I find in today’s society, the process of purchasing or accessing anything has become much longer. I was getting gas the other day, and at the pump I had to go through a list of about four questions before being able to put gas in my tank. I felt it covered just about everything except asking my zodiac sign. I was baffled why so much information was asked to purchase such a simple thing. We need security questions on banking sites, cell phone bills, etc. I’m wondering how much this will continue to grow. Will it get to the point where in order to buy a loaf of bread; I’ll need to remember my mother’s maiden name? To buy my daughter’s college textbooks, will I have to let them know my favorite restaurant? To buy tickets to a show online, will I need to identify a series of numbers hidden in a certain color? I’m not sure. But I do know that when peppered with all of these questions in the middle of a purchase, I’m tempted to walk away and purchase my item elsewhere.
After purchasing gas last week, and after letting the pump know that I like pina-coladas and getting caught in the rain, something dawned on me: This same type of thing is happening in the business of recruiting, both in the placement of permanent employees and consultants. What used to be a 3 week process to place a permanent employee, is now taking about 8 weeks on average for some of my clients. I do understand the need to screen candidates thoroughly. And I do understand that this is a big investment-including providing benefits to a new employee if they so choose to bring a candidate on-board full time. However, I do think the extent in which some clients are going to screen these candidates is forcing these possible great employees to seek employment elsewhere so they can be gainfully employed in a quicker fashion, as opposed to waiting 2-3 months before getting a job.
It used to be that a candidate would have an initial phone screen either with HR or the hiring manager. They would then move on to an onsite interview, sometimes with a panel of people they’d possibly be working with if hired. This onsite interview would be a heavier technical screening, sometimes involving a technical test. If they passed that, they’d often be given an offer. Sometimes they would a have a drug/background check, sometimes not. This process would take about 3 weeks in total.
Within the last year, a majority of clients have an initial 3 different phone screens and often 2 onsite interviews. If the candidate is successful enough to pass these rounds of interviews, they’re often asked to take a personality test. If this is passed, it’s on to the drug and background screening. This is the first year in the 18 years I’ve been in this business where clients are now doing hair sample drug screens. All of these steps are effective in regards to weeding out possible issues and candidates that may not be a fit. However, what this is also doing is allowing a huge gap in time for the candidate to wander. This gap of time is forcing candidates, in frustration, to seek employment elsewhere; even though this client is their first choice in a job. So in many cases, after we guide our candidates through 80% of this process, they end up taking employment somewhere else with a client that is their second choice. In essence, they are only doing this as they cannot wait 3 months to be gainfully employed.
This begs the question, are these clients with the extraordinarily lengthy process passing up on great candidates? I think so. I’ve seen it happen too many times this year to think otherwise. I also notice that these same clients end up having this position open for over six months. What is the impact on the IT and/or EDI department by not filling this role for that long? Are the current other team members overworked? Are projects being put on hold? In many cases I would say yes. This also explains the current trend of a lot of companies to now try the contract-to-hire route. However, this is almost a worst case scenario as it narrows the candidate pool to nearly zero. Most candidates that are looking for new opportunities are not willing to leave a full time position, for a contract job that may or may not hire them in a permanent role in the future. But that’s a topic for another article…
In conclusion, I think the interview process for permanent candidates has become excessively long. I also think this comes at a cost to the client as well as the candidate. Candidates are often missing out on their first choice in employment. Clients are often missing out on the best fit for their open position. I always try to tell my clients that our guarantee on permanent placements will provide the same type of try-and-buy if the candidate doesn’t work out. At the moment, this more times than not is falling on deaf ears of the client’s HR department. You see a lot of things change in this business and I’m hoping this is a temporary trend in hiring (or not hiring, depending on how you look at it). However, part of me thinks this type of process is here to stay. This is just my opinion of what I’ve seen in the last year or two. I hope this provided some insight to someone out there. I’ve made this article easy to reach, because as far as I know, you don’t need to know the model of your first car or the name of your first pet to access this blog. Thanks for listening.
Any opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily the opinions of EDI Staffing
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