Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.
Employers have more tools to assess potential hires than ever before — but they’re taking their own sweet time making their hiring decisions.
New software tools can mine data from job applications and personality tests to find the candidates who best match open positions. Video conferencing makes it possible to interview potential hires multiple times without the cost of bringing them into the office. And increased adoption of social media has changed the way people look for jobs and how employers hire.
“Coming out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and with the wide adoption of new technologies both for business and personal use, the hiring industry is experiencing a major transformation and will keep evolving at a rapid pace,” said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer of e-recruiting provider iCIMS Inc.
Now, in addition to the traditional application and interview process, companies can screen potential employees with a variety of methods including assessments and tests, Vitale said. But with each additional method of evaluating a potential hire, the time it takes to actually hire an employee increases.
“There is an array of screening tools companies use that are valuable but may drag the process out further,” Vitale said.
New research from Glassdoor shows that employers all over the world are taking longer to hire new workers. On average, the hiring process has increased by 3.3 to 3.7 days since 2009.
Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor and author of the study, attributes the longer process primarily to the types of screening methods used by employers. He said each additional evaluation method can add up to eight days to the overall process. According to Chamberlain’s research, job skills and personality tests can add about a full day each, while group interviews add about six days. Phone interviews add the most time, increasing the hiring process by 6.8 to 8.2 days.
While Chamberlain said more careful screening of candidates could lead to better hires, it could also result in candidate burnout.
“Employers could be losing out on top talent because their interview process is longer than other companies’,” Chamberlain said.
Time Trials and Tribulations
Logan Franey, co-founder of e-commerce store Man Cave Authority, said the hiring process for his first job out of college took nearly four months.
“I was so frustrated,” he said.
Though he did end up getting the job and liked the company just fine once he started working there, Franey said he was unhappy with how long it had taken to get from his first interview to his start date.
“It was really just waiting around,” Franey said.
In addition to keeping potential hires waiting around, a lengthy hiring process can take up significant internal resources and time, Chamberlain said.
“This can eat into your employees’ time, causing decreased productivity overall,” he said.
However, Chamberlain said the interview process might be longer today because spending more time vetting candidates is simply more necessary in today’s job market.
“Hiring more specialized and technical workers requires more careful screening of applicants,” Chamberlain said. “In recent years, a growing number of studies in economics show a marked shift away from low-skilled, routine jobs and toward higher-skilled, less-routine positions like software engineers or government workers, requiring judgment and technical skills.”
At AT&T Inc. for example, Lisa Mitchell-Kastner, the telecommunications company's vice president of talent acquisition, said the typical hiring process begins with an online application, followed by an online skills assessment and at least one interview. The number and type of interviews, and therefore the amount of additional time spent evaluating a particular candidate, vary depending on the position. Some job seekers might receive an offer after a single phone interview — others can face multiple rounds of interviews, first with a manager and then a team.
“Both hiring managers and candidates are making a big decision,” Mitchell-Kastner said. “Taking the right amount of time for the candidate to understand the cultural components, job expectations and other factors that make candidates successful are just a few items that can be hugely beneficial to both parties.”
Time to Re-evaluate
Chamberlain recommends that in order to ensure the best possible hiring process, and minimize waste, employers should re-evaluate how they hire employees on a yearly basis.
“Each company is different and has different needs when it comes to the hiring process,” Chamberlain said. “If companies know exactly what is needed to hire candidates for their company, there’s a good chance they will find everything they are doing may not be needed, though conversely, they may find new things they need to institute to really pinpoint and find the best-fit candidates. This varies for each company, but it’s companies who can streamline their interview process that will have the advantage.”
Chamberlain added that the focus should not be making the process shorter, but more efficient.
“An extended interview process can be beneficial to both job seekers and employers as it allows prospective hires to gain a deeper understanding of the company’s culture through firsthand experience with current employees, the work environment and the overall employment brand,” Vitale said. “It’s most important to realize, however, that an organization can position itself as a sought-after employer of choice and hire the best candidates just as effectively and more quickly with the right technology, automated processes and recruitment marketing strategies in place.”
By finding a hiring process that is both efficient and effective, employers can make the best possible job matches — which will in turn boost retention and job satisfaction among employees.
“Alignment to performance, company culture and ensuring candidates have the right skills to be successful in the job tend to lead to lower attrition and higher job satisfaction,” Mitchell-Kastner said.