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The Hiring Trap: 11 ways to close time to hire gaps

On March 9, 2023, Workable’s Trevor Schueren and Thomas International’s Jayson Darby hosted a webinar titled The Hiring Trap: Chasing Time to Hire.

Keith MacKenzie
Keith MacKenzie

Passionate about human resources, employment, and business management, and an expert at sharing that expertise.

The event covered a range of topics related to hiring, including balancing time to hire with candidate quality, creating engaging job descriptions, and how to identify star candidates.

Trevor and Jayson discussed solutions to overcome the surge in job vacancies coupled with operating in a tight labor market alongside a mounting skills shortage.

Here are the top 11 takeaways from the webinar – or check out the full event below:

1. Your job description and careers page are dealmakers

Jayson: “This actually came up in a fairly recent conversation I had with one of our customers, really just as best as possible: avoid overly general or generic job descriptions.”

Trevor: “[That’s what] a lot of candidates are looking for nowadays … the type of company and the type of organization that I’m stepping into seeing. It’s almost like the welcome mat and the doorframe for your organization. So candidates know as they step through that door what they’re getting into, what they’re walking into, and it’s just a great way to elevate your brand and really get it in front of folks.”

2. Avoid laundry lists of skills

Jayson: “Job descriptions often can end up getting blurred with job specifications, and they can become super technical and very much become a long list or menu of requirements. But they don’t sound human. They don’t say, you’re going to join Workable, you’re going to work as a partner manager, and you are going to build relationships.”

3. Balance efficiency and quality in hiring

Jayson: “You can find great candidates quickly and you can have a rigorous hiring process. You just need to balance the process you’re using [with] the tech that’s supporting you, any insights that you trust. At Thomas, we help you measure what matters. It’s a combination of factors, but psychological factors really help find people the potential to be successful.”

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4. Maintain a single source of truth

Trevor: “Having those consistent feedback loops living on the actual candidate’s profile within something like Workable cuts down on a lot of that back and forth. Don’t really leave anything to chance because you know this is someone’s future. You want to make sure that if they’re really excited and interested in the role, they obviously have the best opportunity and the best chance to be successful in the hiring process.”

5. Tighten up the approvals process

Trevor: “It often becomes a game of telephone if you have multiple people working on a role. If you need approvals in the process, you never want to leave something like that to chance, especially if you’re trying to be as efficient as possible.”

Trevor: “All the way down to those later stages of the hiring process, you’ve invested so much time and energy into the candidate. [You want to make] sure that any sort of approvals you need in order to get that offer signed, any negotiation, all of that happens in real time within Workable, so you can collaborate on that. Make sure that you’re moving from kind of that offer stage to hired in a much faster sort of manner and get that signed off right at the end of the day, and then get this individual up and running within the organization.”

6. Avoid bad hires – at all costs

Jayson: “There’s so many consequences [of a bad hire]. … You know, you’ve spent time firing. That cost’s already gone. Maybe you paid an agency or recruiter to place somebody. That fee is possibly gone depending on how long it takes the person to work out or not. You’ve then got the knock-on impact. So for team-fit interpersonal conflicts drags on productivity is bad in itself for people’s engagement. And day-to-day happiness, it also has an impact on cost. You’re not as productive. You’re not making as much money, you’re not performing as well. There’s going to be less performance on the job.”

Jayson: “If you are unhappy, if you don’t feel well onboarded, if you don’t feel trained and supported, if you don’t feel like you can do the job to the best of your ability, you are not going to perform as well, which then exacerbates things like team fit and productivity and further exacerbates issues around cost. It is a losing game.”

7. Don’t focus only on experience

Jayson: “If you are hiring somebody to work as a software developer, you probably want to know if they have experience working as a software developer before the languages they can code in the experience they’ve got. It is useful in certain scenarios. But if you are only looking at experience, you are really limiting yourself. Because the factors that really predict success are things like people’s personality traits, their behaviors, people’s aptitudes, and how they learn is the single greatest predictor in isolation.”

8. Look at learning potential

Jayson: “At work, we’re looking at someone’s potential to do something so hard skills are often, can you work in Excel? Have you used this system before? How many webinars have you delivered previously? [Also] potential things like, how will you learn new information if we implement new software in our business? Will you pick it up? How do you deal with change?

“if you can’t hire somebody that has all the skills you need on day one, have they got a potential to learn those skills? It’s often easier to hire people with a great attitude and a potential to learn than it is to find someone with all the skills, but a challenging attitude that might cause problems when they join the business.”

9. Speed up the process with tech

Trevor: “Folks that are interviewing for roles now really prefer to be messaged through text. If you’re like me, I get a myriad of emails every single day from about three or four different email domains that I have, and it’s just a lot to keep up with. Whereas, if you can cut through the noise, simply communicate back and forth with a candidate through text, not only does it feel like more of a friendly relationship, they can move through the interview process faster.”

Trevor: “If it’s a video interview that you want to set up and have, really being able to capture some of those async answers from candidates, review it as a team and continue them moving along in that process so that it’s not them getting to a bit of a blocker, they’re waiting to hear back from you.”

10. Be proactive in your candidate search

Trevor: “A great arrow in the quiver of recruiters is to be a bit more proactive in the search. We’ve got about 400 million different public candidate profiles through something called People Search where, [for example,] I’m looking for a JavaScript developer in Brighton and I want to see some other languages that they know. I can search that through our publicly available candidate profiles. Maybe these people … are interested in switching jobs. They’re employed today, [and] maybe they’re not advertising that they’re open to it. You can start to capture that audience as well.”

11. Track your hiring process

Trevor: “Given the budgets that folks are always trying to balance, when you look at paid job board spend, you want to make sure that you’re allocating it efficiently and accordingly to where it’s actually yielding the best candidates. [Take] a look at reporting, seeing [that] this job board performs better than others for the types of roles that we’re hiring.”

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