The Perils of a Slow Hiring Process in the IT Market2017 has so far proved to be notorious for drawn out hiring processes and subsequently frustrated candidates. Cross-industry data put the average time-to-hire at about 4 weeks, and in our experience, it’s not uncommon to see that number lengthen even more in the IT sector.

If you’re hiring IT professionals, you’re likely no stranger to the fact that demand is at an all-time high. The imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in a heavily candidate-driven market, where the people you’re interviewing have greater ability to call the shots. And you can be sure they’re not willing to sit through a slow hiring process for one company when they have calls and offers flying at them from others.

Overcoming a slow hiring process is challenging, but the danger of not speeding it up is very real.

Why Do You Have a Slow Hiring Process?

Many hiring managers have the best intentions and want to be extremely cautious when hiring new IT contractors and employees. After all, these professionals will likely have a significant impact on the company’s technical infrastructure and deliverables, and companies are often looking for very specific IT skill sets and experience. Candidates must not only possess the highest technical caliber, but also be the right cultural fit, with great soft skills and the ability to work well with the existing team. Finding the right candidate, therefore, takes time. Sometimes there are extra screening steps; often there are more people involved in the interview or multiple interviews are implemented; other times, there are additional layers of approval needed to officially extend a job offer. Finding the right candidate is important, but these extra steps often take too much time, and the right candidate abandons the process before they’ve even seen an offer.

Other companies are simply spread too thin. Although hiring is a priority, their resources are already stretched across the many day-to-day responsibilities that inevitably get in the way of the hiring process. It’s somewhat of a catch-22 that results in little to no feedback on candidates who are submitted and interviewed. When feedback is delivered, it is often communicated via email or very late at night. Kaci Railey, Senior Client Manager at MDI Group, says that this practice can be ineffective: “It’s taking the people out of hiring people. It’s becoming more mechanical. I’d rather talk to them,” she says. Talking directly about candidates who were interviewed gives a recruiter a better sense of how a particular candidate fell short and how to adjust the search accordingly. Without that feedback, the search process slows down considerably or even returns to square one.

There are other miscellaneous reasons for slow hiring processes, too. Some companies are scrutinizing their hiring spend, while others simply require more hiring by consensus than they did several years ago. In some cases, companies are looking at non-local candidates and the process of setting up face-to-face interviews naturally takes longer. In others, companies are inundated with candidates thanks to an inefficient VMS, paralyzing their hiring decisions with too many options. At the end of the day, though, Kaci Railey suggests that the number one reason for a slow hiring process is simply a lack of time. Overwhelmed by the workload that open positions create, hiring managers are forced to reprioritize their efforts to other daily urgencies.

How Does a Slow Hiring Process Hurt You?

Whether companies realize it or not, the last couple of years have shifted the IT market into one where candidates are in the driver’s seat. They’re getting hundreds of calls a week from recruiters and companies alike, which means they have a wide choice of opportunities to take when they’re ready for the next stepping stone in their career.

According to Staffing Industry Analysts, 57 percent of workers across industries are most frustrated by the wait after an interview to hear if they got the job. If they don’t receive feedback in one week, 23 percent lose interest; up to two weeks, and 46 percent choose to pursue other opportunities. Unsurprisingly, it’s usually the best candidates who abandon the process. Top talent is in high demand and they know it. Of the candidates who do stick around, it’s likely they are less qualified and more desperate to land any available opportunity.

Hiring managers may be tempted to conclude that these candidates are just impatient, which would make them a bad fit for the position, but that’s not really the whole story. In reality, if a candidate struggles to get through an inefficient hiring process, they’re likely to perceive that the company is disorganized or that there are issues internally. They may lose faith in the company altogether and doubt that the company is interested in them.  That’s when they walk away.

In other words, perception is everything. In a candidate’s eyes, the hiring process is representative of other processes inside a company. A slow hiring process could mean anything from bureaucratic red tape to tight budgets to inefficient operations. The best candidates want an opportunity to expand their skills, participate in cool projects, and work for cutting edge organizations. A company with a dysfunctional hiring process simply doesn’t look like that kind of opportunity.

Overcoming a Slow Hiring Process

As Kaci Railey says, “there is no magic bullet” for overcoming a slow hiring process. It’s up to both the company itself and its staffing partner to determine how they approach this challenge effectively. Most commonly, defining the process and setting dates in advance of starting the search can be the most helpful approach. Deadlines can be instrumental in moving a process along. However, if there are additional layers of approval or multiple people in the interview process, setting dates may be more difficult.

In either case, providing solid feedback on each candidate who interviews should be a major priority. Even if the hiring process remains stretched out over several weeks, keeping a candidate in the loop and engaged in the process decreases the chance that they’ll abandon the opportunity entirely.

At MDI Group, we work closely with our clients to ensure they don’t lose top talent to the competition. We are able to help expedite the hiring process while recruiting only the most qualified talent. If you need assistance, we’d love to hear more about your needs and challenges. Let’s chat today.

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Ella KoscikElla Koscik is the CEO, Chairperson of the Board & Owner of MDI Group. If you are interested in learning more about hiring in IT, contact us at connect@mdigroup.com or 888-416-7949. MDI Group has offices and specializes in recruiting IT talent in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greenville and Phoenix. Looking for a rewarding career in Sales or Recruiting? MDI Group is hiring today!