Almost every industry is feeling the labor crunch from transportation to technology. Research shows some common threads in talent and labor shortages: competition for higher wages; rising retirement post-pandemic; and new jobs that lured talent away during organizational layoffs and work disruptions over the last two years. Of course, each sector also has its own concerns to manage against, specific to the nuances in their line of work. All told, however, the time-to-fill for jobs, particularly in information technology is longer than we would like. Luckily, there are some levers that can be pulled to help decrease the time to get hires in the door and working faster.
According to a 2021 LinkedIn report, it takes on average 44 days to fill a role in information technology. It’s longer than many non-technical positions, mostly because the skill-set requirement is so precise and the demand for tech talent continues to increase across all industries. Factor in the complexity of a role’s technical specialty and the size of the hiring organization (the larger the company, the longer it takes), and the time-to-fill can increase to between 50 and 60 days.
Still, despite the talent challenges, here are some tactics to use to help shave off the time it takes to add the talent you need to your workforce.
Flood the talent pipeline
1. Find tech talent faster with tech recruiting experts
The faster you can identify the top candidate, the better the chances of speeding up the process. This is where an expert IT staffing organization can help. Tech recruiters have a built-in network of tech talent and often have someone in mind immediately for a new position. They also understand the skill requirements for each role more in-depth and can recognize cross-over skills from other roles that could be a good fit.
2. Evaluate job requirements, education and experience levels and adjust accordingly
This could mean rewriting your job descriptions to be as clear, and as inclusive, as possible to attract job seekers. Many resumes will also be submitted electronically and in most instances, they will be run through an ATS function before eyes are ever on them. Ensure that the parameters and triggers for the scan casts a wider net. Being ultra-granular in requirements can be helpful in finding an exact match, but an exact match on paper may not always translate to the right candidate. Get a better picture of the tech talent out there that may not fall within the traditional requirement lines.
3. Loosen the location of the job – Remote/Hybrid options are extremely attractive
While it still is taking some getting used to, previous work-from-home restrictions and guidelines have caused the majority of organizations to rethink the location of many of their positions that don’t necessarily require any on-site tasks. Tech positions lead the work world in being most conducive to remote work capabilities. By allowing this checkmark, your talent pool increases tremendously through simple geography and interest, since most polls show employees prefer a remote-work option.
Optimize the Candidate Experience
Once you’ve identified candidates, it’s time to compress the hiring process to get them in the door. Some tactics to use:
4. Employ communication technology that allows for quick, consistent touch-points
Using text and mobile apps to submit information like applications and other credential documents speeds up the process; it also helps currently-employed candidates to attend to questions when they are unable to use equipment at their jobs.
5. Streamline the interview process – connecting to the right people at the right time is crucial
Depending on the candidate, identify the best time and place to interview with key decision-makers in a compressed timeline. While after-hour interviews might not be ideal, in some instances they may be necessary to further the process or to accommodate a candidate who is still employed elsewhere. Using video interviews and online conference software saves time on travel and is also helpful for candidates who can step out of the office to take a call as opposed to calling out of work.
By using a panel-type interview process, where decision makers meet with the candidate at the same time to ask their most pertinent questions, you can cut down on the interview process significantly. Of course, this has to be carefully constructed based on candidate preference; some candidates may not mind talking with a group; but others might prefer separate interviews, perhaps all on the same day. Either way, it’s important to select only the key hiring personnel so as to avoid weeks-long interview timelines.
6. Negotiate in good faith and put your best offer forward
With the tight labor market and competition for talent is at an all-time high, don’t travel so far down the road to potentially lose a candidate before crossing the finish line because of a disconnect during the offer process. The phenomena of “candidate ghosting” is real, where hiring organizations stop hearing from a candidate after time invested with no real explanation. Sometimes they accepted another offer, sometimes they’ve changed their mind or sometimes they were disappointed in what was put on the table. To avoid that scenario as well as to sidestep a bidding war for a top candidate, maintain a set schedule for continued engagement and set a policy for transparency, especially when it comes to salary and benefits.
Salary has historically been shrouded in secrecy; a candidate seeming too eager when asking about pay so they avoid it, or a hiring manager holding cards close to the vest; either way, you reach an impasse, and the process is slowed down.
Thankfully sentiment is changing (in some areas based on legalities) and salary is becoming more of a frank discussion during the hiring process. Plus, with the popularity of salary and compensation sites, candidates are well-versed in what the industry standards are and are more upfront with expectations. Change the narrative on the negotiation process with reasonable offers, and better yet, outline the career path for incentives, growth and pay increases so candidates can picture themselves in the role for the future.
Standardize the hiring process
To apply the tactics above, a good starting point is to map out your entire hiring process and locate the pitfalls along the way. Review hiring metrics and select the instances that stand out for difficulty. Ask “what could have been done differently?” and “where were the bottlenecks?” to start breaking down areas of improvement and applying the suggested tactics above. In the end, you will have developed a standardized and efficient hiring program that is repeatable across all business units.
SSi People works with clients on best practices for recruitment, improving the candidate experience and optimizing the onboarding process. Contact us today to discuss ideas to create a smooth applicant-to-hire transition.