When Competing for Talent, Employers Eye Time to Hire

In a period of talent scarcity, the ability to reduce time to hire (a.k.a. time to fill) is critical when competing for great talent. Speedy hiring, especially in cases where droves of workers are needed such as for seasonal work, it seems, is now a “thing” in the HR world.  

Does shrinking time to fill really have an impact on hiring? If grabbing the most qualified employees before your competitors do is part of your strategy, then, yes, it matters. Candidates have been known to accept an offer from a competitor while waiting for a company to move to the next step after an offer. Hiring speed is a critical metric to ensure you’re getting top talent.  

Current Stats on Time to Hire 

Companies may argue that this is how things have been done, but those same organizations will be the ones losing out on the best talent to their faster, nimbler rivals. Here’s a look into the typical slow-moving hiring process:  

  • On average, it takes organizations about 60 days to fill a non-managerial professional role, measured from the opening of the position request to get an offer accepted. (HR Dive survey of recruiting firms) 
  • Time to fill will shrink or grow depending on the level of the role.  
  • Entry level roles require two or three weeks to fill.   
  • Director and vice president positions can take up to 120 days. 
  • Depending on the need for drug tests, background checks, and other pre-employment screening requirements, it takes on average as much as an additional 20 days. 

Most Frequent Causes of Delayed Time to Hire 

There can be many reasons for delayed time to hire – internal and external. Examples include cumbersome serial processes, time taken by the candidate to complete needed paperwork, time taken by the hiring manager to review/respond to onboarding results.  And, of course, some delays are caused by negative results to background checks and/or drug tests as the remediation process is defined by federal and state laws, however this cause of delay happens far less frequently than the ones listed above. 

What is holding companies back? Here are a few examples:  

  • Lack of clarity in job description – responsibilities, needed skills, etc. requires more time to sort through unqualified candidates. 
  • Initial screening that fails to properly assess candidate level of interest. 
  • Hiring manager availability for candidate review, interviews, etc. 
  • Recruiter bandwidth when individuals are responsible for HR and recruiting. 
  • Lack of coordination between hiring manager, recruiter, etc. 

nextSource Insights 

  • Analyze current hiring workflows to illuminate process lags. Regularly report on cycle time by department, hiring manager, location, and desired skill(s). 
  • Use market supply/demand data to set realistic expectations with hiring managers. 
  • Evaluate whether pay rates, work conditions or other factors erode your employer brand, making it more difficult to compete for top talent. 
  • Communicate constantly with the candidate to maintain interest and set expectations. 
  • Keep the hiring manager informed of status and issues at every step in the process. 
  • Streamline the hiring process to eliminate unnecessary steps or excess participants.  Can assessments be modified or eliminated? 
  • Align onboarding requirements with job needs. Does the position require drug testing? Skills testing? What level of background check? 
  • Automate candidate presentation/evaluation, interview scheduling, offer extension, and onboarding.