According to a recent report from ERE Media on subjects of recruiting intelligence, employers are losing more candidates than ever before as time to fill vacant positions grows. If you are in the business of hiring people, either as a company hiring manager, HR Manager or a third party recruiter and headhunter, it should be no surprise that applicants and candidates are not exactly queueing up in front of your office. Well, perhaps except in Greece or Spain, or if you are lucky to work for Apple or Google.
The simple reason is that the unemployment rate in Thailand is almost non-existent and will likely stay so for a long time. A contracting labour market is something I have talked about for years. It will not go away. Deny or refuse to acknowledge that fact, which is blatantly obvious, is like putting your head in the sand like an ostrich.
Glassdoor’s economic research, based on data from all of 2014, reports on the average time from vacancy-to-offer for several selected countries. Glassdoor looked at 344,250 job interview reviews posted on their site between February 2009 to January 2015 to examine hiring time in the U.S and five other countries. They found that the hiring time went from 12.6 days in 2010 to 22.9 days at the end of 2014. The time it takes from vacancy-to-offer is now 27.9 days for Australia, 28.6 days for the UK, 28.8 days for Germany and 31.9 days for France.
The time to present an offer of employment to your preferred candidate is critical. Generally speaking, best vacancy-to-offer practice is that the company meets candidates no more than three times and responds no later than five days after a candidate’s last interview. If the number of days and interviews exceeds these targets, it’s likely for political and bargaining chip reasons while the company is trying to close their preferred candidate. Talk about being a sacrificial lamb for the common good; common good here defined as “good for the hiring company only.”
- Problem 1: Too many employers drag their heels on hiring because the regional as well as corporate HR must justify their presence, role and importance. I mean, what good can a corporate HR officer sitting in Brazil bring to the table if the Thailand Managing Director and his HR Manager have both agreed who is their first choice? But believe me, this is unfortunately a picture I see way too often.
- Problem 2: Why on earth would someone in a good job with good pay and benefits, consider taking a risk to start in a new unknown territory, if the compensation is not attractive? There are still too many companies who keep dreaming that they will find that needle in the hay stack who will accept 80,000 baht per month in the job of Regional Sales & Marketing Director of a large multi-national company. Stop throwing low ball offers, people are not stupid.
You must realise that nowadays candidates are a precious commodity and they will not remain on the market very long. If the candidate meets your requirements, act and aggressively pursue getting the person to sign your agreement. Don’t even think that what-if someone else out there would be just a bit better. The risk is that you may lose your first candidate as time kills all deals, and who knows if the second will even consider your employment offer?
Two takeaways for an effective hiring process
- Put your foot down; don’t let your overseas colleagues roll over you. Convince your regional and corporate offices that they put you in charge of Thailand for a reason, tell them that you are more than capable of assessing the Thai candidates for employment in Thailand. Getting them out of the loop means one or two interviews will be sufficient and greatly increase your chances of appearing timely, organised and professional. This is what great candidates like to see and no doubt will be attracted to.
- Don’t throw low balls. Candidates carefully assess your value proposition, in other words what are your selling points for your company and employment. They will check if your title is better (like director compared to manager), if time from home to office is a lot shorter than their current commute, private office vs. open office environment, company car or transport allowance, medical cover for family or only the employee, guaranteed 13 months’ pay compared to 12 months, and more importantly what is your salary? Unless you offer the best ever benefits in Thailand, you need to put your money where your mouth is! That translates to showing through actions and not just words that you are prepared to offer a competitive and attractive salary which becomes an offer your candidate cannot refuse.