It is that time of year when retailers begin hiring thousands of contract workers to meet consumer demand. Last month, UPS announced it would hire 100,000 seasonal workers, and there were similar stories from Target, Walmart, Macy’s and Amazon. With the race for talent — and the mega retail outlets coming in for the lion’s share — contingent workforce programs with similar needs had better be fast in their hiring practices!

How fast can you realistically go? UPS also announced last month they have significantly reduced the hiring time to 25 minutes, shaving five minutes from its 2021 time to hire. To achieve this speed to hire, UPS removed the interview process. And it makes sense. If the company is turning to staffing companies to help fill these roles — suppliers that are adept at sourcing, screening and matching candidates to clients with similar roles with similar profiles — most of the upfront work has already been done. If UPS is not using staffing companies, then it is definitely utilizing technology with artificial intelligence that can screen candidates faster in five minutes than recruiters could do in an hour. Either way, it’s key to remember that we are in a talent-driven market, so if a candidate shows interest in a job, and they don’t receive an offer quickly, they will move to the next open opportunity — and you will have lost that resource.

Does this make your process-driven mind worry whether you can really be successful skipping the interview process? According to the same article by UPS, approximately one-third of the seasonal workers selected last year ended up becoming full-time employees after the holidays. It’s also important to note that UPS is known as a brand that offers great pay and contributes to employee health, wellness and pension plans — which means, in addition to a speedy hiring process, you also may need to incentivize your candidates in order to compete in the race for talent.

Make It Seamless

Even if the UPS “no interview” process does not work for your organization, you can still look at ways to shave time off the overall process. Here are several ways to do that.

Application difficulty. In a conversation with a VMS partner, many postings on job boards do not always integrate into a company’s application portal. Performing duplicate work in several systems to apply for a job is frustrating and time-consuming for candidates. Take a look at your integrations and ensure the candidate application process is intuitive and seamless.

Job matching. If a person has applied for your job and has most but not all of the skills required, can upskilling help get them fully qualified? Spending days looking for the perfect candidate means losing out on the almost perfect candidate. And let’s be honest, no one is perfect.

Interviews. If an interview is still necessary for qualifying cultural fit and technical expertise, consider the number of interviews required to make a hiring decision. Remove multiple one-person interviews and trust your colleagues’ hiring ability. Or better yet, conduct panel interviews with candidates so that everyone is hearing the same responses to the questions asked. Nothing slows a process or aggravates a candidate more than dragging it out over days or playing calendar bingo squeezing all interested parties into a time slot.

Offer paperwork. If you are not utilizing electronic capabilities, this is something to consider. DocuSign is a great way to read, insert signatures and submit paperwork; this is just one of many tools available. And if your company already uses electronic capabilities for paperwork completion, you may want to review the number of documents required. Less is more in this category.

Background checks. The background part of the process is becoming more streamlined as well. Years ago, the normal turnaround for results was expected to be two weeks. Today, there are background screening companies that guarantee results sooner. Check around the market to determine if your current company is returning results as quickly as others.

Meanwhile, consider whether the background check step needs to be completed ahead of the job offer or whether it can it be in process while the person starts the job. Or can pieces be completed while others are pending? I’ve heard drug tests are becoming less required by many companies — especially for marijuana use, given legislation in many US states governing such testing for employment purposes. If the job requires managing equipment, drug tests are likely required. But if the job doesn’t require mechanical operations, perhaps drug testing isn’t worth the upfront time investment if it means losing applicants to faster competitors.

What about education or references? Is a college degree really required? While it may be required for some roles, perhaps a certification or demonstrated experience is adequate for others, so consider not having a certain educational level as a blanket requirement. And references typically provide vague confirmations of dates of employment and eligible-to-rehire responses, so skipping this step and making your own decision may be a viable option versus waiting for references to respond.

Can you emulate UPS and streamline your processes to bring candidates in the door more quickly? I hope this article provided some ideas on how you can do just that and win the race for talent.