Need to hire? Don’t hang around!

by 15 Mar 2012

Need to hire? Don’t hang around!As those in HR know all too well, the sudden departure of a valued staff member can mean searching for a replacement for anywhere from 4-12 weeks or even longer. But it’s time well spent, as finding the right hire is the paramount concern, right? Not according to new research, which indicates filling a roll ASAP may be a better plan.

A survey of more than 200 Australian HR managers found that the average time it takes to fill positions across various levels was:

  • entry/junior level:  4.6 weeks
  • senior management/ director level: 12.2 weeks
  • middle management: 7.7 weeks

It also found that in many cases, and especially where sudden departures have taken place, remaining employees are tasked with taking on the extra work until the empty desk is filled. But being short-staffed for up to three months can greatly disrupt productivity, actually add to costs and have a negative impact on staff morale.

HR managers know they don’t have the luxury of time to scour the planet for the absolutely perfect candidate, but they need a stop-gap while they at least find a good one. Here are some wise ways to do this:

1. Temporary and contract workers can fill the void

Bringing in temporary or contract support can minimise the staffing gap while you search for permanent staff. Companies that engage project professionals can alleviate the workload until a new hire is made. Related story: Temp labour gives competitive edge

2. A recruiter can cut through the clutter

Recruiters can help businesses determine the exact skills needed, tap into their pool of job candidates and contacts, conduct the screening and narrow the search to the best applicants all in less time than it would take the otherwise-busy HR department to do.

Krista Parcell, director of people and culture at ninemsn, said she attacks recruitment using a 50/50 approach. The company brings in recruiters if the role is especially hard to fill or it the process is taking too long. “Sometimes we’re not successful doing it ourselves, and we’ll get some help externally if that’s the case. When we have a role we know will be hard to fill – such as some digital media development roles for example –we’ll engage an agency,” she says.

3. A streamlined hiring process fills desks and needs

Hesitation to hire is understandable, but there are risks to waiting for the “perfect” time to hire or taking too much time with the hiring process. By waiting too long to make an offer, you could lose a strong candidate to another opportunity. Common obstacles can extend the hiring process. If a search is too narrow or a job description isn’t well crafted, for example, finding skilled candidates becomes more challenging. Before making the next hire, managers should consider the skills needed for the position now and in the future, the right mix of resources to find the best candidate and who needs to weigh in on the final decision.


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