Due to the latest mobile devices and apps, social media outlets, and a highly competitive plastics job marketplace, candidates and employers are able to connect faster than ever before. A first interview could be scheduled at warp speed and it would seem logical that a speedy hiring process would follow. Surprisingly, for many companies, that's not the case. In fact, according to ERENet.com, since February 2015, it takes an average of 26.8 days to fill an open position and even longer for an executive-level position. We haven't experienced such a snail's pace in 15 years.
From my perspective, it's not enough for companies and hiring managers to be conscious and aware that their hiring process is painfully slow but they need to know that a slow hiring process has a negative impact on their business. Several of the most damaging factors are listed below:
You will lose top candidates. Candidates who are in high demand routinely receive a number of interview requests and job offers. As a result, they're likely to be in the job market for only a short period of time. Therefore, if your organization drags out the hiring process, your best candidate will accept a current job offer as opposed to waiting for your possible future offer.
Slow hiring does not improve quality of hires. Your thought process might be that taking your time when making a hiring decision will result in better hires. Actually, it does the exact opposite. The best candidates will drop off fast leaving you with mediocre or weaker talent from which to choose. In fact, recently a plastics manufacturer commissioned my services to help them fill a position that had been open for four long months. They thought it was prudent to take their time and not rush to hire. What taking their time did was kill the interest of their top candidates and ultimately, make the position impossible to fill on their own.
High cost of open positions. A prolonged and misguided hiring process, especially for an executive position, that has been open for months can cost a company millions of dollars especially when you take into account time, resources, disrupted employee production, low team morale, increased manager and executive workloads, and damage to a company's competitive standing.
Company image and brand suffers. When word spreads, and it will especially through social media, that it takes a long time for your company to reach a hiring decision, candidates will think this is emblematic of a larger problem. They may equate this to a disorderly company culture or view it as an indicator that once on the job, business decisions will also inch along.
Bid rises for great hires. If you are the first company to get hold of a top-notch candidate, procrastinating on hiring them could mean that they will get a higher pay offer(s) as time goes by. The more chances you give your competition to snatch up a great candidate, the more chances you'll be dragged into a bidding war.
The goal here is not to encourage you to speed-hire in order to fill a position immediately. Obviously, that could lead to poor choices and bad hiring decisions. Rather, I want to encourage you to move your hiring process along once you've identified a top performer that's right for the job.
David Peterson is a managing partner at Cleveland-based Direct Recruiters Inc.