3 reasons why a lengthy IT recruitment process is bad for business
When hiring in an ultra-competitive market as exists in the technology sector, a protracted recruitment process can be detrimental to your ability to successfully bring in and retain right talent. There is a well-known equation in hiring strategy on balancing Speed, Cost and Quality. Getting the balance right is critical.
Here are the top 3 reasons why long IT recruitment processes can be bad for business:
1.No new hires, more impact in internal resources allocation
Lack of capacity leads to resource scarcity and eventually resource exhaustion. Furthermore, if your resources are exhausted, you can expect that they will suffer from low morale, impact in quality of deliverables, costs and delivery time.
2.You will lose top candidates to competition
It is not uncommon in the IT space to have either 5 or more first round interviews or having 2 but a long gap between them. This is usually due to an inherited “how it’s always been done” mentality. Few companies track how many offers get rejected or candidates join competitors because of an overly lengthy or onerous hiring process.
3.It will hurt your brand image and your customers and employees will also feel the negative impacts of slow hiring
Word of mouth is very powerful. When people engage with your company, their experience is reflected in their daily conversations. Unhappy candidates can lead you directly to bad reputation and unhappy customers.
The following 3 areas to speed up your hiring process will result in an improved success rate:
Streamline your interview process
A slow IT recruitment hiring process can result in top candidates dropping out and you will have to choose between average or non-ideal candidates which is no choice at all. The first point to address in streamlining your process is to clarity what the 3-5 essential experiences or skills you want for the role. This should be agreed with the Hiring Manager and the recruiters in advance so you can clearly identify what “the right candidate” looks like. The tighter this definition is, the easier it is to screen and start to build a shortlist. Contact the best candidates immediately and screen for suitability on salary and other yes/no criteria.
If possible, shorten or have a clearly defined interview process and agree will all parties in advance. Do you need 1 or 2 interviews post screening? In most instances “2 will do”. Of course, for some senior positions additional interviews may be required. The point is to keep rounds of interviews to a minimum. In the service of efficiency, it is better to get the relevant people in the room at the same time rather than multiple single meetings.
Clearly communicate to candidates in advance what the process is going to be. Letting a potential employee know in advance how the process will work shows a professionalism and instils confidence in you organisation. It can also pre-empt issues around availability, especially now that there are more for face-to-face interviews being conducted post Covid.
If possible, try and conduct all the 1st round interviews as close together as time allows and schedule in 2nd rounds as quickly as possible.
Streamline your decision process
There are usually several people involved in the IT recruitment hiring process, typically a Hiring Manager, Peers, a HR representative and possibly a senior member of your leadership team depending on the level of the job being recruited for. Having multiple opinions and perspectives is helpful when deciding which candidate to move forward with. It is important to get these opinions and make sure that everyone (or a majority) involved agree. Although all opinions are valid, having a defined decision maker, where indecision exists, needs to be in place to insure a minimum of delays.
Through all this, it can be easily forgotten that the “ideal candidate” you have identified at the first round is applying for more than one job. While he or she may be waiting for a call from you, they could receive a formal offer from a competing business. If you want to make sure you don't lose a candidate set expectations in advance. The clearer you are at the outset on what and when, the less doubt on the applicant’s side. On the flip side, if you don’t stick to the promised timescale, it can have a negative effect on the outcome. Only commit when you are sure you can deliver.
Streamline your offer process
Nothing frustrates a candidate more than being told by a recruiter that they have been successful, then no communication for a week or more. This can introduce an element of doubt and give competitors the opportunity to swoop in. Once a decision to hire is made a confirmation offer email should be sent within 24 hours. This should state the basic of the offer and be clearly conditional on successful references or other conditions your organisation requires. Ask for an acceptance at this stage and be clear on the next steps. Agree a potential start date at this stage if possible.
A fast offer has a couple of benefits, to see how serious the candidate is about your role and to weed out any salary or benefits issues ahead of sending out the full contract. Ideally you also want to put a deadline on a decision and a contact number for questions in case there may be issues.
Try and aim for the Verbal offer to contract sent in no more than a working week.
There is of course a balance to be struck between speed and getting the right candidate. As a recruiter aligning the candidate, HR and the hiring managers in advance of each recruitment cycle is key to an efficient process. By looking at your current process and making incremental improvements across the mentioned 3 areas you will reduce the number of missed opportunities to hire good people. An added benefit is reputational, an efficient hiring process is not that common, word of mouth recommendations can only increase applications for your open jobs and improve your success rate.