Hong Kong companies risk losing top IT candidates to slow hiring process

Robert Half research has found Hong Kong companies inadvertently risk missing out on top candidates because of a prolonged hiring process. Read more here.

Speed matters in an IT candidate-short market

  • 95% of Hong Kong CIOs are actively taking measures to reduce the length of their recruitment process of IT professionals.  
  • The average recruitment process length for IT professionals is three months for staff-level positions and four months for management-level positions. 
  • 48% cite too many interview rounds and 47% say a skills shortage are the main factors that delay the recruitment process. 
  • 92% find it challenging to source qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago. 

With Hong Kong companies on average taking several months to recruit new IT staff, they inadvertently add to the risk of missing out on top candidates because of a prolonged hiring process. New independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half has shown the average length of the hiring process for IT roles is three months for staff-level professionals and four months for management-level staff. However, the vast majority (95%) of Hong Kong CIOs are actively taking steps to reduce the length of their hiring process.

When asked what the mean reasons are contributing to delayed recruitment processes, almost half (48%) of Hong Kong CIOs cite too many interview rounds, closely followed by 47% who say the search for candidates with the right skills is challenging and 44% believe too many stakeholders are involved.

Confronted with a shortage of talent, the vast majority (92%) of CIOs find it more challenging to source qualified IT professionals compared to five years ago. Hong Kong CIOs find it particularly hard to source talent within IT security (52%), business transformation (41%), digitisation (40%) and IT management (37%), emphasising the need for CIOs to streamline the hiring process and act fast once they find a match.

Adam Johnston, Managing Director at Robert Half Hong Kong said: “Organisations understandably think investing more time during the hiring process is the best way to secure the right people for their teams. However, in a market characterised by extensive skills shortages, hiring managers who fail to make timely decisions are confronted with a number of consequences, most notably losing top candidates.”

“Companies often unnecessarily draw out the hiring process, adding days, weeks or even months to the recruitment process. And with Hong Kong being a globally competitive employment market, with many local jobseekers and expatriates acutely aware of their value within their respective industry, they are not likely to wait around during a lengthy hiring process – so companies need to act fast if they want to secure the right talent.”

The vast majority (95%) of Hong Kong CIOs are actively taking steps to boost their companies’ chances of securing top talent and reducing the length of the hiring process. Almost half (48%) of Hong Kong CIOs have set up a pipeline of qualified candidates so they don’t have to restart the hiring process from scratch if required. More than four in 10 (45%) have improved their communication with candidates about the recruitment process in order to keep them engaged in the process and one in five (20%) are conducting more initial interviews via phone or video conferencing to be able to create a shortlist of preferred candidates faster. 

In addition, to offset future delays in the recruitment process, one in three (33%) respectively are planning to limit the number of internal stakeholders involved, reducing the number of interview rounds and conducting more teleconference interviews. 

“To streamline the recruitment process, hiring managers should identify where the delays in the process are coming from and take proactive steps to address the problem. This will not only increase the efficiency of the hiring process, but also the chances of landing a company’s preferred candidate. By having a well-defined hiring process with a limited number of internal stakeholders and interview rounds, companies can ensure they are on the front foot to win the IT war for talent,” Adam Johnston concluded.  


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted in July 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 75 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]