The Consequences of a Slow Hiring Process
Most of the carriers that we work with at Tenstreet are well aware of the shortage of drivers, and all of them would agree that quickly responding to each candidate and application is a key part of a successful recruiting strategy. The ability to move drivers quickly through the hiring process should be one of the top priorities for every carrier and recruiter. A fast hiring process can mean the difference between successfully hiring the drivers you’re most interested in and losing them to your competition. There’re few things more frustrating for a recruiter to hear than “I wish you had made me that offer yesterday; I’ve already accepted another job.” But equally frustrating for a recruiting manager, director, or VP is knowing that the reason your carriers keep hearing those words is because your business’ hiring process is too slow. So, what can be done to improve your company’s recruiting strategy and accelerate your speed to hire?
Measure Each Step
The first step in improving the time elapsed from contact to hire is to define and measure each step of the recruiting process. By accurately measuring and tracking each stage of your recruiting procedure, you’ll be better able to see where bottlenecks form in your process and identify opportunities for improvement. When trying to identify the problem areas in your recruitment strategy and develop ways to improve the speed and efficiency of your hiring process, it’s crucial for you to look at your strategy from the perspective of the drivers you’re looking to hire. To improve the speed of your hiring cycle, the most important arbiter of value is the individual driver. You may be convinced that your hiring process is fast enough, but if drivers are walking away from the recruiting process or accepting other offers before you can make yours, then your business is the one with the problem.
To track and measure the time it takes for a driver to complete the hiring process, you need to identify the different stages of your recruitment strategy and the important milestones that define them. Depending on your company’s individual approach to recruiting, the number of stages and what the milestones will be can vary. But, regardless of your individual recruiting strategy, the two most important milestones to identify are where the start of your recruitment process begins and where it ends. The definition that we use to identify the start of the recruitment process at Tenstreet is the first point of contact with the driver. The first point of contact is essentially when the carrier first becomes aware of a new candidate on the job market, regardless of where that contact comes from. The first point of contact can take many forms: a phone call, a job board lead, clicking a banner add or pay-per-click advertisement, a form submitted on a landing page, or a full application. Your tracking needs not only to identify when this first contact occurs but also to take account of all of the different avenues that your candidates are using to make contact with your business.
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When Do You Start and Stop the Clock?
The point at which the clock should stop is a little less easily identifiable and can differ slightly from carrier to carrier. The best guideline to use to determine the end of the recruitment process is when your candidates stop looking for other driving opportunities. For many carriers, the best milestone to use as an end point is when the driver actually arrives for the first day of orientation or carrier-sponsored driving school. Others may prefer to use the day the driver is first scheduled for orientation or even when the driver is initially approved to be hired. Whatever the milestone you use to gauge your end point, you should be reasonably sure that is the point when most drivers commit to your company. If you stop tracking too early, your metrics won’t accurately mirror the reality of your candidate’s experiences throughout the hiring process.
In addition to your starting and stopping points, you also need to identify and define all the major milestones that come between the beginning and end of your hiring process. These mid-way markers are vital waypoints that allow you to see clearly how much time is being spent on each step of your recruiting process, identify where problems are causing too much time to elapse, and determine how those problems can be fixed. For example, if your overall hiring cycle is 10 days from first offer to commitment and you’re able to determine that you’re spending four of those days obtaining verifications, you can conclude that the most efficient way to speed your hiring process is to focus on finding ways to complete verifications more quickly. Mid-way milestones also allow you to see how the changes you implement to improve the slow parts of your recruiting strategy impact each individual recruiting stage, as well as the overall process.
The Right Tools to Measure Speed to Hire
Once you’ve identified the different stages of your recruiting strategy, you need a system that will allow you to measure the time that elapses from first contact to the point that a driver commits to your company and during each stage. The system also needs to be comprehensive enough to allow you to break that data down to represent the average time elapsed for different groups of drivers. Knowing how time has elapsed for the different groups of candidates, such as drivers in a given orientation class or orientation location, company drivers, student drivers, or drivers recruited by a particular recruiter, can provide valuable insight about how to better recruit the drivers you’re most interested in and more accurately pinpoint weaknesses in your recruiting strategy. Once you have a system that will aggregate those statistics, you can then start to dig into the analysis, see what is causing variations, and start fixing delays in your hiring time. Are some of your recruiters just faster than others? You can have your high-preforming recruiters mentor and teach the rest of your recruiting staff. Are some geographical regions slower than other areas? It might reflect a tight labor market in those regions, and you may need to re-think your offers to be more competitive.
So we’ve covered all the things you should do when looking to analyze and speed your recruitment strategy – define the points you want to start and stop tracking drivers through the hiring process, identify the distinct stages of the process and the milestones that mark them, make sure to consistently and thoroughly track drivers as they move through the process, and organize the data to find weaknesses and inconsistencies both inside your company and in the larger market that need to be addressed. But there are also several pitfalls that you should watch out for to avoid ruining your metrics. Because this whole process revolves around measuring elapsed time, there are several factors that can throw off your ability to accurately and productively measure that elapsed time.
3 Factors to Ensure Accurate Measurement
One of those factors is whether or not to include after-hours and weekends in your calculations. Depending on where your driver is in the recruiting process, it can be distorting to factor in the time elapsed over weekends. If a driver is at the point that your next step is to run a background check but the group that runs those checks doesn’t operate during the weekends, the time elapsed during that stage of the recruitment process will be significantly longer and skew your average elapsed time. It’s debatable whether you want to include that time in your metrics.
Another factor to consider is the drivers themselves. As we’ve talked about before, drivers don’t always neatly fall into active or passive job seeker categories. Many drivers are “somewhat active” for long periods before they decide to switch jobs. This can make determining the first point of contact a little trickier than it might otherwise seem. On average, across Tenstreet’s platform, over 40% of drivers applying during any given month to a carrier have already come across that carrier’s desk at least once before sometime during the previous 12 months. If a driver submits a multi-carrier job board lead on January 8, clicks on a banner ad on January 25, and then submits a lead form and places a call to a recruiter on February 15, when should your clock start? Determining an appropriate starting point may be easy when viewing an individual driver, but doing so on a systematic basis across all your applicants poses a bigger challenge that can again cause your metrics to skew.
A third factor comes into play when measuring milestones. While milestones are an important part of knowing and optimizing the time it takes to hire a driver, not all drivers will move linearly through your milestones. Many drivers may bounce around, stall out, or change direction while you try to track their progress through your designated checkpoints. Your system needs to be prepared to take it into account when a driver in starts getting employment verifications completed at the beginning of the week, winds up back in recruiting by midweek, and then jumps back to verifications again by the end of the week. When a candidate moves back and forth between stages like that, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to lump all that time under “Verifications.” Additionally, many carriers end up completing several different stages of the recruitment process at the same time, so it’s always important to be clear about tracking the time spent on accomplishing each specific task whether that time elapses in chunks or in tandem with other tasks.
Out of Your Hands?
Of course, there are always some tasks in the hiring process that are simply out of your hands. Carriers must rely on drivers to accomplish their own responsibilities during different stages of recruitment to be able to move forward. Many of these tasks are embedded in larger activities that the carrier is trying to accomplish, like the driver completing releases for all previous employers for employment verification to be run. If the verification process starts on a Tuesday and the driver is asked to sign an additional release on Wednesday and doesn’t turn it in until the following Monday, is it fair to say that the verifications took a week? The five days it took for the driver to return the missing release was out of the recruiter’s hands and would otherwise have taken only two days. It’s important to consider these factors, not only so that you don’t mistakenly end up placing blame for the delay on the verification personnel but also because that delay tells you something about the driver’s interest level. If certain drivers are slow to accomplish tasks to move forward in the hiring process, you need to investigate why their interest level may be waning. A well-constructed measurement system should help you avoid erroneous conclusions and give you insight into the real root of the problem.