9 Secrets to a Faster Hiring Process by Mile Živković on Aug 16, 2018

Hiring faster is often associated with making a rush hire. Companies may hire someone out of desperation, simply because they need to fill the position. 

You can actually hire faster without settling for the lesser of two evils. Here are some of the ways to speed up the hiring process, without hurting quality or efficiency.

Why you should speed up your hiring

Let’s get to the biggest pain point first – your bottom line. Every day with a vacant position hurts your budget, and the longer you operate without a team member, the more financial damage there is. The formula for calculating the cost of a vacant position is simple:

Annual salary / 220 working days x number of days the position is vacant

According to Dice, a vacant spot for a software engineer for 43 days in the USA would set you back a whopping $25,935. Using this formula, you can see how important it is to hire efficiently and quickly.

The second reason to hire faster is that the best candidates aren’t free for too long. In fact, the top talent is gone from the job market in just 10 days. If you’re not quick to grab your best candidate, they’re already gone somewhere else.

The top talent is gone from the job market in just 10 days.

average time to hire
Source: Workable

The third reason is that candidates will appreciate it. A quicker hiring process tells your applicants that you are decisive and not taking years to make a call. Likewise, your recruiting and HR team (if you have one) will appreciate not being dragged for months as well.

Finally, there’s the problem of competition. According to OECD, developed countries such as the USA have the lowest unemployment rates in decades (3.9%). At the same time, there are about 6.7 million job openings in the USA. This means that you need to grab your ideal candidate fast – because your competition may be desperate to hire them as well.

Tips for faster hiring

Hiring quickly doesn’t mean sacrificing on candidate quality. Here are some of the proven ways that you can make your hiring process faster and more efficient.

Hire internally

Often times, the best hires are people who already work for you. After all, they know your business, the company values, they’re (hopefully) already a good cultural fit and they probably know what the position entails.

There’s research to back up this data, too. Between 40 and 60% of candidates hired externally aren’t successful in their roles. On the other hand, only 25% of candidates hired internally aren’t good performers. What’s more, it’s 1.7 times more expensive to hire externally than internally as well.

Between 40 and 60% of candidates hired externally aren’t successful in their roles. What’s more, it’s 1.7 times more expensive to hire externally than internally.

If you’re on the path to faster hiring, first let your team know about an opening, before putting it out on job boards. You’ll open an opportunity for someone to move up (or laterally) and you’ll get a better hire, faster. As they already know the job, they’ll also reach full productivity much sooner than someone hired externally.

Use employee referral programs

One of the better ways to hire more quickly is through referral programs. The system is simple – as you put out an open position, let your employees refer someone that they think would be a good fit for the job. If their candidate is hired, you can reward them, either with a financial incentive, additional days off, a new piece of equipment, or whatever prize fits best.

internal hiring
Source: AJOconnor

Referral programs work for two major reasons. First, your employees will only refer someone they’re sure is a good fit, in order to get their reward. Second, they’re great for company culture, as your employees will (ideally) refer people they’d like to work with.

Finally, and most importantly, you can save significant time by using referral programs. Because the applicants are coming from a reliable source, you can skip on the bulk of the screening processes.

Automate as much of the hiring process as you can

The human (resources) touch is always a necessity when you want to hire. However, many of the traditional hiring processes can now be automated, thanks to a wide range of tools available to CEOs and HR teams.

One of the ways to do this is by using an applicant tracking system. These apps scan through candidates’ resumes and sort through hundreds of CVs within minutes, potentially eliminating everyone who’s a bad fit. The upside – it’s super-fast. The downside – you may lose really good applicants who just suck at writing CVs or don’t know the keywords that the ATS likes.

Skills tests are an excellent way to weed out the good from bad applicants. We developed Hundred5 to be used at the very beginning of the hiring process, to make it quicker and more efficient. At the very start of the application, candidates do a short test so you can see if they have the skills for the job.

At about 10 questions and 20 minutes per test, they’re much faster than sending in a CV or cover letter. Also, they save a lot of time for the employer – 22 hours per position.

Reference checking is another aspect of hiring that takes enormous amounts of time to do right. Companies such as Skillsurvey allow employers to automate their reference checking and hire more quickly, without worrying about digging deep into candidates’ backgrounds.

Make an offer – fast

If you’ve found the best person for the job and you’re certain they’re your new all-star player, don’t waste time. By making an offer as soon as possible, you let the candidate know that you have a strong need for them in your team.

However, making a quick offer can sometimes turn out to your disadvantage. First, get informed about what other companies are offering for the same position in terms of compensation or benefits. By offering too little, you’ll drive candidates away instead of attracting them with a quick offer. On the other hand, if you offer too much, you’ll hurt your bottom line.

negotiating job position
Source: Pureprofessional

Additionally, you can offer bonuses such as company retreats, additional days off, a budget for professional growth etc. Prepare these details in advance so that you can make the offer quickly without dragging the process on for too long.

Interview only the best of the best

One of the most time-consuming parts of hiring are the interviews. On average, a face-to-face (or video) interview takes about 30 minutes. On the other hand, 2% of job applicants are called in for an interview. Finally, the average job opening will attract about 250 applicants.

This means that your run-of-the-mill job post will ideally have you end up with 4-5 interviews, taking 120-150 minutes. Not that bad, really. However, remote positions get significantly more applicants, especially if they allow candidates from all over the world. For example, Toggl’s average is 1500 applicants per position.

The average number of candidates called in for an interview is 4-5.

You may be tempted to call in everyone whose resume you liked, but this is a major drain on time and resources. Only call in the very best, and your time to hire will be decreased significantly.

Extra tip – if there’s more than one person in your company making the decision, everyone should be present for the interview.

Go where the candidates are

A decade ago, people on both ends of the hiring process turned to one place – job boards. There’s lots that’s wrong with today’s job boards. First and foremost – they’re not the fastest way to get lots of candidates. They require candidates to jump through hoops such as sending in CVs, samples, portfolio links, application letters and more. Additionally, by only listing your ad on job boards, you’re missing out on a large pool of passive candidates.

On the other hand, there’s social media. By combining laser-precision targeting and compelling job ads, you can get a great number of applicants, very quickly. In fact, at Hundred5, this is how we found our writer (myself), SEO manager and growth manager. It’s also how our clients Riotly Social and MoonCascade were able to fill some positions as well.

Read on: 20 Creative Sourcing Strategies for Attracting Passive Candidates

Create an accurate job description

Writing a great job ad is an art form. This is the first point of contact for the candidates with your company, and it’s the point where you either win or lose candidates, depending on what exactly you write.

The job description is the first filter for poor quality applicants. It needs to be performance-based, explaining exactly what the role entails and what it means to be successful in it.

Talk salary early on

Have you ever dated someone awesome and two months in you find out they chew with their mouth open and their idea of a good time is watching snooker on TV while downing beer? Yeah, probably not that fun. Imagine if you were a candidate hoping to land your dream job, only to find out that it pays half of what you expected, after two rounds of screening and three interviews.

By asking for your candidate’s salary expectations early on, you’ll significantly speed up the hiring process. Right off the bat, you’ll know who’s unrealistic or simply too expensive for your budget.

There are several ways you can go about this. First, you could list the salary in the job ad. If it’s a generous amount, you may attract people who are only in it for the money, which could be counterproductive. Alternatively, ask the candidate to list their salary expectations (exact figure or a range) in the application. For companies hiring remotely, this is an absolute must, as a software company from a small village in Italy won’t likely be able to pay a developer working for US rates.

Finally, you can ask for your applicants’ salary history. This is not the greatest method (and not legal everywhere), but it works. You get to see their progression and if your compensation will work for them. Beware though, as you may put off a number of applicants using this method.

Have an open pool of candidates

If you want to hire fast and hire effectively, you should always have a steady pipeline of people to hire. Easier said than done, right? In fact, it’s not too difficult of a task.

As you put out a job ad and proceed with the best applicants, there are always candidates missing just that one thing to go to the next round. Maybe it’s lack of experience, maybe you didn’t like their performance in the interview. Be sure to keep these candidates’ resumes and contact data handy.

If you need to hire someone for the same or similar position, you won’t have to initiate another round of hiring. Be sure to give these candidates a call first – they’ll probably have some more experience over time and they’ll appreciate that you’ve thought of them.

Another good tip is to keep your Careers page running indefinitely. Even if you fill a position, don’t remove it from your company website’s career page – keep the applicants coming in. Note – the people who already got the job might feel a bit odd about having the position always open, so do let them know what it’s all about.


Hiring faster does not always mean making a compromise and settling for the least horrible out of a pool of bad applicants. On the contrary, hiring quickly means being mindful of your company’s (and candidates’) time and resources. Having a lengthy hiring process does not entail that you’re thorough – you may as well be inefficient, so try out these tips for hiring faster and boost your efficiency.

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