« Is Your Hiring Process Costing You Talent? » by Brad Chambers June 02, 2022 Harvard

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More than 20 million Americans quit their jobs in the latter half of 2021, leaving many companies struggling to find talent to refill their ranks. With 11.3 million job openings, which is about 5 million more than unemployed workers as of March 2022, job seekers certainly have the upper hand — and they’re demanding more from future employers.

Job seekers aren’t only looking for higher pay and better workplace benefits. They’ve also lost patience with ever-cumbersome hiring processes. They know that they are in demand, and they want to see that employers recognize their value.

Create a hiring process that is a positive experience for candidates to foster a good relationship from the start. By asking yourself the following four questions, you can make sure your hiring experience isn’t causing you to lose future talent.

1. Is your time-to-decision fast enough?

Finding out whether someone is a good fit for your company might take a little time, but you could lose candidates to companies with faster hiring times if you drag your feet too long. The average time-to-hire includes multiple interviews and lasts around 43 days. However, 62% of working professionals say they lose interest two weeks after an initial interview if they haven’t heard back.

To help prevent this, look for ways to speed up the hiring process and eliminate wasted time. For example, if you require candidates to complete assessments, try integrating them with your company’s application tracking system. Administer assessments aligned to the capabilities required for success in the target job when candidates submit applications instead of having a recruiter send them days after.

2. Do you share information on company culture?

The decision to work with a candidate is a two-way street; informing candidates about the company and the role is just as important as learning about their skills. Communicate to job seekers your company’s commitment to not only filling openings, but also to aligning people with jobs where they will thrive.

To help job seekers decide if your company is a good fit, ensure that each step of the hiring process reflects the culture. For example, use situational judgment tests to ask candidates to reflect on situations they might face on the job and indicate what they would do in response.

Another idea is to use behavioral role-plays, which enable candidates to demonstrate key job skills. A role-play for a customer service role, for example, might involve having the candidate engage in a simulated conversation with a dissatisfied customer.

You can also use a virtual assessment center — a three- to four-hour session that includes exercises in addressing business challenges and strategic decision making — to paint a realistic picture of the job. All these methodologies serve the dual purpose of assessing candidates’ capabilities to perform the job and teaching them about how life in the role and organization might look and feel. Although this is a beneficial method, it does bring up concerns about how much time you’re asking candidates to invest in your hiring process. Consider using these methods only for final candidates to help you make your hiring decision — after you and the candidate have invested the time to know both parties are interested in an employment relationship.

3. How is your correspondence?

Providing genuine feedback is a relatively easy way for employers to bring unique value to candidates in the interview process, and it will likely become a hiring norm in the near future. According to a survey conducted by the Talent Board, candidates who receive timely feedback are 52% more likely to engage with an employer again.

Conversely, unsuccessful candidates who never receive feedback are more than twice as likely to have an unpleasant image of the company. If employers can demonstrate investment in candidates’ success, it will go a long way toward building a future relationship.

For instance, you can provide neutral feedback to candidates that highlights their tendencies and capabilities and give helpful suggestions without mentioning scores or alignment with the target role. You can avoid legal challenges (e.g., “You told me I was a great fit for the role, but you didn’t hire me”) and provide positive and constructive feedback.

4. Are you providing value up front?

Many people no longer want a job simply to pay their bills. Instead, they want to work at a company that will help them learn and grow, personally or professionally. LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report found that companies that excel at internal mobility are able to keep employees around for an average of 5.4 years, which is nearly twice as long as companies that don’t. Given that ongoing growth is essential to candidates, make sure they know you will invest in their development up front.

One way you can signal this to candidates is to give them a chance to learn some new, relevant skills. For example, a hiring process designed to select sales representatives might include an opportunity for sales-interested candidates to access learning assets that teach about cold-calling techniques, how to best reach the C-suite, or strategies for overcoming call reluctance. The key here is giving candidates something for their time other than the possibility of a job offer. Give them value they can take wherever they go.

As the Great Resignation persists, job seekers are the ones in control. To fill openings, it’s critically important that companies make good impressions — and that starts with carefully mapped-out interview processes. Consider each question above to add more value to every candidate conversation.

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