Long time-to-fill may cost employers top candidates

In today’s tight labor market, many employers are doing everything they can to compete for top talent. One factor that may impact recruiting qualified and in-demand job seekers is the time it takes to fill a position.


According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “time-to-fill” (defined as the time a job opening is listed or approved until a candidate accepts an offer) was, on average, 36 days in 2017. This can vary based on industry, region, or the availability of candidates.


Long hiring processes can cost employers valuable candidates. A survey conducted by staffing agency Robert Half found that 57% of job seekers lost interest in a job if the hiring process took too long. What’s more, 39% of candidates said that just 7-14 days was too long to wait.


It is likely that losing interest or feeling unappreciated is not the only factor for job seekers. Many who live below the ALICE threshold may simply be unable to afford their living expenses as they wait for an offer letter. This could be also be true for first-time job seekers such as new college graduates.


While West Michigan has overall positive net migration in recent years, it is important to employers that the region retains skilled workers. Some employers have noted that long hiring processes may cause them to lose recent graduates to other regions or states. Of Grand Valley State University graduates, for example, 67 percent remained in West Michigan rather than pursue opportunities outside of the region.


How employers can reduce time-to-fill

Hiring processes are longer than they once were due to, in part, more extensive candidate screening. A USA Today article lists “background checks, skills tests, group interviews, and presentations,” as just a few steps that are frequently included in the hiring process. While these are good tools to more accurately understand a candidate and their ability, they slow time-to-fill overall. Employers should evaluate what is truly necessary in order to remain competitive in hiring top talent.


Open communication with candidates regarding time frames is helpful as well. If a job-seeker knows how long a hiring process may take, it may be less likely that they will lose interest or assume an employer has lost interest in them.


Of course, it is also worthwhile to ensure that a hiring process avoids bias. Processes like the EBSP model help to increase workplace diversity when selecting top talent. Additionally, leveling the playing field for disadvantaged groups opens up new talent pools for employers. 

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