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Why Time To Hire Talent Matters A Lot For Software Project Success

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Daria Kazarinova
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Spinning HR wheels at 8allocate

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The success of your software development project depends on a lot of factors. One crucial factor, though, is often overlooked – the time it is going to take to hire tech specialists who will bring your project to fruition: from the sourcing (or application) stage to the moment when they join your software development team.

Admittedly, time-to-hire (TTH) will vary depending, to no small extent, on your country of residence. Workable has estimated that the average hiring time in IT globally is 56 days. In the US and Canada, the average time to hire tech specialists is 51 days, while in the UK and Ireland, it’s close to a global average – 55 days. All in all, the time-to-fill for any position, regardless of industry, will range from days to four months, but hiring software developers may take more than seven weeks.

Time to hire by function and location

Time to hire by function and location. Source: Workable.com

According to TalentNow, 35% of employers globally have tech positions that stay open for 12 weeks or longer!

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Why Time-To-Hire Matters

In HR expertise, time-to-hire (here it’s used interchangeably with time-to-fill) is an important metric. Not only does it impact the recruitment budget, but it’s correct estimation also affects business planning. More often than not, companies set up unrealistic growth plans neglecting the pitfalls of the recruitment process and underestimate the eventual time-to-fill.

Knowing an average time-to-hire for a particular position is also important since it lets you estimate how long it will take to hire a replacement, should any of the developers on your team leave. Knowing an average time-to-hire in your business segment will also help you estimate whether or not you are lagging behind competitors.

More specifically, why does longer time-to-hire have negative consequences?

Time-to-hire impacts time-to-market

In other words, the longer you can’t fill your open positions, the longer your idle time, which translates into wasted dollars. Instead of forging ahead with your project, your progress gets stalled – much to the delight of your competitors.

Risk losing competitive advantage

In a dynamic business environment of today, more swift and flexible competitors may hit the market with their product/solution faster and gain dominance while you’ll be left behind.

Increase in recruitment budget

Given the global tech talent shortage, recruitment and hiring process is no cakewalk. The longer you search, the higher your total cost per hire. To find software developers or any other tech specialists for your project, you may need to involve recruitment agencies, increase referral bonuses, run costly ad campaigns on networks like LinkedIn, etc.

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Motivation plummets

The lengthy recruitment process and the complications it entails may feel disheartening to the point when your confidence starts to wane. The longer it takes to launch, the more time you will ultimately have to start questioning your business idea and its potential to achieve success.

As a matter of fact, long time-to-hire may, indeed, be an early indicator that your job advertising isn’t working and a warning sign that your search for talent may be taking longer than expected. It also often serves as an indicator that the recruiters on your HR team could be doing a better job.

How To Shorten Time-To-Hire

Here’s what you can do to shorten TTH and to reduce cost per hire for your project.

Measure the number of qualified candidates

How many qualified candidates actually make it to the final stages of job interviewing? If little or none, this means you should rethink your job advertising or an entire recruitment strategy. Knowing the ratio of qualified candidates compared to the less qualified ones is also essential: your recruiters may be spending too much time on less-skilled developers hoping a more suitable candidate will eventually come along.

Coach your recruiters

If you have an in-house recruitment team working on filling your positions, test their understanding of the job specifics and the position requirements. Chances are, they may not have the correct knowledge and thus are incapable of selecting the right candidates. If this is the case, you can improve the situation by offering them relevant information and training.

Indicate the bottlenecks

Exactly which positions are the most difficult to fill? For example, although the average TTH for IT specialists is 56 days, it may take 60 days to fill the Data Scientist position, 70 – if you’re looking for a Senior Data Scientist. Extended time- to-hire may be the result of external factors. The talent you are looking for may be scarce in your country and residential area or be in high demand on a global level. In this case, you may have to rethink your entire project timeline.

If you discover that a long time to hire can be attributed to the local talent shortage, outsourcing could be a reasonable alternative. Unlike in Western IT, hiring cycles in outsourcing destinations like Ukraine are shorter, due to a high number of qualified IT talent. Thus, each stage of the recruitment process (finding candidates, preliminary, intermediary, and final interviews, discussing conditions and signing and offer usually takes 1-3 weeks. The stages often overlap, so it usually takes 4-10 weeks to fill a particular position. If a candidate in question is bound by an agreement with his previous employer, assuming the vacancy may take an additional 2-4 weeks.

Surely, even in Ukraine, some technologies are in higher demand than others. For example, it would be easier to find Ukrainian developers specializing in Java, .Net, and PHP, as well as iOS, Android, and front-end developers, than experts with a good working knowledge of Golang, C++, Python, or ROR. It’s also relatively easy to find a sound QA engineer and a PM, while qualified Business Analysts and DevOps engineers are rare. However, if you choose a reliable outsourcing partner with access to vast talent pools within the Ukrainian developer community, recruiting such experts wouldn’t be a problem.

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The key to success would be keeping your recruitment process as transparent as possible. Ideally, you should be aware of exactly how long it takes to fill various positions on your team, how does this time compare to the industry average, how many stages does your recruiting process have and how long it takes candidates to move from one stage to another.

The ratio of good/poor job applications you normally get is also important. If you’re sure your recruiters are doing all it takes to fill all vacant positions and the reason for long time-to-hire is talent shortage, use outsourcing. The good news is that outsourcing providers typically take care of all the legal and administrative hassle, while you get to interview candidates and get the final word when it comes to the selection process.

Do you need help building a dedicated/extended Team or getting ad-hoc resources for your software development project fast and cost-effectively?