Your hiring process is broken — here’s how to fix it
The labor shortage in America is forcing companies in every industry to reassess how they identify, attract, and keep top talent. A 2017 PwC survey of CEOs found that most viewed a lack of skilled workers as the primary threat to their business, and in 2019, hiring and retaining smart, capable people remains the chief internal concern of the entire executive suite, according to a global Conference Board survey.
For many leaders in the tech industry, this concern has transformed into overwhelming anxiety as the talent gap continues to widen. When it comes to hiring in the modern business world, and particularly in the world of tech, speed wins. Yet the North American IT industry is home to some of the longest hiring cycles of any industry — 51 days on average.
In cities where the talent shortage is especially acute, tech companies that can’t quickly identify and hire qualified candidates can’t compete. So why does the problem only seem to be getting worse? “Tech is risk-averse in its hiring practices, as evidenced by the industry’s adoption of both deeply technical and time-consuming skills testing, as well as soft-skill interviewing practices designed to find the ever-elusive ‘cultural fit,’” explains Jeff Mazur, executive director for LaunchCode, a nonprofit that provides programming training and matches individuals with companies.
Time is not your friend
The “hire slow, fire fast” mentality endemic in the sector has helped industry leaders maintain a stranglehold on top talent, and it works well in markets that already have a surplus of skilled workers. But for fast-growing companies or those located in areas without an established talent pipeline, subjecting qualified candidates to an arduous and lengthy interview process is a recipe for disaster. Those same candidates won’t wait around while you think about whether or not they’d be a good cultural fit, and they shouldn’t have to.
If your company seems to be missing out on people who could most likely add real value, it’s time to reexamine your hiring practices. Here are three strategies that will help you recruit and hire faster.
1. Automate some recruitment tasks
Many talent acquisition professionals spend about one-third of their workweek manually sourcing talent. But that’s changing. AI-powered recruiting technologies can now help hiring managers and recruiters optimize every stage of the hiring process. Automation makes your hiring personnel more productive, not obsolete. When software handles the more mundane aspects of hiring, human resources professionals have more time to focus on the responsibilities that require a human touch.
For instance, you can use screening questions and automation in the application process to highlight candidates who meet your preferred criteria. Then you can filter and view applicants with certain certifications or other qualifications. When taking this approach, though, be judicious about the criteria you use in order to avoid bias that could hide potential superstars from your view. For example, Amazon got in trouble after discovering that its AI hiring tool was downgrading résumés that included the word “women’s.” The program had taught itself to prefer male candidates because the company’s résumés reflected the male dominance of the tech industry.
Amazon edited the program to address the issue. The lesson there is to test your automation before relying on it. Once you and your systems have identified a promising applicant, you can use scheduling software to send the candidate a calendar link that shows your availability and asks the candidate to choose a time that works for him or her. By eliminating the back-and-forth emails that are typically required to schedule interviews, you’ll save your HR team precious time.
2. Expand your recruitment reach
Companies should always be looking for qualified candidates, even if those candidates aren’t necessarily looking for them. Identify roles you need most in your pipeline — such as those that experie