If it seems like you have plenty of jobs to work on, but aren’t making lots of placements, you’re not alone. We’re hearing it anecdotally from our members and now the Dice-DHF Vacancy Duration Measure has validated it as well. It’s taking longer to fill jobs. Average time-to-fill is now 25 days, according to the Dice report, the highest it’s been in 13 years. Among large companies (>5,000 employees), time-to-fill jumps to a shocking 58.1 days.
Employers need to know that slow hiring is harmful to their businesses in multiple ways. Dr. John Sullivan wrote a terrific piece on ERE.net earlier this year on this very topic, offering 12 ways slow hiring damages both recruiting and business results. My favorites are listed below. The full post is quite lengthy, but well-worth the time.
1. Dragging out the hiring process causes the best candidates to drop out. That’s right. The best candidates, especially passive candidates, simply don’t need to sit around waiting for your slow-hiring clients’ tedious process to finish. They’ll either decide to stay put, or they’ll have taken another offer. Additionally, when an employer is seeking a rain-maker, a slow hiring process can send a message that the company is slow about EVERYTHING. Rock-star candidates probably don’t want to come work at a company that is slow to launch new products, slow to innovate, or slow to respond to customer needs.
2. Slow hiring does NOT improve the QUALITY of hire. This is due in large part to the best candidates dropping out (see item #1, above). Slow-hiring clients may ultimately find they are hiring from a pool of average candidates, because the best candidates will be long-gone by the time a decision to hire is made. Are extra interviews REALLY going to turn up some earth-shattering piece of information that cements (or changes) a decision?
3. Slow hiring reduces hiring manager and recruiter excitement. When you ask a hiring manager to get involved in the process and then don’t deliver a hire for months, their enthusiasm understandably wanes. If a position remains vacant for too long, there is a real risk in many organizations of “losing” that position permanently due to budget constraints. Another unintended consequence of slow hiring is that it becomes more difficult to hire good recruiters (both internally and agency recruiters). In-house recruiters will get tired of the bureaucracy. Third-party (agency) recruiters will see your organization as less-than-serious and will turn down future search assignments – especially contingency recruiters, who only get paid when a hire is made.
4. Slow hiring can significantly raise your cost-to-hire. There is plenty of information that poor hires are costly, but there are also real costs to extended vacancies: lost productivity, additional time investments made by those who are conducting interviews, additional advertising costs, etc.
There are numerous reasons cited for slow hiring; fear seems to be the most common. You may need to advise your slow-hiring clients to change their job description process. There is no question that fear of making the wrong hire (“Can she really do the job?”) is a cause of hiring paralysis. However, if more clients focused on writing job descriptions about what the person would actually DO on the job (and less about subjective ‘skills’ the person must possess), it would be easier to ascertain if the candidate can, in fact, do the job. This would lead to a greater degree of confidence in the hiring process, leading employers to feel that they have identified the right person and moving more quickly to a hire.
The good news is that there are some simple steps that could be implemented to speed up hiring. An obvious one is to review the number of people involved in the approval process – if there is no data to support improved hires as a direct result of having more people involved in the decision, look for people who can be removed. Set up timelines in advance to ensure that the vacant position doesn’t slip through the cracks. First and second interviews can be set up a day or two apart, not weeks apart (especially if there aren’t 17 people involved in the interviews). Read here for some more good ideas.
How are you dealing with slow-hiring clients?