In recent years, a worrying trend has infiltrated the Automotive Engineering recruitment process ¬ that of ‘breadcrumbing’. Those who use the practise risk losing their preferred candidates to their competition, and that’s certainly not an ideal outcome in this current talent-tight market (especially when you consider the latest statistics showing 62% of UK Automotive Engineers are over 50 – fast approaching retirement age).
What follows is an explanation of the term, the dangers it poses to securing top Automotive Engineering talent and your employer brand, alongside some suggestions to assist you in circumnavigating its use.
What is Breadcrumbing During the Hiring Process?
The term ‘breadcrumbing’ is borrowed from the online dating world. In that context, it refers to messaging a person indicating your interest when you have no intention of meeting them or beginning a relationship. You are metaphorically dropping breadcrumbs in the hopes they’ll continue to follow/interact with you.
In Automotive Engineering recruitment, breadcrumbing occurs when a Hiring Manager or recruiter draws out the interview process. They essentially string the candidate along, giving them just enough hope that they have a chance at landing the role.
Examples of breadcrumbing in recruitment include excessive interview rounds, extended response times or speaking to the candidate in a way that indicates an offer is imminent.
The Aftershocks of Breadcrumbing
The most obvious impact of breadcrumbing during recruitment is the candidate becomes frustrated and bows out of the race. This can be harmful to your long-term success, particularly if the candidate is a potentially ideal fit for your open position.
A recent global survey of 3,700 job seekers found over 70% dropped out or considered dropping out of their last hiring experience. Their top three reasons were:
1. The interview process took too long (39%)
2. The hiring process was too complicated (37%)
3. There were too many touchpoints in the process (27%)
Another impact of breadcrumbing is the hit it delivers to your employer brand. A slow hiring process can mean potential employees lose confidence in your organisation’s decision-making prowess, making them question if they’d really enjoy working with you.
If they take the step of sharing their less-than-stellar experience online, your reputation as an employer of choice could be affected. A recent shared candidate experience on LinkedIn garnered an overwhelming 2.6 million views, close to 4,000 comments and over 1,000 shares – it certainly hit a nerve. The company was lucky that the candidate chose to keep their anonymity.
How to Avoid Breadcrumbing
There are many steps you can take to ensure candidates remain engaged throughout your application and interview process. Many centre on improving the time to hire.
1. Review your data
As a Hiring Manager, are you aware of your ‘time to hire’ numbers? If not, the first step is to work out where you stand in not just identifying candidates for your open role, but the time it takes to hire them from interview right through to offer (and potentially counteroffer).
Glassdoor uncovered UK job seekers spend an average of 27 days in the interview process. In recent years, Google also reviewed their hiring timeline. As a result, they now implement the ‘Rule of Four’ when recruiting – no more than four interviews and a maximum of four on their interviewing panel. They say these measures reduced their average time to hire by two weeks, whilst also saving employees hundreds of thousands of hours in recruiting time.
2. Look at ways to shorten your hiring timeframe
Once you have your data, you can then evaluate how long is too long. From our experience in the Automotive Engineering recruitment sector, a maximum of three interviews is recommended for applicants below director level. We have also found that top candidates in high demand also quickly lose interest if they don’t hear from you with an update within a week of their initial interview.
Other ways you can shorten your hiring timeframe include:
Ensuring your hiring panel have adequate availability for candidate shortlisting and subsequent interviews
Being completely clear about hiring criteria before starting interviews
Having all cost approvals and paperwork in place for the offer process
Utilising video technology for first round interviews
3. Be transparent
Leaving candidates with no contact after their initial interview is not recommended. Be upfront about your hiring timeline during your interviews. Explicitly state when candidates should expect to hear from you, how many interview rounds you have planned, if there are any further tasks they’ll need to complete, plus how long you feel you need to make a decision.
4. Get your offer ready ahead of time
As previously mentioned, getting your budgets in place before beginning is a great way to expedite the interview process.
You can also take the step of drawing up your offer documents at this time, keeping space to add in any details that arise during negotiations with the right candidate or in a counteroffer (something that is quite common in these times of high Automotive Engineering talent demand).
Be proactive and put a plan in place for how you will deal with a counteroffer should it occur.
5. Overcome ‘bad hire’ fear
Making your final hiring decision can come with some ‘bad hire’ fear – you don’t want to get it wrong and face the costs and time required to re-recruit.
A way to overcome this is to enlist the help of an Automotive Engineering recruitment specialist, like us here at Fields & Rudd. While we can provide a host of advice about interviewing timelines, techniques and the offer negotiation process, we can also significantly assist in reducing your time to hire.
From our many years of experience in the industry, we’ve developed an expeditious set of best practice recruitment processes that allow our clients to move quickly and also have a deep pool of existing talent on our register. We’ll handle the time-consuming admin tasks of answering candidate questions and reviewing CVs, not to mention keeping candidates updated before, during and after interviews.
Contact one of our specialists today and be comforted by the knowledge that your business won’t be breadcrumbing any valued candidates.