Talent Acquisition Process: Length vs. Usefulness

Building Your Best Talent Acquisition Process

talent acquisition processIn a recent white paper, Brandon Hall Group Analyst Kyle Lagunas shared these insights from the 2014 Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Survey

Hiring better talent was the single most important talent acquisition goal among survey respondents, with more listing it as a priority than reducing time to hire and cost per hire combined. This signals a continued progression beyond reactionary recruiting practices for many employers. But achieving this goal is no walk in the park. Success is dependent on having the right processes in place to support strategy and drive performance.

As I read that comment, I paused to consider the fact that hiring better talent was rated as more important than hiring talent more quickly. I believe the length of the process involved is a factor worth digging into. When it comes to your talent acquisition process, what is the right length? Consider this scenario:

  • Week one: Shelly applies with your company via the website. She is a top-tier candidate.
  • Week two: Your recruiter does a phone screen and passes the resume to the hiring manager.
    Week three: The hiring manager finally reviews the resume and agrees that Shelly should be interviewed. The recruiter schedules the interview for the following week.
  • Week four: The interview takes place, and the hiring manager wants to bring her back for the second round with a member of the executive team.
  • Week five: Shelly interviews with the executive team member, and after the successful completion the hiring manager decides to extend an offer. He contacts HR to assist with the offer process and to obtain the necessary approvals.
  • Week six: Prior to receiving the offer, Shelly has to complete a personality assessment that is mandatory for all candidates before they can be offered a position. She scores high in the proper areas.
  • Week seven: The offer goes out to Shelly, but she declines. She just accepted another offer from a competitor.

In this scenario, we can make the case that the talent acquisition process was too long and drawn out. A month and a half from the application to the offer for a top-tier candidate is not a winning strategy, because those candidates are probably going to have multiple competing offers, and the sooner you can make a serious offer, the better. It also brings up the conversation of candidate experience—if you must have a process that is longer than the norm, how can you keep the candidate engaged throughout?

On the other hand, there are times when the process goes entirely too quickly. There are too few points in the process to filter out candidates that don’t fit the culture, job requirements, or some other qualification. In the short video below I discuss the length of your talent acquisition process and some things to keep in mind.

Bottom line: there certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of approach. Some organizations vary quite a bit from the normal standards that most of us have come to expect. For instance, the Lampo Group in Nashville has a 12-step interview process that can take months to complete. This is from an organization that has been voted a “best place to work” in Nashville seven times, so that goes to show us that there is no “correct” answer for this question other than what meets the needs of your specific organization.

  • Consider the talent acquisition process your organization follows. Would you say it’s too long, too short, or just about right? More importantly, why would you say that?
  • Based on your answer to the previous questions, what changes could you make to your talent acquisition process to make it even more effective, regardless of the length?

Ben Eubanks, Associate HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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