When you take too long to hire: Time-To-Hire vs. Quality-Of-Hire

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What is the impact on your business when you take too long to hire?

Time-To-Hire is traditionally defined as the number of days between advertising a new role to making the offer to the preferred candidate.

However, is taking too long to hire a recipe for losing good candidates?

According to a Time-To-Hire Survey by international recruitment agency, Robert Half: 

“When faced with a lengthy hiring process, 39% of survey respondents lose interest and pursue other roles, while 18% decide to stay put in their current job”.

While LinkedIn’s 2017 Global Survey identified that Time-To-Hire can take anywhere from a few days to four months. 

What is the right Time-To-Hire? 

How long is too long to hire?

In our experience, many companies have internal “systems” that can often add days if not weeks to the recruitment process.

What if that additional time is potentially hindering your company from bringing in the best people?

At the senior executive level Time-To-Hire can be a long process

The cost of hiring is expensive. A company is only as good as its top team. Is that next brief a make or break hire?

An organisation can’t be without their FD, MD, CEO, OD, etc for any significant period of time.

Fit with the top team is always critical, so you often find a number of different stakeholders involved in making such an important decision.

In multinationals, key decision makers could be based overseas, and in my experience a Group Sales Director will often want a face to face before a Regional Sales Director is appointed.

One of the biggest hurdles can be simply aligning diaries between the senior management team to agree and make that final decision.

Whilst the number of shortlisted applicants is generally lower at the senior exec level, the selection process is more in-depth.

There’s often multiple stages that could include testing and presentations.

Individual one-to-one interviews might need to take place with different key members of the management team.

Time-To-Hire can of course vary dramatically by function, sector and location too.

However, in our experience, good candidates will stick with the process as long as you’re regularly communicating. And as long as no-one else is doing the same.

Be clear. Tell them where they are in the process and monitor where they are in other processes.

If the Group Sales Director is flying in from the US in 3 weeks time, then people will usually be happy to wait, if they feel confident they’re in the running.

However, if someone else is ready to offer in the meantime, you may be in trouble… Good candidates have a shelf-life. Do you really want to go back to the market?

The relationship between prospective new employee and employer should be at its very best from the off. Be quick.

We remind our clients that interviews are very much two-way. We’re selling the role as well as buying the candidate.

Start as you mean to go on. 

Don’t let the process stall. 

Keep all parties informed of current status and next steps.

Keep it moving.

If your hiring process is too slow

If Time-To-Hire is too slow, then you’re giving other organisations the opportunity to potentially secure the best candidates before you. Speed is an advantage.

As I’ve said, good candidates don’t stay available for long.

If they’re in post, a lengthy process could persuade them to stay put.

A longer hiring process can have a significant impact on the crucial ‘Candidate Experience’ we spoke about in our When is a candidate a client? article. 

As hiring managers we need to be looking at speeding up administrative tasks such as scheduling interviews, and streamlining comms to candidates, etc.

Care needs to be taken of course…

If your hiring process is too fast

Go too fast and you might not screen candidates thoroughly enough. 

Cut a corner and you risk making a poor hire. We’ll try and stop you making a mistake but work with us – recruiting at pace requires application.

Quality-Of-Hire is ultimate metric – getting the right people can only be truly measured after time in post.

It is great to see work anniversaries clock up on LinkedIn for people we’ve placed.

You can have a shorter Time-To-Hire and maintain the Quality-Of-Hire by using additional screening, such as psychometric/aptitude testing, and by varying interview agendas and participants.

What’s the goal?

A combination of efficient and cost effective Time-To-Hire coupled with making the right (in other words high quality and first time) Quality-Of-Hire?

We need time to market your role, search the market, and establish what your organisation feels is a suitable Time-To-Hire at the exec level. 

Once you’ve engaged with a good candidate the clock is ticking…

If they’re active in the market, trust me, there’s a good chance they’ll receive another offer if your process is ponderous.

Every step in the recruitment process adds time. Be thorough but fast.

And of course, the fewer steps you have, the faster the process. 

However, it’s important to have the right steps to ensure Quality-Of-Hire.

Yes, we want to quickly place the best person in that role for you. 

But we also want them to stay in that role and deliver.

This is what distinguishes between candidates and talent.

You want the top talent, quickly.

And placed first time. 

Work with us!

We’ll deliver a fast-moving but thorough process but we need your help (and your diary).

Don’t risk losing good candidates. Going back to the drawing board is frustrating.

Efficiency is achieved via a robust recruitment process, effective sourcing and multi-layered screening.

Good candidates will stick with that process if they feel they are progressing… But not indefinitely.

It helps if they clearly understand next steps and how they ‘fit’ into the process.

We communicate with your candidates regularly – it helps.

Time-To-Hire vs. Time-To-Fill

It is also important that we distinguish between Time-To-Hire and Time-To-Fill.

It may sound like the same metric, however, there are distinct differences that can help identify talent within a more efficient hiring process. 

Whilst Time-To-Hire is the number of days between when a candidate applies for the role and when they accept your offer.

Time-To-Fill takes into account the total number of days that the role is vacant.

Too often, there’s already been a delay before initiating the process to replace an existing exec.

There’s a review of how/whether to replace, considerate to change the role definition, possibly restructuring/reorganisation?

By the time we get the call, there’s often inbuilt urgency to recruit, to recover time already lost.

That’s OK. These things happen. We like the challenge of moving quickly. But you need to do so too!

We need you to work with us. There’s a theme here.

When we submit longlist CV’s, we need you to review them with us quickly… Early feedback is crucial.

We need to engage with the people you may want and get them into the formal process quickly.

Once we’re interviewing candidates together, we partner with you to challenge them AND sell them the role. Your organisation and YOU!

What should your organisation do?

Even in the current climate, at the senior exec level, the market is candidate-driven. Even more-so in uncertain times.

And by that I mean that finding the right candidate can be difficult, the top talent is often in post, not actively looking.

We find them and help you secure them.

Once identified and politely approached, it is vital we keep them engaged, throughout the process. 

To do that we must clearly define the process and stick to a suitable (workable) timeframe. 

  • Keeping the hiring process tight.
  • Save time, money and resources. 
  • Reduce Time-To-Fill. 
  • Improve hiring accuracy and Quality-Of-Hire.

Good candidates are put off by a long disjointed selection process, especially if they’re being considered for roles elsewhere. You snooze, you lose.

Don’t risk losing out on the best talent. Revaluate your hiring processes. Remove any internal bottlenecks. Start as soon you know you need to hire. Plan and act.

Give your recruitment partner time and an accurate brief to enable them to do their work effectively. Respond quickly. Be accessible. Make decisions.

Barron Williams can help you to interview smarter

At Barron Williams we will target the right audience and identify the right potential candidates:

We will market your role effectively and tell you how your role brief is received by the market.

We will screen candidates for you. We won’t waste your time with CV’s that aren’t what you need.

We will have had numerous contacts with candidates before you see them.

The pandemic has shown us that there is much we can do remotely, we make use of modern interview technology. 

Our How to conduct a video interview article looked at this in detail.

We can significantly reduce the time and need for travel. Video is efficient. Use it.

We’re always looking at ways in which we can streamline Time-To-Hire whilst improving Quality-Of-Hire!

If your current provider is taking too long to hire, or simply not delivering the right candidates, then maybe it’s time to talk to Barron Williams?

If you’re looking for a senior executive for your organisation, please use our Client Upload Form or Call Us now.

If you’re looking for your next role, then please feel free to Upload Your CV or Call Us for an exploratory conversation.

Barron Williams

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