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Everyone involved in any recruitment process dreams of a speedy and efficient result. On the one hand, candidates want to know if they’re successful and, if they’re not – why. On the other hand, for employees vacant roles mean lost money, lower productivity and employee morale.

Unfortunately, a swift resolution of a recruitment process is often not possible and those delays can be detrimental to everyday businesses operations. 

Long gaps in communication, an inefficient interview structure or misaligned expectations often push candidates to start looking for opportunities elsewhere, leaving the company without a good fit for the role.

A high time to hire can be costly for any business by negatively impacting their reputation and stumping growth. Therefore, it is imperative that you, not only introduce time to hire as a metric in your recruitment analytics efforts, but also invest time and resources into improving it.

What is Time to Hire?

Recruiters often use the terms "time to fill" and "time to hire" metrics interchangeably, but they actually measure different time periods within the recruitment process and provide different insights for companies to improve.

  • Time to fill refers to the number of days it takes from the beginning of the hiring process (i.e., from the day the job ad is posted) to the day the chosen candidate accepts the job offer and signs the contract.
  • Time to hire focuses on the candidate's journey, from entering the recruitment funnel, being shortlisted and interviewed, to accepting the job offer.

Measuring both time to fill and time to hire can show how quickly the recruitment process is bringing in new hires, but looking at time to hire reveals more about the Candidate Experience the process is providing. Specifically about which parts of the process are slowing things down or causing top candidates to lose interest and pursue other opportunities. 

How to Reduce Time to Hire?

Perfect the Job Advertisement

A well-written job advertisement has the power to attract the best candidates. It should appeal to individuals, compel them to apply, and pique their curiosity about the prospect of working at your organization. 

To create a powerful advertisement like this, you must structure it as you would create buyer personas for your products. Consider the kind of person you want to hire, define their candidate profile and build the job description around it.

Ultimately, taking the time to understand the type of candidate you wish to hire allows you to be specific when writing the job post. In addition, the post must include the following:

  • The requirements or skills necessary for the role.
  • Specific job-related information, such as whether it is remote or office-based, or what daily tasks can be expected of the right candidate.
  • An overview of the type of company you are, including its values, culture, and history. This gives potential candidates an idea of the organization and how they fit into the company culture.

By doing so, you provide candidates with the transparency and clarity necessary for them to decide whether they would be well-suited for the role.

Formatting the job ad is also crucial to its success. The design of your advertisement must be easy to navigate, with bullet points and lists making information easily digestible. 

A Glassdoor survey revealed that 56% of their users are browsing job openings on their mobile. Interestingly, mobile users are completing 53% fewer applications as the time to complete is 80% longer on mobile. 

Therefore, making the advertisement easily readable and the application process mobile-friendly will ensure that candidates have everything they need to apply, unlike a lot of your competition.

When you advertise your roles smartly, you can stop wasting time with unsuitable candidates. A successful and time-efficient hiring process begins by identifying the desired candidate profile and communicating it effectively.

Identify the Most Effective Sources

If your time to hire score is on the high side, identifying the most effective sourcing channel might be the first step to improving the speed of the recruitment process.

Using quality of source as a recruitment KPI gives companies an overview of the efficiency of the various channels they’re using to advertise their open positions.

By reviewing previous recruitment processes, you may notice patterns of where you sourced previously successful candidates and the job sites or referral programs that worked best. By comparing the number of high-quality candidates by source, your recruitment process can become more surgical in its approach. 

Consequently, you will be able to pinpoint the most effective channel. In return, focusing your efforts on sources that have yielded the best results in the past will result in faster recruitment processes and reduced cost per hire.

Consider Putting More Effort into Your Social Media Presence

Today, social media is a great way of attracting passive interest. 

By creating a more prominent social media presence, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even TikTok, potential candidates will have an insight into what it’s like to work at your company.

Establishing a regular posting schedule will allow you to promote your values and the opportunities available. The more exposure, the higher the possibility that the right candidate will see it and apply. 

Ideally, the more you share, the less you'll have to do to attract people to job postings when they are up. Since 79% of job seekers use social media in their job search, a strong social media presence is likely to make sourcing candidates a thing of the past.

Implement a Referral Scheme

Having a referral scheme can reduce your time to hire by 40%. The ROI of implementing a structure for your existing employees to refer their friends for open positions at your company is a no-brainer.

Actually, not only will employee referrals shorten your time to hire, they also have the potential of finding more qualified candidates.

In addition, hiring candidates who have been referred by your existing employees has a positive impact on company culture, promoting engagement and collaboration among employees, all the while increasing their sense of ownership and accountability.

In fact, 70% of businesses agree that referred candidates have the best culture fit for their working environment.

Referrals Let You Tap into a Pool of Passive Job Seekers

Employee referrals can help attract passive candidates who might not be actively looking for new opportunities, but would be open to joining a company that values employees and their contributions.

By leveraging the power of employee referrals, you can tap into a wider pool of talent, improve your hiring outcomes, and create a more motivated and committed workforce. 

Automate Time-Consuming Tasks

As businesses continue to grow, so do their recruitment needs. Technology can help automate and streamline the recruitment process at every stage, ultimately reducing the time needed to hire a new employee.

The avalanche of layoffs triggered by budget cuts for many companies in the latter part of 2022 and well into 2023 has left many talent acquisition teams with one sentiment: doing more with less.

Recruiters and hiring teams are often stretched to their limits of productivity, sometimes having to fill hundreds of positions simultaneously. The trend is clear: the bigger the company, the more open positions it will have and – unfortunately – the longer their time to hire.

For example, a report by the University of Chicago found that companies with 5,000+ employees had an average time-to-hire score of 58 days. This is more than double of the national average of 25 days and all the more a reason to invest in the automation of some processes.

An average recruitment process involves multiple steps: CV screening, skill assessments, interviews, meetings, contract negotiations, answering questions about the company and the role… these are only some of the time-consuming activities involved in most hiring processes.

The first step to reduce your time to hire is to identify the stages that are contributing to a delay and find the tool to increase their efficiency.

For example, AI-powered software can help recruitment teams complete their tasks far more efficiently than an individual would manually. 

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can help you filter through CVs based on specific qualifications, schedule interviews to suit both your recruitment team’s and candidates’ calendars and manage alignment across all stakeholders involved in the hiring process (e.g. recruiters, hiring managers and talent acquisition leads).

Candidate Experience Analytics Tools, such as Starred, can help you collect, measure and analyze direct candidate feedback and identify areas that could be contributing to bottlenecks that elongate your overall time to hire score.

And by delegating the time-consuming activities to a dedicated tool, you will be able to focus on the personal aspect of recruitment and creating a positive Candidate Experience by:

  • Screening candidates
  • Sending emails
  • Checking in with candidates at key touch points during the process

Read More: Top 2023 Recruitment Trends for Talent Acquisition Specialists

Optimize the Interview Process

Evaluating your interview process can also uncover specific bottlenecks that might be contributing to an extended time to hire. 

A time-consuming and inefficient interview structure can delay hiring and push candidates to withdraw their application, while a streamlined interview can help recruiters identify the most suitable candidates faster, making the overall hiring process more effective.

You can start optimizing the interview stage of your recruitment process and reducing your time to hire in 3 easy steps:

  • Establish clear interview stages. Break down the interview process into specific stages and create a structured framework to evaluate candidates quickly and accurately. For example, having a phone screening to quickly assess a candidate’s fit for the role before inviting them for a face-to-face interview can save time for both the recruiter and the candidate.
  • Use standardized questions. A predetermined set of standardized questions can help interviewers evaluate each candidate fairly and consistently, all the while identifying specific competencies required for the job. This approach makes the interview process more objective and accurate, ensuring a consistent Candidate Experience throughout all your recruitment efforts.
  • Minimize unnecessary interviews. Too many interviews can lead to an unnecessarily high time to hire, putting off top candidates who may accept offers elsewhere. For example, if a candidate has already been interviewed by several people in the organization, additional interviews with the same people may be redundant. You should consider consolidating feedback from relevant stakeholders and conducting a final interview with the candidate instead.

Why is Reducing Time to Hire Important?

Hiring the right candidates for your job openings in 2023 is a race. With competition coming at job seekers (both active and passive) from all directions, time is of the essence.

In a tight job market, candidates have more options than ever before, and delays in the recruitment process can lead to losing top talent to competitors. Companies that take too long to fill job openings risk losing qualified candidates to other organizations that can move faster and make job offers more quickly.

A drawn-out recruitment process can push applicants to decide their professional future lies elsewhere, or even worse, make them feel disrespected by the organization and negatively affect their perception of the brand. This negative perception can even lead them to stop using the company’s services, contributing to lost revenue.

For instance, Virgin Media discovered that negative candidate experience in the recruitment process was literally causing them to lose revenue every year. At least £4.4/$5.4 million, to be exact.

Moreover, reducing time to hire can have a significant impact on an organization's bottom line. The longer a position remains unfilled, the greater the productivity loss for the company. Vacancies can lead to a backlog of work and extra strain on existing employees, ultimately leading to burnout and decreased job satisfaction. Reducing time to hire can also help you save costs associated with lengthy recruitment processes, such as advertising, screening, and interviewing candidates.


In Short

Time to hire is a crucial metric for any recruitment process as it shows how long it takes to bring in new hires and reveals insights into Candidate Experience.

To reduce time to hire, companies can perfect job advertisements by identifying the desired candidate profile, writing job descriptions with relevant information, and making the job post mobile-friendly and easily readable.

Identifying the most effective sources of recruitment and implementing a referral scheme can also reduce time to hire.

Automating time-consuming tasks with technology such as AI-powered software, ATS, and Candidate Experience Analytics Tools can increase efficiency and reduce time to hire.

Optimizing the interview process by establishing clear interview stages, using standardized questions, and minimizing unnecessary interviews can help identify the most suitable candidates quickly.

Reducing time to hire is important in 2023 as competition for job seekers is high, delays in the recruitment process can lead to losing top talent to competitors, and negative Candidate Experience can lead to lost revenue and decreased job satisfaction.

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