5 critical gaps in the candidate journey, how to close them and deliver projects
faster than ever.
Is there a skills gap? Or are your hiring processes simply falling short?
We all know there’s a tech skills shortage.
Over 70% of businesses are worried that
they don’t have the right people in place
for critical digital projects.
And post-pandemic, it’s going to get worse. The vast
majority of executives across Europe say they’re planning
to accelerate their digital programmes, putting even
more pressure on an already-limited talent pool.
But is that really the problem?
Or is your business just bad at hiring?
No matter how big or how specialised the team you
need, there are more than enough talented people
out there. They’re just choosing to work elsewhere.
If you’re seeing candidates drop-off, below-average
applicants or high rates of churn, it’s time to get
honest about why.
A lot of businesses fall into the same traps when trying to
recruit new talent. They fail to give partners the information and
attention they need to source high-quality candidates, and don’t
dedicate enough time to training their own team of interviewers. It results in a bad experience for those in the talent pipeline, very few of whom make it through to the final stages.
That means critical transformation projects are derailed, going
over deadline and budget. These problems aren’t unique to
the pandemic – but with the additional squeeze it’s putting on
resources, fixing them has never been more important.
Every other project on your roadmap is
meticulously planned, staffed by experts, closely
managed and routinely measured and iterated.
Why not hiring?
After all, without the right people in place, the rest
of those projects are at risk, too.
Closing your talent gap is not as monumental a challenge
as it might seem. There are five common mistakes that,
properly addressed, could help dramatically improve and
accelerate your hiring process. To stay ahead, you need
to act on them now.
The impact of poor hiring processes.
Of course, getting qualified candidates into
your talent pipeline is hard. But are your
hiring processes causing unnecessary
blockages further down?
Failing to pay enough attention to hiring does more
harm than good, and pushes back business-critical
work even further. Can you say with confidence
that you’re not making one or more of these critical
11,783 hiring process data points analysed (2019 & 2020)
- 64% drop in average candidate interest if feedback is not delivered in 48 hours.
- 31% drop in average 1st to 2nd interview rate if candidate rates interviewer ‘poor’.
- 28% drop in average hiring rate if client communication is rated ‘poor’.
- 11% drop in average 1st to 2nd interview rate if candidate rates company vision ‘unclear’.
5 critical gaps in the candidate journey.
How do you usually hire for a role? The chances
are that you’ll spend a lot of time mapping out the
specific skillset and job title you’re looking for, and
negotiating with the wider business to decide on an
appropriate package. You probably spend less time
thinking about what happens in between.
That’s an issue. The candidate journey through your hiring
process is just as important as the customer journey through
your product. The product itself might be brilliant – but it’ll
fail without thoughtful, well-designed and user-focused CX.
The same is true for your recruitment. Engaging candidates
correctly and consistently from their very first interaction
with your business – and throughout the hiring process – can
significantly improve your stickiness.
Selling the package instead of the vision.
Most people move jobs for emotional reasons; they want
career development, or to work for a company that shares
their values. Very few care about money and benefits most.
But it’s still how a lot of businesses sell their jobs – if they sell at
all. Neglecting to share the vision is a huge mistake especially in
tech roles. Developers, architects and project managers are in
high demand. They can do their job anywhere. Why should they
do it for you? A couple of extra days’ holiday and a pool table
won’t cut it.
Using unqualified interviewers.
Poor interviewers forget that their job is not to find
fault with potential hires. They ask pointless questions
or worse, slip into Simon Cowell-style bully mode. It puts
There’s no one right way to run interviews, but there are a
lot of wrong ways. Does your hiring team have any skills in
interviewing? Do they know how to conduct one properly,
and are they thinking about the candidate perspective
at all? If the answer to any of these is no, you can wave
goodbye to your hiring plan.
Failing to prepare for interviews.
Be honest – how much time do you spend prepping for
interviews? Do you have a clear idea of what questions
are most important to ask, what a good answer to them
is, and how to tease the best out of candidates?
Do you spend time reading their profile and CV, and
tailoring the interview around them? Or do you scan it
on the way to the meeting and wing the rest? Sending
interviewers in without a solid, strategic approach to the
process is the best way to disengage a candidate. It
wastes your time and theirs.
Not engaging well with talent partners.
If you’re using a staffing agency to find candidates,
you need to equip them to do the job well. Engage
them properly and communicate regularly. Giving
them a one-page overview of the job description
and leaving them to it won’t work.
A lot of people are sceptical of external recruiters, and
it’s not hard to understand why. But if that’s the case,
don’t work with them. A good talent partner will be
able to work autonomously, and to deliver great results
– but it needs to be a two-way street. By managing
them badly, you’re setting them (and yourself) up to fail.
Nobody’s ever felt more engaged and excited
about a position after a company’s taken weeks to
get back to them. The markets are busy: treating
talent mean will not keep them keen.
There’s no good reason for stalling, or being overcautious about giving feedback. Make candidates
wait, and they’ll just move on to your competitors. It’s
not a risk you can afford to take.
How to find great talent, fast.
Knowing what’s wrong isn’t the same as knowing
how to fix it. The right approach will depend
on your business, and begins with you thinking
critically about how good your hiring processes
really are. You might not like the answers.
You need to ask yourself if you’re taking hiring seriously
enough – because if you aren’t your business is going
to suffer. You wouldn’t take a half-baked approach to
developing software, or building a product roadmap, and you
shouldn’t for creating a hiring plan, either.
Thankfully, there’s some low-hanging fruit you can implement
now to smooth out the candidate experience, and get highvalue talent onboarded faster.
Sell the vision.
Treat candidates like clients and sell. The majority of
people want to know where they’re going and what
part they can play.
Tech talent particularly like engaging with senior team members to understand the scope and detail of the
work – so let them do that before you start testing
their capability. And if the reason you’re hiring them
is to drive towards future goals, ask questions about
how they’d tackle them. Bin irrelevant, scenario-based
questions about things they’ve done in the past.
Your current employees are tech specialists, not talent
specialists. But if you’re putting your potential next hires
in front of them, they need to be both.
If you’ve never listened to how well your team performs in
interviews, or challenged them on their technique, now’s
the time to start. Make sure they’re selling the business
and not putting potential candidates off. You should also
set up exit polls to get feedback from candidates on how
they found the process (whether you liked them or not).
Take the same data-driven approach to iterate your hiring
process as you would to any other form of user testing.
Don’t skim CVs as you make a cuppa on the way to
the interview. Build a proper framework. And make
sure you’re asking questions you really want to know
the answer to – not just the ones you always ask.
Most importantly, check you’re getting the balance
right between testing competency and encouraging
engagement with the role. Spend too long on one instead
of the other, and you’ll end up with a candidate who’s
perfectly capable of doing the job, but doesn’t want it.
Get in sync with talent partners.
Talent partners are often candidates’ first point of
contact with your business. First impressions count,
so make sure partners are set up to give a good one.
That starts with you. Share as much information and
context on the role as you can at the outset. Then keep
sharing. Don’t treat it as a ‘one and done’ relationship.
Work closely with them, share feedback, give clear
guidelines on what good and bad looks like, and
communicate clearly and often. If you’re running daily
scrums with every other team, run them with your
talent team, too.
Give rapid feedback.
Transformation moves fast. So should you.
Want to know more about staffing your projects,
and getting them delivered faster than ever? Start hiring.