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Time Kills All Deals: How Slow Moving Communication Drives Away Top Talent

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While it’s hard to pin down the exact amount of time that it takes to go from an interview to a job offer, it’s an essential element of the talent acquisition process — and one that has a lot of impact on whether your organization is able to attract the best talent on the market, and even beyond. In fact, in today’s candidate-driven market, slow hiring process often turns out to be the number one reason that causes companies to lose good candidates to their competitors.

How fast should you ideally move from interview to job offer?

Typically, the amount of time from interview to job offer varies from company to company and often, from one sector of the job market to the other. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Recruiting Benchmarks Survey, employers hiring new college graduates may take 22.9 business days, on average, to roll out a job offer after an interview.

That’s just one section of the job market. But in other cases, this time-span can be pretty random — some offers are extended within 24-48 hours of interviewing, while others may drag on for weeks.

Compare these numbers with a recent stat shared by Officevibe that says the best candidates are off the market in only 10 days. This means if your eyes are on a top candidate, your hiring process should move faster than that of an average company.

Act before the top candidates are gone

With candidates constantly looking for better opportunities and more open to job changes, many top talents are out there on the market, but they are also in high demand. IT talent, in particular, is often snapped up quicker because there are more IT jobs to fill than there are right-fit candidates.  Plus, some surveys have found that top performers routinely produce up to 25 times more than the average employee in technical jobs. With such high ROI, a top IT talent is always on the ‘must-have’ list of the best companies out there. Without a seamless and well-timed hiring strategy, how are you going to measure up?

In a tight job market, like today, slow-moving communication kills talent acquisition deals. For one reason, top talents do not sit around waiting for your company to make them an offer. Second, we’ve often observed how wooing a top candidate is similar to dating — timing it right makes all the difference on a first date. Similarly, proper timing (or lack thereof) can make or break a deal when it comes to hiring.

How to time things right to win top talent.

If you feel your company is losing out on top talent because of slow decisions and wrong timing, here are some steps that can help you prepare for a streamlined hiring process.

Set expectations and keep your word when it comes to follow-up
The number one area to get right is to set clear expectations on how quickly the interview process is going to take. Oftentimes, the larger the company, the longer the process, and honestly, it can’t be helped. But the important thing is to state this upfront so that candidates are prepared for it. The key is to make them understand that the slow process is normal for your company and it does not mean that you are not interested.

On the flip side, many top candidates may not be comfortable waiting around without an offer in sight. Setting things straight right at the outset also ensures that you end up spending your precious hours interviewing only those candidates that are OK with your pace.

Also, it’s important to follow up with the candidate on the expected date.  Even if you don’t have a concrete decision in hand, it helps to let them know that you’re still interested and hope to have a decision soon.

Have honest conversations
Be open about asking the candidates if they are also looking at other opportunities. If they are, be aware and amp up your communication with them if things are not moving as quickly.

When HR or a third party recruiting firm is handling the recruiting process, a great gesture is to get the hiring manager to reach out to potential candidates if the decision process is moving slowly. Not only does this keep the candidate informed, it also demonstrates how much the hiring manager values communication.

Improve your internal hiring process
As demonstrated above, speed does matter, as it conveys your interest to potential candidates and more importantly, the process reflects how your organization works. A slow process is often a red flag for top talents who smartly weigh all aspects of a company before accepting a role there.

Therefore, it’s critical to identify and plug any gaps in your hiring process before it’s too late. Work towards achieving alignment among stakeholders and decision makers on:

  • Expectations of the role, reporting structure and the budget for a position
  • Steps to move quickly and efficiently
  • The communication process – including when and who will be responsible for reaching out to candidates
  • What to do when/ if changes arise during the recruiting process – such as a shift in organizational structure, role responsibilities or timing

Employers often forget the courtship that’s involved with identifying top talent. Treating top candidates with care, following through as promised, setting the right level of expectations will help set a company apart when recruiting in a tight market.