Time is of the essence: why speed matters in talent acquisition

Time is of the essence: why speed matters in talent acquisition

We live in a near-instant world. Smartphones allow us to communicate globally in seconds. Search engines answer complex queries in just one click. Amazon delivers whatever you're looking for that day or the next.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the talent acquisition process. Based on recent figures, it can take an average of 33-49 days to fill a position. Sometimes, even more, depending on the nature of the role and responsibilities you're looking for. And yet, long time-to-hire can negatively impact your business. 

For one, it can be costly: an average of $454 a week or $1,800 a month for a role that remains open. That’s not even including the costs of finding and onboarding talent once found. More importantly, slow times-to-hire have a disastrous impact on companies’ performance and candidates’ moods. 

But before we dig into tips on how to accelerate your talent acquisition processes, let’s first dig into the impacts a slow time to hire can have on your business. 

5 Ways a Slow Time to Hire Is Detrimental to Your Business

1 . Missing Out on Quality Talent

Quality talent is a hot commodity. If you move slowly, your chance of hiring them diminishes. High performers have multiple options when looking for a new role or opportunity. It’s not a case of if they’ll find a new role, but when. 

Research suggests 70% of in-demand candidates begin to look elsewhere if they don’t hear back a week after an interview. This gives your competitors a golden opportunity to build their teams with high-performing talent. 

2. Impacts Competitiveness

Don’t underestimate the first-mover's advantage. Being the first company to enter a market, or solve a unique challenge, is a road to riches. But this requires businesses to act quickly, taking advantage of opportunities before they disappear. Wait too long, and they’ll pass you by. The same principle applies to talent acquisition. 

If your company is looking to move quickly on an initiative that will save it hundreds of dollars but lacks the needed skill sets to make it happen, a slow hiring process will only negatively impact your ability to make good on this opportunity. 

3. Increases Talent Acquisition Costs

Time is money — the longer it takes to hire a candidate, the more expensive it becomes. There might even be hidden costs you're unaware of, such as the number of interviews in your process and the people involved. 

That’s because the traditional cost-per-hire calculation does not include the time used by other hiring managers and employees involved in the process. These are costs that can be mitigated with a more streamlined process. 

4. Decreases Productivity and Employee Engagement

Companies hire to fill mission-critical roles. However, in the meantime, this work still needs to be done. This means others within the organization must step up and fill in the gap until a hire is made. Except, this isn't easy.

Busy employees already have enough on their plate. If they have to pick up additional work for too long, they might burn out and leave for greener pastures — impacting retention. 

5. Impacts Employer Brand

You can pay the price with your employer brand if you have a long talent acquisition process. Applicants who feel like they've been waiting for several weeks for a follow-up from your company after an interview can share this experience with others — impacting your ability to attract future candidates. 

This can ultimately lead to a decreasing talent pool interested in joining your team, along with the quality of applicants also decreasing. Likewise, employees that churn due to burnout after taking on additional responsibilities while a hire is made can also impact your reputation should they churn and share this experience with others. 

How to Inject Speed into Your Talent Acquisition Approach

1. Simplify Processes Where Possible

A great place to start is by reevaluating key processes. As you look at your processes, see where you can cut costs, lower the number of resources used to source and vet candidates, and where in the process, you can save time. 

For example, you could run an online assessment instead of conducting a telephone interview. Likewise, you could reduce the number of interviews from four to three and the number of participants. 

Another tip is to leverage automated scheduling and communication tools to make it easier to schedule interviews and reduce the number of scheduling conflicts — enhancing the candidate experience. 

2. Be Proactive

See if there are any processes you can get ahead of, like conducting background and reference checks. Companies usually wait until the very last moment until they complete this step. Except, that often delays the process, especially if the candidate's references take a while to reply. 

One way around this is to ask for references upfront so that the background check is completed at the start of the process rather than the end — enabling you to extend an offer much faster. 

3. Aim for Specificity and Clarity 

Before getting started with the talent acquisition process, make sure you are clear about the job responsibilities and requirements. Then make sure that the tool you use to generate talent is collecting this information. 

This will enable you to narrow down the list of candidates and make it easier to identify the most qualified candidates. Choose to go broad with your description, and you might find yourself sorting through a larger pool of candidates, slowing down the process. 

4. Make Roles Project-Based

The emergence of more agile ways of working has created the project economy. Nowadays, leading companies allocate resources toward achieving short-term project-based goals. Not only are projects great at achieving short-term goal performance goals, but they're also great at creating long-term value. 

By making roles project-based, you can hire candidates for specific requirements to fulfill short-term objectives. Second, you can use this time to assess their quality and see whether they're a good long-term fit for your company. 

5. Leverage On-Demand Talent Acquisition Platforms

Using on-demand talent acquisition platforms like Graphite can help you expedite the process — specifically if you're looking to fill an immediate and short-term need. They’re also great resources to use when filling out project-based roles. And here’s why. 

On-demand talent acquisition platforms like Graphite already have a pre-vetted talent pool ready for you to choose from. The talent on these platforms tend to be leading experts in their field, so you can rest assured that you get quality talent. And since you only pay for what you need, it can also be a great way to keep costs low. 

Therefore, you can skip the traditional talent acquisition process, such as qualifying their experience and background. You can move quickly, trusting that you're selecting from the best talent worldwide. 

Move Fast and Break Barriers

The phrase “Time kills all deals” applies to hiring, too. The longer it takes to hire a candidate, the more it costs, the less chance you have of getting your first choice, and the greater the impact on your productivity. 

The takeaway is clear: having a slow time-to-hire is a massive competitive disadvantage. With several ways to find the best talent for your business, the key is to weigh all your options to create a comprehensive talent acquisition strategy that fills all your short and long-term needs. 

You’ll also want to constantly reevaluate your processes to search for potential efficiencies and consider leveraging feedback surveys to improve your processes — regardless of whether you hired the talent or not. Finally, don’t be afraid to leverage emerging technologies like on-demand talent acquisition platforms. 

Business priorities are evolving at breakneck speeds today, making it hard to predict the kind of talent you need. In this context, these platforms can be an excellent resource for building an agile and flexible workforce that enables your teams to navigate the rapidly evolving business environment — especially during times of uncertainty. 

Interested in exploring how you can build more agility into your talent acquisition efforts? Check out our Ultimate Workforce Optimization Guide to learn more.

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