Hong Kong jobseekers forced to turn down a dream job after businesses leave them hanging

Robert Half research has found long, complex recruitment processes are harming businesses’ chances of securing top talent. Read more here.

  • 72% of Hong Kong jobseekers have accepted a second-choice job offer because their preferred employer took too long to make a hiring decision.
  • 27% have waited six weeks or more to hear back from a potential employer after an interview.
  • 88% believe it is reasonable to wait up to one month – from initial application to getting a final offer.

Long, complex recruitment processes are harming businesses’ chances of securing top talent, according to independent research commissioned by Robert Half. According to the study of 500 Hong Kong jobseekers, more than seven in 10 (72%) of candidates have taken a second-choice job offer because their preferred employer took too long to give them an answer.
 

With more than seven in 10 (72%) jobseekers saying they lose interest in the role if the hiring process takes too long, the research has found that hiring managers are taking their time to get back to jobseekers. More than half (54%) of candidates have waited longer than a month to hear back about a role for which they have interviewed, while 27% have waited longer than six weeks – and 21% even over two months. Merely 6% got feedback on the same day. 

 

This contrasts sharply with candidates’ expectations of the hiring process. The overall majority (88%) believe it is reasonable to wait up to one month – from initial application to getting a final offer. Only 12% think it’s acceptable to wait for over a month.
 
“Hong Kong companies are in a fierce war for talent and are competing to find the right skills and talent. To take their business forward, employers cannot afford to alienate potential workers with long drawn-out hiring processes,” said Adam Johnston, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong.   

“High-calibre jobseekers know they are in demand, so the fact that so many of Hong Kong’s jobseekers are turning down their dream job because they’ve been left waiting for so long is concerning.”

“The process of narrowing down candidates during the hiring process can be time-consuming. However, if hiring mangers 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,” continued Adam Johnston. “To strike the right balance for today’s candidates, businesses need to conduct an in-depth review and streamline their entire interview process from initial outreach to final job offer.”

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About the research
The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in December 2017-January 2018 by an independent research company among 500 jobseekers in Hong Kong.

  • 99% of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee that did not meet expectations, primarily because of underqualified candidates (48%), a mismatch of skills (39%) and candidates found to be lying on their CVs (28%).
  • 41% had to let the employee at hand go, while 33% respectively re-started the recruitment process and partnered with a staffing agency to secure a replacement.
  • Employers cite increased workload for colleagues (53%), increased stress on colleagues and managers (39%), and higher recruitment costs (33%) as the biggest consequences of a bad hire.

New independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows the majority (99%) of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee that did not meet expectations, and more than one in three (37%) took just two weeks to discover that they have hired the wrong person.

According to the study of 150 CFOs, 37% typically realise within a fortnight that a new hire is not meeting expectations. The most common reasons given were underqualified candidates (48%), a mismatch of skills (39%) and candidates found to be lying on their CVs (28%).

What to do with a bad hire?

When asked what steps they took to address the poor hiring decision(s), 41% of CFOs say they terminated the employee contract, whilst 33% respectively re-started the recruitment process from scratch and partnered with a staffing agency to secure a replacement. Close to one-third (31%) of finance employers decided to deal with the matter internally by looking for an internal vacancy the candidate would be better suited for and 30% developed a training program to develop the employee’s skills to the desired level. Still less than one in four (23%) adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach to see if the employee’s performance would improve.

The cost of a bad hire

Hiring the wrong person for the job can significantly impact the organisation. The top three consequences of a bad hire according to finance employers are increased workload for colleagues (53%), increased stress on colleagues and managers (39%) and higher recruitment costs (33%). Other cited negative consequences include increased workloads for managers (27%), lost productivity (26%) and low staff morale (23%).

Bad hires can be highly costly for companies, though many Hong Kong companies struggle with accurately calculating the cost of hiring the wrong person. While 11% say they don’t track these costs, almost half (47%) fail to compile all the data in a single overview. Almost three in 10 (29%) say some costs are not accurately measurable and 9% admit they have not looked at doing it. Merely 3% say they do not find it challenging.

Adam Johnston, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong said: “Businesses go to great lengths to find the right candidate, but the cost of not hiring an adequate employee can be significant. Whether organisations decide to terminate their employment or invest in additional training, it will impact the company financially and can cause significant disruption and stress to the existing workforce, indicating the importance of getting it right.”

“While some factors, such as cultural fit, attitude, or even the credibility of candidates’ qualification or experience, can be challenging to account for in an interview; an experienced interviewer and a rigorous hiring process can prevent a wrong hire to take place, such as by asking the right questions, thoroughly testing skills and meticulous reference checking. Employers would benefit from reviewing their hiring policies to ensure they strike the right balance between efficiency and rigour,” concluded Adam Johnston.

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About the research

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 150 CFOs in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace. >

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