The phrases ‘candidate-driven market’ and ‘skills gap’ are probably becoming something of an ear-ache to those involved in the recruitment process. Yet the latest statistics show that it’s a trend that won’t be stopping anytime soon.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the labour market shows an all-time record number of vacancies available for May to July 2018, at 829,000 (up 51,000 from the previous year). Meanwhile, Adzuna data shows that there are a mere 0.38 candidates applying for every role.

If you’ve found yourself offering second-stage interviews or job offers to candidates only to find that they have been snatched up, then chances are you need to reduce your recruitment process time to hire.

“More than two-fifths (41%) believe the length of their recruitment process has led to the loss of potential recruits in the last 12 months.”

CIPD Survey Report: Resource and Talent Planning 2017

 1. Create a long-term recruitment strategy

A successful HR team should plan strategically for staff leaving and identify both short and long-term business goals and how their recruitment needs will get them there.

Doing so enables you to identify what roles you will need to fill in the months and years ahead and fosters a proactive instead of reactive approach to recruitment.

2. Identify talent before a position becomes available

Once you’ve identified the roles you will need to fill, draw up a ‘hot list’ of ideal candidates. Look to your LinkedIn network for people working at a similar position in rival companies and consider putting your recruitment agencies on a retainer to identify candidates in advance of the role going live.

3. Book two-phase interview processes in quick succession in advance

The common approach to the interview process is to book an initial meeting with a candidate and then try to arrange a further interview if you decide you’d like to see them again. This results in lengthy gaps between the interview stages, with lots of toing and froing on available dates.

Reduce the risk of your candidate getting snatched up in-between, by block booking the relevant interviewers in advance.

4. Consider video interviewing for the initial screening round

Video interviewing is fast becoming the go-to option for companies that wish to reduce the time to hire. One-way video interviews, or video interviews undertaken by a recruitment agency on your behalf, can enable you to review all interview recordings in one batch, at a time to suit you.

5. Don’t hedge your bets – only interview candidates you wish to see

Don’t give in to the fear of missing out. Too many companies interview 5 to 10 people for each role, when they are really only interested in 3 or 5 of them.

If this sounds familiar, then chances are that you are reserving slots for candidates just in case they are a better cultural fit. If you’ve undertaken video interviewing for the first stage then this should eliminate that fear.

Use your gut and only interview the candidates you really want to see.

6. Consider outsourcing your recruitment process

Many companies still try to undertake most of their hiring in-house, in order to keep within their recruitment budget.

Besides the fact this can be a false economy, the chances are that a decent recruiter can provide a recruitment process that is much quicker at screening for quality candidates – as well as being more cost effective.

See our infographic on the Cost of recruitment v Cost to hire

7. Make a decent initial offer

A weak initial offer can be off-putting to a candidate. If this leads to salary negotiations, you run the risk that they will accept a decent offer from a rival company during the process.

Instead, ensure that you have undertaken thorough salary benchmarking and make a strong opening offer to start with. Sometimes ‘best and final’ is a much better way of winning the war for talent.

Reducing your time to hire can help improve your offer acceptance rate but it’s just one part of the candidate experience. Ensure your employer branding is great at every stage of the recruitment process with our Employer Branding checklist.

Improve Your Employer Branding

Win the war for talent with our step-by-step checklist