In a candidate-driven market, jobseekers rule the hiring process and if yours is taking too long, top talent will turn to the competition to get employed faster. John Sullivan PhD and Professor of Management at San Francisco State University discussed the need for speed at RecruitCon in May of 2019. He shared with the audience demand for talent had increased, but the supply of actually qualified talent had decreased. Sullivan warned that the demand for certain “critical” jobs, particularly in areas such as machine learning, cybersecurity, and quantum computing were escalating faster than the supply.
When you couple this with the fact that the majority of the qualified talent is already employed, that makes the recruiting environment that much more difficult. After the pandemic, many of us had to ramp up our recruiting to reopen businesses after the lockdown. The state of the union Sullivan provided in 2019 was scaled to a fever pitch.
Speed can also increase the likelihood of hiring more high-quality candidates. In my experience, there are six reasons why and how speed can help candidate quality:
- Speed means fewer dropouts of top talent. When your hiring process is slow, top candidates will drop out and run to your competition.
- This leaves you with the “average” candidates, greatly diminishing the talent’s impact on your business results.
- Fast decision-making attracts the best. Talent typically views fast hiring as a reflection of your corporate culture and your desire to move quickly on top talent.
- Top candidates decide quickly. They will most likely have more offers than the second tier candidates so once they make the decision to leave, they want to make the right decision quickly.
- Fast hiring reduces candidate counteroffers and offer games. If you wait too long, the candidate may receive a better offer from your competition, resulting in a bidding war, thus increasing the salary cost.
- Top diversity candidates are gone quickly. High-quality candidates want to work in diverse workplaces, and if your hiring process is too slow, you run the risk of losing these candidates to a more diverse company.
One of the biggest obstacles to moving quickly is the feedback loop. It’s one of the reasons 48 hour feedback deadlines are one of the four principles of Sprint Recruiting. In the book, I tell how I decided to export candidate data to determine how long it took a candidate to make it through our process. I had to check my math a couple of times because I honestly could not believe the average length of time a candidate could spend in our process was 67 days.
Within three sprints (six weeks), by instituting the 48 hour deadline for feedback, we reduced the time to fill from 67 to 27 days. I had tried for years to reduce the metric down by ten days, trying a variety of tactics but never reached my goal. The factor I wasn’t addressing in speed of hire was in receiving feedback. It was definitely one of the “ah-ha” moments my team and I experienced when creating the Sprint Recruiting Methodology.
If you want the best candidates, you will have to institute some type of deadline for managers to respond to candidates presented, especially in this market. The deadline should be applied to candidate submissions and interviews. Managers who become frequent offenders should be called out and managed to the agreement.
If you’d like to learn more about how to overcome this obstacle, check out other blog posts related to feedback and the need for speed. Check them out here.
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I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive.
I also have a resource center providing helpful templates, dashboards and other material related to Sprint Recruiting.