Recruiting to fill a job vacancy is a time-consuming process, especially in a competitive job market. Creating the perfect candidate profile, enticing the candidate to take your call, engaging with them to determine fit and getting them on board can take weeks. More realistically it will take months.
For most hiring managers, decisions are governed by a budget. The exact moment the budget dictates it can afford another salary is the exact moment the hiring manager needs that person to start. Yet, this is also when the green light is given to start recruiting. And as we know, you’re not going to find the ideal candidate the same day you post the job. The model isn’t realistic or efficient.
Most companies operate this way. New budgets begin on January 1st. New headcount is approved on January 1st. Jobs get posted on January 1st. Departments need their new employees right away. Yet, they haven’t even been identified yet. Schedules get crazy. Work builds up. There is a talent shortage. It is difficult to make recruiting a priority in this environment. The business feels the burden as the process slows or grinds to a halt.
All of this can be avoided with a little workforce planning.
When the budget was created, a need for headcount was identified. Where it shows up in your budget tends to coincide with a peak in business needs. For example:
A retail company sees a large spike in sales during the holiday season. New headcount is necessary to staff extended hours and maintain customer service during this peak time. The budget shows this seasonal headcount in November. If we wait until November, the holiday season is half over before that new hire can start. This process has a negative impact on the business and the staff. To properly staff that need, seasonal recruiting must begin in September!
The same is true for a company adding headcount in January. A business need was identified during the budgeting process that required headcount. That person must begin working in January for valuable work to occur in the most efficient way. Recruiting must begin in October to properly staff that need!
The exact timing of recruiting depends on several factors.
- Consider the level of the role. More senior roles generally take longer to fill.
- Consider the time of year. Holidays are slower as candidates disengage from recruiting and hiring managers take vacation time.
Time-to-Hire vs. Time-to-Start
The most important factor you should consider is your company’s hiring metrics, time-to-hire and time-to-start.
- Time-to-hire is the average amount of time it takes to hire someone. If this isn’t a metric you know, that number may surprise you. To find the time-to-hire metric, start with the date you post the job vacancy and end on the date the new employee accepts the job.
- Time-to-start is the average amount of time it takes before a new hire’s start date. To calculate time-to-start, simply start with the date you posted the job vacancy and end on the start date of the new employee.
That amount of time between time-to-hire and time-to-start may be considerable, depending on your requirements for background screening, drug testing, and a candidate’s availability to start (think 2-week notice). Average all the data for your annual hires and you know how far in advance you need to start recruiting.
It can feel wrong to start recruiting before you can afford to extend an offer. What happens if business needs change? What if the position doesn’t get approved? It’s OK! Just because you start recruiting today, doesn’t mean you will be extending an offer tomorrow. You can wait to extend the offer until you have the green light. Chances are, if you’ve calculated your numbers correctly, this timing will naturally align anyway.
Why You Should be Recruiting Now
There is a common sales strategy called “always be closing”. It requires sales staff to constantly be looking for new prospects. Recruiting should be done in the same way. Staffing professionals and hiring managers should always be on looking for prospects. Recruit today for the jobs you need to fill tomorrow.
The secret to recruiting top talent is relationship building. It’s having people ready and waiting in the wings for an opportunity to work for you. For many companies, this idea is their “pie in the sky” goal. It never becomes reality because they haven’t been able to break away from their reactive based hiring (budget shows the job January 1st, post the job January 1st).
When you move to a more proactive recruiting strategy, recruiting well before the need arises, a positive shift happens. The burden no longer exists.
That department opening headcount in January now has a new hire starting in January! The work isn’t piling up, adding stress to everyone else in the department. The new hire is getting acclimated faster and adding value long before they would have in the old model. Things are working efficiently.
Human capital is the single most important asset for any business. Hiring top talent is not something that just happens. It takes time to be done right. Recruiting is everyone’s priority. To remain competitive and increase your chances of hiring the best, you need to start now. That’s where 24 Seven Talent comes in. We’re here to help you get the talent you need, when you need it.