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Is faster better?

Insight | Interviewing | REC | Poaching

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‘Hire slow, fire fast’ - it’s an old business adage that continues to hold traction today. But in today’s hiring environment, what is most important when it comes to bringing new people on board? Getting them in quickly or ensuring they are perfect for the position through extensive interviewing and testing?

The value your organisation places on hiring times depends largely on the role you are recruiting for and the level of talent available. If you are confident that your company will not struggle to fill the vacancy, you can afford to spend time on your employee hunt, looking for the right person. However, if you’re competing against rival firms for the best candidates, you’ll need to ensure that you’re acting quickly and decisively.

The value in longer recruitment processes

There are certainly advantages to longer interview periods. According to former Apple executive Guy Kawasaki, hiring too fast can lead to a “bozo explosion,” meaning that when companies bring new employees on board very quickly during periods of rapid growth, they can make mistakes. He added: "Unfortunately, many companies adopt the attitude of ‘hire any intelligent body, or we'll lose business - we'll sort everything out later’.”

There are benefits and risks to hiring quickly, so it is important to establish what the priority is for your organisation when recruiting.

Losing business in the short term might be a risk of not hiring people quickly, but companies also need to be aware of the risk of not hiring the right people. A recent report by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) found that a poor hire at mid-manager level with an annual salary of £42,000 can cost a business more than £132,000.

According to the report, the hidden costs involved in recruiting the wrong people include money wasted on training, lost productivity, and increased staff turnover. REC chief executive Kevin Green said that his organisation’s “calculations show that UK businesses are wasting billions every year because of the volume of hiring mistakes being made”. The financial impact of not making the right decision is the biggest reason to take your time over hiring.

The risks of not hiring quickly

However, are you risking top talent being poached? Companies with intensive bureaucratic procedures attached to their hiring processes could find that while they are inputting all the necessary paperwork, candidates are tempted elsewhere.

Recruiting is inherently a human pursuit, which means you’re dealing with people’s emotions. There is always the chance that people might change their minds. If a hiring process takes too long, it’s possible that candidates will lose interest in your company and move on. If your organisation has particularly extensive interview processes, you could be vulnerable to these human factors.

It’s something to consider when evaluating the length of your interview processes.

UK hiring times rising

Businesses around the world are finding that it’s taking them longer to hire someone. The UK’s average interview process period is one of the longest, at 28.6 days, according to Glassdoor Economic Research.

With artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics taking over many lower skilled jobs, including those of cashiers and factory workers, it is perhaps unsurprising that hiring periods are becoming elongated. This is due to the fact high-skilled jobs requiring creativity and technical skills typically necessitate longer, more intense screening processes.

Hiring managers at larger companies bringing top-level professionals on board might find that they struggle to shorten their recruiting times. When this is the case, it’s important for them to ensure that they are doing all they can to keep candidates engaged during the hiring process.

A strong employer brand can also help to keep top talent interested in working for your company. Candidates who know what the benefits of being an employee at your organisation will be more likely to want to last through the process and eventually start working there.


Posted by Jon Aspinell on 18th September 2017

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