Speed to hire is a competitive advantage. This is especially true in the fast-moving world of customer service operations such as a call center and retail in which turnover is an acute issue and companies are in near-constant hiring mode.
With few exceptions, candidates looking for jobs in these industries are likely to settle for a job with any company. It’s not that they don’t care about who employs them. It’s just that, in many cases, these candidates have an urgent need for employment and are more likely to accept the first offer that comes their way. This is a prime example of “if you snooze, you lose.”
Therefore, engaging them early, moving them through your hiring process swiftly, and extending a job offer quickly is key to snagging the best talent available. The longer your process is, the more likely you will lose the candidate to a competitor and jeopardize your need to rapidly fill your open positions with well-qualified applicants.
Examine your hiring process to find areas of inefficiency and long lead times. For example, do you try to conduct an initial telephone screen of every applicant? If so, you should ask yourself two important questions: 1) how long does it normally take from the time the candidate completes the application to the time you are able to complete the telephone screen; and 2) what proportion of your applicants are you able to effectively reach this way? You may be shocked to find that you are able to reach only marginally qualified candidates this way – many of the better qualified applicants may be working at the same time your recruiters are.
So, to get the most from your early-stage screening efforts, find ways to employ technology to streamline this often tedious and cumbersome step in the process and reach applicants that might otherwise be overlooked. The result will be reduced time to fill, improved applicant quality and the competitive advantage that's so important in today's customer service environment.