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time to hire

Factors affecting your time to hire

Time-to-hire efficiency is essential to enlisting top job candidates and filling vital roles in today’s talent-driven labor market.

When the demand for talent exceeds the supply of qualified job seekers, every day counts in recruitment. There is no denying that the pandemic and subsequent Great Resignation left a crater in the workforce, and there are no signs that their collective impact will soon be smoothed over.

The urgency of hiring time

At the Great Resignation’s peak, job openings nearly doubled the number of new hires. A recent McKinsey & Company report about today’s talent-centric labor market indicates things aren’t likely to change in the near future as many workers don’t desire a return to traditional full-time, in-office positions while others are more discerning about the jobs they consider.

Organizations with pre-pandemic time-to-hire averages of 24-90 days will miss out on talent sourced at the top of the hiring funnel. Likewise, organizations that require four-plus interviews and schedule them one to two weeks apart will also miss out on talent. Nearly 60% of candidates in today’s labor market expect to hear back from an organization about the next steps in the hiring process within 48 hours of an interview.

Following are nine factors that may be slowing your organization’s time-to-hire speed.

1. Hiring managers aren’t invested

Many hiring managers aren’t keeping pace with the rapidly changing labor climate. They often aren’t following skills and wage trends and continue to adhere to outdated approaches for identifying, engaging and recruiting talent. In some cases, hiring managers cost their organizations by paying more for talent than current fair-market rates.

2. Employer brand strength

Does your organization have a powerful employee value proposition (EVP)? Does it have a compelling digital presence? Is your organization intentional and clear about its values and culture? What is your organization’s balance of positive and negative reviews from its customers and employees? Does your hiring team offer a convincing organizational pitch during interviews? The answers to these questions speak to the strength of your organization’s brand and whether it resonates with talent.

3. Job description depth

Effective job descriptions should be thorough and up-to-date. They should define in detail the duties, skills and responsibilities associated with each position. As job responsibilities and skill sets evolve, their corresponding job descriptions should also be refined.

4. Job posting appeal

Job postings must do more than bullet-point a role’s related skills and responsibilities. They must offer compelling reasons why talent would want to join your organization. For example, job postings should communicate your organization’s EVP and diversity commitments.

5. Interview frequency and timing

Evaluate the number of steps in your organization’s hiring process and look for opportunities to streamline the number of interviews for each candidate, the time between interviews and the number of internal stakeholders involved in each interview. When planning interviews, give advance consideration to the schedules of those involved. Keep in mind, for instance, whether any hiring team members have pending business trips or vacations. The idea is to keep the process moving and top candidates engaged.

6. Desire to see a set number of candidates

Some organizations have an established number of candidates they want to interview for each position before making a hiring decision. This approach may net a broad talent spectrum when the number of job seekers surpasses or is closer to the job supply. Yet, in today’s market, interviewing too many candidates can cause organizations to lose out on top talent.

7. Technology integration

Leverage technology to accelerate hiring time. Does your hiring team use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to gather and sort resumes and maximize your hiring process efficiency? Does your organization deploy AI-based skills assessment tools to help qualify candidates? The appropriate technological tools can help identify the best candidates and optimize time to hire.

8. Lack of Direct Sourcing Program

While many organizations have internal hiring managers, they often lack a fixed approach to direct sourcing or maintaining a pool of pre-identified talent. Organizations may benefit from partnering with a talent acquisition agency with access to a broad talent network that can help build a direct-sourcing pipeline. The ideal partner can help you promptly identify pre-qualified talent for current needs and sustain direct-sourcing connections for future needs.

9. Competing organizations’ time-to-hire

A recent Harvard Business Review article about modern hiring processes noted that contemporary job seekers are looking for more than better pay and benefits; they also demand a swift and structured approach to interviewing and hiring. 

Skilled candidates know they’re in demand, they believe their time is valuable, and they want prospective employers to act accordingly. The article pegs today’s average time to hire at 43 days but also states that most workers lose interest in a position and an organization if they haven’t heard back within two weeks of their initial interview.

Organizations that have accepted the realities of the current labor market and embraced hiring speed as a recruitment priority are the ones that are successfully attracting and retaining top talent.

The Re-Imagined Recruitment Playbook


Over the past two years, we have captured hard won lessons learned across thousands of worker hiring engagements by our team of professional recruiters and distilled them into practical ideas that you can start using immediately. The Re-Imagined Recruitment Playbook is a step-by-step guide to help source, screen, select, onboard and retain talent in the New World of Work.

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Factors affecting your time to hire

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