Statistics show that most employers are losing 60-70% of their candidates at the “top of the funnel,” specifically, the moment they apply. The problems with current hiring, are not so much supply, but early elimination and time to fill. Compound this with a talent crisis and it’s easy to understand why hiring takes so LONG with so few people.

Hopefully, you read our last article, Forget the Pedigree.

In that article, we discussed how you can widen your funnels by reconsidering three principles that have eliminated candidates from the top of the funnel – or, too early in the hiring process:

  • Asking for too much experience, or not enough. Not understanding what “experience” means in terms of results, or not asking for the “right” experience.

  • Expecting the “right” education when it may not be needed.

  • Requiring the “right” skills and not compromising or looking for future potential.

All three can produce instant rejections on candidates who could have been the “right” hires.

We’re going to deep dive into how you can hack the funnel even further to increase your hiring and decrease your time to fill.

Hack: Review your experience

Experience used to be categorized easily under “years.” Even now, over 90% of all job descriptions use numerical quantifiers for experience. For example, we have all read, “We need five years of experience in a particular code.” or, “We need 10 years of running a team.”

Stop using a numeric value to qualify “experience.” What does five years of coding in a software language that updates every 6 months really mean? Instead, ask what the role needs to accomplish daily, weekly, or how it brings value to your company’s stakeholders and value stream. Break the overly broad term of “experience” down into understandable and achievable nuggets (goals, objectives and key results, or key performance indicators (KPIs), etc.) that can be described, measured, attained, and what the expected result is.

You can break this down further into what is required immediately – and what will be required in the future – to meet an expectation. Not only will this provide better interviewing experiences, but you will be gathering higher-value information. Maybe the candidate with 10 years of “experience” on his resume only has the same amount of actual knowledge as another candidate with two years.

SN Testing

This is a big area of concern for senior and junior technical candidates – senior techs do not want to be tested. The preference here, is for technical interviews involving business logic complexity and code reviews. Junior software engineers tend to be nervous. Ensure that if you are using testing (code tests are very popular), you are aligning them to the roles. Getting the testing part wrong can deter candidates from participation, resulting in early elimination of an otherwise strong candidate.

If you do decide on testing, make this the first part of the cycle after the initial phone screen, and make it soon or immediate. We cannot stress this enough, which leads us to the next hack.

Hack: Develop a hiring strategy (not merely a job description)

It helps if you use Engenium from the beginning and not after failing. A hiring strategy goes beyond “post and pray.” You must understand the market and where the vacancy falls in terms of “demand,” expectations, compensation, talent shortages, or overages. This is where the use of professionals is a must. Call and schedule a meeting with Engenium for advice on your strategy prior to hiring. As a niche engineering staffing and HR firm, this is what we do.

Hack: Speed

The optimum current timeline for most technical recruiting is 55-65 days, from post to fill. If you’re running later than that, you’re far too late to the game. What are you waiting for? You post and pray, and then eliminate because you may still be recruiting for an obsolete “pedigree.” However, if you have taken some of our advice, you’re not eliminating, and have viable candidates, then why is it taking so long?

Here are a few reasons we’ve heard and experienced firsthand:

“We don’t have time.” or, “we’re too busy.” Yes, we understand you are down a few staff members, so the team is covering for all the extra work, but it is NOT going to improve until you make the time to recruit.

“Candidates are in hot demand.” When companies delay too long, they feel they must play a salary game, and you may have to if you haven’t engaged correctly from the beginning. The honeymoon period in recruiting starts before the marriage. There is no courtship, we now go straight in.

Hack: Value proposition

Before you first engage with candidates, you must have a hiring strategy, plus a value proposition. What is your value? It’s not just your company name, its size, or how many years you’ve been around – it’s your growth. Candidates can, and do, research this. If they haven’t, then they probably aren’t the person you want on your team. They’re just chasing salary.

So, what is your value proposition to a candidate? Talk about what they want to hear that will make them want YOUR offer, not your competitor’s offer. With tech positions, talk about the tech stack. Have an engaging conversation on theory, how you do things at your company and why you do it, or how you all work together make decisions. Ask meaningful questions during this exchange, not the generic, cookie-cutter questions on whether they can do x.

The questions candidates ask during the interview (not at the end when you ask if they have any questions for you) provide the best insight on their fit for a role. Discuss how your company develops its developers. Do you have hack days or meet-ups? What opportunities do you offer to explore other tech or stretch capabilities? This should not be confused with hierarchy opportunities, like when they may expect a promotion, but when they can expect to learn more.

Ask Engenium if you need tips on value propositions to engage candidates.

Hack: Engage

Third party recruiters are always engaged. It’s what we do. What we need is for clients to engage as well, and if you’re not using a consultancy, then you need to engage even more so, because you’re doing it all on your own.

What does engagement look like?

You meet the candidate at their time, place, and method of communication. In other words, you chase the candidates via social media, email, or text, and do so immediately. Your message must be meaningful to the candidate if you want them to accept your communication. Merely sending out a generic automated reply that their resume is now in your automated tracking system is a message for sure, but the communication will be ignored.

The biggest complaint we get is that candidates, especially in technical markets, are often bombarded with messaging, mostly unsolicited. You need to meet the candidate on their terms. If you don’t, your competitor will.

Once a candidate accepts your first approach, be it through a phone screen, Zoom, or in-person interview, ensure all other actions move quickly. If you are testing, do it simultaneously, prior to, or immediately after. If the candidate needs to meet with others on the team, herd the cats together for one interview. Try not to exceed two interviews.

Make job offers immediately after the final interviews, and hopefully you only had two. Again, using a consultancy at this point will make your time to fill go by much quicker and smoother. Our recruiters know firsthand about appropriate compensation packages, work-from-home expectations, whether or not to cover a candidate’s relocation expenses… all the little things that can mean a lot, especially if they break down negotiations.

The best part is that you’ll hire, hire right, hire quick, save money, and save your present teams from burnout.

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