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Improving the Time-To-Fill for the Public Sector

Time-to-fill, and how it fits within the greater candidate experience is a concern for every business. When the average candidate will only remain in the labour market for ten days, slow hiring processes can hurt the brands of Public Sector organisations and cost them access to the top talent.

Hiring Managers within the Public Sector are often subjected to stringent processes, which can extend the time it takes to fill a position. But what can be done to bring down time-to-fill without compromising compliance?

The Impact of Slow Hiring

Time-to-fill accounts for the number of days between the opening of a vacancy and the acceptance of a job offer. The length of time this process can take can cause a number of issues. The foremost being the loss of great talent. In one example, I received a brief for a vacancy (and presented a shortlist of candidates five days later), but it wasn't until a month later that interviews were arranged. By that point, our top candidates had already accepted other roles, and the process had to start over again.

Although taking your time when hiring can be seen as due diligence, it also comes with a number of risks. When the majority of top talent only stays on the open market for ten days and the time it takes to offer an interview is five weeks, the likelihood of securing these great candidates is slim. This can lead to the hiring process taking even longer, until the vacancy is closed or eventually filled.

Shortlisted candidates are rarely contacted by the employer during the evaluation process, before a formal interview is offered. This lack of communication, coupled with the extended length of time it can take before contact is made can often result in a negative experience for the candidate. If candidates have bad experiences during the application or hiring process, then that can have an impact on employer branding, which in turn can affect the organisation’s ability to secure and retain great talent.

The above risks can also translate into additional costs. Besides the costs and resources taken up by the hiring process, not having access to the top talent can also increase the risk of a bad hire. The true cost of a bad hire isn’t just monetary, as they can impact productivity, employee morale and even a business’s reputation, on top of the cost of high employee turnover.

Proactively Engaging Candidates

When Hiring Managers search for great talent, taking a ‘people-first’ approach and finding someone who will fit into their organisation’s culture is often high on their list of priorities. That ‘people-first’ approach should be reflected in the way that candidates are engaged with during the hiring process. In the majority of cases, hiring delays occur during the shortlisting of candidates, with concerns and doubts over their experience, qualifications, skills and cultural fit.

Although due diligence shouldn’t be compromised and the proper processes should be adhered to – especially in the Public Sector, where there are so many stakeholders involved – Hiring Managers have a lot of power to speed things up. When facing doubts over a potential candidate, it’s never a bad idea to pick up the phone and get in touch with them. Calling a candidate to discuss their application can help reduce those doubts and give you a better idea of who the candidate is; which will help you come to a decision quicker and with greater confidence.

That said, a phone call won’t always be enough to answer every question you might have. Inviting the candidate to meet for a chat over a coffee is a fantastic way to gain more insight into their personality and to dive deeper into their skill set, and strengthens your organisation’s brand at the same time by enhancing your reputation as a communicator.

Once a decision has been made, at any stage of the process, it’s a good idea to let the candidate know and keep them up to date on the progress of their application. Hiring decisions will always take some time to ensure the right hire is made, but a proactive Hiring Manager can hook that top talent by making a strong first impression. A candidate who has had the chance to experience the company’s culture and brand through the hiring process will be more likely to quickly accept a role, especially for candidates of a higher calibre.


Improving employee time-to-fill, reducing hiring costs and avoiding bad hires all whilst protecting their employer’s brand, are key to a Hiring Manager’s duties. Taking a more proactive and customer friendly approach to the engagement of candidates can be a great way to start making better hires faster.

If your time-to-fill is too long, and is impacting your ability to source, secure and retain great talent, then engaging a recruitment agency can be a great way of addressing these issues. Don’t hesitate to contact OCG today to speak to myself or one of our specialists about these problems.

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