long time for a candidate to consider other offers, lose interest or become frustrated and move on.
The numbers are even more disheartening on the candidate side. A Randstad survey found that modern-day job hunters take five months to land their next job. While this statistic includes the actual job search time as well as the time between applying and being hired, it’s a daunting period that can often be reason enough for a person to decide to stay put.
What’s really going on? There’s more to it than meets the eye.
Tight Labor Market
The number one reason for the lengthy time to hire is the tight labor market. IT staffing in Austin, for instance, is unbelievably competitive. When you combine the skills gap with the number of available IT positions, you can see why. There are simply not enough skilled IT candidates for all of the jobs out there. Austin attracts people not only for the jobs but for the quality of life it offers. In fact, Austin consistently ranks in the top fastest growing cities in the nation. It’s hard to say whether the influx of people attracts the businesses who move or start up in Austin or if the businesses come to Austin and attract the candidates, but it’s safe to say there are no shortage of positions.
Of course, challenges in IT staffing isn’t relegated to Austin alone. Many other cities, such as Denver and Phoenix, are experiencing similar growing pains. It isn’t so much as IT companies are all of the sudden hiring, it’s that every company in every industry is now in need of IT talent. From marketing and product development to ecommerce and social strategies, companies who want to compete and remain relevant must have a digital footprint – and that requires IT skills. The problem is, everyone needs those skills and finding them isn’t always easy.
Look at any job board and you’ll find thousands of job openings for software developers and engineers. In Austin alone, Monster.com lists 6,042 open positions waiting to be filled. In Denver, there are 8,212 and counting. And that’s just Monster. Even those positions that do get the attention of job seekers aren’t always easy to fill. The hiring process often requires hiring managers to sift through resumes to determine which candidates are worthy of interviews. Many of the IT and digital job positions require precise skills or a combination of skills that are still a rarity.
Another culprit to the long time-to-hire time frame is manual, antiquated hiring processes. The timeframe between when the resume is submitted, the offer is made and the candidate signs on the dotted line can be painfully slow. The more manual the processes involved, the longer it will take to get them on board. This costs the hiring company money in various aspects: the resources required to participate in the hiring process, the productivity lost as the job position is not filled, and the risk of the candidate accepting another job and forcing the whole process to begin again.
Sometimes, reducing the time to hire comes down to speeding up decision making. The more people involved in the hiring process and the longer each person takes to complete their obligations, the more time it takes to make the offer. Combine this with manual processes and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a frustrating hiring process, one that’s bound to lose some great candidates.
4 Tips to Speed Time to Hire
We’ve helped clients hire hundreds of IT and digital talent, so we’ve put together a few tips we’ve learned along the way that may help you reduce the time to hire in your organization. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does give you some things you can do right now to make a real difference in this competitive job market.
Tip #1: Invest in Technology
Many companies haven’t yet embraced the power of technology to not only find viable candidates but shepherd them along the hiring journey. Mobile scheduling apps, automated scheduling and app-enabled communications can help. Some even go so far as to invest in an Applicant Tracking System to track recruiting metrics automatically so they can easily evaluate hiring bottlenecks.
By integrating technology into your workflows, you can automate and speed processes. It also shows candidates that your company invests in modern innovation that likely spills over into the job for which they are applying. In essence, it illustrates your investment in them and their ability to thrive in your environment. Offering candidates a great experience from application to hire is a fantastic way to attract talent, even when it’s in short supply.
Tip #2: Revamp Hiring Workflow
Take a good look at your hiring workflow. How many people and steps are involved? What are the expected turn around times for each of those steps? Yes, it’s important to have the right people included, but how many touches are really necessary? How many hoops do they have to jump through? How long does it take to get a written offer to the candidate once the decision has been made? It’s critical to streamline as much as possible if your goal is to reduce time to hire.
There should be logical steps a candidate must go through as well as those stakeholders on the hiring side. Take a walk in your candidates’ shoes to see where some fat can be cut from what’s really important. Keep in mind you want the candidate to have a great experience. This means potentially shaving down the number of interviews in which they must engage, the length of time per interview, the number of steps behind the scenes, etc. It can also mean condensing the time between active hiring activities, such as the time between contacting the candidates and scheduling the interview, the amount of time between interviews, and the length of time to conduct the background check and contact previous employers.
Tip #3: Tailor Job Postings
Finally, one of the biggest time sucks is inaccurate or too general job descriptions. You can waste a significant amount of time choosing candidates to interview and then find during the interview process that the candidate in no way is the right fit. If the job descriptions are too general, you’re going to get everyone applying and lengthening the time to hire. If the job descriptions are incorrect, either because they were never accurate to begin with or the hiring manager hasn’t reviewed their description in a while, you’re going to get the wrong people applying for the job. This leads to an even worse predicament: hiring the wrong person who either quits after realizing the job wasn’t what they expected, or stays without contributing value or requires expensive training to get them up to speed.
Work with the hiring manager to determine what skills are critical to that specific position, which are nice-to-haves and what’s most important to them in a new hire. The closer you collaborate with the hiring manager, the more accurate your job description will be. It’s also important to re-evaluate those job descriptions at least annually, if not several times a year.
Tip #4: Work with a Specialized IT/Digital Staffing Agency
Finding qualified talent is hard. It takes a lot of time and resources, much of which can be spent elsewhere if only it could be offloaded to someone else. Thankfully, it can. Many companies choose to enlist the help of an IT and digital staffing agency to find that ideal talent for them, saving them significant costs associated with time and hiring the wrong person for the job.
A specialized agency will have the network of skilled resources they can tap into, many of whom may not have considered applying. This broadens your pool of candidates beyond what’s obvious, giving you a greater opportunity to cherry pick your next hire. This is particularly helpful in a tight labor market. The agency can also reduce time to hire by prescreening and performing background checks for you, while also whittling down the number of candidates for you to consider. By the time the candidate’s resume hits your desk, you’ve invested none of your own time to have access to someone who’s likely a perfect fit. Plus, your agency will always have an eye out for talent, building a talent pipeline on your behalf so future jobs can be filled quickly.
When you can tailor the job postings to be specific, detailed and transparent, you’re more likely to attract the candidates that most closely fit the bill. Not only will this reduce the time to hire, but it will also reduce the time and costs it will take to get the new hire fully functional so they can start bringing value to the business sooner.