This is a crunch time for recruitment teams across the UK. We’re hearing time and time again that recruitment processes are taking longer and longer to reach fruition. The ability of recruitment teams to meet the needs of their businesses is being severely tested. Brexit anxieties aren’t helping matters, as candidates become more reluctant to move – and European candidates become harder to attract. But it’s not just market factors contributing to this problem, there are also deficiencies in the ways that businesses are going about their hiring activities.

Having recently prepared a presentation on this topic, I concluded that there are three major reasons contributing to this lengthy time-to-hire problem. These factors are i) the fear of making a bad hire, ii) issues around perceived candidate quality and iii) excessively long interview processes. So what can you do about each of these factors to accelerate hiring speed and effectiveness within your business? Let’s look at each in turn.

The fear of making a bad hire

This problem can best be summed up as there being inadequate trust established between the hiring manager and the recruiter. Hiring managers are naturally going to be anxious about making the wrong hire. It’s their department that will suffer if this happens – and their targets that stand to be missed if the wrong person joins the team.

To a degree this is inevitable, but it is greatly exacerbated if the hiring manager doesn’t wholly trust in the recruiter’s understanding of the business’s needs and in their ability to fulfil those needs. The key to overcoming this is having the right communication channels between hiring managers and recruiters and ensuring that adequate time is devoted to the briefing process. This is both so that the requirements of the role can be adequately communicated to the recruiter, ensuring that the hiring manager trusts that the recruiter has fully understood what’s required. But it’s also important so that the recruiter can feed back any issues there may be in delivering on the brief, which it’s far preferable to have out in the open from the outset rather than only bringing up part way through the process.

Low quality candidates

The second challenge revolves around the perceived quality of the shortlist being generated by the recruiter – and where that sits relative to the dream shortlist that the hiring manager would have envisaged receiving. There are lots of reasons the two may significantly diverge. Remuneration that is below par can have a big impact on the quality of shortlist that a recruiter is able to generate. The location of the role may also have a detrimental effect. Current market perceptions of the company as an employer may also play a part. Plus there may be valid arguments for the hiring manager to consider a broader range of candidates than they were initially envisaging.

If there is inadequate communication between the hiring manager and the recruiter during the shortlisting process, the business  leaves itself open to the likelihood that the hiring manager will not be satisfied with the shortlist that’s generated. If the shortlist is weak because the recruiter’s sourcing skills are  deficient, then clearly there is some investment in training, tools and subscriptions that may be needed. But often that’s not the case and the shortlist that’s been generated is simply the best available given the constraints the recruiter is working to.

If there is ongoing communication throughout the shortlisting process, then the hiring manager is likely to understand all of this. But if communication has been lacking then the hiring manager may have a knee-jerk negative reaction that the list is simply not good enough, thereby losing the business considerable time by insisting that the recruiter go away and try to add additional names to the list.

An excessively long interview process

When we have a candidate short market, such as we have today, it becomes more important than ever that companies do their utmost to impress candidates throughout the hiring process. In particular we should be looking to remove or address any factors that will cause candidates to drop out at any stage in the process. High on the list of reasons that top candidates will drop out is simply the interview and decision process taking far too long.

Good candidates have many alternatives open to them. They may also not be fully committed to even changing roles in the first place. Every element of your hiring process that causes the interviewing stage to drag on directly contributes to candidates dropping out of your process and thereby reduces the quality of hire you’re able to achieve. Or it adds additional time to the hiring process as replacement candidates must then be found.

Concluding remarks

When you next start a new recruiting campaign, I strongly suggest you look through these three points again and work with your hiring manager to ensure that each has been addressed. Of course there are other factors that will contribute to your success such as ensuring you have suitable resource to effectively make all of this happen and these I will be tackling on the webinars we have scheduled for the coming weeks (see here for details). But I believe that if you tackle these three main shortcomings head on then the impact on your Time-To-Hire will be quickly felt irrespective of anything else you do.