The Importance of Hiring Fast When Unemployment is Low

During periods of low unemployment, companies struggle to attract the talent they need to fill important roles or expand their workforce during a growth phase. Businesses compete fiercely for the small number of candidates actively looking for jobs, and struggle to entice passive talent away from their current positions.

While some hiring challenges are inevitable in a tight talent market, many companies undermine their recruitment efforts when the process is drawn out. A 2017 study by Glassdoor found that the average length of time between the first interview and the job offer is taking longer. Between 2014 and 2017, the average time to hire across industries in the US increased from 22.9 to 23.8 percent. Some sectors took even longer, including manufacturing at 24.6 days, IT and tech at 25.4 days, and Aerospace and defense at 32.6 days.

It’s easy to believe slow hiring leads to smarter recruiting and talent who are better suited to your company. But slow hiring has unintended consequences. When hiring processes are cumbersome and decision making takes too long, companies lose promising candidates who take other offers, Fast hiring is a key to remaining competitive when high-skills talent are hard to come by. Also, in a tight talent market, it’s important to attract passive candidates who are not aggressively looking for work. These individuals already have jobs and are not going to stick in there through a drawn-out hiring process.

Fast Hiring Isn’t Rushed Hiring

It’s important to make a distinction between fast hiring and rushed hiring. It rarely works out well when companies barrel through the hiring process to get someone—anyone—behind the desk. But when organizations lay the groundwork for streamlined recruitment, fast hiring can attract and retain top flight candidates. The following are steps your organization can take to hire quickly and effectively:

Develop a Workforce Strategy

A workforce strategy is simply a roadmap for talent management and hiring. It involves assessing your current workforce and understanding the key roles that need filling immediately, and those that will likely need candidates in the near or distant future. Creating a workforce plan means your organization won’t be surprised by scores of retirements or a sudden surge in business. When caught off guard, companies usually rush the hiring process and offer jobs to people who are wrong for the role. Or mission-critical positions remain open, which is bad for business.

Assess Candidates Early

Pre-employment assessments and tests improve hiring speed by ensuring only those candidates with the key hard and soft skills needed for a position move down the hiring funnel. It wastes the time of employers and candidates to discover during the third interview that the applicant doesn’t have the required certifications or experience for the role. There are multiple options for assessing candidates early in the process, and which ones you use will vary depending upon your organization’s needs. Generally, however, early assessments include the following:

  • Resume screening — Technology makes it possible to screen resumes for keywords that indicate qualifications for a specific role to help narrow the field of candidates. After a software analysis, many recruiters and hiring managers review resumes individually.
  • Application — Ask job-related questions to determine whether candidates have the specific competencies and experience required for the position. (Be aware there are equal opportunity employment regulations surrounding the types of questions that may be asked to screen candidates.)
  • Pre-assessment tests — Candidates may overstate their experience with word processing software, data management programs, and collaboration tools. Brief pre-employment testing are a fast way to determine if they are up to speed before you bring them on board.
  • Social media review — The majority of candidates now have a professional profile on social media sites. A review of these can support the skills they’ve checked on the application, or indicate there is a discrepancy. (Tread carefully when reviewing candidate’s personal social media accounts. They are not always indicative of a person’s qualifications for a position, and they raise issues of unconscious bias.)

Refine Your Employment Brand

These days, savvy candidates review your company as thoroughly as you review their qualifications for the job. That’s why it’s crucial to polish your employment brand, which are the benefits, workplace culture, and business goals that make your company an appealing place to work. Be sure to trumpet your organization on your company careers page, as well as on your company profile on sites such as Glassdoor or LinkedIn. Similar to candidates on a job interview—it’s best to be honest while putting your best foot forward. This way you only attract talent who are truly interested in committing to your organization.

Review Your Compensation and Benefits

When unemployment is low, companies who are offering competitive compensation and benefits have the best hope of attracting skilled candidates. Research the average wages for your industry and region to ensure you are providing appealing incentives for talent. Keep in mind, improving your benefits offerings doesn’t have to be expensive or involve increasing wages. Tuition reimbursement, training opportunities, and flexible scheduling are all benefits that appeal to candidates.

Communicate with Candidates Often

In a tight talent market, it’s safe to assume other companies are vying for the candidates in your hiring funnel. This makes it important to keep the hiring process moving forward and to communicate where prospective employees stand. If a candidate makes a good impression during the first interview, schedule the second interview quickly so they know they are still in the running. Direct candidates to your company careers website to give them the opportunity to assess whether your business is a good fit for them. Finally, avoid losing talent to the communication blackout that often happens after candidates have accepted the job offer. If they get a better offer during that period and you haven’t begun the onboarding process, they may change their mind.

Need help with pre-employment assessments and talent management? Contact LINK Staffing.