You’re hiring and you need to screen for the best possible candidates to bring in for those critical face-to-face interviews. But for every week you add to your screening process you’ll see more good candidates snatched away by other employers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in the current weak hiring environment, heavily impacted by the Great Recession with a large number of workers looking for work, finding a job is taking candidates an average of at least 10 weeks. In this environment, our models show that you may see almost 30% of candidates slip through your fingers if you spend even 4 weeks screening. During your 4-week screening process they’ll take other offers. Of course, if you take even longer screening, you’ll lose even more candidates.
The news gets worse. As the economy improves and hiring picks up the median number of weeks required for a job seeker to find employment will edge back towards the historical norm of 5 weeks. If you take 4 weeks to screen under this rate of candidate absorption, more than 50% of available candidates will take a job while you’re screening. (This includes candidates who were available when you started your process as well as those who started their job search after you started your search.)
The importance of running a timely screening process is even more imperative when you realize that the candidates that slip away fastest are likely to be the most qualified, the most attractive. And of course the problem is exacerbated if you’re looking for hard to fill positions, like sales or engineering jobs.
We’ve been working on a “speed screening” process, sort of like speed dating. The final steps in the process can vary to fit the employer, the marketplace and the level of candidates. But the bottom line is that days required to screen and the days required to fill a position are critical metrics that can have a bottom line impact on your organization.
We started investigating the need for fast screening after working with a company whose managers were simply too busy to review candidates in a timely manner. With a difficult to fill set of job reqs, the key hiring manager just couldn’t find time for 3 weeks to review a candidate screening video. We can’t force anyone to prioritize their hiring process, but we can work on ways to speed up the process. Negotiating an agreement as to when a manager will make time available to review candidates is a good start.