Eliminating Time-to-Fill: Helping Buyers Hire in an Instant

  By Scott Wintrip  |    Wednesday June 11, 2015

Category: Expert Advice, Recruiting


It’s been said that time is not on our side. The latest statistics back this up, as time-to-fill, how long it takes to fill a job or assignment, has risen to its highest level in more than a decade. The problem is not capabilities, as there are more of those today than a decade ago, especially the added efficiencies through technology. Nor is it available talent, as competent recruiting professionals can always find someone to do the job or complete the assignment.

The issue is process―most hiring managers (and their recruiting firms, if they are using them) are not working a process that allows them to hire in an instant. Yet, these very same hiring managers can buy many things they want, when they want them, such as videos on demand from iTunes, ebooks from Amazon and freaky fast food from Jimmy Johns. Needs are always more important than wants, which makes this all-time high of time-to-fill even more baffling.

Time is clearly not on the side of anyone who recruits or hires. It makes people scared, scattered, scurried, and, sometimes, even stupid. Too much of it allows them to over-think and under-perform. This causes real harm as jobs go unfilled, backlogs increase, overtime grows, efficiencies plummet, customers complain and revenues suffer.

Recruiters, in particular, have a unique opportunity to make their buyers smarter by helping them engage in a nimble process where they get the talent they needed yesterday right now. Firms must develop the ability to deliver talent on-demand and then market this capability to buyers. 

How’s Your Brand Consciousness?

People don’t just wake up one day and suddenly select a random vendor when making a purchase. A confluence of factors makes buying possible, with one of the most important being Brand Consciousness.

Unless a recruiting firm is a known poor performer in the market, being passed over as a contender is always caused by one of the following:

Buyers don’t know that the company exists (Brand Unconsciousness).

They’ve forgotten they exist (Brand Amnesia).

They don’t yet understand the true value of their services, especially when compared to competitors (Brand Dubiety).

The job of every leader and their team is to overcome these factors by remaining in sight, in mind and in contention. Sustaining Radical Accountability (an unwavering responsibility for always doing the next right thing) to maintain this standard requires a simple, three-part approach called the Attractive Persistence Plan:

Brief: Messages left are no longer than 30 seconds total. This includes a brief introduction, a compelling question or statement (such as a result recently achieved), and contact information (repeated twice to ensure accuracy).

Polite: Do not bash the competition, chastise the prospect for not calling back, or have an arrogant attitude or tone. Do call persistently, which for many people means about once each week.

Interesting: Make a different statement or ask a different question in each message. Questions and statements should be provocative; the kind of question or statement that would stick in someone’s mind. The goal is to begin to deliver value from the very start, and that begins with leaving valuable, interesting messages.

By applying the Attractive Persistence Plan to maintain Brand Consciousness, firms not only stand out, they remain top of mind. Especially when they provide buyers with the ability to hire on-demand. With that in place, they must then contend with a dangerous competitor.

Noise Canceling the Competition

Competitive golfers and dancers keep their competition top of mind, knowing their influence can undermine them at any moment. Just the noise from these competitors can cause them to slice a drive or miss a step, creating a lost opportunity that ends up losing the match. The competition ends up stealing their trophies, their winnings and even their self-confidence and pride. The real power of these competitors comes from where they live—right between the ears. That’s why we often hear people saying they are competing with themselves, as they know that the only real competition, the thing that can get in their way, is their own thinking.

Just like these athletic professionals, competition for customers and candidates is not on the outside, but in our own competitive thinking. The other companies who provide similar services are not competitors, but merely potential distractions. What they do, how they do it, the price they charge and any games they play only matter if we let it.

There is enough noise that comes from the critic that lives in the human head. Isn’t it best not to add to the cacophony by simply ignoring what other people do?

There is lots of talk about differentiation amongst people in our business. To be different requires making a real difference. Reducing or eliminating time-to-fill is distinct, different and powerful. Succeeding at this requires recruiting professionals to ignore the competition, deliver talent in an instant, and remain in-sight, in-mind and in contention. 

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