How to Speed Up the Hiring Process

Time to hire is an essential metric of recruitment success. The tighter you can get your hiring proc...

Posted by Lisa Farrell, Marketing Manager on November 17 2021
Lisa Farrell, Marketing Manager

Time to hire is an essential metric of recruitment success. The tighter you can get your hiring process without sacrificing quality, the more competitive your recruitment function becomes. Answering the question of how to speed up the hiring process requires companies to look at their internal processes and how they treat candidates.

Currently, the average time to hire is a whopping 43 days — a long time to throw resources into recruitment efforts and leave teams understaffed. Dragging out the hiring process also hurts the candidate experience, which can ultimately affect your ability to fill requisitions.

The first step to speeding up the hiring process is to understand what’s causing the problem. There are several reasons why time to hire continues to grow: In a tight labor market, it’s harder than ever to attract applicants. Poor communication with candidates and subpar hiring and selection processes only compound the problem. Any one of these shortcomings can cause you to miss out on top talent.

The good news is there are practices you can implement to close the gap. Learn how to speed up recruitment processes at your organization.

Why Is Time to Fill Important?

Especially in times of low unemployment, competition for talent is fierce. Accumulating open requisitions can drain your resources and lead to burnout among your remaining overworked employees.

Reducing time to fill can reduce hiring costs and ease the stress caused by empty roles — ultimately reflecting positively on your company culture, increasing employee engagement and driving business growth.

Time to Hire vs. Time to Fill

You track time to hire from the moment you begin receiving applications up until a candidate accepts the job offer. Your time to hire says a lot about the candidate experience and how efficiently your team can make good hiring decisions.

Time to fill is more all-encompassing, starting from when you open the job requisition and covering the entire process. Your time to fill speaks to not only the efficiency of your hiring process but also whether you attract the right candidates or invest your budget in the right resources. Your time to fill will be longer than your time to hire.

Both of these are essential metrics to track if you want to speed up your hiring process. If your time to hire climbs over a period of time, it’s important to look at any process or people changes you’ve made that might impact your results.

5 Ways to Speed Up the Hiring Process

Tightening time to fill means you can get the right people in place faster to drive your business. Implementing these five tactics can help you close the gaps in your hiring process.

Nurture Your Talent Pipeline

The competition for talent is fierce, and not having enough candidates in your pipeline can derail your hiring process. You can’t afford to passively post openings on generic job sites and wait for candidates to come to you, especially in a crowded labor market. You need an active recruiting strategy to fill and nurture your talent pipeline — even when you don’t have open requisitions.

First, consider where recruiters post job openings. Major job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn offer a good starting point. These sites are extremely popular for people beginning their job hunts, so you can get in front of candidates early in their search process. However, keep in mind that you compete against a myriad of other organizations sourcing talent this way, too.

One key differentiator is adding a personal touch of some kind. Referrals from existing employees can be a good source of talent. In fact, according to Talent Board’s 2021 Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report, 40% of referred candidates said they were much more likely to increase their relationship with an employer.

Recruiters can create a more personal experience, too. Prioritize building relationships with qualified job seekers, regardless of whether they’ve actively shown interest in the role. Set quotas for recruiters to fill the pipeline by reaching out to candidates in a personalized, approachable manner.

Build awareness of your employer brand, especially on job boards and social media. Maintain a database of potential candidates and invite them to engage with your brand on social media. Work with your marketing team to distribute regular content that outlines industry trends, shares current openings and highlights company culture.

With a robust pipeline, you can increase applications when a requisition opens, reducing your time to hire.

Define What You’re Looking For

One of the biggest roadblocks to making a timely hiring decision is simply not knowing what you’re looking for. Too much back and forth between recruiters and hiring managers clarifying what the need is drawn out the hiring process. 

To prevent this, spell out both your requirements and your “nice-to-haves” for each job opening. Determine the skills, abilities and competencies an ideal candidate would bring to the open role. Assessing high-performing candidates in the role can help you benchmark what you need. Consider implementing accurate, fair and valid assessments within the hiring process to compare candidates against your ideal employee’s profile.

Draw a distinction between what you need in the role and what would be nice to have. In some cases, you can widen your candidate pool by removing legacy requirements, such as four-year degrees, which can help you find the best hire faster. Similarly, removing or minimizing years of experience requirements can help you interest younger candidates (an extremely important demographic in a tight market).

Develop an objective rubric that clearly outlines your needs, from skills and competencies to certifications and experience. This document can help your recruiting team and hiring managers make better decisions, faster.

Implement Recruiting Technology

Repetitive manual hiring processes can drag out your time to hire. Your recruiters are only human, and they may not have enough hours in the day to answer questions, schedule interviews and nurture your talent pipeline, especially in high-volume hiring situations.

While not every function can be automated, aspects of recruiting and hiring can be, freeing up time for recruiters to focus on building relationships with candidates. Chatbots can answer questions candidates may have at the application stage, for example. And automated communication at key points can keep candidates up to date on their status and engaged in the hiring process.

With human oversight and clear job descriptions, your recruiting automation and applicant tracking system can help prioritize the top candidates so you don’t waste any time in reaching out to them. Tools such as automated self-scheduling allow recruiters to monitor when interviews are happening without losing time to administrative scheduling burdens. And triggering background checks automatically when a job offer is made can reduce the time it takes to get the results.

Your existing tech stack may have more capabilities than you currently use, too. Applicant tracking systems and relationship management tools you already have can help you centralize communication and reduce repetitive work. 

Communicate With Candidates

Keeping job applicants in the loop could be the difference between taking your pick of top contenders and leaving a job req open for months while you wait to find the right fit. As many as 28% of professionals have admitted to skipping a job interview or ghosting on the hiring team, which can completely derail the hiring process. The most common reason for dropping out, according to the Talent Board 2021 Report, is that candidates feel like their time has been disrespected. 

Frequent communication improves the candidate experience and demonstrates respect for candidates and their time. Letting them know where they stand in the hiring process increases the odds that your best applicants will stick around to receive a job offer.

There are other advantages to improving communication with candidates. If you provide a good experience, great candidates edged out in the selection process will be more willing to reapply to future openings or recommend other people to apply.

Streamline the Interview Processes

No matter how efficient the initial recruitment process is, recruiters have less control over expediting the process once they hand over applications to hiring managers for interviews. But a defined interview process can drastically speed up the hiring process.

Implementing standardized interview questions designed to measure job-related competencies, along with scorecards correlated to that criteria, can help hiring managers stay focused and make decisions faster. 

Implementing video interviews can reduce time to hire, too, by minimizing time spent traveling and coordinating an interview several parties can attend. Asynchronous, or pre-recorded interviews candidates can do on their own time, minimize administrative scheduling burdens and allow interview panels to review them as they come in — without having to wait for a scheduled call.

Consider giving candidates the option to record themselves completing an interview with pre-written questions, and then share that recording with stakeholders.

Gain the Edge in the War for Talent

The hiring process is necessarily time-consuming, but there are steps you can take to improve your time-to-fill metric. To assess your progress over the long term, it’s important to monitor this metric consistently. Track any process changes you make over time to discern where you can make the biggest gains in cutting wasted time from your processes.

To speed up the hiring process is to take a step toward more sustainable hiring. An efficient process, a good reputation and a burgeoning candidate pool to draw from can help you win the war for talent — and that gives you a significant edge.

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