Hiring Ahead of Demand: How to Supplement the Recruiting Process

By Chris Murdock

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Improving time-to-fill is a common concern in talent acquisition and to go even further, how to recruit for positions before there are even openings. Is it possible to eliminate hiring delays by hiring ahead of demand? It is difficult to conjure up what the steps to achieve this would be – considering you would not know exactly what you are looking for.

Although it varies across industries, the average time-to-fill is 42 days. That is, potentially, 42 days of a vital role in your organization left empty while you search for the right replacement. This is far too long. Within a hiring time of 42 days, imagine how many top candidates receive and accept offers at other organizations. For companies hiring in under a week, not only are they acquiring the best employees for their organization, they are avoiding the opportunity cost of missing out on top talent.

Causes of Hiring Delays

Of course, employers are not consciously choosing this dreaded number 42 for their hiring process. There are obstacles! Things simply get in the way of hiring top talent in an efficient time period. The main reasons for delays in the hiring process are:

  • Tapping into a pool of talent that is too small.

If your organization has a weak pull on quality candidates, the methods you use to draw in prospective hires may not be appropriate for your organization. Take a hard look at your methods. Do they make sense? Do they align with the common openings your organization has?

  • Overly intensive interview methods.

Interview portions of the hiring process often last two to four rounds. Behavior interviews are often a centerpiece of these rounds. The plus side? Behavioral interviewing has helped leaders make strides in improving the accuracy of hiring. The downside, however, is the longer these labor-intensive practices have been in place, the more time candidates have had to learn how to navigate around them.

  • Failing to build and maintain a solid pipeline of prospective employees.

Employees come and go. This is to be expected. Yet, employers still engage in reactive recruiting and hiring. If employees leaving eventually is a certainty – why aren’t we preparing before they leave?

The Challenges of Hiring Reactively

52% of hiring professionals in the US say finding candidates in high demand talent pools is one of their organization’s largest obstacles. On the surface, the need for hiring fast might seem like an easy concept to understand, but in reality, it’s quite a complex issue. Here are just a few challenges (and a few reality checks) of hiring on demand:

  • You won’t always get the purple squirrels.

When top talent enters the job market (and by “top talent” we mean the literal best of the best. You know the ideal candidate that fits every requirement for your position. They are likely to be quickly inundated with recruiting requests and offers. This means they will often only be on the job market for a matter of days. And, after the average time-to-fill, these candidates are long gone. 66% of recruiting teams believe competition for talent is their top challenge in hiring.

  • Slow hiring doesn’t always improve the quality of those who you hire.

Time is always an uphill battle, especially in recruiting. 42 days is the average time it takes to fill a job opening, but the best candidates are off the market within 10 days. When top talent is gone faster than you can fill a given position, it can make you rethink your recruiting strategies and time management plans.

  • Vacant positions are sometimes open for too long.

A drawn-out hiring process means vacant positions go unfilled for some time, even months. The average cost per new hire is at an all-time high of $4,000, but if your positions are sitting vacant, then your team isn’t operating at full productivity. Vacancies in critical jobs may mean that some critical work could actually stop altogether. This means you’re either going to have to hire a contractor just to maintain basic operation or you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities.

The Solution

By creating and maintaining a strong flow of high-quality candidates before they are needed, recruiters are able to access more top talent who become much better hires. It’s more about implementing proactive recruiting strategies to supplement reactive recruiting strategies. Here’s how it works:

The process involves three phases:

  • Enriching the flow of candidates.

If your typical way of bringing candidates in is not bringing in enough to hire ahead of demand – try something new! Consider ditching the standard job posting sites and host a hiring event. Seek out the latest technology and adjust to the always evolving recruiting world.

  • Harnessing this flow by identifying top talent.

Do not limit yourself to passive recruiting. You may need to actively seek out A-level talent. Look for extraordinary ambition, exceptional competency and versatility. There will always be specific skills you are looking for in candidates and those skills can come with training. However, ambition, competency and versatility will make a candidate rise above the rest.

  • Sustaining the flow, creating a pool of ready-to-hire, prospective employees.

Host “open” houses at your company where you only invite your list of prospective candidates. With an almost invitation-only courtship process, you can get to know these candidates better and maintain a relationship with them. This is also beneficial to your candidate experience.

Every company has a specific pull on certain potential employees. By assessing your own attractive force, leaders can improve their ability to draw in top talent. Not all recruiting methods are equal, which is why using enough of the right ones is essential for instantaneous hiring. 

About Chris Murdock:

Chris Murdock is the Co-Founder and Senior Partner of IQTalent Partners. Chris has over 12 years of executive recruiting experience and leads search execution and client relationships along with supporting searches across the firm. Prior to Founding IQTalent Partners, Chris was a sourcer with Yahoo!’s internal Executive Recruiting team in the corporate offices in Sunnyvale, California. 

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