Most everybody is familiar with the phrase “margin of error.” This phrase can be applied to just about anything. Below is the official Webster’s Dictionary definition for the phrase:
Margin of error (noun)—An index indicating the amount beyond the minimum necessary.
This phrase can absolutely be applied to the employment marketplace and the world of hiring. For those organizations wishing to hire the best candidates in that marketplace, they have a “margin of error.” What exactly does that mean?
That means there is a minimum of effort and excellence that is required for organizations to hire the best candidates. Anything done (or not done) beyond that minimum is considered the “margin of error.” In other words, it’s the number of mistakes you can make without it actually hurting you.
Let’s use a sports analogy; football, for instance. If one of the best teams in the league is playing one of the worst teams in the league, the first team has a greater “margin of error.” Why? Because they have superior talent, skill, and experience on their side. They can use those assets to overcome mistakes and still win the game.
However, the margin of error for hiring superstars in the current market is much smaller.
Why the margin of error is small
In September of last year, the MRINetwork conducted an employment landscape survey and then released the results of that survey. What stands out from the survey results is the percentage of recruiters (86%) and employers (62%) that feel the labor market is being driven by candidates.
In addition, recruiters and employers listed “accepting another offer” as the primary reason that candidates rejected their offer of employment. That makes perfect sense. Since it is a candidate-driven market, the very best candidates are receiving multiple offers from interested employers.
So let’s say you have a superstar candidate you want to hire for your open position. Let’s also say that candidate is being courted by one or more of your competitors. That means unequivocally the margin of error you have for hiring that candidate is small.
And when the margin of error is small, then any mistakes that are made during the hiring process are magnified.
Hiring mistakes to avoid at all costs
According to the MRINetwork survey, employers appear to be making two critical hiring mistakes. Those two are as follows:
#1—Allowing the hiring process to drag on too long.
This can be a problem when candidates are involved in more than one process. If another organization’s process is more streamlined and effective, then guess what? That candidate will feel more comfortable with that organization’s process and will drop out of those that seem to “go on forever.”
#2—Not understanding what is most important to the candidates in a new opportunity.
This is exactly why employers are losing candidates because those candidates are “accepting another offer.” Those employers apparently did not make an offer that was tempting enough. In fact, the #2 and #3 reasons for rejected offers were “low compensation packages” and “counteroffers,” further illustrating how employers are not identifying what is most important to the candidates they’re attempting to attract.
In today’s employment marketplace, organizations cannot afford to commit one or both of these hiring mistakes when pursuing top talent. The margin of error is simply not large enough. The only way to increase the margin of error right now is to target lower-caliber candidates, ones that aren’t as in demand as superstar candidates. But what hiring manager wants to do that?
The importance of a four-week process
Obviously, targeting lower-caliber candidates is NOT the way to go. Instead, organizations must focus on the effectiveness of their hiring process, from top to bottom and from beginning to end. They must eliminate snags and bottlenecks and avoid lapses in communication and/or miscommunication.
At the beginning of last year, The VET Recruiter® conducted a survey of candidates in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. As part of that survey, we asked a series of questions, many of which dealt directly with employers and the hiring process.
We asked candidates about the longest amount of time they’d spend in an organization’s hiring process before bowing out. A little over 13% indicated that they’d spend three weeks in the process, while another 15.7% indicated they would spend four weeks. That’s nearly 29% of candidates who would drop out of a hiring process in four weeks, tops.
At The VET Recruiter, we’ve written before about the length of the hiring process, specifically in the article, “THIS is How Long the Hiring Process Should Last (and Why).” In that article, we concluded that once A-level candidates have been presented and are officially part of the hiring process, the process should move with a healthy sense of urgency. As a result, the recommended timeframe is between two and four weeks.
If the process takes any longer than four weeks, the risk of losing those A-level candidates to another company rises dramatically. (As you can see, the results of our survey support that conclusion.)
What candidates REALLY want
Also as part of our survey last year, we asked candidates what they look for in an employer. Below are the top 10 things that attract candidates:
#9—Excellent products/new technology
#8—Stability within the industry
#6—Company culture/supportive environment
#5—Good wages/benefits package
#3—Fairness/to be treated with respect
#2—Strong leadership and vision for the future
#1—Opportunities for growth and advancement
Is compensation a factor? Of course it is. However, keep in mind that the very best candidates expect to be paid very well. Those candidates who receive multiple offers typically receive compensation offers that are fairly equal. It’s the list of 10 things above that often serve as “tiebreakers” when the candidate is making a final decision.
The margin of error is small in the marketplace right now. When the margin of error is small, that means hiring mistakes are magnified and organizations are far less likely to hire the candidates they want to hire when they commit them.
Don’t fall prey to the hiring mistakes discussed in this article, and seek to avoid other mistakes, as well. While they might seem small, they could be the cause of missing out on a great candidate . . . one who decided to “accept another offer.”
We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations. If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.