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posted: 3/19/2017 7:13 AM

Study: You need 86 applicants to hire that one right person

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  • Finding new people, especially for a small business, is a long process. A new study shows that companies only offer invites for an initial conversation to 17 percent of all candidates.

    Finding new people, especially for a small business, is a long process. A new study shows that companies only offer invites for an initial conversation to 17 percent of all candidates.

 
 

Finding the right employee is not easy and a new study proves why.

According to research by recruiting software service Lever, a typical small business employing fewer than 200 people needs to go through an average of 86 applications to find that one right person for the job. The study looked at data from about 1.5 million candidate considerations and 15,000 hires at 600 of Lever's customers throughout most of 2016. Although reviewing that many candidates sounds like a lot of work, this rate is actually better than most larger companies, who need to see an average of 100 candidates before hiring someone.

Finding new people, especially for a small business, is a long process. The study shows that companies only offer invites for an initial conversation to 17 percent of all candidates. The group of applicants who get to the screening stage most often (almost 60 percent of the time) are those that come by way of referral or a staffing company. As employers, we turn down almost 90 percent of the people who just send us a resume directly. Those who make it to the on-site interview get an offer about 30 percent of the time.

Unfortunately, even when you've finally found the right person don't get your hopes up. The study found that 31 percent of those who were offered jobs declined them, with the worst offenders being engineers, product managers and business development people -- all who reject their offers about 60 percent of the time. The best acceptance rates come from, again, referrals.

The easiest people to hire, it seems, are sales people. Sales candidates are most likely to receive a screening (i.e., review) of their resume, and 44 percent of sales candidates progress from getting their resumes screened to receiving an on-site interview. They also require the fewest number of resume screenings. Best of all, 74 percent of sales people accept an offer when they get it.

So, the take-aways? Brace yourself to see a lot of people for that one job you're offering. If you're looking for good people, look to those you know. "This research shows businesses must simultaneously nurture their networks for referrals, source passive candidates, improve the quality of their incoming applications and have backup offers at the ready, said Sarah Nahm, chief executive and co-founder of Lever, in statement. " 'The smaller the team, the higher the stakes' and [small and medium-sized businesses] that apply this mentality to their hiring process will be the ones that succeed.

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