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Lack of reactivity during the hiring process

Zurich, April 2023

Companies with slow hiring processes could lose out on over half of top Swiss talent 

Research from specialist recruitment company Robert Walters Switzerland highlights that over half of Swiss candidates become deterred from positions by slow hiring processes. 51% of Swiss professionals indicated that they would lose interest in a job opening when the hiring process is longer than four weeks. Charlotte Jacobs, head of the legal recruitment division for Robert Walters Switzerland, reveals how companies can optimize their hiring timeline and process.

When does a hiring process become too long and why does it have such a detrimental effect?

Charlotte: “As we always say, “time kills deals.” Fast-moving, dynamic and responsive companies are much more attractive to top talent. If a company leaves the candidate waiting for interview feedback, they could lose interest and move onto the next opportunity. 

Besides that, long time periods between each round of interviews drastically increase the chance of candidates receiving other job offers.

Our research revealed that 51% of Swiss professionals feel that if a hiring process is longer than four weeks their levels of interest will significantly drop. A further 39% of Swiss professionals polled found that 3-4 weeks was the ideal hiring time frame – this would be a good model for companies to work from.”

What are the most common factors slowing down the process?

“The majority of the processes usually include three interview rounds; a first call or video call between HR and the candidate, followed by a discussion with the hiring manager and finally a call with stakeholders and other involved people. However, longer hiring processes are common in strong hierarchy-driven companies, where a strict and sometimes long path of approvals is requested, and a speedy recruitment process is not the priority.

More generally speaking, holiday periods are often a factor. Summer breaks, end of year and other public holidays increase the chances that managers, directors and HR are out of office. This often leads to hiring decisions being delayed.”

Is the lack of reactivity from hiring companies a recent or ongoing issue? Are there any industries that are typically suffering from a slow hiring process?

“It’s an ongoing phenomenon and I see it across all industries. However, the negative effects have recently increased due to candidate shortages. Top talent know their value and are working the market to find the best offer from a company. Our research found that 67% of Swiss professionals actively looking for a new position were part of multiple application processes at one time, with 31% even juggling more than three processes.”

Charlotte’s top tips for keeping the hiring process compact:

Keep it short: Starting from when the company is presented with a candidate shortlist, an ideal timeframe is 3 to 4 weeks, up to 5 weeks at the most. Keep it short but realize that moving too quickly could bring a risk of hiring only on skills and missing the personality fit.

When a recruitment agency has already provided a candidate report with the highlights and perhaps even downfalls of each candidate, a key area to save time is the first interview. In my opinion, a first discussion which is usually only with HR is not necessary. Instead, organize the first interview with a member of HR together with the managers. Then the second interview can involve key stakeholders and other important actors.

Meet in person: It is extremely important to meet candidates face-to-face at the earliest stage possible. Inviting them for a quick meeting at the office or lunch to add a personal touch is recommended. Job roles are pretty similar from one company to the next. Bringing the candidates on site for an introduction to the team, showing the working environment and culture of your company can add extra value and avoid the lack of personality fit mentioned above.

It can also take a couple of minutes for one-on-one meetings to warm up. Interviews can start off on the wrong foot and having this type of experience on a video call will mostly lead to a rejection from the company. Having face to face meetings prevents this from happening.

Act quickly: If you like a candidate, make the next move promptly to prevent losing the candidate to competitors. Keep in mind that candidates probably have multiple processes at the same time and sometimes even have several offers on the table already. Also make sure to benchmark salaries, so that you are ready with a competitive offer at this crucial phase. 

Charlotte concludes: “Right now, it is more important than ever for Swiss companies to streamline their hiring processes to secure top talent.”

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Charlotte  Jacobs

Charlotte Jacobs

Legal, Zurich

Senior Manager of the legal and finance & accounting team in Zurich, Charlotte brings over eight years of global recruitment experience. She leads the team to secure the best talent for our clients.

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