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Mission possible: Reduce time to source and time to fill

Hiring managers dream of reducing the time it takes to source qualified candidates and fill job openings. For recruiters, reducing time to fill might seem like mission impossible and just as plausible as finding the elusive purple squirrel.

Well, in case you missed the viral videos and news segments, a purple squirrel was captured by a Pennsylvania couple last week. Perhaps this squirrel’s sudden appearance can remind recruiters that reducing time to fill is not an impossible task. In fact, teaming with hiring managers to create a strong and proactive recruiting strategy is the key to success. Here are seven strategies to help you.

  1. Ask the right questions. Many hiring managers are so busy that creating an accurate job profile is not a priority. While I was working as a senior recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, 75 percent of the new openings that came across my desk contained a canned description for a generic position, topped off with a meaningless job title. As a long-time recruiter, I knew to reach out to the hiring manager to ask the right questions before even glancing at the talent pool. A rich job description will be your road map. Plus, creating a marketable job title will help attract the right candidates.

  2. Agree on the job descriptions and requirements. Hiring managers and recruiters need to agree on which skills are preferred and which are required. Reduce your time to source by knowing your goals from the start. Again, you must be on the same page as the manager. Don’t wait 30 days after the role is posted to clarify what the ideal candidate looks like. You run the risk of having to re-scope the role.

  3. Establish boundaries. An involved hiring manager will help reduce the time to source and fill, while an overly involved manager can have the opposite effect. Take control and set the tone of the process. For example, it’s common for hiring managers to want to see every resume that enters the applicant tracking system (ATS). Compromise by sending a sample resume or two for the manager’s review, and use his or her feedback as a guide.

  4. Send qualified candidates for an interview as soon as possible. Candidate slates, or waiting until you have three or four candidates, can greatly impact your time to source. By waiting, you also risk losing candidates, which means you’ll have to start qualifying applicants all over again.

  5. Drive the interview process. Finding the candidates to interview does not complete the process. You can reduce time to fill by influencing the interview process. For example, a hiring manager might request in-person interviews first, which can be very expensive and time intensive. Recommend that he or she conduct the first round of interviews over the phone and as soon as possible. If the hiring manager is adamant about initial in-person interviews, recommend using FaceTime, Skype, or OoVoo as a fast and free alternative. If possible, consolidate virtual interviews into one day. This way, the hiring manager can compare candidates against the job requirements more efficiently.

  6. Act one step ahead of the hiring process. When the company decides to make your candidate an offer, send the appropriate paperwork when the candidate goes in for his or her next round. This shows that you are serious about the candidate, and it will also save time on the back end of the process.

  7. Give a 48 to 72 hour window of offer acceptance. Hot candidates can have multiple offers from companies with a faster recruiting process. If the candidate is still weighing the offer after 72 hours, he or she is probably waiting for a competing offer. Or perhaps the candidate is not 100 percent sold on the new role or leaving his or her current position. Contact the candidate to address any concerns, or recommend that he or she speak to the hiring manager again. These actions add a personal touch and will show the candidate that the company is very interested.

Overall, developing a strong relationship with your hiring manager will make both of your jobs easier, faster, and more cost-effective. Once one position is filled, another opening will surface, and your mission continues. Therefore, keep in mind that the purple squirrel does exist, and it is possible to save your client time and money by reducing source and fill time.

This post was written by former Seamless Workforce contributor Donna Vespe.

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