A slow hiring process can drive away top candidates and place strain on other employees as key roles remain vacant. Although candidates recognize the importance of making a good hire, they don't want to be stuck in job-search limbo for weeks awaiting a potential job offer. Sought-after candidates usually have multiple options, making them more likely to favor companies that make timely hiring decisions.
In a recent study, staffing agency Robert Half surveyed job seekers to determine what they find most off-putting about the hiring process. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they were frustrated about waiting extended periods of time for updates after interviewing, while 35 percent disliked being subjected to multiple rounds of interviews and skills evaluations. When asked about the appropriate length of a hiring process, 39 percent of respondents considered seven to 14 days to be too long, and 24 percent viewed 15 to 21 days as excessive.
A drawn-out hiring process is often the result of poor preparation. Without a clear goal in mind, your recruitment staff may waste time refining the criteria as they go along, leading to fruitless interviews with candidates who have glaring incompatibilities. Improve efficiency by consulting with the decision-makers and the employees most familiar with the role. Determine the requirements of the position and the baseline skills and personality traits a candidate needs to be successful. If there's any reason you can't make a hiring decision right away, hold off on hosting interviews.
Employers may unknowingly shrink the applicant pool by leaving candidates out of the loop. In the survey, 39 percent of respondents said they lose interest and look for other positions when the hiring process drags on too long. Thirty-three percent assumed employers weren't interested if they didn't act quickly, and 32 percent formed negative opinions of an employer's decision-making abilities based on a slow hiring process.
Confident job seekers want to work for employers who have transparent standards, and they expect recruiters to be proactive and enthusiastic when a candidate is a good fit. Being silent about the next steps in the hiring process sends the message that the employer is disorganized or hesitant, making candidates wonder whether disorder and indecisiveness are characteristic of the company culture.
Robert Half reported that 46 percent of candidates are willing to wait one to two weeks for a decision after the initial interview. Only 23 percent are willing to wait two to four weeks, and a meager 8 percent may remain hopeful for more than a month. To retain top candidates, stick to a brief timeline, and coordinate the calendars of all parties involved in making the hire. Expedite the screening phase by hosting preliminary interviews by phone or video chat, and let candidates know when you intend to make a decision. Immediately gather feedback from the hiring staff to keep job seekers interested, and update candidates on any changes to the hiring schedule.
When your team has a standout candidate in mind, don't wait to notify the applicant. Top candidates may accept other job offers as you finalize the position, prompting your employer to reopen the hiring process. If your team repeatedly has trouble tracking down the right professionals, review your hiring methods to eliminate lengthy steps that make promising candidates feel undervalued.
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