How to Slash Your Time to Hire: Tips for Engineering Firms

As a seasoned engineering recruiter with 25 years under my belt, I've seen firsthand how a drawn-out hiring process can wreak havoc on production schedules and bottom lines. A swift and efficient hiring process isn't just a nice-to-have for production managers and managing directors of SME engineering firms—it’s a necessity. Here are four key tips to reduce your hiring time and ensure you bring the right talent into your business.

1. Streamline Your Hiring Process

The longer your hiring process, the more likely you will lose top talent to competitors. A prolonged process often signals to candidates that your company might be indecisive or disorganised. To streamline, ensure you have a clear, well-documented hiring process that everyone on your team understands and follows. This includes everything from job postings to final offers. Define each stage, set deadlines, and stick to them.

Example: I once worked with a firm that took over a month to hire a crucial CNC machinist. By the time they made an offer, the candidate had accepted a position elsewhere. We revamped their process, reducing it to just over a week and a half and their next hire was on the shop floor in no time.

2. Leverage Technology

Utilise applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage your candidate pipeline efficiently. An ATS can automate many of the time-consuming tasks like screening DV's and scheduling interviews, freeing up your time to focus on more strategic aspects of hiring. Additionally, consider using video interviewing tools to expedite the initial screening stages, particularly if the candidate is not local.

Example: One East Midlands machine tool company I know implemented an ATS and cut their CV review time in half. They also started using video interviews when interviewing Area Sales Managers for the 1st interview stage,  which reduced the time-to-hire by 30%.

3. Plan Ahead for Interviews

One of the most common bottlenecks in the hiring process is coordinating interview schedules. Waiting for diaries to align can add weeks to your timeline. To avoid this, pre-book slots in your key Manager's calendars specifically for interviews. This proactive approach ensures you can move candidates through the process without unnecessary delays.

 Example: A client of mine had a perpetual issue with interview scheduling delays. We implemented a policy of holding “interview days” twice a month. This small change shaved off nearly two weeks from their hiring process, allowing them to secure top talent faster.

4. Build a Talent Pipeline

Don’t wait until you have a vacancy to start looking for candidates. Building a talent pipeline means maintaining relationships with potential hires even when you’re not actively recruiting. Attend industry events, engage with local engineering colleges, build relationships with specialist recruitment consultants and keep in touch with past applicants who might be a good fit in the future. You should have a 'join the team' page' at the very least on your website where prospective employees can go and learn more about your business. Consider partnering with a specialist engineering recruiter who can help you maintain this pipeline and provide pre-screened, high-quality candidates when you need them.

Example: A local East Midlands engineering firm partnered with a specialist engineering recruitment agency (yes, like us!). This agency had an extensive database of pre-vetted candidates. When the firm needed a senior production engineer on short notice, the recruiter was able to provide a shortlist of highly qualified candidates within days. The firm filled the position in under two weeks, significantly reducing downtime and maintaining their project timelines.

The Downside of Delayed Hiring

A lengthy hiring process can have several negative impacts. Not only can you lose top candidates to competitors, but your current staff may also become overburdened, leading to burnout and decreased productivity. Moreover, project timelines can suffer, and your overall business agility takes a hit.

In conclusion, reducing your time to hire is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge and ensuring operational efficiency. By streamlining processes, leveraging technology, planning ahead, and building a talent pipeline, you can significantly cut down on hiring time and secure the best talent for your engineering firm.

Remember, the longer you wait, the more opportunities slip through your fingers. Act swiftly, plan meticulously, and watch your business thrive.

Looking to hire? Have a chat with one of our team on 0116 254 5411 or take a look at a selection of candidates we're currently working with here. 

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22nd May