• Todd Eiseman

Staffing Firms Need to Speed Up the Hiring Process to Place Top Talent

Updated: May 2, 2018

Staffing firms are largely dependent upon their clients’ own hiring processes when it comes to improving time-to-hire metrics. We know many staffing leaders who have been desperately frustrated by clients whose ten-step interview processes result in losing top talent to their competitors. But this isn’t a blame game. Staffing firms should recognize that they can also take proactive steps to speed up the hiring process.

Building Long Term Candidate Relationships

Throughout 2016, unemployment has continued to hover around 5.0 percent, and demand for top talent has grown accordingly. Thus, most industries are looking at a candidate-driven market where top performers are often receiving the benefit of multiple job offers and, therefore, are well positioned to negotiate every detail of the job offer. Competition is high, and if companies don’t move quickly, candidates most certainly will.

While a staffing firm has little control over how quickly their clients choose to make competitive job offers, there are actions that can speed up the recruiting process before a candidate is even presented. In particular, recruiters can focus on building high-value, genuine relationships with their candidates. This approach will ensure that those individuals return again and again for help from the same staffing partner after each project or career opportunity comes to a finish.

Not only does this build a deep network of professionals on which firms can quickly draw whenever a new opportunity arises, it also cuts down on a large portion of lower value recruitment tasks. These candidates will already be in the applicant database, they’ve already been interviewed, and there’s already a thorough understanding of their experience and career goals. An established relationship means the hard work of selling the benefits of the partnership is already done, and the first several steps of the typical hiring process are almost entirely eliminated.

Protecting Your Reputation

The last thing any staffing firm wants is for the client’s slow hiring process to reflect on their own reputation. Slow decision-making is often an indicator of bureaucratic red tape and an environment in which it’s hard to innovate or keep up with industry trends. These conditions massively impact a client’s employer brand, as well as the candidate experience, and the staffing firm needs to work hard to ensure these impacts don’t trickle down to their own brand image.

The best staffing firms already understand the importance of candidate experience, so they do everything in their power to counteract any negative repercussions from their clients’ slow hiring processes. These efforts include clear communication, frequent status updates, and full transparency. It also requires that the candidate relationship is built on trust, so that the candidate doesn’t feel cheated when opportunities are slow in materializing.

Finally, it’s important to protect internal morale. If a client company is moving slowly, it can be highly demotivating to recruiters and account managers. The client relationship may suffer, and any weakened recruitment effort will slow down the process even further. It goes without saying that this negativity will, in turn, trickle down to the candidate, impacting the firm’s reputation all the more.

Encouraging the Client to Speed up the Hiring Process

Companies get stuck in their ways, and, under the pressure of high demand for top talent, it’s easy to miss the fact that changing market conditions render those old ways ineffective. In response, it can be valuable for staffing firms to establish themselves as thought leaders and subtly educate companies on how and why to speed up the hiring process.

In particular, it can be helpful to discuss the hidden costs of a slow hiring process. Companies that drag out the process end up with an astronomical cost-per-hire without even realizing it. That’s when it’s time to open their eyes to the extra costs of advertising, the extra hours required by hiring managers and recruiters, and the extra burden a vacant position puts on the company the longer it remains unfilled. There’s also the cost they’ll incur when they end up competing with other companies over top performers because those individuals will often go with the highest bidder.

Staffing firms can also guide their clients towards the realization that a slower hiring process does not result in increased quality of hire. Top performers will drop out of the talent pool within days, reducing the quantity and quality of remaining candidates. Only those individuals really desperate for a new job will stick around for weeks or months.

Realizing the Great Impact of Small Details

There are some details a staffing firm has complete control over in trying to speed up the hiring process. One of these considerations is the turnaround time of candidate background screening. When a firm is managing anywhere from dozens to hundreds of candidates a day, the process of finalizing the deal and ensuring those individuals are ready to work can be tedious.

Another step that staffing firms can take is to start the screening process as early as practicable, so that its completion will not become another delay factor. Ensuring that complete information is obtained prior to placing a screening order, including such items as candidate contact data, middle name, clarifying whether a position was a direct hire or through a contract staffing company, will also speed up turnaround times. That’s why we partner closely with staffing firms to deliver industry-leading turnaround times on highly accurate employee background screening.

Find out more about our background check solutions for the staffing and employment services industry, or give us a call for a more in-depth conversation about how to speed up the background screening element of your placement


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