On average, it takes 37 days to fill a vacancy within the same industry. The time to fill an open position is measured by the number of days from when a position is posted until the offer has been accepted by the candidate. Some recruiters break this number down further by determining the number of days it takes for each step to be completed: applications accepted to first interview; first round interview to final interview; the final interview to the offer; and so on.
Based on the latest information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 14 million Americans are unemployed, and there are about 3 million job openings. This means there are about 5 people looking for work for every job opening that is available. While on the surface this should be a dream come true for recruiters, practical experience shows this is a nightmare.
While the number of people vying for your open positions has increased, more than likely the percentage of those individuals who are actually qualified has stayed steady. For recruiters seeking talent in a down economy, the greater number of candidates increases the volume of people who have the wrong fit for a given position. Following are some of the issues we face in recruiting quality candidates:
1. Availability. Construction, manufacturing, retail, real estate, and the auto industries have all been hit disproportionately and affected significant job loss in these sectors. Many of these companies will never recover. Displaced workers are faced with seeking employment outside their previous experience. The issue is that while they possess valuable skills, those skills may not translate to a wider talent pool across other industries.
2. Changing demographics. 78 million Baby Boomers on the verge of retirement are predicted to create labor shortages of 10-15 million over the coming decade. While there are many college graduates entering the workforce, these young workers do not possess the same skills as their aging counterparts.
3. Talent “mismatch.” You may have received hundreds (or thousands) of resumes for your last open position, but how many of those had the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be considered qualified? These individuals may be talented, but they do not possess the right combination of skills needed for the position.
Improving your organization’s time-to-fill is critical to strategic workforce planning. So how can time-to-fill be reduced? We have a few suggestions:
1. Ask for exactly what you need. Define the skill sets needed for the position, but don’t be afraid to broaden the scope based on what is available. In some instances, you may consider redesigning elements of the job to meet the available talent pool.
2. Look for transferable skills. Your search should include other industries that may have applicable skill sets.
3. Build on innate talents by investing in training. Prioritize the defined skills needed for a position and determine if some of those could be honed with an effective training program.
4. Work with your bench. Identify your internal resources and cross-train employees to broaden the availability of qualified candidates.
5. Build your pipeline. Cultivating relationships with candidates who possess skills in alignment with your future business needs will greatly reduce the time-to-fill for future positions.
6. Call on the experts. Consider partnering with a recruitment-process outsourcing (RPO) provider. RPO can effectively manage the abundance of resumes, improve your processes, and deliver an overall better candidate experience. RPO providers have expertise across industries and alleviate many of the tedious tasks in the recruitment process. In addition, the RPO provider can scale up or down, dependent on client needs to ensure the most effective strategies are employed.
Effectively managing the recruitment process has another key benefit: matching the right individual to the right position at the right time helps to ensure quality of hire.