What Is the Average Time to Hire?

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Posted by: David Garcia June 02, 2024

Finding the right candidate for a role can be time-consuming, and sometimes it simply takes too long. You need someone to fill the position now rather than later. Otherwise, you risk hampering productivity so severely that the whole team can take a hit.

The average time to hire doesn’t affect just the position you’re filling but also the adjacent roles that depend on it. The good news for hiring managers is that there are ways to reduce the time without cutting corners and lowering your quality standards for candidates. Your hiring process should be thorough and rigorous, but it doesn’t have to take forever.

In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the average time to hire. Follow our top nine tips below and close that gap between application and employment.

What Is Time to Hire?

The term ‘time to hire’ refers to how long it takes for an applicant to move from the application stage to onboarding as an employee. It’s an essential metric that businesses use to measure how much time they need to replace a staff member.

If you find that your time to hire is significant, this may indicate inefficiency within your business. Luckily, there are ways to remedy this.

What’s the Average Time to Hire?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average time to hire is around 36 days, though it varies significantly between industries. Some workplaces require more thorough background screening for their candidates than others, which increases the time to hire. Other variables include the scarcity of candidates and how specialized the role is.

Why Is it Important to Measure Time to Hire?

A great team drives all successful businesses. Assembling that team relies on an effective hiring process from start to finish, and your time to hire is central to that.

Candidates want to start their new job as soon as possible. A long, drawn-out employment can discourage even the most eager applicants, who may look elsewhere for more immediate gains.

A prolonged hiring process is not only frustrating but also shows disorganization. You don’t want to give the best candidates the wrong impression. The hiring process is an opportunity to make an impression on the right candidate as much as it is a chance for the applicant to impress the employer.

Beyond the impact on the candidate, the time to hire is also necessary to measure productivity. The longer a position sits open, the more that the tasks for that position go unfulfilled or become a burden on another employee. The costs of vacancy can be detrimental, with the trickle-down effect leading to potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

Measuring the time to hire allows companies to identify how to make hiring processes more efficient to quickly fill vacancies or new positions.

8 Steps for Reducing Time to Hire

Minimizing how long it takes for an applicant to become a fully-fledged employee is beneficial to everyone. Listed below are our top eight tips on reducing time to hire, which you can put in place immediately.

1. Reevaluate Your Current Process

The first thing you need to do is know fully understand your hiring process, including what works and what doesn’t. This information will give you a foundation to build on what works and what could work with some changes.

Some questions you should ask yourself when evaluating include:

  • How long does your hiring process currently take?
  • How does your time to hire compare to others in your industry?
  • How long does it take for candidates to move through each stage of your hiring process?
  • How often do applicants drop out during the hiring process?

The answers to these questions will provide you with a roadmap of what you need to improve.

2. Network Among Potential Candidates

Much emphasis is put on candidates when it comes to networking, but employers should do their share of networking too.

Attending relevant conferences and engaging with recruiting networks (especially on LinkedIn) can keep you in contact with ideal candidates without needing an application process.

You can significantly reduce your time to hire if you take out the advertisement portion. If you effectively network, you can find the perfect candidate before you strictly need one.

3. Create a Structured Hiring Timeline

Making it up as you go along is a perfect way to draw out the process. If you have a structured plan from the beginning, your HR department can take a candidate from one stage to the next with minimal complication.

A typical structure simply follows the formula below:

  1. Job ad posted
  2. Applications reviewed
  3. Invite appropriate candidates to a phone interview (optional)
  4. Invite successful candidates to a face-to-face interview
  5. Perform background check
  6. Set an official start date with chosen candidate

Of course, your roadmap will be far more specific to your needs, but having this template on hand can help you to visualize what you need to do next.

4. Optimize Your Job Listing

A big part of your time to hire will involve finding the right candidate, which starts with the job posting.

Some roles are flooded with applications, meaning you can go right ahead and offer an interview. Others aren’t so fortunate, and the job posting may circulate for months without garnering suitable applicants.

A job listing with all the right components will attract applicants. Some of this should be a given, like listing the job title, requirements, and other need-to-know information. But the best job posts are adverts for the company itself, conveying the company culture and benefits that prospective employees can expect.

5. Streamline the Application Process

Complicated application processes are unnecessary and will likely drive the right candidate away. The bulk of what you need to know about your candidate will come from their resumé and the interviews.

You don’t need to force applicants to fill out a lengthy questionnaire about their personality traits and reactions to hypothetical situations before advancing to the next round. It’s time-consuming and, frankly, quite irritating.

Keep the application process simple and effective. Your time to hire will drop, and your candidates will thank you.

6. Use Application Tracking Software

Instead of manually keeping on top of everything, utilize application tracking software (or ATS). Depending on the software you use, you could automate application vetting, compliance-checking, and even interview booking without ever lifting a finger.

If you advertise a position that gets hundreds of applications, the proper ATS could save you from having to go through them one at a time.

7. Speed Up the Interview Process

By this, we don’t mean that you should ask questions quickly and immediately usher the candidate out of the door. You should take your time at the interview to get to know your applicant. Instead, we mean that you should arrange the consultation as soon as possible.

It shouldn’t take weeks for you both to agree to a suitable date. The sooner you get them in, the sooner you can decide whether to offer them the role or not.

8. Outsource Background Checks 

In-house background checks can take weeks, especially if the role requires not just pre-employment verification but also education screening, credit checks, SSN verification, and more.

Outsourcing this critical step in the hiring process lets your team focus on other tasks—like the interview. Ideally, you can jumpstart the background verification screening as soon as you have narrowed down the candidate pool to the top applicants.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, reducing your time to hire requires making minor changes to each step of the hiring process. It’s a cumulative thing, and you might surprise yourself with how much time you can save just by making little changes here and there.

At ScoutLogic, we understand the importance of finding the right candidate as quickly as possible. That’s why we make it our aim to give you the most efficient background screening possible without cutting any corners.

If you have any questions about our screening process, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experts would be happy to help!

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