The saying is “that time kills all deals.” That may be true and yet employers are taking too long to hire. According to data collected by the Josh Bersin Company, data from a half million hires in 2022 and 2023 shows an increase of a full day being added to the average time to hire in the first quarter of 2023 alone. So, what is the cause?
The shift from hybrid and remote work can cause candidates to consider employment changes more carefully. Employees who were working from home may see the move to an in-office requirement as a concern. Concerns and questions lead to extended conversations and reassurance takes times. Obviously, you still want top candidates and if it takes a few days to overcome concerns, it is time well spent.
Across all industries time-to-hire is up from pre-pandemic levels, some say by as much as 40%, and certainly it is significantly longer than it was 20 years ago. Another factor is the shortage of talent. In a world with limited candidates, employers want to extend the hiring process to get more people to consider. This means that their teams need to do a second round of calls for candidates, or a new round of advertising or back to the recruiter to expand the short list…this all takes time. Candidates are also much more deliberate in these times of low unemployment. Many top tier candidates have multiple offers or potentially several unique searches progressing at the same time. The extension of the offer is often cause for top tier candidates to push other employers to make their offers real, so that they might consider multiple offers. Candidates with great talent will often look to delay the hiring process, so that they can leverage their position with multiple offers.
Employers now take an average of 44 days to make a hire. That is the time from approval of the requisition to the acceptance by a candidate. This does not include the wait time for an employee to start or other additional days invested by employers between recognizing the need and approving the requisition.
Speeding the process is not simple and takes some strategic planning. Here are several things that can speed the process.
- Work with an independent recruiter. Recruiters have “talent pipelines” that have been vetted and are known.
- Do continual hiring. Always be interviewing for key positions. Do not make your talent pipeline a start and stop flow; make it continual.
- When planning a hire, have pre-set days where all the people that need to be a part of interviewing are locked down and present. That one person out of town causes massive delays in decision making.
- Use a referral system. Existing employees will bring in people that are more likely to have a real interest in the employer based on the feedback and info they get from the referring employee.
- Do not expect perfect. Too many hiring decisions are delayed in search of perfect. Either there is ability and fit or there is not.
There is another saying I like… “speed kills.” The balance between too fast and too slow likely needs to be learned. But do not let great talent get away because time to hire was too long. That is a 100% controllable problem that employers can fix. Look for what is right for you and your industry. You will know if it is taking too long as top tier candidates will have taken another job rather than the one you are offering.