Timing is everything, and for employers trying to hire it could make the difference between securing an excellent candidate and losing out. According to a Robert Half study, from the day of the initial interview to the day an offer is extended, the largest percentage of workers (39 percent) said a process lasting 7-14 days is too long; 24 percent felt a timeframe of 15-21 days was too lengthy. The long wait after an interview can be particularly frustrating. Nearly one-quarter of candidates lose interest in an employer if they don't hear back within one week after the initial interview, and another 46 percent lose interest if there is no status update from one to two weeks post-interview.
The hiring process is a window into the corporate culture, and people will take themselves out of the running if they suspect their career potential will be stifled by a slow-moving organization, explained Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. To help employers consolidate their hiring timelines, McDonald shared the following tips:
• Determine the need. Is it full-time or project/temporary? Is anything preventing you from hiring the right candidate now?
• Gather the stakeholders. Set the timeline for the hiring process and get everyone's commitment that hiring is the number one priority. Block calendars for interviews. Review the job description and salary range, noting where you can flex for the right candidate. Create a contingency plan to address any scheduling snafus and determine who has the final sign off.
• Interview candidates. Conduct the screening interview via Skype or FaceTime. Consolidate on-site, in-person interviews to one day if possible. Get feedback immediately from the candidate and hiring managers to determine interest levels.
• Keep communication lines open. Inform candidates when you expect to make a final decision. If there is a delay, call them to give them an updated timeline. Silence can indicate a lack of interest and encourage people to pursue other roles.
• Make the offer. Make a verbal offer contingent on satisfactory reference and background checks. Be prepared to negotiate salary and perks, and set the start date.
Source: "Time to Hire" survey, released August 11, 2016; Robert Half, 2884 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025; telephone: 650-234-6000.