'If you're running this long, drawn-out recruiting process, that candidate's mentality can change drastically'
Employers’ struggles when it comes to hiring new talent will continue this year.
A majority (88%) of HR decision makers believe that hiring in 2023 will be more or as difficult as in 2022, while 77% have not reduced hiring plans or implemented a hiring freeze in 2022, reported recruitment technology provider Employ.
One problem is getting candidates to sign that job offer. In fact, 40% or fewer job offers are accepted, found the survey of more than 1,200 HR decision-makers in November 2022.
Reasons for rejections
Corey Berkey, SVP, people and talent, Employ, offered a couple of explanations for this trend in talking with HRD. For one, candidates are turning to their current employer hoping to get a retention offer, he said.
“[Candidates] are becoming weary right now, because of what we're seeing go on on the macro. The economy is starting to go into a dark place – or maybe it's arguably already there — and only getting darker. And so as we see that behaviour come out, people are saying, ‘Hey, I am looking for this new opportunity for whatever reason, but am I willing to risk an entire shift? Am I willing to risk losing the tenure that I've got at the current organization I'm a part of?
“I think that that's creating a little bit more motivation on the job seekers side to go to their employer and say, ‘Hey, I've been presented this offer, we have to talk about it. Otherwise, I need to move forward with it’.”
Employers in four economies have hiked wages to retain and attract employees amid a tight labour market across the world, according to a recent report.
The speed of the hiring process also plays a role in candidates’ decision to reject job offers, said Berkey.
"If you're running this long, drawn-out recruiting process that may take five weeks to six weeks, a candidate's mentality can drastically change as they watch headlines in the news. And if you can tighten that window up and get it down to two or three weeks, you still run that risk, but you're creating less exposure and narrowing the window at which these outside factors can influence the candidate's behavior."
And a slow hiring process is bad for business, he said.
“It creates a pretty tremendous cycle burn, because you've now invested the time in recruiting this person into the business, and they're ultimately going to put you back at the beginning of the race.”
To be ready for the company’s busy season between March and May, Chipotle Mexican Grill will be adding 15,000 employees.
Speed it up
Improving speed of the hiring process (44%) is among the top recruiter priorities for this year, behind improving the quality of candidates (61%), according to Employ’s report.
But how can employers do that? Start by building relationships with candidates, said Berkey.
“Having your talent acquisition folks – those that are on the front line as well as key stakeholders in the hiring process – build strong relationships with those candidates, that makes it easy to sense whenever there's something awry.
“If you've got this strong rapport built with the candidate, and you've done so effectively and quickly, it gives you the ability to sense: ‘Maybe they're getting cold feet; maybe I need to figure out a way to show them a little bit more love; maybe we need to have a conversation about are they still as interested as they once were in making this change?’”
Over half (52%) of candidates would refuse an otherwise attractive job offer if they had a negative experience during the recruitment process, according to a separate report.
HR practitioners must also “keep a healthy pipeline of candidates,” he said.
“Every candidate that you've rejected for a role is still a possible candidate. Find the opportunity for them and your business. If you meet a real rock star that's just not ready for the role that you've got or is overqualified for the one you're currently recruiting for, stay in touch with them. Build a relationship, keep them in your passive back pocket.
“That way, when the opportunity presents itself in the future, you can jump them to the front of the line, and maybe also reduce your days open for the jobs that you're trying to [fill].”
Investing in the right technology might also help, said Berkey.
“You can gain a lot of efficiency by having a good solid piece of technology at the core of your recruiting process. [It] is critical – whether it's the automations, AI, the ability to collect and screen quickly and efficiently, record notes, communicate. Having something at the center of your TA tech stack that helps you with that is critical.”