I’ll start with a story.
We recently had a situation where we identified and had in process an excellent candidate for a position with one of our clients in Miami, FL. Throughout each interview, the candidate progressed with positive feedback from the client. After several weeks, the client requested reference checks. We completed 3 excellent ones within 24 hours. A week later, we were informed they would like to conduct a background check on two candidates (ours and another mysterious one), and indicated that process would most likely take two weeks. All in all – from initial interview to offer – was a total of six weeks.
We called the candidate repeatedly to keep him updated and engaged throughout this process. He really wanted this job, as he had just recently re-located to the area from out of state and was working a customer service job, not within his field. He was on board 100%. Until the end. When the client finally called to tell us that they would like to make him an offer, we called him immediately. He wanted 24 hours to think about it.
The next day the answer came back: I’m sorry, but I’m declining the offer. Why?!?! He was contacted by another company within this 6-week time, interviewed and they made an offer a day earlier for more money. Not the news any recruiter wants to hear – especially after working this process for so long. He also let us know, that while I was his “favorite Recruiter he’s ever worked with” due to my constant contact and engagement with him throughout the process, he didn’t feel the excitement from the client anymore. His exact words were, “I wish they didn’t take so long. If they had called and offered me the job a week or two ago, I would have accepted.” This is a situation, where the candidate was easily stolen away because too much time went by.
For all parties involved – we must do better. And the reality is – there is an art to courting a candidate. According to a 2016 survey – 57% of more than 1,000 U.S. workers polled said that the most frustrating part of interviewing was waiting too long to hear back, either way, good or bad. Candidates talk of going on an interview, only to never hear back again from anyone. And about ¼ of those 57% lose interest if they don’t hear back within a week. And 39% say a lengthy interview process would make them lose interest in the job completely and pursue other opportunities. Candidates rightly expect the recruitment process to be wrapped up quickly.
It’s understandable that companies are working hard not to make a “bad hire.” Statistically, it costs a company an average of $4500 per candidate. Throw in the utilization of search firms, and the companies are paying a “finder’s fee” to the agency based on a negotiated fee agreement / percentage of the annual based salary offered to the candidate. This increases that cost exponentially.
Bottom line: It costs money to recruit, engage, and hire top talent. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to streamline this process quickly and efficiently.
Fortunately for our economy, unemployment is at an all-time low – dipping down to 4%. This means that great candidates aren’t lasting long on the market either. Talented professionals from every industry are in high demand these days, and if they “aren’t feeling the love” on the other end, they will be easily pulled in other directions.
Therefore, having a strategic, well-timed recruitment process can and will help you make successful hires in the long run. And I can’t stress enough how vital candidate follow-up and engagement is – it truly is the KEY to a successful hiring process.
Keep your candidates engaged – and don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on great talent, as someone might just be waiting in the wings to take them from you.