Why Is Recruitment So Focused On Time to Hire?

The recruitment process is focused on speed, using metrics such as ‘time to hire’, timed technical tests and job descriptions littered with phrases including fast-paced, fast-moving, urgent requirement and deadline for applications.

Why are Recruitment Decisions made this way?

Why does this happen? Or is this more the preserve of the contract market where time and resource availability define that market. It should be said that the contract market relies on (and is shaped by) the cumulative record of a candidate's succession of contracts. And arguably a candidate's 'soft' skills are viewed as less significant in the contract world.

In RWA's experience, companies aim to avoid gaps in key roles in engineering teams. A gap in the employment of a senior software engineer for even a short time could lead to a delay for the whole project. So, hiring managers are under pressure to reduce the risk of a gap in the team and the knock-on effect on the morale of the rest of the team.

This pressure to recruit translates into the job description and deadlines for the hiring managers, HR, recruiters and candidates. Paradoxically, it's those teams that can temporarily fill said openings with a contractor which then buys time to avoid such pressures - work continues to get done and the team knows the company, behind the scenes, is working to recruit the right long term candidate.

A further pressure leading to hasty decision making is the fear of losing a candidate....on time. This is so often driven by the company's recruiter. "Candidate 'x' has 2 other offers." Secondly - really what this article is all about - is the huge cost of getting it wrong; again, a state of affairs driven by hastiness.

Speed vs Effectiveness

Two of the biggest thinkers and names in non-fiction publishing discussed this question at the Wharton People Analytics conference in 2017. Malcolm Gladwell, (journalist, author and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people) was interviewed by Adam Grant, (organisational psychologist and author of Think Again – The Power Of Knowing What You Don’t Know).

The conversation is interesting.

Gladwell argues that we over-focus on speed in the modern recruitment process and that power and speed are separate variables. For example, a chess player may rank highly for classic chess but not for speed chess and vice versa. He goes on to suggest that we should recruit people who are thorough and accurate so that our projects will be better. They might take longer, but that’s who we should hire, right?

Grant argues that if someone is an expert that they can be both fast and effective.

They certainly can be, but usually only with years of experience. A senior developer would justify their higher salary for this very reason. A junior developer will not have the expertise to be both.

The Growth of People Analytics

There has been a big surge in people analytics in recent years with software available to analyse numerous data points, including ‘time to hire’.

One of Gladwell’s most famous quotes is: “Analytics are of no value if you don’t have a conversation beforehand about why you want to use a particular analytic.”

We agree. Analytics are meaningless without context and background.

The bar is set extremely high to join the award winning companies we partner with and this is never compromised.

RWA aims for a job offer per every 2 candidates shortlisted.

Contact us to find out more about our hiring solutions or browse our latest jobs.