After the deluge of articles and discourse around ‘The Great Resignation’, some were quick to point out that this would inevitably lead to ‘The Great Rehiring’ – a cause for optimism.

But amid research showing that 65% of employees are actively still searching for new roles, leaving 88% of C-suite executives concerned that they would continue to see more staff turnover than normal, recruiters are instead finding themselves in a candidate-driven market. Rather than the promised land of applicants and opportunity – a golden talent pipeline of qualified candidates waiting for the right company, there are now more vacancies than unemployed people in the UK.

The great resignation and the great rehiring really amount to two sides of the same problem: the shuffling of cards into different decks, leaving most companies short a full pack.

And so, the war for talent rages on, with talent acquisition and recruitment teams struggling to hire the best candidates. One of the major reasons for those struggles though, is because of a lack of speed and efficiency in the hiring process.

Some statistics show that top candidates are on the market for just 10 days before finding a new role. Yet according to LinkedIn, the average time to hire in the UK is 41 days. Four times longer than top talent is said to be available. And this number has been steadily increasing since 2010, when the average time to hire was around 15 days. Organisations are losing revenue, missing out on productivity, all because it’s taking too long to fill their open roles.

Meanwhile, applicants are left struggling to understand why the hiring process is taking so long, moving on to other opportunities, and increasingly, not even showing up for interviews.

Organisations looking to hire top talent need to understand the time to hire metric. And they need to know how to reduce it.

What is Time to Hire?

Time to hire, simply, is the amount of time between a candidate applying for a role and accepting a job. It measures the time it takes for an applicant to successfully move through the hiring process.

It is a metric that helps businesses and recruiters understand things such as:

  • How long does it take for you to spot that you have a qualified candidate?
  • How quickly does your business move once it has found the right candidate?
  • What are the bottlenecks in your hiring process?

Time to hire is one of many valuable recruitment metrics you should be tracking. It helps you to understand just how efficient your business is at processing, assessing, and interviewing applicants.

It is also a vital indicator of candidate experience – if you were applying for a role, you’d much rather hear back in a week or two rather than be forced to wait for over a month to get a response. It’s easy to see then, that a faster time to hire correlates with better candidate experience.

Time to Hire vs. Time to Fill

Recruiters can frequently confuse time to hire with time to fill – but these are completely different metrics.

Time to fill measures the total amount of time between a job being posted and successfully recruiting someone to fill this role.

The difference being that time to fill captures how long it takes to complete the entire hiring process, end-to-end, whereas time to hire only measures the amount of time it takes between a qualified candidate applying for the role and that same candidate accepting the role.

Time to fill is a metric that informs business planning, while the time to hire metric is about measuring the speed of decision making once qualified candidates have applied. Time to hire is an efficiency metric, giving management a clear understanding of how a talent acquisition or recruitment team is performing. It cuts out the external factors that must be included in the time to fill metric, such as notice periods or personal commitments that are outside of a hiring manager’s control.

How to Reduce Time to Hire

There are numerous different tactics your business can take to reduce the time it takes to hire new employees. The quickest route to cut down hiring time and improve your recruitment is to invest in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

An ATS can help you to automate and streamline much of the recruitment process, increasing your efficiency and reducing the potential for any human error. With an Applicant Tracking System, you can structure your hiring process, allowing you to evaluate every step of the journey candidates take from application to offer.

You can cut down time from administrative tasks, such as using an ATS to post job openings to your career page and integrated job boards simultaneously, and you can reduce the burden on recruitment teams with automated responses to applicants.

The right recruiting software can have a huge impact on your recruitment efforts, helping you to build a talent pipeline. Let’s look at the ways in which you could use Hireserve ATS can reduce time to hire.

Data-driven Decision Making

With an ATS, you can track internal hiring metrics and use this information to identify areas of the recruitment process that could be improved. Time to hire is specifically a metric you can track, but you can also build detailed reports across numerous valuable metrics. Build talent acquisition KPI’s and track your performance against those. Armed with detailed reports, analyse where inefficiencies and bottlenecks exist within your recruitment.

Measuring everything easily, in one system will also unearth data beyond your internal processes: it can help you identify the channels that have demonstrated shorter time to hire than others. It may be the case, for instance, that agency candidates consistently take less time to hire – once you have a clear picture of this, you would be able to focus more on agency candidates and reduce the time to hire that way.

With an ATS, you can also analyse conversion rates between the stages of your recruitment process to see how your team is performing internally at every step. This could give you valuable data on whether you are screening candidates thoroughly or bringing enough qualified candidates through to the interview stage.

Quicker Candidate Screening

Hireserve’s applicant tracking system includes automated screening tools to help you find the most qualified candidates.

Instead of requiring your recruitment team to sift through CVs, the candidate screening tool allows you to quickly eliminate candidates that aren’t right for the role or a bad fit for your organisation. Typically, this is a process that can be a huge drain on in-house resources and a hiring manager’s time, but this is a process that can be easily streamlined for increased efficiency.

Hireserve offers the ‘Killer Questions’ tool: questions that result in automatic rejection if candidates give the wrong yes/no answer to the requirement. For instance, a potential recruit may have to answer a question such as ‘are you eligible to work in the UK?’

This means less time is wasted on candidates who are not right for the role you are hiring for, narrowing the pool of applicants so that you can ensure those who are offered interviews have the right skills, experience, and eligibility.

Improved Interview Scheduling

With the Hireserve Applicant Tracking System, the administrative burden on hiring managers can be significantly reduced with the self-select interview tool.

The interview scheduling tool allows interviewers to upload their availability or set blocks of time for interviews. Candidates can then select the slot that works best for them through the candidate portal. Applicants can then also reschedule or cancel their slots themselves if they can no longer make the selected time.

Instead of needing to arrange interviews with applicants over the phone or by email, chasing them to find a suitable, candidates can select the time that suits them. This streamlined process of self-service not only means that less time is spent internally on administrative tasks, it also provides an improved level of candidate experience for your applicants.

Allowing your qualified candidates more control over their recruitment journey keeps them more engaged, ensuring that they are more invested in the hiring process. Engaged applicants are likely

Better Interviewing Practices

There are ways to improve your interviewing without recruitment software, but an Applicant Tracking System gives you the tools to improve the process of interviewing someone online.

Video interviews are increasingly common in the aftermath of COVID-19, especially for first-stage or group interviews, which are frequently the most time-consuming for hiring managers. Offering an online interview can be made even more efficient through recruitment automation, as invites can be sent directly to applicants through ATS software, creating consistent and streamlined communications.

Interviewing can be repetitive, and it is often difficult to get a real sense of who the best candidate is. The Hireserve platform has the capability to conduct professional video interviews which get the best out of all parties. Using the Online Interview tool to chat, share additional information and update potential recruits, you can move quickly through this step of the hiring process without the hassle of having to set up an individual Teams or Zoom meeting each time you run a remote interview.

Hireserve’s recruitment software is designed to help make your recruitment process more efficient, with features and tools that will significantly reduce how long it takes you to hire the right talent for your organisation. Find out more and book a demo today.

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.