2016 will continue to be a candidate-driven market in which challenges abound for recruiters. So, more than ever, time is money. Recruiters will need to put in more effort to generate a hire, as candidates have many options. Again and again, recruiters will have to spend time looking at resumes and deciding who to interview and who to hire.
How should recruiters spend their time? Which unfilled positions should they spend more time on? A team led by the economist Ernst Fehr published a new article that generates some key insights.
Here are three highlights from Fehr’s key insights:
Stop agonizing over which candidates to interview when you have many similarly good candidates.
Suppose you have one position, such as an administrative assistant job, for which there are many similarly good candidates. When there are many qualified candidates, they all start to look alike and it is hard to discern among them. So we strain to find ways to distinguish them and interview the right one. Therefore, these decisions tend to take an inordinate amount of time.
Is the time invested in these decisions justified? Generally, it is not. Indeed, if you cannot easily distinguish between qualified candidates, it is likely that whomever you hire will do a good job. The difference between Candidate A and Candidate B is so small it’s not worth agonizing over. Stop wasting time on these decisions, as they will contribute little to the bottom line.
Spend more time on positions where few candidates are qualified.
Now suppose you have a Java programmer position for which there are few if any qualified candidates. In this case, it is rapidly obvious which few candidates are qualified and recruiters can decide quickly. Yet, this is when the decision matters: If the first two candidates are much better than the third, you definitely would not want to interview the third one!
The research shows that most people tend to spend too much time deciding which candidate to interview when the differences between qualified candidates are slim than when the differences are large. This is not optimal, as recruiters should be spending relatively more time making decisions that are consequential for the bottom line. In other terms, recruiters should stop wasting time on positions where they have many similarly qualified candidates and spend relatively more time on positions where differences between candidates are large and hiring the right one makes a big difference.
Consider setting time limits and using analytics tools.
Finally, the research suggests a helpful method to improve decisions: Set a timer! For example, decide how long the interview decision should take and have an alarm sound. Even if you are not forced to make a decision when the alarm sounds, just being reminded that it’s time to make a choice is helpful. The researcher’s experiment has shown that, when people are spending too long on any given decision, they make better choices when they are reminded to hurry up.