How to: Reduce the time it takes to hire someone



The time to hire is, simply speaking, the time to fill a position, from when you open up the position to when you extend an offer to a candidate.


This is sometimes referred to as ‘time to fill’ but the principle remains largely the same. As roles grow more complex, and company’s needs more bespoke, the time to hire has been steadily increasing across the board. IT roles, for example have an average global time to hire of 56 days. In design roles, that  goes down a little…to 54. 

In a more typical recruitment environment, the average is about 10-12 weeks, which is still a very long time from that decision to hire a new person. The cost can quickly spiral- up to 30% of the hire’s salary if you’re using an external agency.

There’s a balance to be struck. A time to hire that is too long  is expensive, and it hampers your efficiency. Candidates have a worse time, waiting for your responses, and other companies might get them first.

Whereas a time to hire that is too short can result in bad hires- you’re not going to be screening them thoroughly.
You want to be spending the most time on parts of the process that directly involves the candidates- interviews, screening tasks, that sort of thing, and less on administration.

We’ve put together a simple guide to help get your time to hire under control.

1) Choose an ATS

 ATS’ can really streamline your hiring process- if you pick the right one ATS’ can really streamline your hiring process- if you pick the right one

An ATS is an Applicant Tracking System. In simple terms, these are programs that allow you to track aspects of the recruitment process electronically. The most common kind let you scan in CVs, which then uses OCR and keyword technology in order to rank CVs based on criteria you give it. For example, if you’re looking for a specific qualification, or certain traits, you can set the ATS to look for them. Others let you source people, post to multiple job boards with one click, allow for communication between the hiring team, keep metrics reports, and a lot more besides- all designed to reduce time spent on administration.

There is a huge variety of ATS’ to choose from, however, and only you will have the kind of insight into what will work best for you.

Here’s a guide to several open source, freeware and trial versions of different ATS’, along with tips on what they’re most useful for.

An ATS can never truly replace the human element, but they can definitely streamline the whole process. They can also be used for reach out messages and post interview follow ups. These won’t speed things up, but can be great for your employer brand- since you’ll be known as a company that responds to all applicants. You won’t necessarily have time for this without an ATS!

2) Hire a TA Manager

 Talent Acquisition is distinct from recruitment, and can save you a lot of money. Talent Acquisition is distinct from recruitment, and can save you a lot of money.

The cost/benefit analysis of hiring a Talent Acquisition Manager, and what they can be specifically useful for is complex enough that it’ll require its own blog one day, but we can give you a quick overview here!

If recruitment is about the short term of putting people into roles, talent acquisition is about developing a long term strategy, and factoring in how new roles can be helpful for the growth of a company. They’re especially useful if you need specific roles, high level executives, specialised technicians and the like.

Its an investment, and one you may not need to seriously consider for a while, but its something to keep in the back of your mind as your business develops.


3) Optimise your Hiring Team

 A team with a brief is a more effective team. A team with a brief is a more effective team.

Your best bet for getting on top of the hiring process is putting together a team of interviewers, hiring managers, and the like. When these decisions fall onto one person, errors can start to creep in, and there’s a high risk of bias.

In an SME, this won’t be their full time position- you likely won’t have the resources to have a fully dedicated team- so make sure they’re supported. Spreading out the responsibilities to a whole team can ease the burden a bit.

Problem: Too many cooks can spoil the broth, if you have a team that isn’t well-briefed and doesn’t have a good understanding of the roles they are hiring for, you can actually wind up making things more inefficient, and thus more costly.

So you need to make sure your team is gelling well, and have a good way of disseminating information between team members. An ATS, as mentioned above, will help with this a great deal, as will writing good team briefs for what you’re looking for in hires, and making sure everyone is aware of best practice.

Once your team is singing from the same hymn sheet, things will get easier.

4) Develop your candidate pipelines

If you have a pile of candidates you’ve already screened and made first contact with, you have a great initial resource. This is known as a candidate pipeline. They’re best suited for roles with a high turnover, such as sales positions, because these can open quickly, need to be filled quickly and require specific skill sets.

Most of the people on your list likely won’t be interested, especially if there’s been a long gap between your initial contact. But if they’ve had a good experience with your company (this is why an employer brand is so vital, and why making sure the candidate experience is good is important!) they’ll be more likely to consider it.

5) Pick the Right Tools

In addition to ATS’, there are a number of other useful tools that can be really great time savers, if utilised effectively.

  1. Slack- allows for easy communication between your hiring team, and places to store information.

  2. Recruitee- lets you manage your talent pipeline in a clear way.

  3. Surveymonkey- get quick responses from candidates

Don’t bring in new tech for its own sake, however. That just results in extra costs and unnecessary stresses as everyone tries to adapt. You need to evaluate your process all the way through, and see where adding in extra tech might be helpful.

Final Thoughts

The Time to Hire can be a huge, unanticipated cost for your business, especially when you’re just starting to grow. Make getting it under control a priority, and you’ll find it pays dividends for years to come.