Why Recruitment Processes Fail

We welcome another post on our Procurement Talent theme, this time from Simon Edbury, Director at Edbury Daley, global procurement recruitment experts.  

What is the definition of a failed recruitment process? Time to hire is a key metric used by Human Resources and internal recruitment specialists when judging the success of their hiring projects. So perhaps the question should be why do recruitment processes end up taking much longer than the business wanted?

The most problematic and time-consuming vacancies are those where essentially the process has to be restarted because of a declined job offer or where none of the candidates interviewed were worthy of a job offer.

It is helpful to think of the the recruitment process as a funnel with suitable and motivated candidates entering at the top, and the successful hire emerging from the bottom.

In an effective recruitment process enough candidates enter to give the hiring company a strong probability of the recruiting a strong performer at the end, having filtered out a portion of the field at each stage. However, in a market where competition for candidates with specific skills and experience is strong it is hard to simply play the numbers game and have a big field of candidates at the beginning.

The key to ensuring you still make a hire from a smaller starting pool is to make sure your funnel doesn’t spring a leak! In other words, the process of reducing the field of candidates through each stage of the selection process needs to be the hiring company’s decision not that of the candidate.

Disengaging candidates through the following methods is all too commonplace. Where there were only a few candidates in the first place, it often leads to no hire and the recruiting company back to square one.

To explore this further and quantify leakage during the recruitment process we conducted a 12 question survey amongst 100 procurement candidates. These are the key reasons:

  • Poorly briefed recruitment partner - 36% of candidates are lost due to lack of detail on the job specifics at the initial approach stage.
  • Use of assessment centres before first interview - This is the number-one-ranked reason why candidates withdraw their interest from a recruitment process.
  • A hiring manager who at first interview is not prepared to sell the vacancy and the company to the candidate - 40% of candidates expect the interviewer to be selling to them as much as they are selling themselves.
  • Slow interview feedback - 88% of candidates disengage if they haven’t received feedback within a week.
  • Loss of momentum - Any more than three weeks between interviews is intolerable to 89% of candidates.
  • Weak financial offer - 90% of candidates expect an offer of at least a 10% increase on their basic salary.

Whilst much of this appears to be common sense, for many companies day-to-day business activities take precedence over sticking to these principles. Add in the pressure to keep salary offers within budget, stick with recruitment partners and selection methods agreed at group level and many of the components of the recruitment process become compromised.

For those firms that can strictly adhere to the best practice and avoid the pitfalls above there will be a real competitive advantage in hiring the best procurement people.

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