How To Reduce Time To Hire in 10 Effective Steps

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More and more HR professionals, hiring managers, and business owners are relying on data to assess how efficient their recruiting practices are. “Time to hire” is a key metric that tracks how many calendar days pass from when a candidate applies for a position and receives/accepts a job offer from the company. 

The shorter this period, the better, as it usually improves the candidate screening experience, and it means your business has found the perfect fit for an open role quickly and efficiently. So how can you reduce your time to hire to achieve these benefits? 

In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of reducing time to hire, how to gather and use data to assess your current time to hire rates, and actionable tips to reduce time to hire.

How reducing time to hire can impact your business

As hinted above, a shorter average time to hire can lead to benefits for not only candidates but your company too. Besides saving you and your recruiting personnel precious time, some advantages of reducing time to hire include: 

  • Reduce time to fill. By reducing time to hire, you effectively reduce your company’s overall time to fill, which measures how long it takes your recruiting team to fill a position from the moment you post the job. 
  • Find quality candidates faster. A shorter time to hire means you can accelerate the process of pulling the ideal candidate through the recruiting funnel. Additionally, a faster screening process means you can send the best applicants an offer faster as well, giving them less time to interview with other companies and fewer opportunities to receive competitive counteroffers.
  • Improve candidate experience. If an applicant has a faster screening experience, they will feel more positively about working for your company — which could be a determining factor as to whether or not they accept your offer letter, especially if multiple offers are on the table. Plus, if you’re looking for a job — especially after being recently unemployed — there’s nothing better than a company that reaches out promptly.
  • Lower costs per hire. According to Ideal, 28% of a business’s operating costs are spent on HR; but that’s no surprise considering that these costs help fund job post advertising, background checks, new employee relocation, and more — and that’s on top of the money used for your hiring team’s salary. By expediting the time to hire process, you can eliminate —or at least minimize — much of the costs associated with recruiting. 
Infographic showing how reducing time to hire can impact your business
Advantages of reducing time to hire

How to reduce time to hire

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits that come with reducing the time required to hire an employee. The next question is this: how do you reduce time to hire? 

The following are 10 ways your company can start improving time to hire metrics to reap the advantages they offer: 

Use data to create and implement strategies

Of course, how you reduce your company’s time to hire will depend on what needs improvement; to find that out, you’ll need to collect enough data about your recruiting process. This data will serve as both a benchmark and a way for you to determine what strategies you can implement to reduce the time candidates spend in the hiring pipeline. 

Besides your average time to hire, some key metrics you’ll want to consider include:

  • Time to hire industry average – How does your company fare when compared to others in the same industry? This will provide insight into how the workforce is being affected by economic, political, or other national or global events. 
  • Time to fill – How long does it take your business to fill a position once you’ve posted it? 
  • Time between stages – How long do candidates sit between stages in your hiring funnel before they move on to the next step? 
  • Application completion rate – The application completion rate can tell you how efficient your current application process is.  
  • Channel effectiveness – How many candidates do you see complete applications through platforms like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed versus your career page? 
  • Response rate – How responsive are candidates to various forms of communication, such as phone calls or emails? 
  • Candidates per hire – How many interviews do you hold before you find a candidate to send the offer letter to? 
  • Quality of hire – Are you able to find solid candidates in a sea of applications? Is this process automated, or are there staff dedicated to this? How much turnover do you usually see with new hires? 
  • Cost per hire – Are you using too many resources to get positive results from the recruiting process — or not enough? 
  • Satisfaction rates – One way businesses can determine whether their hiring process needs improvement is by sending out surveys to recent hires to get feedback about their experience. The same can be done for recruiters. 

Once you’ve collected these important recruiting metrics, you can start the process of reducing your company’s time to hire with methods that make the most sense to your business. 

Infographic showing key metrics to reducing time to hire
Key metrics to focus on when reducing time to hire

Assess your current recruiting funnel

Recruitment funnels allow recruiters to visualize each step of the hiring process. They’re essential for identifying where along the candidate journey your business could use improvements. So, if you don’t already have one, it’s strongly recommended that you make one.

Recruitment funnels are typically set up with several phases; to reduce time to hire, you’ll want to assess where in the funnel you and your candidates spend the most time and apply strategies as needed.  

Recruitment funnel
Assess your recruitment funnel

Use realistic job descriptions

One of the easiest ways you can start reducing your average time to hire is by refining the job descriptions used in your post

There’s nothing that makes job seekers hesitate before applying more than a lengthy description with a long list of requirements. By summarizing key job functions and putting an emphasis on only the characteristics that really matter for successfully fulfilling the role (e.g., perhaps an understanding of a particular software is needed, or a set number of years of experience), your post will look less intimidating and will welcome more qualified applicants into your recruiting funnel. 

Improve your careers page

When candidates catch wind of an open position or become interested in working in your industry, they may visit your careers page to learn more about your company and peruse available jobs. 

With that said, you’ll want to include as much information about the role as possible — but not so much that you overwhelm potential applicants. To achieve the right balance, consider the questions that most applicants may have about a position or the company and offer that information upfront. This helps screen out candidates who would otherwise leave your hiring funnel after learning key information later. 

Make the application process easier

To improve the candidate experience, make sure that the application process for your business is simple and easy to access. 

Avoid long applications that would discourage applicants and make them drop out halfway. Of course, you have room to ask for standard information, such as an uploaded resume and contact information. However, if you ask applicants to re-enter metadata that can already be found on the resume they just uploaded, they may be less motivated to complete the application process. And, this can be incredibly frustrating for them if they are applying on a smartphone or tablet.

If a potential applicant comes across your job post on a job board like LinkedIn and is immediately ready to apply, allow them to do so within the app rather than sending them to your career page or another site. Your application should also be mobile-friendly. 

Make the interviewing process more efficient

The actual interview process usually takes up the most time when hiring, so you’ll want to filter out strong candidates as early in the recruiting funnel as possible to limit how many interviews you schedule. 

An easy way to do this is by setting up your interviews in phases; consider holding phone interviews to help rule candidates out before inviting them to a more formal interview with the hiring manager. You may also want to send potential candidates assessments before scheduling an interview to confirm their competencies in certain areas. 

Take advantage of skills assessments

Skills assessments allow you to evaluate a candidate’s ability to perform the duties of the job they’ve applied for. It’s a bit different from a personality test in that each assessment can be tailored to individual roles and help you determine how well the candidate can handle various scenarios related to the job. 

A resume can only tell you so much about a candidate and their previous work. A skills assessment provides much more insight and can be connected to an applicant tracking software so you can automatically reject unfit candidates if they do not pass the requirements for a specific test. 

Use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)

Applicant tracking software (ATS) allows businesses to collect information about prospective candidates and filter them through their hiring funnel

The main benefit of using an ATS is that they’re often all-in-one platforms, meaning rather than using several different programs to keep up with applicants, their submitted resumes, assessment tests, and more, everything is kept in a single place. In addition, ATS’ offer automated solutions to significantly reduce your hiring team’s workload and time spent sifting through applications.

Set up an employee referral program

To improve your chances of pulling quality candidates into your hiring funnel faster, consider starting an employee referral program. Your employees will likely know someone in their network in the same industry, so you have the opportunity to invite potentially strong candidates directly into the hiring funnel. 

Collaborate with hiring managers and teams

Of course, none of the above methods will effectively reduce your company’s time to hire if no one across your recruiting team is on the same page. 

With that said, it’s worth having the occasional check-in meeting to discuss strategies, current hiring metrics, and more to ensure that everyone is doing their part to build and maintain a strong and efficient recruiting process. 

Final thoughts

Reducing time to hire improves the application and screening experience, makes the hiring process more efficient, and helps you quickly fill vital roles with highly qualified candidates. 

With so many benefits at your fingertips, and the ease with which businesses can begin reducing time to hire, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this process? The above 10 methods can help get you started, while Vervoe’s many hiring solutions will take you the rest of the way.

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