The one metric recruiting teams need to watch during low unemployment periods

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Unemployment Rate Decreases Mean It’s Time To Seriously Focus On Time-To-Hire

The unemployment rate is the talk of the town today. With a record-low national rate of 4.1% in December 2017, the economy is looking hopeful for many.

Low unemployment is fantastic, but it also means harsh competition in the job market and new challenges for recruiting teams nationwide.

Candidates are more valuable than ever and they are running the show. Most are only on the market for a short period of time, so it’s important to make that time worthwhile.

Why Time-To-Fill Matters In This Environment

Regardless of the current standing of the national unemployment rate, time-to-fill is a metric that’s typically top of mind for talent acquisition leaders anyway. It’s a good measure of the health of recruiting efforts and provides insight into the quality of teams’ talent pipelines.

But considering how low unemployment is now, it’s more important than ever that employers are using resources to attract the best talent and hiree them before competitors scoop them.

Position vacancy hit a high in April 2017 at 30.3 days, and open positions in 2016 were remaining open for longer periods of time than in previous years (almost nine days longer, in fact).

A growing time-to-fill is not a number that Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Directors and Vice Presidents want to see, and neither do their teams. It can mean different things for different organizations. But, all can agree it has serious impacts on the overall hiring process.

Delays in Productivity

As available positions remain open for long periods of time, recruiters and recruiting managers feel even more stress and pressure. Assigning responsibilities and backfilling tasks to current employees quickly fills their plates. Or, if an open position means certain work and tasks just don’t get done, there can be negative impacts on cross-departmental functions and the business overall.

Impacts on Your Candidate Experience

Even though candidates may not be conscious of time-to-fill metrics, they are aware of the annoyances and hassles of a lengthy interview process. In a time when candidates are in the driver’s seat, they are not patient or willing to wait for an opportunity to suddenly appear.

When the best candidates are only on the market for a handful of days, they want interviews, company information and decisions to be made immediately.

How To Speed Up Time-To-Hire in this Environment

Again, low unemployment is good! But recruiting under this condition is a new beast that not all recruiting teams have experienced before. The key is to focus on decreasing time-to-fill as active job seekers browse the market.

Here are a few tips for decreasing time-to-fill.

Use Technology

It’s time for recruiting teams to trust and rely on technology to build upon current processes. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know what technology to invest in. To start, figure out where there are bottlenecks in the recruiting process and find technology to suit those needs. If it’s taking days or weeks to schedule interviews, consider utilizing interview scheduling software. If phone screens are taking up too much of recruiters’ time, try a new assessment or candidate screening tool.

Set Interview Feedback Guidelines

Obtaining feedback from hiring managers is one of the slowest steps in the interview process. To resolve this congestion, set clear workflows for submitting and reviewing feedback and create a structured interview process that reduces bias at every turn and ensures a great hiring experience for everyone involved - hiring managers, recruiters and candidates alike. This might mean submitting a completed survey or a standardized candidate scorecard in time buffers between interviews or at the end of each day. When everyone is accountable to follow certain procedures, it puts more weight on everyone to contribute.

Feedback guidelines or workflows also don’t need to be overly complicated. Ask for a star ranking of candidates or give rewards for following feedback cadences. Keep this fun and simple, and it should encourage active participation!

Make the Application Process Super Simple

One of the biggest detractors for candidates is their experience applying to a job. Technology which looks and feels clunky or outdated makes organizations seem slow to adapt, and multiple pages of questions and qualification details are draining and boring.

Update to a sleek interface that is mobile friendly and that can be completed in just a few minutes.

Focus on Attraction

Candidates are in a highly competitive market, not just with each other, but amongst hiring companies. Just as they want to seem appealing and awesome to new employers, hiring companies need to show off why they are the employer of choice.

It’s time to give careers pages, social media and candidate communication an overhaul. Update any old content with new, exciting content that details a day in the life on the job, what the company culture is and what career advancement opportunities are available to new employees.