How To Speed Up Hiring Process (Without Hurting Quality) by Melissa Sepp on May 15, 2018

Recruitment often becomes an expensive and a lengthy process, but it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article, we look into the biggest timewasters in the recruitment and give you ideas how to speed up your hiring process without hurting the quality of hires.

In this article, we will look into:

How long does hiring a new employee take?

Let’s start with the basics. How long does your hiring really take? 

You’re probably guessing 1-2 weeks? 10 hours of work in total? Well, I’m afraid I might have to ask you to think again. Businesses spend a lot of time and money in the hiring process, but very few realize exactly how much. 

Around 90-95% of companies underestimate how long hiring new employee really takes.

Hiring is a lengthy process for the employer. When you consider that you have to write and post the job ad, promote it, read through all the resumes, conduct interviews, run tests and carry out background checks, you’re looking at around 30-40 hours of work at least. 

But that’s just the employer’s side of things. When you look at how long the whole hiring process takes (not just the work you put into it), the numbers get ridiculously high.

Time-to-hire by industries

Here’s an overview of the average time-to-hire by industry and location (in days):

Business functionGlobal time to hireUS & Canada time to hire
 Administrative/ HR4035
 Analyst / Consulting5754
 Customer Service4038
 Finance/ Accounting4645
 Information Technology/ Design5651
 Marketing/ Advertising/ Creative5450
Sales/ Business Development5248

Data from DHI Group’s Hiring Indicators September 2017 report.

Here’s some additional data from Glassdoor’s 2017 global study on interview duration:

Industries with longest interview processesIndustries with shortest interview processes
 Government 53.8 days Restaurants & Bars 10.2 days
 Aerospace & Defense 32.6 days Private Security 11.6 days
Energy & Utilities28.8 daysSupermarkets12.3 days
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals28.1 daysAutomotive12.7 days

Data via Glassdoor’s 2017 survey

So, knowing that you probably spend around 30-40 hours on hiring, and hiring takes around 45 days, you may think – what’s taking up all this time?

The biggest time wasters in the hiring process

Poorly written job description

Not having a clear job description means you’ll end up with lots of applicants who are not a good fit. If you fail to clearly describe which skills you’re looking for, what are the job tasks, and what are goals the person has to achieve, you probably also fail to get suitable candidates. 

A poorly written job description pays you back as you’ll have to spend a lot of time (and money) figuring out which candidates are really interested and qualified for the job.

Ps! For more tips on how to write a strong job description, check our article on performance-based hiring 

Manual resume scanning

Screening resumes is not only a huge time-waster but also pretty harmful. Hiring based on educational background and previous work experience may seem like a no-nonsense way to filter out the candidates that aren’t qualified for the job. 

But in reality, basing your pre-screening on resumes (and doing it manually) means you’re missing out on talent and may end up with people who lack the skills that you need.

Further reading suggestion: Why Resume Screenings Are Outdated (and What You Should Use Instead)

3rd and 4th interview

Although interviewing candidates is important, it is also very time-consuming and costly. The average interview takes around 60 minutes and includes at least two interviewers. That’s a lot of hours spent on interviews! 

And let’s be honest – if you’ve done a good job in the pre-screening phase, you should have a very good overview of candidates’ strengths and weaknesses by the interviews. So you don’t really need that 3rd and 4th interview.

Personal references

Personal references simply aren’t worth the time it takes to reach out. That’s because the referees usually cannot speak to the candidate’s work ethic or performance, or they are not able to give a truly objective point of view about the candidate.

Manual communication with candidates

Usually, 70-80% of the candidates who apply for jobs won’t be a fit. Spending time manually sending rejection letters and feedback to that 70-80% of candidates is a huge time waster that doesn’t take you closer to finding your talent and closing the deal.  

Lack of tools

There are a bunch of pre-employment assessment tools and diversity recruiting tools out there. If you’re not using a HR software to help you through the hiring process, you’re making your life needlessly difficult. A good hiring tool should do all of the legwork for you. It should automatically sort your best applicants, send rejection emails to unqualified applicants, and keep you up to date with your hiring pipeline.

Lack of decision-making

Many hiring managers have a false conception that they will find an “ideal” candidate matching up perfectly with all their criteria. In fact, some companies will refuse to make the hire until they meet that perfect candidate who will impress them on every level. Having these unrealistic expectations means that it takes even longer to find and secure top talent. 

Why hiring speed matters

By now you know how long the hiring usually takes and what are the bottlenecks reducing the hiring speed. But why does all this really matter? 

1. Hiring costs

HR Specialist average annual salary is $48,362. Assuming that the HR Specialist works full-time, that means you’re paying HR staff around $25 per hour. That’s around $1000 spent just per one job opening.

In reality, it’s often more than one team member dealing with the hiring process (e.g. 3-4 staff involved for interviewing). This means the costs can get even higher as the higher salaried staff gets involved in the interview stage and beyond.

2. Acceptance rates

Reducing the time from interview to offer gives candidates less time to reconsider whether they want to join your company. More importantly, it also gives them less time to interview elsewhere. That means there’s less chance they will get poached by someone else, thus your acceptance rates will increase. 

3. Your reputation as an employer

Your reputation for being slow decision-makers will cause you to lose many top prospects. Many candidates will see your inability to make a hiring decision between the last few candidates a sign of a bad leadership and management strategy.

This, in turn, might give you bad reviews on communities like Glassdoor which will negatively impact your reputation as an employer. For example, entries not only list problems with the hiring process, but they almost always reveal how long it takes in days to complete the hiring process. 

How to speed up hiring without hurting quality?

The good news is that speeding up (and thus reducing costs of) these processes is pretty straightforward. 

Below are simple steps that’ll help you speed up the hiring process by nearly 70%.

1. Write a very clear job description

Your job description is your chance to attract and connect with potential candidates. So the number one thing to do before starting the recruitment process is tofigure out who exactly you’re looking for and then write a clear job description. 

Not having a clear job description means you’ll end up with lots of non-qualified applicants who have no idea what you’re actually looking for. They just try their luck and they apply.

It’s also a smart idea to add the salary range in your job description. 

Mentioning the salary in the early stage of the recruiting process guarantees you’ll get applicants whose salary expectations fit your offer, and there won’t be any ‘bad surprises’ by the time you start signing the contract.

Remember that a poorly written job description pays you back as you’ll have to spend a lot of time (and money) figuring out which candidates are really interested and qualified for the job.

Here is a good example of a well-written job description from Pinterest:

Further reading: How to Make a Job Ad That Attracts Candidates

2. Promote your job ad on social media

Job boards are great! But the problem with job boars is that they only tend to attract those who are actively looking for a job. Many of these candidates won’t have the skills you’re looking for, yet they will still apply because they need a new job.

The results of this are that usually, around 80% of the people who apply won’t be a good fit for the position. At the same time, many of the best potential new employees are passive candidates – those who aren’t necessarily looking for a job but might be persuaded to come on board if they see an enticing offer.

In order to get more high-quality candidates, you have to promote your job ad, get traffic, make people talk about it and share it. The quicker you get high-quality applicants, the faster you can move on with your hiring process. 

Now, using a boring job ad or having a poorly-written job description obviously makes it difficult to attract talent. But using engaging job ad visuals, catchy headlines and making applying easy and fun makes people want to share your content with their friends. 

For example, this is how we normally promote our job ad:

Further reading suggestion: Social Recruiting: How to Use Facebook to Source Candidates

3. Screen skills not resumes

Like we mentioned earlier, the one thing that takes the longer beside interviews is the resume screening phase.

Hundred5 eliminates the need to manually separate the good from the bad, saving you hours of time in the early stages of the recruitment process.

The skills test will immediately root out all the chancers, opportunists, those who can talk it but can’t walk it, and the plain unqualified without you having to lift a finger. This leaves you and your team to focus your energies on the best performing candidates.

Using this method helps you to streamline screening processes. Resumes can be hard to differentiate, leading you to put more candidates through to the more time-consuming interview stage as you’re unsure of skills. Skills testing gives you a more reliable point to work from as you don’t have the worry of unsuitable candidates slipping through, so you can conduct fewer interviews. Win-win!

4. Automate the communication with the candidates

Dealing with the (occasionally vast numbers of) unsuitable applicants creates a dilemma for employers. Sending out rejection emails or letters takes time and effort, however generic they may be. But neglecting to do it can hurt candidate experience.

The best way to tackle this problem is to set up automatic emails for the candidates. You can do it either by setting up some automation with Gmail and Zapier, or use a screening tool with an automatic email feature.

Hundred5 overcomes this problem by communicating automatically with every applicant. Each person that takes the test receives instant automated feedback on their performance, along with personalized confirmation emails explaining the next steps of the hiring process.

This way even the poorest performers aren’t left feeling uninformed or neglected, and you’ve minimized the risk of bad feedback from the rejected applicants.

5. Reduce the number of interviews

In traditional hiring, interviewing just a few candidates doesn’t really work. You can’t see candidate’s skill on a resume, so you’re trying to squeeze out as much information as possible during the interview phase.

With Hundred5’s ‘test first, then interview’ approach, though, you can see the applicants’ strengths and weaknesses right away. You can be confident that all the weaker applicants have already been removed from your hiring pipeline, and you’re interviewing the right candidates.

This means there’s no need for time-consuming reference calls or multi-step interviewing processes.

Ready to speed up your hiring process?

By now, you should know how much time you really spend on hiring. You’ve also read about the biggest time-wasters in the hiring process. And most importantly, you know how to save hundreds of hours per year by speeding up your hiring processes.

Next logical step? Put your learning into action by getting started with Hundred5 for free and designing your own tailored tests to quickly pick out your best candidates.

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