If you’re trying to hire an IT professional, you probably know already that great talent is harder than ever to find, and many in demand professionals field multiple offers. In a competitive marketplace, any delay in making an offer to a candidate can result in losing that candidate. Efficiency is always a good goal but it’s especially critical in your hiring process, and grows in importance as the labor market tightens and competition for talent increases. This is true whether you are hiring to fill a permanent or contingent position.
Like many businesses, we track KPIs, analyze data and scrutinize our procedures and processes to see where things can be more efficient. Sometimes that means changing something on our end, sometimes it means suggesting a change to our clients. We’re here to help them find the best talent as quickly as possible, so when we notice anything getting in the way of that, we try to find a solution or better way of doing things.
Data gathered recently over the summer points to a common roadblock. Hiring slows in the summer and it isn’t fully accounted for by a drop in demand. Years of experience tells us that the process takes more time because people are on vacation. It slows, sometimes stops, until they are back. Whether it’s someone who is part of the interview process, has to give feedback, prepare paperwork, or approve the final hire – if they’re not there, and no alternative has been arranged for, things slow down.
Now we’re not for a minute suggesting that people shouldn’t take vacation! And people don’t only take vacation in the summer; anytime someone is out for an extended time, and for any reason, hiring responsibilities can be impacted. What’s important is that you are aware that it can happen and make contingent plans.
What can you do?
When someone is on vacation, can their duties in the hiring chain be assigned to someone else? Can they be skipped? For example, if they are normally part of a team that interviews, can the rest of the team do it without one of their members? If a signoff is needed, can someone else be given the power while they are gone? Can contracts and other paperwork be prepared in advance of being out so that if a green light is given by others, things move forward? Taking steps like this can help you avoid delays that might cost you the person you want to hire.
What this data also reminds us is that any time something slows things down, it may cost you, especially in an ultra competitive hiring market. Experience and job skills that may have been abundant in past years may not be anymore as we move farther away from the recession and business continues to rebound. Anything you can do to speed things along will help, so now is a good time to look at your hiring process in general and see where you can implement changes to make that happen.
For example, how timely are you in giving feedback to a recruiter? In scheduling the next interview? When you interview a candidate, via phone or in person, the sooner you get back to the recruiter, the better. How much time typically goes by between when everyone agrees to make an offer and when you actually do it? When you wait even a day or two, it can make a significant difference. Delays mean you run the risk that they will receive and accept another offer.
If after an interview, you like this person and want to hire them, act quickly! Some companies are instituting a one-day process where they bring a candidate in for multiple interviews, compare notes, and make a yay or nay decision, and an offer, that same day. It’s a bold strategy, but one that can make a difference and can be done with determination, a good process and great execution. It’s not something that will work for everyone but it underscores that any advantage in time that you can pick up can be a difference maker. If others in your industry are doing things like this, you may have to or risk constantly being beaten out for the best talent. And maybe it doesn’t make sense for you to act this quickly, but where can you streamline your procedures and save time?
It should go without saying that where you are working with a staffing provider, you should ensure that their processes are not costing you time either. With everyone onboard and committed to being as fast, efficient and still effective as possible, you can hire more of your first choice candidates and ensure that your team, and your company, are positioned to succeed. Quality doesn’t have to suffer because of speed. You just have to be smart about where you save time!