What Are the Risks of a Delayed Recruitment Process?

Guest Author | Recruiting | Talent Acquisition | September 17, 2018

A delayed recruitment process is a serious problem. The risks of a delayed recruitment process include a negative impact on business productivity, revenue, existing employees’ engagement and company reputation.


The recruitment process in Australia

Australia’s skills-short marketplace is currently creating tough competition among businesses looking to recruit the best talent. In fact, according to Robert Half research, almost all Australian hiring managers (97%) say it is challenging to find qualified professionals – an indication of today’s high-demand, low-supply employment environment.


As companies go head-to-head in Australia’s increasingly limited talent pool, it has never been more important to master an efficient and seamless recruitment process.

Consequences of a delayed recruitment process?

When business success depends on building teams of skilled and highly talented professionals, companies need to act fast to secure finding and hiring the ideal job candidates or they risk losing them to the competition. Slow hiring practices, which result in lengthy delays to the recruitment process, can bring a series of negative consequences for companies.

The impact of a delayed recruitment process on business performance

Companies operating with long and convoluted hiring processes can experience several challenges which could affect their existing workforce, the company’s bottom line, or even future business opportunities. Delays in the recruitment process can not only damage a company’s reputation, but unfilled roles often have a direct impact on business productivity and revenue. 

Job vacancies left unfilled for prolonged periods can place an excess and unwelcome strain on existing teams because of increased workloads, knowledge gaps and skills shortfalls. At the same time, company revenue suffers when vacant roles lead to reduced sales, ineffective customer service experiences and poor performance through lack of project or team management.

The impact of lengthy hiring processes on future business opportunities shouldn’t be underestimated either. Inefficiencies perceived by clients and customers – whether administrative, sales, service or product related – all have the potential to tarnish a company’s wider reputation and image in the long-term.

Missing out on top candidates is the common risk of a delayed recruitment process

Right now, Australian businesses are waging a “war for talent” in a job market that sees the average jobseeker applying for as many as 22 roles on the hunt for one new opportunity. In this skills-short market, companies are under increasing commercial pressure to win the very best candidates in a bid to stay competitive and secure their future.

Companies that find the most suitable candidates must act fast to onboard new employees before they’re snapped up by the competition. While 38% of job seekers in the current market receive more than one job offer when looking for a new job, almost two-thirds (63%) have accepted another offer because they waited too long to hear about a preferred role.


The long-term business impacts of losing preferred candidates during the recruitment process are obvious, particularly when it comes to building a highly competitive workforce, but there are also other negative side-effects to consider. Starting the recruitment process from scratch will protract an already lengthy process which will continue to hamper team productivity in the short-term as well as increasing the overall cost of hiring

The real cost of vacant roles due to a delayed recruitment process

On average, 15% of advertised positions remain vacant for more than one month. Delayed recruitment processes which leave roles unfilled for prolonged periods are incredibly costly to companies – both financially and non-financially.

Job vacancies incur daily monetary costs, irrespective of whether those roles directly or indirectly generate revenue for the business. For example, while shortages of sales staff can lead to decreased sales, the time-to-market for revenue-generating products, services or enhancements could be impacted by the absence of project managers, developers or other support staff. Shortfalls in administrative staffing could even impact the ability of companies to produce new tender documents or finalize new business contracts in due course.

Aside from financial costs, roles that remain vacant for extended periods could become harder to fill because they look “stale” to talented job seekers searching for fresh and sought-after opportunities.

Meanwhile, unfilled positions can cause workforces to feel overworked with less resources, resulting in decreased motivation, lower morale and a potential increase in staff turnover. Company reputation can also be harmed when clients and customers experience unsatisfactory services, products or interactions because of knowledge gaps or poorly performing staff.

With 33% of Australian businesses saying there is too much competition and 36% saying they are losing candidates during the hiring process, a fast and streamlined recruitment process has become crucial to reducing the risks and spiraling costs of vacant roles.

The delayed recruitment process can damage a company’s reputation

The rise of reviewing platforms, such as Glassdoor and Google reviews, has made the company recruitment process more transparent than ever before. In fact, today, job seekers are far more likely to check out a company’s online reviews before deciding whether to apply for a job.

This means that you can use a company review sites to enhance your employer brand. On the other hand, prolonged recruitment practices have the potential to damage a company’s employer brand online with 43% of job seekers saying they would consider writing a bad review about an employer if the hiring process took too long.

Aside from online reviews, a company’s reputation can also be affected by traditional word-of-mouth interactions within the marketplace. Over half of job seekers (53%) say they would not recommend a company as an employer if they had not received a timely response about the status of their application for an advertised position.

Candidate experience in a delayed recruitment process

Applying for a new job is never easy; it’s a process that demands considerable time, effort, preparation and focus by talented candidates who are constantly looking for a surety the company they are applying to is right for them. When first impressions really count, it’s crucial for employers to deliver an exceptional candidate experience which starts from the moment a candidate applies for a job, right through to the interview phase.

Recruitment processes that are fraught with lengthy delays and a lack of communication and updates will make the application process even more daunting for astute job seekers and cause bad candidate experience. 53% of Australian jobseekers say slow feedback and lack of updates around the recruitment processes is their biggest frustration when applying for a role. This is closely followed by delayed decision-making by hiring managers (46%) and poor communication (44%).

Recruitment processes that are marked by inefficiencies and fail to deliver a great first impression are often viewed by the most talented job seekers as reflective of a poor employee experience. Consequently, this has the potential to put-off the many candidates today who are considering multiple roles.

The short-term solution for a delayed recruitment process: Hiring contract and temporary workers

As many as 64% of Australian hiring managers have hired a temporary staff member to fill a permanent role because the recruitment process was taking too long.

Difficulties finding the most suitable permanent employees might be inevitable in a low supply market, so hiring contract or temporary workers to manage workloads or projects could be a cost-effective and timely short-term solution.

By tapping into a wider pool of skilled professionals looking for temporary work, companies will avoid the risk of debilitating skills deficits caused by the shortage of permanent employees and consequential delays in hiring. Temporary workers will not only plug the immediate skills gap, but they will serve to alleviate excess workloads and pressures on existing teams. This means team morale remains unscathed throughout the entire recruitment process while important projects are always delivered on schedule.

Streamline the recruitment process to ensure your chances of securing the best candidate

Employers are in a fiercely competitive battle to find the right job candidates to take their businesses forward, and they cannot afford to alienate potential workers with long drawn-out hiring processes.

While multi-stage interviews might be unavoidable, a company’s recruitment process needs to be balanced against the expectations and frustrations of the job seekers themselves. Companies could well benefit from reviewing and, if necessary, streamlining their application and interview process to ensure that delays and other frustrations are not costing them the best candidates.

To further streamline the hiring process, there are tools such as Robert Half’s Candidate Browsing, where hiring managers can browse for suitable clients based on their specific recruitment needs. Talent in the database are vetted and awaiting their next career opportunity, so all you need to do is select the most suitable candidates. Tools like this can significantly reduce the time it takes to hire.

While it can take time to narrow down a large number of candidates and to conduct thorough interviews, if companies fail to adapt their recruitment process to the expectations of today’s candidates, they will increase the risk of losing out on the best talent on the market. Businesses need to conduct an in-depth review of their entire interview process from initial outreach to a final job offer, to ensure that they are striking the right balance for today’s candidates.

About the research

The research is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 460 hiring managers from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace. Additionally, an omnibus survey was carried out in December 2017 that surveyed 1,000 office workers in Australia.

About the author

David Jones is the Senior Managing Director for Robert Half Asia Pacific.

Frequently asked questions

What impact does a delayed recruitment process have on business productivity? 

Delays in hiring can significantly disrupt productivity, leading to missed deadlines and increased workload for existing staff.

How does a prolonged recruitment process affect a company's revenue? 

Extended vacancies can lead to revenue loss, as the unfilled positions might directly contribute to the company's income generation.

What is the impact of recruitment delays on employee morale? 

Existing staff may face burnout due to increased workloads, negatively affecting overall morale and job satisfaction.

How does a slow hiring process impact a company's reputation? 

A lengthy recruitment process can harm a company's image, deterring potential top candidates and customers who value efficiency and decisiveness.

What are the suggested solutions for prolonged hiring gaps? 

Utilizing temporary workers or interim solutions can help mitigate the adverse effects of unfilled positions during extended hiring processes.

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