For Hiring Teams:
5 Ways to Reduce Time to Hire
Sabrina Deltoro, Founder & Recruiting Director
Delson Talent Consulting
February 7, 2023
As a hiring manager, you’ve likely experienced the pain of a long, drawn out hiring process where the right candidate takes months to identify and hire. From the candidate perspective, having a quick interview-to-hire timeline could differentiate your company from the competition in a positive way. Long and drawn-out hiring process can be costly and frustrating for both the company and the candidates. According to industry research, the average time to hire is about 35 days. Some companies have been able to significantly reduce this time frame by implementing efficient and effective hiring processes.
One of the hardest parts of building a well-oiled recruiting machine is ensuring enough interviewers are trained and available for conducting interviews. Scheduling is often the bottleneck, and sometimes you miss out on a candidate's window of availability. To avoid this, I recommend hosting quarterly interviewer training sessions as part of on-boarding, so everyone in the company is able to speak to the company’s values and assess candidates in a fair manner. Ask department leads to hold more role specific training on a regular basis, so each interview panel has more than enough interviewers. This also ensures your interviewers don’t get burnt out, which can lead to negative candidate experiences. I’ve seen companies bake interviewing into their OKRs so interviewing isn’t an extra thing on top of other goals - it’s evaluated alongside business as usual projects, which rewards the time spent interviewing.
Here are my five top tips for reducing time to hire:
Streamline the application process: Make it as easy as possible for candidates to apply for open positions by providing a simple and intuitive application process. This could include an online application form or portal, or the ability to apply directly through a company's website or social media channels. If you bring on an applicant tracking system, such as Lever or Greenhouse, you can see the most effective intake channels easily by looking at reports showing where candidates were sourced. Then, you can adjust your process and spend accordingly.
Use technology to automate and speed up the process: There are a range of tools and technologies available that can help to automate and speed up various steps in the hiring process, such as resume parsing, scheduling interviews, and conducting background checks. Save time and reduce the risk of errors by using an ATS or scheduling tool. For example, Lever automates the interview panel process so schedulers don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. Gem is a sourcing/outreach tool that provides personalized messaging to sourced candidates, for higher response rates.
Clearly communicate expectations and requirements: Clearly communicate the expectations and requirements for the position, as well as the hiring timeline, to candidates at the outset of the process (aka on the job description, in your outreach emails and on initial calls). This can help to avoid misunderstandings and keep the process moving smoothly. Be transparent with where you are in the process, and ask the candidate to do the same, so your pacing can align.
Schedule interviews efficiently: Scheduling can make or break a candidate’s interview process. To more efficiently schedule interviews with candidates, ensure that all interviewers keep their calendar up to date, and have backup interviewers on call in case someone has a last minute conflict. One company I advised (that was growing faster than it could hire recruiters) had a list posted on their internal wiki of backup interviewers for each session, so if someone had to cancel, they could find a backup to replace them, removing recruiting as the bottleneck. For more entry level roles, consider batch interview days for new grads, where a handful of interviewers go onsite to a college campus.
Make timely decisions: Once you have identified the top candidates for the position, make a decision quickly. Schedule a 30m debrief at the end of the interview round, to ask for input live, or block time off on the interviewers calendar so they can write out their feedback. Have pre-written email templates to notify candidates you’re not moving forward with so you can focus your energy on the candidates you are moving on to the next stage.
Highly effective recruiting processes include a variety of ways to keep candidates warm, so even if you aren’t looking for their specific background at this time, or if they aren’t interested in making a move now, you’re still able to circle back with them at a later date. If your company announces a hiring freeze, that doesn’t mean all recruiting work should cease. Keeping high profile candidates warm throughout a freeze means that your recruiting engine can go from 0 to 60 quickly. Share news about the company’s core product evolving, or shifts in strategy, so candidates stay interested.
Ultimately, your hiring process should be so efficient that you aren’t losing any top candidates to other offers due to the speed of the hiring process. Reducing the time it takes to hire new employees saves money for the company and time for the candidate. By streamlining the application process, using technology to automate and speed up the process, clearly communicating expectations and requirements, scheduling interviews efficiently, and making timely decisions, hiring managers can reduce the time to hire and improve the overall efficiency of the hiring process.
“3 prong approach to keeping candidates warm” - Career Profiles