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Lack of speed is a fatal flaw in today's hiring environment. Here's how to accelerate the process.

By Ty West – Editor-in-Chief, The Playbook, Many employers are finding out they aren’t just in a battle for talent. They’re in a race too. That’s the harsh reality in the current landscape where candidates are fielding multiple offers and many businesses are clinging to their pre-pandemic hiring practices.

Recruiters say moving too slowly is one of the biggest mistakes businesses are making. “Time is the currency every employer is dealing with right now,” said Anil Harjani, vice president of corporate development at Hireology, which provides a client relationship management tool for recruitment.

Given the frantic pace of the economy at a time when many employers are short staffed, it’s understandable many managers think they don’t have time to recruit. But that’s a Catch-22, as a lack of focus on retention and recruitment will only prolong periods of reduced headcount and raise potential for burnout.

Experts say there are some best practices companies can use to speed up the hiring process and even ease some of those time constraints.

1. Change up your communication Experts say text messaging and social media are becoming more important for communicating with candidates.

In many cases, companies that are leaning on traditional emails or phone calls are missing out on candidates because those methods are too slow for the current environment.

“If you have somebody that sends you an application, you have a six-times faster response rate over text message,” Harjani said. “You’re in front of the line if you just text them.”

The on-demand nature of the economy is pushing candidates toward employers that are responding quickly.

“As an employer, you need to be able to operate in that environment,” Harjani said. Many companies are getting the message, according to a survey by talent acquisition technology provider Jobvite of more than 800 U.S. recruiters.

The survey found 54% of recruiters plans to increase the use of texting for communicating with job candidates. It's one of the many ways they are adapting their practices to respond to changing jobseeker habits.

A separate Jobvite survey found a majority of jobseekers (69%) prefer texting for scheduling interviews rather than phone calls or emails.

2. Consider automated options Given the frantic nature of the hiring environment, many companies are using systems that can eliminate some of the back-and-forth of the hiring process that can create snags.

Options include services that streamline interview scheduling by allowing employers and candidates to automatically cross-reference times they have available. There are also options to accelerate the onboarding process.

"You can use technology to drive automation to take some administrative tasks off the table to speed things up," Harjani said.

Many companies are offering technology platforms that can streamline the candidate sourcing process, as well. Many companies offer a platform that will automatically source candidates from multiple channels, rather than depending on an employer to post the job on numerous sites.

Hiring experts say that type of multichannel approach is pivotal in this environment.

Evan Sohn, Recruiter.com chairman and CEO, said companies need to significantly increase the number of candidate leads they have coming in to overcome the high rate of churn among candidates. Recruiter.com offers artificial intelligence to help employers build candidate profiles.

Sohn said companies need to treat the urgency of hiring the same way they do the urgency of having a steady flow of sales leads.

"You have to make sure you're using some tool that is every day proactively going out and campaigning to the right people that you want to be talking to," Sohn said.

Sohn said companies need to devote resources to those tools, but also invest the time to screen and talk to candidates those systems are pulling in.

3. Rethink your interview strategy Recruiters say companies are often trying to interview the way they did a few years ago.

That might include a phone interview, followed by multiple in-person interviews — a process that could drag out for weeks.

In this landscape, experts say that’s too slow. Employers taking that track are often calling candidates who are already deep in the hiring process with another company.

Kristin Lockhart, vice president of recruiting at payroll, benefits and advisory firm Adams Keegan Inc., previously told The Business Journals that companies need to be aggressive and end the concept of the four-week interview process.

Recruiters say employers should use technology to their advantage through remote interviews when possible. When a candidate needs to interview with multiple people in person, the best practice would be to schedule them for the same day in a block.

4. Make quicker decisions Companies are also losing out at the tail end of the hiring process because a lack of speed. Many employers have layers of bureaucracy and approvals required for making hires, which can be a liability. Every day that passes without an offer is a day a candidate could receive an offer from someone else.

Small employers with the ability to make quick decisions could have an edge — negating some of the obstacles they face.

Recruiters say companies need to be prepared to make offers that are quick and strong. They don't need to nickel-and-dime candidates in this climate. The odds a candidate has another offer — or a counteroffer from their current employer — are high.

Lucy Lorenzo, founding partner of Ascension Search Partners, recently told The Business Journals the counteroffers are rising rapidly, both in frequency and value.

“A lot of companies are in a better financial position [to counter], but they also know how difficult it’s going to be to hire someone,” Lorenzo said.

Experts say companies also need to streamline approvals and other protocols that can bog down the hiring process, because there are cases when candidates have been lost even after accepting an offer.


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