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Four strategies to overcome the recruiting slowdown

Posted on by from CEB

Recruiters today report greater complexity in hiring requirements, which have complicated recruiter workloads, processes, and hiring decisions. CEB explores four strategies that help organisations accelerate recruiting, without jeopardising the quality of hire.

Recruiters have never had it so tough; their workloads have increased by 33 percent in the last five years, with more hiring stakeholders involved, greater compliance requirements to meet, and more talent pools to source from. As the recruiting environment becomes more complex, hiring managers’ demands for better quality hires are also increasing. Furthermore, candidates can now apply to jobs with such ease that recruiters are burdened with higher volumes of low-quality applicants.

As a result, recruitment cycle times are suffering. Our recent analysis shows that the average time to fill a position is 63 business days – 21 business days longer than six years ago. Worse still, filling critical roles – those pivotal to an organisation’s success – takes 81 working days, up from 49 days over the same period. 



Hiring delays have serious consequences for organisations and leave firms exposed to the risk of losing talent to competitors while adding immediate costs to the business.

The average company loses nearly £300 a day per open position. With the average time-to-hire at nearly 13 weeks, this can rapidly amount to around £18,900 in lost productivity and recruiting costs for every vacancy that remains open. Having open positions puts additional pressure and stress on colleagues picking up the extra work, leading to reduced job satisfaction.

Four strategic elements to a best practice approach

Companies can improve time to fill without compromising the quality of hire. Our research shows that time to fill can be reduced by 32 days without decreasing the quality of hire. To achieve this, recruiting organisations should focus on differentiating their approach to sourcing, strengthening their employer brand, streamlining hiring workflows and improving talent selection methods.

1. Market-driven sourcing. Set an agile sourcing strategy that strikes a balance between fulfilling the job requirements and adapting to the realities of talent supply in the external labour market.  Recruiters looking for candidates with highly specialised skills should broaden the hiring profile by relaxing job requirements and rebalancing hard and soft skill requisites. Recruiters should also look beyond conventional talent sources by recruiting beyond traditional channels, reaching candidates with diverse backgrounds. 

2. Brand for influence. Give applicants information that will persuade them to work for the business, rather than just telling them it’s a great place to work. Recruiters should clearly communicate their brand promise – the offerings, rewards and benefits that are unique to their business. A well-crafted and communicated brand promise is vital for influencing candidates’ decisions and securing the right match between the candidate and employer. 

3. Streamline recruiting workflow. Drive sustainable improvements in hiring speed by streamlining the hiring workflow. This means aligning limited resources with business priorities to:

  • Minimise recruiter workload complexity by reprioritising resources to alleviate the distractions of a diverse workload
  • Simplify complex recruiting processes by removing hidden process inefficiencies and standardising tools
  • Shape hiring decision-making by reorganising the information that is shared with stakeholders.

4. Add greater precision to people selection. Apply assessment technology and analytics to enable recruiters to focus on high-value activities. Assessments give clearer, more objective view of candidates’ current attitudes, behaviours and abilities. These insights inform and improve hiring decisions and accelerate the hiring process. The results also provide intelligence on the capabilities of the talent entering the organisation, enabling businesses to make better decisions about on-boarding, development and succession planning. 

To survive in today's talent market, recruiters must be quick and effective. By improving sourcing and attraction strategies, streamlining hiring workflows, and investing in technology assessment tools, companies can halve hiring times. When implemented correctly, these activities can save organisations thousands of pounds per hire and drive real business impact.

Jean Martin

By Jean Martin

CEB

Jean is a talent solutions architect at CEB.

CEB

CEB

CEB is a best practice insight and technology company. It develops innovative solutions to drive corporate performance.

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