It’s a pretty great time to be in talent acquisition, don’t you think? Times have really changed since I got into this crazy business 20+ years ago – mostly for the better. Today we have access to a vast array of amazing technologies that empower us to find and contact candidates faster than ever before.
One thing that hasn’t changed that much: time to fill. In fact, many companies and industries report their time to fill has been creeping up in the last few years. Much of that can be attributed to market forces beyond our control – such as supply and demand – but there are many things we can control that would help prevent time creep. And if we can’t control some of these things, we should try to influence and educate instead.
Here are four things you can do to tighten your timeline and ensure you identify and hire the best talent, faster:
- Have a Plan: Every position deserves a sourcing plan. You don’t need to get too fancy about it, but create a plan for which sources you will use each and every time. I like to use what I call a Fixed/Flexible approach; the fixed sources are things I always do – like check the ATS for appropriate candidates – and the flexible sources are unique to that position and may be more creative as a result. When you have a plan and actually use it, you can reduce time to fill by identifying talent faster.Another great benefit to having a sourcing plan is that it makes you really stop and think about where you are going to find candidates – simply because you are writing it down somewhere. Nobody ever said, “My plan is to post this position, sit back and pray candidates come rolling in.” (At least I hope nobody ever said that!) Force yourself to be more creative, every time – even (or perhaps especially) when you don’t have to be. It’s good practice for the really difficult positions.
- Optimize Your Advertising: If you are fortunate enough to have the budget to post an ad on a job board or two, don’t squander it. While technology has made it very fast and simple to get a job on many boards with the click of a button, I think we can all agree that has led to some very boring ads.Take a look at some of your recent postings – are they “blah” or are they brilliant? If they are “blah” (and many are), how can you add some sizzle?
- Mind Your Managers: We all know hiring managers are critical to our success as recruiters. Hopefully, you’re already in the habit of tapping into their professional networks early in the process to identify talent. But once you identified the talent and begin interviewing candidates, the importance of hiring managers to the process is even more significant.Believe it or not, most managers really don’t like the hiring process – shocking, I know! And many hiring managers do not hire often enough to really know what they’re doing. Because of that, they might need more of your guidance than you (or they) anticipate.For example: In my experience, many (if not most) hiring managers need to be coached on how to sell candidates on both the company and the opportunity, and that interviews are not interrogations, but rather a two-way street of information gathering and sharing. So if we really want to be successful and ensure a positive candidate experience, we must make the time to educate hiring managers on important things like the talent marketplace, interview best practices and more.
- Flex Your Approach: With candidates in demand and hiring managers breathing down your neck to fill positions, consider getting a little creative about your approach to engaging talent. If they’re slow to respond to email, ask if a text would be better. If they’re working full-time, perhaps you can schedule interviews in the early morning or late afternoon – or maybe you can do a digital/video interview. If you have a hiring manager who travels a lot, perhaps you can agree on an interview date or two when he/she is definitely going to be available, versus trying to frantically fit in an interview here and there only to have to reschedule. Or maybe that hiring manager has a backup person who can fill in for him/her when unavailable.There is not one magic solution here; the key is to be flexible and always ask yourself, “Is there a better way to do this that would make it easier on the candidates and us?” … there usually is.
My first great boss in this business would often tell me, “Time kills all deals.” Turns out he was right. We all know good candidates have a shelf life – heck, even the not-so-good candidates have a shelf life! – but if we use some of the tactics outlined above, over time it will have a positive impact on our timeline, which will make it that much easier to get and keep good candidates on the hook.