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“How quickly can you find me someone?” – this is the question most often asked by clients when instructing us on a new mandate. The latest figures from Cobalt Recruitment can now answer this: 29 days. This is the figure on a global basis, from the point of being instructed on a role to making a job offer to a candidate.
With offices in 5 regions – UK, Germany, Middle East, New Zealand and Singapore – there is of course some regional variation, with the UK being the quickest to source candidates at 20 days and the Middle East being the longest at 40. This perhaps reflects the maturity of the recruitment market in the UK where clients generally tend to have good recruitment processes, from reviewing CVs through to interviewing and selection processes and an HR team, which can support the contract and offer stage efficiently. The Middle East however has more bureaucracy and certainly for senior positions can suffer from a lengthy interview and assessment process.
The quickest deal in 2015 so far was concluded in New Zealand, where our Construction team turned around a role within 4 days. Indeed, with an average time of 24 days to fill a role, this demonstrates the level of demand in New Zealand from clients for certain skill sets within the construction and engineering sectors. Clients are often able to meet with candidates within 24 hours of introduction and there is very much a mentality to “clear diaries” in order to make time for recruitment. It’s not uncommon for offers to be issued after one interview.
Germany is perhaps the region with the most concentrated spread of timeframes across each of the offices and much of this will be down to the fact that the majority of recruitment is conducted there on a retained, rather than contingency basis. With a very set process in place, and clients committing to the process upfront, this is the most consistent recruitment method, averaging at 34 days. In contrast, Singapore had the most wide ranging timeframes with clear differences between markets. Our accounting and finance team were impressive in closing the deals in under two weeks. The real estate and construction teams were certainly busy but extra layers in the recruitment process pushed the timeframe out to nearer four weeks.
How can you reduce your “days to recruit”?
Parkinson’s Law does apply – recruitment will take as much time as you give it! This needs to be caveated with a requirement to be thorough when looking, but somewhere between the two is a happy balance. There are some good practical steps to ensure a smooth, thorough and quick result. Most clients do come to us armed with a job description, but take time to discuss this to see how realistic this. Often we are asked for advice on salary and compensation level, but not about the requirements and scope of the role which is actually where our market knowledge comes to the fore. After all, if you start off with unrealistic expectations, then every candidate you meet will be a disappointment. Consulting on all your requirements at the outset will ensure we’re talking to the right candidates and shortlisting the most appropriate to meet. 20 minutes extra time at the outset can save you hours in the long run.
Be clear on the interview process and have this diarised with the individuals involved. So if you need 3 hours of a colleague’s time to conduct interviews, block that time out one afternoon at the outset. This is a great way to counter Parkinson’s Law and keep the process moving. It also gives your recruitment consultant a very definite deadline to work to! Indeed, we often have clients interviewing in our offices so they are focused on the job in hand and afterwards they can discuss feedback face to face.
Where tests are conducted, nowadays we’re seeing the majority of these being conducted online in the candidate’s own time rather than having them come into your office first, so if you’re not yet doing this online, it is worth exploring.
Ensure that the interview process is relevant for that particular role – can it be shortened or stages combined for more junior positions? Is testing necessary for more senior ones?
Finally, don’t set off too many processes at once – if you are using agencies, then select one or two that will do the best job for you. If you are looking internally or advertising directly then make sure these compliment rather than duplicate what the agency is doing for you. Make sure that one person in your company has ownership for that piece of recruitment so that there aren’t conflicting processes following different timescales.
The longest role took a 80 days to fill in the UK and we have been working closely with that client to reduce their “days to recruit”, including looking at some of the issues raised here. A major problem was that as the process began to drag, candidates either lost interest or secured other roles, so in effect the whole process had to start again.
Following all of the above will undoubtedly reduce your days taken to recruit and anecdotal evidence tells us it could help you secure your preferred candidate in a competitive market. Where candidates are receiving multiple offers, they often cite the interview process as an influencing factor in making their decision. To a new employee, a smooth and efficient interview process is a good reflection of a potential employer, but if it has been disjointed, lengthy or disorganised it can be very detrimental.
So next time you are ready to recruit, speak to us at the outset to see how we can help reduce the time spent recruiting, whilst ensuring you conduct a thorough search of the market to employ the best individual possible.
Article written by Sara Burton, Global Operations Director at Cobalt Recruitment.
We’re here if you need help defining a role or brief, specialist insight to help shape your ideas or expert help with your recruitment process. Just get in touch to arrange a conversation with one of the team or if you’re ready for us to find the perfect person for you, send us your brief.