In a skills-short marketplace, hesitation can be very costly.

Time to Hire is the metric that tracks the speed at which good candidates move through the hiring process once they’ve been sourced or have applied. This is a critical time frame – measured from sourcing until the offer is accepted, not when the individual starts. In today’s fast-paced environment where essential skill roles are central to delivery, these cannot afford to be left unmanned.

Hiring is a complex activity with many contributing factors, most of these fall within the organisation’s control, primarily how quickly your hiring team can make decisions.

How quickly does your hiring team say “yes” when they’ve met the right candidate?

Organisational Impact

Glassdoor’s “Hiring Delays” study unpacked the various factors impacting on time to hire, separating those that are within the organisation’s control. These are typically contained within company policy and practice, such as the number and type of interviews, who is involved and whether the job has been fully approved before recruitment begins.

The study explains that twice as many factors within the control of employers are to blame for delays than those outside their control, such as industry challenges, skills location and candidate availability.

Has your organisation stopped to consider whether improvements in policy – or even the practice of such policy – could improve the candidate experience and speed things up?

Labour Market Flexibility Link

According to research by Glassdoor, time to hire is often impacted by the labour market regulatory environment with those with more flexibility benefitting. Put simply, the more difficult it is to hire and fire employees – the more institutional and regulatory hurdles faced by hiring companies – the longer interview processes will generally be as organisations are overly cautious, lest they make an error of judgment.

South Africa is acknowledged to have one of the least flexible labour markets globally and it stands to reason that local employers also fall into the trap of dragging their heels when it comes to hiring. But, when coupled with the country’s specialist skills scarcity, any delays in extending an offer mean that talent could get lost, often snapped up by a direct competitor!

Securing talent is tough enough, even with attractive remuneration and EVP, don’t let delays in the process scupper your chances of hiring the best.

Cruise Control

It stands to reason that not all jobs are equal and that the pace of hiring differs. Some jobs are simple and move through the interview and assessment process quickly. Others, particularly those newly created, like data scientists, require more lengthy processes to ensure that the candidates possess the right combination of skills, expertise and competence.

Jobs with a high degree of technical skill, especially those that can be simply assessed, such as programming language proficiency, should take less time given that tools exist to verify the skill, experience and competence of the candidates in the hiring line. Sadly, there still seems a general reluctance to act once an individual has been confirmed as fitting the role.

Where possible, establish competence assessment tools that provide the opportunity to test candidates’ match and then give hiring managers the confidence to trust these, in addition to their personal assessment gleaned during interview, to hire the best person for the job, even if it happens to be the first – or only – candidate they met.

Companies face a trade-off between more carefully screening job seekers and filling vacant roles as quickly as possible. If slower hiring processes result in better hires, those delays can be good for the business long term. If not, they can be wasteful and risk losing top candidates to the competition.A key takeaway from our analysis is that employers should be aware of this balance. Are extra interview layers being added because they have proven to select better candidates? Or are they simply an additional process that puts the brakes on hiring?