Top Kiwi candidates don’t wait around during long recruitment process: survey

New Zealand HR managers are losing qualified candidates to other opportunities due to a lengthy hiring process. Read more here.

  • 61% of New Zealand HR managers have lost a qualified candidate to another opportunity because of a lengthy hiring process, a figure that rises to 67% in large organisations [1]. 
  • 57% say the duration of the hiring process has increased over the past three years, rising to 66% in medium-sized organisations. 
  • More involvement from internal stakeholders (46%), increased candidate expectations (37%), qualified candidates becoming more challenging to find (33%) and the interview process increasing (33%) are cited as the top reasons for the increased duration of the hiring process.  

Independent research commissioned by specialised recruitment company Robert Half shows the duration of the recruitment process has increased over time, particularly within larger organisations. As more than six in ten (61%) New Zealand Human Resources (HR) managers have lost a qualified candidate to another opportunity due to a lengthy hiring process, companies need to act fast when hiring in order to secure top talent. 

Losing a candidate during a lengthy hiring process seems more common in large organisations. More than two-thirds (67%) of HR managers in large organisations say they have lost a candidate because the hiring process took too long compared to 62% in small companies and 55% in medium-sized organisations. The concern over losing a candidate is aggravated by the increasing duration of the hiring process, and more than half (57%) of HR leaders say the duration of the hiring process has increased compared to three years ago, which rises to 66% of HR managers within medium-sized organisations. 

Megan Alexander, General Manager Robert Half New Zealand said: “Companies who spend longer periods of time when hiring risk losing their preferred candidates, and as many top candidates are in contention for several roles, some aren’t willing to wait too long before accepting an offer. Savvy jobseekers are often acutely aware of their market value and may even receive multiple job offers, so companies need to act fast once they’ve found a match to gain a definite advantage over competing employers.”

When asked what the top three reasons are for the increased duration of the hiring process, almost half (46%) of HR leaders refer to the rise in the number of internal stakeholders involved, followed by 37% who say the expectations of the desired candidate have increased and 33% respectively who state that finding qualified candidates has become more challenging and the number of interview rounds has increased. 

“Employers naturally have high standards when hiring new employees, but looking for top-level performers who have all the need-to-have as well as the nice-to-have skills can often hinder the recruitment process and make it a lengthy process. In order to secure their preferred candidate before losing them to another opportunity, companies need to focus on finding a candidate who has the must-have skills and further develop their nice-to-have skills through professional training programs.”

“To avoid candidates becoming disenfranchised, organisations need to tighten the interview process by getting immediate feedback from the candidates to determine their level of interest as well as their salary expectations. By streamlining the hiring process from the top down, keeping communication lines open and timely informing candidates when they can expect to get an answer will help ensure the company doesn’t lose candidates during the recruitment process,” Megan Alexander concluded. 

The following question was asked to 100 New Zealand HR managers: “In your opinion, what are the three primary reasons for the increased duration of the hiring process compared to three years ago?”

More internal stakeholders are involved 46%
Expectations of the desired candidate have increased 37%
Finding qualified candidates has become more challenging 33%
Number of interview rounds has increased 33%
Number of CVs per job opening has increased 25%
More candidates have accepted other job offers 12%
No internal agreement about the desired candidate 5%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 New Zealand HR managers – three answers per respondent.

Here are some tips to help make the hiring process more efficient:

  • Agree on the budget: Agree on the remuneration package before you start interviewing candidates for the role, so you can sign off on an offer without having to consult other internal stakeholders.  
  • Confirm the job description: Know precisely what skills you are looking for in a candidate and finalise the job description and requirements of the role. Make a distinction between the competencies absolutely necessary for the job and the skills that can be further developed through training.  
  • Set a time limit on the interview process: Set out your hiring timeframe and stick to it. Try not to extend the timeframe with additional rounds of interviews – delaying the hiring process can reduce your odds that the candidate is still available when you make the offer.
  • Make it a team effort: Identify and include all relevant internal stakeholders and make sure expectations are aligned. Consider working with a specialised recruitment consultancy to find the best candidates.
  • Consider hiring temporary help: Is your team juggling several priorities while you’re looking for a new team member? Consider relieving this pressure by hiring temporary professionals to ease the burden during the hiring process. Or consider temporary contracts so you can assess the skills of the employee before offering him/her a permanent role. 


[1] Company Size Definitions

Number of staff in the respondent’s business

Small 50-249 staff
Medium 250-499 staff
Large 500+ staff


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted in April 2016 by an independent research company, surveying 100 HR managers in New Zealand. 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]