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If You Want the Best Candidates, Don't Drag Out the Hiring Process

If You Want the Best Candidates, Don't Drag Out the Hiring Process
Credit: Ahmet Misirligul/Shutterstock

Although you should be thorough when searching for and hiring new employees, if the process is too long, you could cost yourself a shot at hiring the best candidates.

A study from Robert Half revealed that when forced to endure a lengthy hiring process, nearly 40 percent of job seekers lose interest in the position and pursue other opportunities, and 18 percent decide to stay put in their current job. In addition, more than 30 percent said a drawn-out hiring process makes them question whether the employer is good at making decisions in other areas.

"The hiring process provides a window into the overall corporate culture," Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, said in a statement. "If people feel their career potential will be stifled by a slow-moving organization, they will take themselves out of the running."

Overall, job seekers find a lengthy hiring process infuriating. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said the most frustrating part of the job search is the long wait after an interview to hear if they got the job. The research shows that 23 percent lose interest in the employer if they don't hear back within one week after the initial interview, and another 46 percent lose interest after two weeks.

"Candidates with several options often choose the organization that shows the most interest and has an organized recruiting process," McDonald said.

Because hiring decisions are some of the most critical choices an employer can make, many organizations tend to draw out the process by days, or even weeks, to ensure they are making the right choice, McDonald said. However, by doing so, they risk losing out on a candidate they really like. [See Related Story: Please Hold: Hiring Process Gets Longer and Longer]

"The key takeaway is for firms to tighten their timelines without skipping steps," he said.

To help employers, McDonald offered several tips for speeding up the hiring process:

  1. Know your needs. Go into the hiring process knowing exactly what you need. Are you looking for a full-time employee or a temporary one? Is there any reason you can't hire someone right away?
  2. Get everyone on the same page. Make sure everyone involved in the hiring process knows your timeline for making the hire. In addition, make sure everyone understands who is making the final decision and that they can set aside time in their schedules to conduct interviews.
  3. Improve interview efficiency. Save time by conducting screening interviews online via Skype or FaceTime. For in-person interviews, try to conduct them all in one day. Once interviews are completed, get immediate feedback from both the hiring managers and candidates to see how interested each is in the other.
  4. Communicate regularly. Keep candidates informed of where things stand. Let them know when a final decision is expected. If the timeline changes, be sure to provide them with an update. Candidates who don't hear anything will likely take that as a sign you aren't interested and move on to other opportunities.
  5. Don't delay in making an offer. When you know who you want to hire, make a verbal offer immediately. However, make it contingent on satisfactory references and background checks.

The study was based on surveys of more than 1,000 U.S. workers who are currently employed in office environments.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.