6 Reasons Slow Hiring in Government Human Resources Hurts Communities

Written by Jonathan Wiersma

With each day your municipality remains understaffed, citizens and staff feel the effects with greater impact. Understaffed administrations are less responsive to inquiries and requests. They have less available staff to complete community projects. Worst of all, they have less bandwidth to proactively initiate programs that could further the community’s mission and vision. When your municipality is understaffed, you’re simply limited in what you can accomplish. A slow hiring process will only hurt your community, your staff, and your citizens. Here are six reasons why.

Slow Hiring Turns Away the Highest Quality Talent

If you wait too long to respond to a top candidate, by the time you do reach out, he or she may not be interested anymore. The most productive and motivated job candidates are likely to become disinterested in any entity—private or public—that they feel doesn’t operate efficiently, or at the speed of business. If you’re using applicant tracking software (ATS) today, review your time-to-fill metrics. If you’re taking, on average, months to fill essential positions in your organization, you can bet you’ve lost a great candidate somewhere along the way.

You Will Lose In-Demand Talent if You Don’t Move Quickly

If you’ve found a brilliant, motivated, goal-oriented job candidate, you’re likely not the only organization that wants to make him/her an offer. If you take too long, however, he/she may have already accepted a position elsewhere and may not be able to consider a quick transition.

Empty Positions Equal Lost Productivity

The longer a position remains vacant, the more your municipality will lose in lost productivity. If you attempt to assign additional work to the department employees who remain, at best they’ll be only partially effective in completing each role, and at worst, you’ll over-stress them until they seek alternate employment themselves.

Slower Hiring Processes Lead to Lower Quality Employees

You may think that if you take your time to thoroughly vet each candidate, that when you finally make an offer it will be to the highest caliber applicant, who will translate to the highest caliber employee. In reality, the slower your hiring process, the less productive and impactful will be the employee you’ll end up with.

This again is a result of the fact that better candidates stay on the market for shorter amounts of time, while lower quality candidates are more likely to remain hirable during a slow recruiting process. Such candidates may seem like your best option in the end, but may not actually bring the most impact to your community.

Slow Hiring Could Damage Your Reputation as a Well-Respected Employer

If a candidate has a bad experience with the application and hiring process with your municipality, it’s likely he/she will share that feedback with friends, family members, and neighbors. As a result, other members of your community may be less likely to consider applying for future positions. In the age of social media, a frustrated applicant who shares his/her experience on social media could further spread negative perceptions of your administration to an even greater audience.

Slow Hiring Slows Community Progress

Every position in your local government, from public works, to finance, to public safety, makes an impact on the lives of thousands, or even millions of citizens each day. When understaffed, key community projects will lack the resources for quality completion, and citizen requests will be responded to less quickly. When your municipality’s staffing can’t meet the needs of the community, your citizens will feel it, and they’ll be more likely to raise concerns in public forums—or on election day.

While it’s not possible to completely mitigate retirements and employee resignations, managers in government human resources can work to speed your hiring process. If you’re ready to streamline your recruitment workflows to ensure you’re hiring choice talent and best servicing the needs of your community, download our free white paper to learn how an ATS can help speed your hiring process, no matter the size of your community or human resources department.

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