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Recruiting Reality Check, Part II: Solving the Problem of Time to Fill

by Joseph Murphy

In Part I of this series, we explored the topic of uncertainty around hiring criteria – and how such confusion and misalignment between recruiters and hiring managers hampers a company’s ability to find the best talent. But that’s not the only problem recruiters must solve for. One of the biggest challenges is also one of the most important measures for determining recruiting success: time to fill.

Problem 2: Time to Fill

Time to fill has two key variables that can impact you bottom line. The first factor is the work required to move applicants through the hiring process. Second, the empty space between tasks: waiting for schedules, waiting for feedback or decisions, and other road blocks that slow the process and add to the white space.

But both the work and the white space can be managed better with data.

Research shows that the national time-to-fill average is about 26 working days – meaning companies can spend well over a month trying fill their open positions. The problem with a job spot being empty for weeks? Each unfilled position represents a huge loss in productivity. Open positions create a contribution gap that impacts throughput, finished products, sales, project deadlines, and much more. Each person at an organization makes a contribution to the overall production system. Each open position places drag on the bottom line.

But with the availability of new technologies supposedly designed to enhance the recruiting process, how can filling a position still take so long? Lack of data. Or at least lack of the right data. Too many recruiting teams still lack an understanding of how data can speed up the hiring process at each stage and its relevance to the candidate, the recruiter, and the hiring manager.

Data for candidates – engage, inform, decide

The 2015 Candidate Experience Awards Research Report indicates over 60 percent of companies receive more than 200 applicants for each job posting. Hiring for one of these positions means 199 candidates have to be rejected. For positions that receive such a large number of applicants, it’s no surprise that more effort and time are required to fill them – someone has to sort through all of those resumes.

But if the application process provides candidates with the information they need not only to evaluate their own fit for the role, but a simple way to opt out if they decide the position isn't right for them after all, recruiting teams can narrow their searches faster. Candidates value job information, but the data included in a job description isn’t enough. Unqualified and marginal candidates apply all the time, even after reading the job specs. However, with Virtual Job Tryout technology, candidates are treated as decision makers. Direct messages invite the candidate to test drive the job through simulations and then decide if they still want the job. Giving them insight into the everyday tasks and challenges of the job allows them to determine if they find the job too difficult, not challenging enough, or otherwise not the right fit – and the option to drop out out of the process and move on to the next opportunity that suits them better. Not only does this approach improve the candidate experience, it makes qualified candidates more interested and excited about the job, further helping recruiters pinpoint the best talent.

Data for recruiters – evaluate, differentiate, isolate

The resume is often the first and only piece of information recruiters use to evaluate candidates and determine who should be invited to an interview. Unfortunately, the information on a resume is just a collection of random, unstructured data that makes discerning what a candidate may actually bring to an organization difficult. For example, two candidates can have the same skill listed on their resume –  but those words do not identify whose skill level is better. Instead of relying on the random data of words on a page, recruiters need an accurate method of evaluating and differentiating their candidates.

With more objective data, recruiters can advance the right high-value candidates. An effective evaluation system should provide candidate job-fit score reports based upon predictive modeling. Decision-making quality improves when recruiters combine the insights from predictive analytics with their own expertise and judgement. Quickly and objectively getting to the best-fit candidates can speed up the hiring process and improve time to fill.

Data for hiring managers – compare, contrast, decide

The goal of the hiring process is not to put a body in a seat but to hire someone who has the skills, competencies, and experience to achieve and exceed proficiency targets. To gauge the potential of candidates, wouldn’t it be great to be able to observe their actual performance? With Virtual Job Tryout technology, hiring managers receive a work sample from each candidate that demonstrates their proficiency and provides a more complete and accurate understanding of how they would perform on the job. As a result, hiring managers can compare and contrast their candidates objectively, based on actual performance data. Hiring managers see more meaningful differences between candidates and conduct more revealing conversations in the interview, extracting evidence of job and culture fit. The interview becomes a focused conversation with a clearer purpose – hiring becomes evidence-based decision making. Quality of hire improves. Time to fill declines.

As organizations continue to face stiff competition for the best candidates, while receiving more applicants for each role than ever, the ability to obtain useful candidates data quickly is key to recruiting success. But doing so is dependent upon having the quality of data supported by underlying predictive analytics that empower recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates themselves to make the right decisions. With access to the most relevant data and job-fit insights, companies can solve the problem of time to hire and greatly enhance the impact of their recruiting strategies.

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