Having It All: Why Speed and Quality Aren’t Mutually Exclusive in Talent Acquisition.

It’s a familiar dilemma faced by HR and hiring managers. There’s an open vacancy that desperately needs filling: not making the right hire can be extremely costly, but leaving a vacancy open for too long in search of the ‘perfect’ candidate also isn’t an ideal scenario. Figures from Workable, one of the largest recruitment software companies, suggest that the average time to fill (measured from when the job is posted to candidate start date) is 48 days in the UK & Ireland, with the average for product management jobs even higher at 67 days. Without the right planning that’s over 2 months that the team could be lacking the right resource. And there’s evidence to suggest that time to fill is on the rise; in April 2017 a metric measuring average time to fill across the whole US labour market reached a record high of 30.3 days.

Many will take the perspective of ‘we’d rather wait for the right person to come along than rush’, and it may be true that a longer recruitment process is better than the wrong hire. But the good news is that with the right strategy and a degree of forward planning, it is possible to make excellent hires AND do so in a short time frame, saving time and money. Here are a few simple steps to show you how.

  1. Plan ahead

It’s not always possible to plan your recruitment in advance; sometimes people leave unexpectedly, or business needs changes at short notice.  However, many vacancies can be anticipated. By working with business leaders well in advance to plan their upcoming headcount, allowing realistic lead times, being clear on the precise requirements of the role – what is flexible and what’s not – and keeping an organised hiring schedule, you can minimise the negative impact of leaving a role unfilled.

  1. Widen your talent pool

Smart recruiters know that by using a range of channels to reach candidates they can significantly widen their talent pool and save time at the sourcing stage. Company referral schemes (rewarding employees for recommending contacts from either inside or outside the company), social media campaigns, and continuous networking with passive candidates, should all be built into a long-term hiring strategy to ensure that when a vacancy comes along, you’ve already got a list of potentials.

  1. Use a recruitment firm

Partnering with a good recruitment firm; ie one with expertise recruiting in your sector or region, can significantly reduce your time to hire. You can leverage their network and sector knowledge, and benefit from the time they can dedicate to proactively contacting ideal candidates and conducting screening stages. Remember to keep them in the loop; the more information you give your recruitment partner about the company and the vacancy, the better they will be able to understand the nuance of the hire. Maintaining prompt communications – e.g. regarding interview slots and feedback on CVs or interviews, will help make the process quicker.

  1. Cut down unnecessarily long interview processes

Many firms make the mistake of thinking that long interview processes means more rigorous selection and better hires. That’s not necessarily the case: sometimes additional stages waste time and can frustrate candidates. For most roles, two face-to-face interview stages is usually plenty (often one is sufficient if the candidate has gone through other screening stages like a phone / video call or a recruiter interview). In some sectors where bulk hiring is the norm, like retail or hospitality, consider using group interviews to save time and labour. In candidate driven markets where there may be limited people that are qualified, don’t delay in getting them an interview – these people may not be available for long.  

  1. Have a backup

Don’t make the mistake of taking too few candidates to the final round; you should build in a contingency plan in case your star candidate decides to reject your offer (sadly, it happens). Unless no-one else meets your criteria, make sure you are speaking to at least two people that you feel would be a good fit. Your recruitment partner can help provide honest feedback about different candidate’s situations; if someone is at final interview stage with three other companies, or if they are up for an internal promotion, it’s probably worth getting others in the mix.  

  1. Act quickly at offer stage

So you’ve found your ideal candidate and they seem keen to get on board. First, you’ve got to agree the salary and benefits and get those approved internally, then draw up the offer letter, send out the contract, jump through any hoops regarding work permit or background checks, agree a start-date and organise the onboarding process. This takes time, and if it drags you risk alienating and frustrating your hire –worst case scenario they could end up accepting another job in the meantime. It’s worth asking your recruiter to help by keeping candidates who are under offer updated and excited about the company.

If you think you could use an experienced recruitment agency to help you fill your vacancies faster, please contact us to find out more. Ambra Recruitment has helped many firms across Sussex and Surrey cut down their time-to-fill, while providing a great experience for candidates and clients alike.

Contact Ambra: HR Recruitment