How to improve time-to-hire in finance and banking 

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Time-to-hire in finance and banking is often much slower than it should be, which makes it harder and harder to hire the right people. Keep reading to unpick why that’s happening and three practical ways to turn the tide and start hiring faster. 

A protracted time-to-hire can drive up recruitment costs, exacerbate pressure on existing staff, threaten customer service, hurt employee morale, and ultimately mean the firm is worse-placed to compete. 

But many finance organisations are struggling to get people into positions fast, with time-to-hire spiralling. Let’s talk about what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how you can fix it. 

Finance organisations lag on time-to-hire

Last year, the Josh Bersin Company and AMS conducted research into time-to-hire across industries, analysing over a quarter-million hires in 2022 and 2023. They found significance variance between industries, with finance, banking, and professional services coming out badly. 

  • On average across all industries it takes an average of 44 days to hire—an all-time high, and an increase from 43 days only a year before.

  • Professional services time-to-hire is nearly 7% higher than the global average, at 47 days. 

  • Consumer banking matches this global average but shows one of the biggest increases, with time-to-hire increasing by two days over the year. 

  • Investment banking has extreme variance in time-to-hire, from 21 days to more than 60 days. That’s a variance of 186%. 

These stats suggest that hiring for banking and finance is hard and getting harder, especially for hard-to-fill roles. 

The amount of variance isn’t any huge surprise either, given the wide range of roles most finance recruiters are juggling. Hiring entry-level bank tellers or back-office support staff is always going to be faster and easier than hiring, say, a senior compliance director with expertise across EMEA and APAC.

These slow (and slowing) hiring times are making life harder and harder for finance recruiters. They threaten your ability to win talent, derail the candidate experience, exacerbate hiring pressure, and ultimately mean you don’t have the right people to deliver for customers and clients. 

Why are finance firms so slow to hire?

The answer is a combination of external and internal factors—some that are easier to take control over than others.

Skills shortages create a difficult external environment…

The biggest external factor slowing time-to-hire for finance and banking is skills shortages. Partially, it’s taking longer to hire because it’s getting harder to find the right people. 

Most financial organisations need to hire emerging capabilities like cloud computing, AI, crypto, and cyber-security but there’s a limited supply of these skills. ICAEW report that 28% of finance execs believe not having the right skills is a problem for the adoption of new technologies, for example.  

That’s creating a hyper-competitive, candidate-driven environment that makes hiring hard. Securing people for your hardest-to-fill roles takes herculean effort, and almost as long as a Homeric epic.

… but slow internal processes can play a huge part

Skills shortages are an undeniably large factor causing slow time-to-hire—but  finance firms and banks can’t fall back on skills shortages as an excuse. Slow internal hiring processes often have to shoulder much of the blame too. 

Yes, it’s critical to hire the right people. Hiring mistakes in finance have an enormous cost—so it’s important to be cautious about who you hire. But are you making recruitment decisions fast enough? 

Great people are in high demand across the finance space. That means they’re usually getting lots of offers. If you’re not getting your own offers out fast, you’re likely losing out to faster competitors.

How to improve finance and banking time-to-hire 

Here are three practical ways to improve time-to-hire in the finance sector. 

1. Increase employer branding and job advertising spend 

There’s a separate conversation here about how the finance sector as a whole can address systemic talent shortages. But as an individual finance recruiter, you can’t do much to increase the skills pool you’re fishing in. 

That means you’ll need to get better at fishing.

You’ll need to increase your reach, to make sure your total addressable candidate market hears about your opportunities. And then increase your desirability, to encourage those candidates to choose you over your competitors. That’ll typically take an increase in investment into your core branding and advertising activities.  

2. Review your end-to-end recruitment process 

Work as a strategic partner for the organisation, examining your recruitment process from start to finish to understand how the function could better serve the business.

As finance recruiter Paul Card puts it:

“Recruiting faster doesn’t mean abandoning your standards when choosing the correct candidate. Instead, it means reworking your process so you can make intelligent decisions quickly.”

Look for your time-to-hire slow spots, then you can start to investigate and address root causes. For example:

  • Do you review and shortlist CVs fast enough? If not, why not? Are the role requirements clear? Is your hiring software causing delays? Is your team understaffed? Are specific roles causing problems? 

  • Do hiring managers book and hold interviews fast enough? If not, why not? Do they know what they should be doing? Are they held accountable? Do you really need seventeen interview stages? 

3. Evaluate your background screening partners

One of the highest-impact, lowest-effort ways to speed up time-to-hire in finance is reviewing background screening processes. If you drill into your data, you’ll typically find that background screening is an enormous chunk of time-to-hire. 

Complex checks and balances are unavoidable as a finance recruiter—rightfully so, given the importance of hiring people you can trust. But these processes are often far slower and clunkier than they need to be. 

This situation seems to have flown under the radar for many finance organisations, who accept these old-school processes as a fact of life. That’s not the case. 

Yes, you need robust, compliant, and certain background screening processes. But do you use modern screening providers who leverage technology to make the process swift, seamless, and simple? It’s an easy win for faster hiring. 

Hear how Ocorian reduced the pre-employment checks process from 3 months to six weeks by partnering with Veremark: Watch the case study.  

Financial recruitment is hard—but there’s plenty you can improve 

Financial recruitment is hard, no two ways about it. But it would be a mistake to attribute all those challenges to external factors outside your immediate control. 

Yes, skills shortages are an undeniable issue. Yes, many roles are hard-to-fill and getting harder constantly. But all finance recruiters are swimming in much the same pond—and some are laps ahead while others struggle to keep heads above water. 

Challenging operating conditions aside, your internal recruitment processes make a huge difference. And they’re something you can easily start to take control over. 

Talk to Veremark about safe, swift screening that can knock weeks off your time-to-hire. Learn more about Veremark for finance and banking.

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What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

8 Screening Essentials for the Finance Sector

How to hire the top talent first – without risk to your business

For banks looking to recruit top talent, where every decision carries significant implications, pre-employment background screening is an essential way to safeguard both the rights of the candidate and the wider interests of the organisation. This guide focuses on 8 background checks, essential for hiring within the financial sector, to show you how to validate candidate credentials and set up your systems for safe and successful hiring.

In this report, we discuss:

- The hiring landscape in the financial sector

- The 8 checks we recommend carrying out

- How to streamline your hiring process

Download this guide today to find out how to hire faster and create better hiring outcomes.

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