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How to speed up time to hire

Talent drives the current labor market, and competition for skilled workers is fast and furious. Yet many organizations have seemingly pumped the brakes on their hiring timeframes even as job seekers demand more efficient hiring processes and a quicker time to hire.

The average time to fill professional, nonmanagerial positions is about 60 days, according to a 2022 HR Dive report about hiring times. The average time to hire for entry-level professional roles is about 45 days, while the time needed to fill professional leadership positions stretches to around 120 days.

In many cases, the time required to fill roles is longer than before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when the average time to hire for mid-level through management positions ranged from 24 to 90 days. But in today’s labor climate, where the demand for talent surpasses the supply and job-seeking talent expects quick action, organizations can’t afford to drag out recruiting and hiring.

Finding full-time talent faster

Employers must be intentional and strategic about accelerating their recruiting approaches to engage talent. More than half of job seekers expect to hear back about the next steps within 48 hours of an interview, and more than 60% lose interest in a position if the prospective employer doesn’t respond within two weeks of the initial interview, according to a Harvard Business Review article about speed to hire.

To aim high for talent, aim low on recruiting timetables. Target as little as 14 days for entry-level and mid-level roles and 30 to 45 days for senior-level and executive posts.

Individual recruiting models will vary based on several factors, including the type of job, the compensation offered and competition for similar positions. Employers can take steps to expedite the process when they seek to fill full-time positions with top talent.

Step 1: Understand and plan (1-2 business days)

The hiring team meets with other key stakeholders to identify goals and prioritize hiring. Select an interview team, and institute a hiring timeline.

Step 2: Develop position specifications (1-2 business days)

Evaluate and update the existing job description as necessary; include any new skills requirements or position expectations. Develop a list of compelling reasons talent would want to join your organization.

Distinguish must-have skills and traits from nice-to-have qualities, and finalize your main internal hiring criteria. Complete the job posting and prepare it to go live.

Step 3: Source, screen and qualify candidates (7-10 business days)

Make the job posting public on the appropriate platforms. Conduct outreach to engage qualified passive candidates or those not actively seeking job changes.

Gather applications and resumes, and separate the leading candidates. Administer the first round of interviews.

Step 4: Present top candidates and decide (1-2 business days)

The hiring team selects and advances its favored candidates to the hiring manager or other applicable leadership. Schedule and host second-round interviews as necessary.

Review internal feedback regarding the most qualified candidates. Decide on the preferred candidate.

Step 5: Background checks and onboarding (length varies)

The hiring team coordinates reference and background checks. Host a final review of internal feedback.

Extend an offer to the desired candidate. Connect the candidate with pertinent peers and management within the organization, and commence onboarding.

Securing contingent talent quickly

Contingent workers — or independent contractors — have emerged as a critical segment of the modern workforce.

There are believed to be about 52 million contingent workers in the United States alone, where contractors compose about 35% of the total workforce, according to a 2021 report by Staffing Industry Analysts. A recent Forbes article indicates that many organizations globally are turning to contingent workers to fill gaps, particularly in the technology industry, where independent contractors comprise half of some organizations’ workforces.

Like recruiting talent for full-time positions, identifying and engaging quality contingent workers requires a deliberate, proactive approach that emphasizes speed to hire. That said, contingent workers require special considerations regarding taxes and other regulatory issues, which necessitate a modified hiring process.

Step 1: Discovery and analysis (1 business day)

Discover the hiring manager’s or hiring team’s requirements and establish interview and onboarding processes. Confirm must-have skills and traits, and distinguish them from nice-to-have qualities.

Craft a list of compelling reasons talent should consider joining your organization. Create a sourcing strategy, and devise a job posting for the apt sourcing platforms; be sure the posting includes compelling reasons.

Depending on your outreach and initial responses, you can perform preliminary screenings on several candidates.

Step 2: Sourcing and qualification (3 business days)

Continue to execute your sourcing plan. Qualify candidates using the hiring team’s requirements, and settle on four to six semifinalists.

Step 3: Presentation and decision (5 business days)

Shortlist and present two to three top candidates. Schedule candidate interviews with the hiring manager or hiring team.

Review interview feedback. Select a preferred candidate.

Step 4: Onboarding (5 business days)

Negotiate and finalize the contract. Conduct reference and background checks.

Introduce the contingent worker to relevant managers and team members. Commence the onboarding and orientation processes.

Step 5: Redeployment or offboarding (length varies)

Gather and review feedback on the contingent worker’s tenure. If positive, redeploy if possible.

If the worker is offboarding, oversee the return of any equipment. Distribute any outstanding tax or legal documentation.

The Voice of Talent Report: State of the Workforce 

In October of 2022, Procom surveyed 1, 740+ contingent and permanent workers across the United States and Canada to uncover what’s most important to them amidst heightened expectations, competition and uncertainty. 

We have distilled the data into actionable insights you can leverage to strengthen your position as an employer of choice and access the skills you need. You can get your copy below:


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Contingent workforce


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