Adam Johnston is managing director, Hong Kong, at Robert Half .
Efficient recruitment processes and prompt feedback are key to securing Hong Kong’s top talent
Hong Kong is currently experiencing a shortage of suitably skilled professionals to fill in-demand jobs. In a candidate-short market, where top talents often receive multiple job offers, businesses looking to hire need to be wary of jobseekers’ frustrations as they might risk losing top performers during the recruitment process. Research among 500 office workers, commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half, reveals the main frustrations for candidates include long, drawn-out interview processes and poor communication.
According to more than one in three (37 per cent) candidates, having to do multiple interviews with the same employer is their main frustration, followed by slow feedback on their progress during the recruitment process (34 per cent) and lack of transparency on rewards and benefits (34 per cent).
Alongside these top frustrations for Hong Kong jobseekers, 44 per cent of them generally do not receive any feedback from their potential employers about their interview performance and 50 per cent do not receive feedback about the reason why they were not offered the job, leaving many frustrated and unclear on how to improve for next time.
Hong Kong jobseekers were asked: “What are your biggest frustrations about the recruitment process when applying for a new role?”
Doing multiple job interviews with the same employer
Slow feedback to get an update about where I stand in the recruitment process
Lack of transparency on rewards and benefits
Keeping track of multiple job interviews/opportunities with different employers
Poor communication about the required steps in the recruitment process
Difficulties scheduling interviews
Changing role requirements
Disappointment with contractual terms
Source: Independent survey among 500 jobseekers in Hong Kong – multiple answers allowed.
Act fast or risk losing top talent
Hong Kong’s jobseekers are generally proactive about their job search, with 45 per cent of those surveyed actively applying for ten roles or more at the same time. Hong Kong employers should consider this when interviewing top candidates and try to act fast to secure top talent, particularly in a market where 95 per cent of Hong Kong employers say they find it challenging to source skilled employees.
Further to this, the research also shows that 84 per cent of jobseekers regularly receive multiple job offers when looking for work, with 43 per cent “often” or “always” getting more than one offer. This only serves to highlight the point that hiring managers need to act fast to secure top talent and ensure that they also sell the benefits of their organisation during the recruitment process.
The consequences of an inefficient hiring process
Companies need to be wary that the implications of slow communication and lack of feedback can be far-reaching, with 60 per cent of Hong Kong jobseekers saying they would not recommend a company as a potential employer and 51 per cent even willing to withdraw their application if they have not received a timely response about the status of their application.
Businesses should be aware that interviewees who are treated poorly during the application process can impact the company’s wider reputation and possibly even an organisation’s bottom line. Unenthused job applicants who have had a negative experience with a company are likely to not only withdraw their application, but potentially even give negative feedback about the organisation, which can significantly jeopardise the attractiveness of the company as an employer of choice and even potential business opportunities.
A streamlined approach to hiring
While the recruitment process needs to be balanced against the expectations and frustrations of jobseekers, Hong Kong companies could benefit from streamlining their application and interview processes, thereby ensuring delays and other frustrations are not costing them top candidates.
Sometimes multi-stage interviews are unavoidable, but prompt feedback and timely communication throughout the application progress is essential to avoiding any negative consequences.
With many jobseekers acutely aware of their market value and in contention for several roles, top candidates are not willing to wait too long during the hiring process – putting the onus on companies to ensure an efficient – and timely – recruitment process to secure the right candidates and not lose their preferred candidates to the competition.
The importance of proper communication during the hiring process cannot be underestimated, as waiting to hear back from a prospective employer can be one of the most anxious parts of the process for jobseekers. Timely communication – both for successful and unsuccessful candidates – at every stage of the hiring process also holds advantages for the organisation itself as it can cement a company’s reputation for being professional and fair.