How to improve your recruitment process and reduce your time to hire

4 mins
Sellick  Partnership

By Sellick Partnership

Taking too long to fill a role, or having a lengthy recruitment process, can be detrimental to your business. This is especially true when it comes to recruiting fast-moving and high-quality candidates. Taking steps to improve the efficiency of your hiring process will help your organisation find qualified candidates to fill key vacancies as quickly as possible.

When planning a recruiting process, many organisations will adopt a careful, thorough approach to ensure they find the most qualified candidates that are well-suited for their company culture. Although this is a sensible instinct, it is important to ensure that the time you invest in your recruitment process does not come at the expense of efficiency.

This is a difficult balance to achieve, especially if you’ve had negative experiences in the past with hiring the wrong employees. On one hand, taking your time will help to give you confidence that you have found the right candidate for the role, but dragging the process out can often mean missing out on candidates who are in high demand. The best person for the role might be hired by someone else before you get to the offer stage.

As such, it is important to regularly review your recruitment and selection process, take practical steps to minimise your time to hire, and ensure that the experience of applying to work for your organisation is as smooth as possible for potential candidates.

Read on to find out more, or get in touch with the expert Consultants at Sellick Partnership, who can help you find the perfect candidate for your team.

What is 'time to hire'?

Time to hire refers to the length of time that passes between a candidate being contacted for a vacancy, or applying for the role, and the date that the same candidate accepts the offer of employment. This is a useful metric for quantifying the efficiency of your recruitment and interview process, and for determining how much of the candidates' and Hiring Managers' time they are taking up.

It is important to know on average how long it takes for your company to fill a position, as this will allow for more accurate planning when someone leaves their job and you have to find a replacement. A clear understanding of your time to hire can alleviate some of the stress and will be constructive when it comes to your recruitment strategies.

Why a lengthy hiring process can be detrimental

Where possible, you should try and reduce your time to hire as much as you can. This might mean making quicker decisions, freeing up time to schedule interviews, cutting unnecessary steps out of the interview process, and communicating the essential requirements for the role more clearly.

If your time to hire is too long, this will negatively impact your company for a number of reasons:

  • Time is money
    The longer your position remains vacant, the longer you have to make accommodations for that job. This could be costly not just for that particular department, but also for the wider team and business overall, undermining your day-to-day operations.

    It is also worth considering how much time your Hiring Managers spend to coordinate your recruiting efforts, and whether this could be streamlined to make better use of their time.
  • Candidates will lose interest and have a bad experience
    Taking too long to come back to candidates you have interviewed could result in them feeling disengaged or frustrated. That isn’t a good impression for you or the company you represent, and reflects poorly on your employer brand.

    Moreover, in a competitive marketplace, the most talented prospective candidates won’t wait around to hear back from you, especially if they are speaking to other companies or recruiters. When you finally make a decision and contact them, the chances are high that they will already have a new job elsewhere - meaning you will need to begin the hiring process again from scratch and waste even more valuable time.
  • Wider impact
    Having an unfilled vacancy for an extended period of time may result in more work being passed on to your current employees, who will have to work harder through no fault of their own – and often with no financial benefit to them.

    This could lead more people to feel undervalued, lose their motivation and potentially leave the company. This means you may need to launch an additional recruitment process to replace them, on top of the ones you are already running.
How to reduce time to hire

There are a number of different measures you can introduce within your business to cut down your time to hire metric. In some cases, this involves accelerating the key stages of your existing hiring process; in others, it may mean adopting new tools and methodologies to allow you to recruit in a more targeted, data-driven way.

Understand the data

Do you know how long each step of your recruitment process takes? How much time usually passes from the initial contact with the candidate to the phone interview, face-to-face interview, second interview, third interview and offer stages? If you do not have access to this information, you should start to make note of this as soon as practicable.

According to StandOut CV, it takes 28 days on average to be hired after applying for a job, with Officevibe adding that the best candidates leave the market within 10 days. This shows how quick the turnover of prospective employees has become, and underlines the need for quicker hiring to attract candidates in time.

As such, you will need to make intelligent use of data from across your hiring process, and utilise information from your recruitment software and applicant tracking system to generate vital insights. When you look at the data you have collected and analyse trends, you might find that some of the numbers are alarming; this will highlight exactly where you need to cut down on time.

Provide clear and concise job descriptions

Whether you are advertising vacancies via third-party job boards or through your own website's careers page, you must ensure that your job descriptions provide the level of information and detail that candidates will be looking for.

This means offering a detailed but concise description of the responsibilities and expectations associated with the role. Don’t be too brief, but avoid including too much unhelpful and irrelevant detail. Have a definitive idea of the qualifications and skills you want your new recruit to have, and make sure you are clear about what is necessary versus what is nice-to-have.

Relay this to your internal hiring team or HR manager (if you have one) to make sure everyone is on the same page; for example, if you state in your job postings that you are looking for a candidate with little experience, and the Hiring Manager interviews someone that fits the brief, it would be a waste of valuable time for you to then decide you don’t want to progress the candidate because they lack experience.

Update your careers page

At the start of their recruitment journey, candidates will visit your website and may look at your ‘Work for Us’ page (or an equivalent) when they see the job opening. This means that you need to sell your company through the careers page, to make sure it appeals to the right candidates and keeps them engaged.

Make sure you have your company’s mission statement on your careers page where job seekers can easily find it, to give them more clarity on what your organisation stands for and the work you do. This will reduce the possibility of receiving rejections when you offer someone the job.

Be flexible when planning the interview process

If your recruiting team or Hiring Manager are trying to arrange an interview, it is vital that everyone who needs to be involved in the interview process is able to make themselves available. If managers are slowing down the process because they cannot make time for interviews, this could mean a qualified candidate will move on to another opportunity as a direct result.

Most companies conduct around three interviews before reaching the offer stage, so those involved in the recruitment process will need to be understanding when interviews with job seekers are sprung on them, and be flexible enough to change their calendars and priorities accordingly.

Source candidates and expand the talent pool quicker

Quick wins will come in handy when you are trying to fill those all-important roles, and sorting through applications that offer little inspiration can be time-consuming.

There are a number of ways to accelerate your recruitment process and cut down the amount of time you spend sourcing candidates for each role. One method of doing so is to use candidate rediscovery tools within your applicant tracking system. This will maintain a database of people who have expressed interest in your company before, allowing you to easily re-engage past candidates who may have shown promise.

You could also implement a referral scheme, offering current employees a reward for finding quality talent. Employee referrals often provide higher-quality candidates, as these applicants have been handpicked by someone within your organisation who already understands the company culture and its expectations; additionally, it incentivises your existing employees to sell the company when making the referral.

Social media is another great way to source candidates, because you can show off your company as you post about internal recruitment opportunities. Sharing information about any community or social gatherings your company has hosted or attended is a great way to attract talent. When people see that your business offers employees different benefits than the competition, this will enhance your employer brand, and candidates will be intrigued to find out more.

All of this highlights the importance of taking a multi-channel approach to your recruitment process. By making use of as many tools as possible - including job boards, referral schemes, industry events, social media and your own recruiting software datasets - you will maximise efficiency and give yourself the best chance to find qualified applicants.

Examine potential biases within your job advertisements

It is important to emphasise your efforts to obtaining a diverse workforce and you can do that in the way you advertise for roles. Not only is this beneficial for your employer brand, but it will also ensure you have access to the widest possible talent pool of qualified candidates.

Before posting new vacancies to job boards, you can use tools that will check over your job description and any other information within the listing, to tell you how gender-biased the advertisement is.

Male-biased terminology may include phrases such as:

  • Challenging
  • Confident
  • Ambitious
  • Decisive
  • Determined

While more female-oriented language might use words such as:

  • Committed
  • Compassionate
  • Trust
  • Warm
  • Connected

Although this does not mean totally avoiding the words listed above, it is important to question the potential unconscious messages you are sending through your job description. If you are routinely creating job listings that reflect a gender bias, you could be undermining your company's hiring goals by deterring top talent from certain demographics from applying.

Research has revealed that when women read an advert with words that are stereotypically ‘male’, they can be left to feel like they won’t be a good fit and decide not to apply. Over time, this will skew the demographic balance of your talent pipeline, which weakens your efforts to eliminate bias and may ultimately damage your reputation and brand.

This is why it is so important to run your ads through software designed to help address this bias, or to speak to a recruitment specialist such as Sellick Partnership. Our experts can offer you advice on how to tailor your recruitment process to be welcoming to all new candidates and staff members.

Ultimately, reducing your time to hire metric will offer huge benefits to your company's recruitment efforts. By taking the right steps and following industry best practice throughout the entire process, your organisation will be able to fill vacancies quickly, while still ensuring the selection process is thorough enough to find candidates with the right skills to meet all the job requirements.

For more advice and tips on what you can do to find the perfect candidates, get in touch with us today.