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The secret to shortening your hiring process.


Meredith Stack


“Always be closing.” It’s the mantra of salespeople everywhere -- including recruiters. Whether tasked with finding the company’s next leader, filling a high demand tech role, or hiring front line workers, speed is always the goal.

Recruiting professionals ranked time to hire among their top three measures of success, according to Linked In’s Global Recruiting Trends report, with larger companies putting it at number one. Yet they still struggle to shorten the window between posting a job opening and closing the deal. Half of the companies surveyed say their average time to hire is one-two months, while another 17 percent say it takes three months or more.

Smaller companies are often the least efficient, averaging longer times to hire than their larger peers, according to Jobvite’s Recruiting Benchmark report. These delays can have a cascading effect on productivity as vital roles sit vacant and remaining team members are forced to pick up the slack.

So what can recruiters do to rein in their hiring timelines?

Sorting vs. Sourcing.

They can start by considering every step in the recruiting process. More often than not, when people talk about efforts to improve their time to hire metric, they think about the sourcing side. They implement web crawlers to uncover passive candidates, automation tools to sort applications by keyword, and artificial intelligence to figure out which job boards deliver the best candidates.

All of these tools promise to shorten the time to hire, but it’s not enough. To make a bigger impact on time to hire, recruiters need to be just as innovative on the sorting side of the equation.

What they do with candidates once they are in the funnel is just as important is what they do to get them there. However many recruiters still rely on gut instinct, unstructured interviewing techniques, and qualitative comparisons to make final hiring decisions. That’s adding days to their hiring time, and risk that they will lose their best candidates to the competition (or their own biases).

This antiquated approach may be causing many companies to lose precious time in their recruiting life cycle, but it also provides an opportunity for forward-thinking recruiters to innovate their approach and potentially shave days from their time to hire metric.

When looking for ways to innovate the hiring process, recruiters should consider pre-hire assessments.

Quantifying candidates.

Making pre-employment assessments part of the pre-screening process provides recruiters with a rapid, data-driven approach to sorting through a large pool of applicants to determine who among them will be a great fit.

For high volume jobs, assessments can be administered early in the process, allowing recruiters to focus their efforts on candidates with higher scores. This shortens the decision process and reduces time spent with individuals whose traits do not match the requirements of the job. No amount of gut instinct can give you that kind of confidence.

For individual, high-value roles, assessments provide quantifiable metrics to compare candidates and to understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie. For example, if two candidates for a senior sales role both receive high overall scores, but one candidate has higher scores for leadership and problem solving, choosing between them just got easier. This kind of data can be vital when considering a handful of similarly qualified candidates in a short time frame.

Pre-hire assessment data takes the uncertainty out of hiring decisions and frees recruiters to spend more time engaging with top candidates in interviews, speed up background screenings, and woo them to the company.

The sooner a company fills open roles, the sooner they can ramp-up productivity for the individual and that team. In an era where speed and agility often determine a company’s competitive advantage, leveraging every tool to accelerate hiring makes good business sense.

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