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Recruiting is no longer a waiting game. Thanks to a healthy job market and an increasingly limited talented pool, recruiters are now racing to find, engage, and secure candidates.

From the moment an application is received, recruiters are on the clock to make the first move, schedule interviews, and even make an offer. What’s more, many employers are trying to get it all done within 72 hours! Recruiters who miss out on this “magic window” risk losing candidates to the numerous other opportunities available in today’s job market.

According to data we’ve collected at Talentify, companies lose 20 percent of their applicants after 72 hours. Every day after that, 10 percent more leave the pipeline until less than half of original applicants will even respond to requests or emails. Engaging candidates within this 72-hour window is even more essential for recruiters in the service industry, where employees are needed for immediate start.

Here is how companies can pick up the pace and secure more candidates within the three-day magic window:

Don’t Hire All at Once — Stagger Jobs and Allocate Resources Accordingly

A company must first identify how many applications a recruiter can successfully manage at the same time within 72 hours. This number will really depend on the company and its hiring process. At Talentify, we have seen recruiters successfully manage anywhere from 10 to 100 applications in this time frame.

Then, the company should redesign resource allocation based on the number of applications rolling in. For example, we once worked with a large merchandising company that relied on a two-step process that simply wasn’t working out. Once the company restructured its teams, however, recruitment and onboarding speed increased significantly. By allocating team members to different tasks, the company was able to source, call, schedule, interview, and send candidates to work within 72 hours.

Staggering jobs, particularly when hiring at scale, can also optimize recruitment efforts. Say a company has to hire 500 new employees for the month. Rather than putting out all positions at once, the company could start with 100. Recruiters would front-load all of their time and resources into this first batch to successfully recruit within the magic window. When the next 100 positions are pushed out, recruiters will already have good leads to fill those positions as well.

Touch Base Immediately

To reel in candidates as quickly as possible, recruiters need to start a conversation the moment an application is received. This can be done through chatbots and/or automated emails delivering a message like, “Thanks for applying! We would love to learn more about you.” When a candidate receives a message the moment their application is received, they will feel assured the company is truly invested in them. This, in turn, deters the candidate from taking another opportunity elsewhere.

These initial interactions also create the foundation for future candidate engagement and help close the position within the magic window. For example, rather than waiting to schedule an interview, recruiters can use these messages to assess candidates right away by asking them to answer a set of questions, e.g., “You look like you would be a good fit for this position. Would you please record a video of yourself answering these three questions?” The faster recruiters can prescreen candidates, the more likely they are to make the hire within 72 hours.

Make Tech an Integral Part of Your Process

Relying heavily on tech is the only way recruiters can source, screen, and hire candidates within the magic window. In fact, thanks to the pressures exerted by online job boards and professional networking sites where candidates can apply with the click of a button, manual recruiting isn’t an option for most employers anymore.

Artificial intelligence solutions, such as chatbots, can greatly help speed up hiring, thanks to their ability to engage and screen candidates around the clock. With AI-enabled tech assessing candidates all night long, recruiters can arrive at the office in the morning ready to make calls, continue discussions, and arrange interviews and start dates.

Given the booming job market and the number of open positions it contains, all companies today must prioritize recruitment efficiency.  Those recruiters harnessing the right tech and pulling the right resources together will be able to engage candidates — and even make hires — within the 72-hour magic window. Those recruiters still relying on outdated methods risk losing all their best candidates to those who have changed with the times.

Othamar Gama Filho is the founder and CEO of Talentify Inc.

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