Hiring and onboarding

3 steps to reduce your time to hire

Sofia El Ouardy

Scaling an engineering team is a business-critical although hefty task, it requires allocating time for sourcing, screening, and technical interviews. Your technical recruiters can take care of most of the sourcing and screening, but you’ll still need to spend precious engineering hours on rounds and rounds of technical interviews before making the right hire.

In the past year alone, we vetted 55k+ applicants. Our core business is hiring the right people, naturally, our interview process went through countless iterations. One of them is continuously working towards decreasing our time-to-hire, for two reasons: to be able to manage the large volume of candidates internally, and to ensure every candidate has a fair and positive candidate experience. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Expand your talent pool

Broaden your hiring to international talent

You’re having trouble filling a tech position, but you have tech talent gems at arm’s length. There are approximately 27 million developers in the world, some 5 million of which are in the US. So where are the other 23 million developers? Everywhere else!

Talent is evenly distributed, and not specific to geography. That is to say, in the age of remote, you’re missing out on a giant talent pool by only hiring locally. The world is your talent pool, so why constrain yourself to borders?

By shifting your perspective to hiring from anywhere, you can tap into talent markets where competition is less fierce than where you’re geographically located. You’ll face less competition when hiring talent as well when retaining talent, this will enable you to scale your engineering team faster and for longer. With teammates from all over the world, you get different skills, experiences, backgrounds, and new creative ways of solving problems.

Keep an internal database of qualified candidates

A new role opens, you decide on the qualifications, post the role on a job board, and start the hiring process on a quest to find the right hire. But remember, a few weeks ago, you screened and interviewed a candidate who fits this role perfectly, they made it through the technical interview, the culture fit interview, and whatever other steps you have in your hiring process, only in the end did you decide for another hire. You can skip the whole screening and interviewing process, contact the qualified candidate directly, and continue where you left off. The process would take a few days instead of weeks and countless hours of screening and interviewing.

Now, contacting previous candidates is simple when one person takes care of hiring from the first screening call to the final interview. Still, once the process has many people taking part in it, it’s harder to know if there was a qualified candidate in the past who meets all the requirements of a currently open job role. It seems pretty obvious, but many hiring managers don’t capitalize on their previous candidates for newly opened roles, because data gets lost. The solution is simple: create an internal database of candidates, maintain it, and most importantly use it whenever you need to source new candidates, you’d be surprised with what you can find.

2. Introduce an automated first step

Reduce time spent on unqualified candidates

Automation is crucial when hiring, and you should use it beyond the basic ATS and Scheduling tools. For your sake, as well as that of your candidates. 65% of candidates report not hearing back from job applications. This immensely hurts your candidate experience. On the other hand, I understand that when receiving hundreds of resumes, it’s a challenge to allocate the time to go manually through each and every one of them and assess every resume fairly. This is where you need to introduce an automated first step to help you know which candidates are qualified, and let the candidates who didn’t make the cut know right away before they spend more time in the application process. An automated first step saves your hiring team time and enables a better candidate experience for your applicants.

Use automation in hiring

We introduced automated screening steps to our hiring process. This way, we save precious time for our hiring team in screening and qualifying resumes on one hand. On the other, applicants can know if they’re qualified for the role in less than 20 minutes from the moment they apply. It’s a win-win deal. Here’s how we do it:

  1. A simple online form to qualify candidates by tech stack, years of experience, location, etc.
  2. An automated quiz online that takes about 10 minutes to complete and serves as a first layer of skills assessment.
  3. Automatic replies to let candidates know if they made it through these steps before they proceed to more time-consuming assessment steps.

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3. Consider passive recruiting

Build a recruiting funnel

The sure way to never run out of candidates is to start sourcing and qualifying before you actually need to fill a role. This way, you’re creating an effective hiring funnel. When a role, or multiple roles open, you already have many qualified candidates ready to interview.

To secure this constant flow of candidates, you need to allocate a few hours to hiring every week. Although this is a best practice, it is very hard to implement, especially for engineering teams. Wasting precious engineering hours every week is not ideal.

Effortless passive recruiting: Find the right partner

The alternative to doing passive recruiting yourself would be to find a partner to help you source qualified candidates. This partner should understand your hiring needs, and what you’re looking for both in terms of hard and soft skills.

We’ve been able to implement passive sourcing at Gemography by creating an effective hiring funnel. We source, assess, and help candidates apply for different engineering roles. To give our talent pool exposure, we share a shortlist of pre-vetted candidates every week with our network of partner companies. The idea is to help our partners have a constant flow of qualified candidates without any time investment on their end. When a profile catches their attention, they only need to send an interview request and hire away.

To sum it up, to reduce your time-to-hire, you can:

  • Expand your talent pool beyond borders, and revisit old candidates for newly open roles.
  • Introduce an automated layer of screening to your hiring process to reduce screening time and assure a good candidate experience.
  • Finally, consider passive sourcing to make sure you have the right candidates in your hiring funnel at the right time.