SmartRecruiters Blog

We Looked at 30,000 Hires, This Is Where the Most Time Is Wasted in the Recruiting Process

With all the small steps it takes to make a hire, it can be hard to pinpoint where the process is dragging, we did some digging and this is what we found!

Last year the average time-to-hire was 23.8 days, up from 13 days in 2010 according to Glassdoor findings. This lag time is a problem because it costs your company revenue, and makes for a bad candidate experience. Though a variety of factors play a role in the time-to-hire metric, including low unemployment and a lack of skilled workers, or just workers in general, there are steps your organization can take in order to reduce that time and stop costing themselves precious resources, not to mention their reputation.

Costs of protracted time-to-hire:

  • Loss of revenue: Every day a job goes unfilled you lose the revenue that an employee would have generated.
  • Internal Resentment: Burning out current employees who have to cover the work of the open position.
  • Bad Candidate Experience: Candidates feel nervous, frustrated, or in the dark.
  • Opportunity Loss: Candidates may take your slowness as a sign of poor company communication, and take another offer.

To identify an action plan for more efficient recruiting we went to the numbers! Hiring is a multi-step process, involving many departments, so we looked at 30,000 hires to isolate each step and locate the problem area. Here’s what we found: There are four basic steps in the talent acquisition flow – view application, review candidates, interview, and offer. And it’s these two final steps that are causing TA teams to stall out.

So who did we survey?

We looked at 30,000 hires from SmartRecruiters last year from small, large or enterprise companies in Financial Services, Education Management, Health Care, Retail, and Information/Technology Services. In the interest of delivering the most relevant information, we omitted the extreme outlier cases. You may notice that our average time to hire is 4.8 days shorter than the average gleaned from Glassdoor, this is most likely because all our data comes from organizations using an applicant tracking system (ATS), whereas the above survey includes teams working without this technology

Let’s go to the numbers:

Average: 19 days

  • 1 day to see an application
  • 3 days in review
  • 9 days to  interview
  • 6 days to make an offer

Fastest 25 percent: 5 days

  • Less than 1 day to see an application
  • Less than 1 day in review
  • 3 days to interview
  • 1 (next) day to make an offer

Slowest 10 percent: 85 days

  • 11 days to see an application
  • 18 days in review
  • 30 days to interview
  • 26 days to make an offer

Interviews are the slowest step no matter what type of company. Quicker alternatives to multiple in-person interviews could be phone screenings, video interviewing, and/or online assessments! A quick win for hiring managers using Smartrecruiters was making use of the mobile app, which cut the hiring process by an average of two days when compared to those using their desktop computer exclusively!

Surprising takeaways and expert commentary:

Lengthy hiring processes could be hurting more than helping when it comes to tech talent! As expected high-volume low-skill hiring, like retail, is done much faster than information/technology services, however, that time could be hurting you more than you think. Engagement expert from WilsonHCG, Paul Dodd says.

“In regards to tech, there are a ton of aptitudes, skills, and knowledge that needs to be verified, and depending on the latest & greatest profile, with things like java stack or hadoop, your talent pool is small. Any, one professional would possibly have two or three offers so if you aren’t fast enough, the opportunity cost for not having them on your team could be significant.”

Internal and referral candidates take longer to hire. Internal candidates spent an average of 14 days in the interview stage and referrals 17, while the offer stage took 8 days for internal candidates and 4 days (which is actually below average) for referrals.  Perhaps the familiar nature of these candidates make the time factor seem less urgent, but “This is a huge miss,” warns Katherine Moening, marketing manager for Click Boarding.

“Current employees can make, or break, your hiring game. Provide them with the same level of care and attention as new hires during the hiring and onboarding process – and they’ll become champions for your business and your brand. Treat them as less urgent, and they’ll go find someone that’ll treat them better.”

It takes more time to reject a qualified candidate, who was interviewed, than to make the hire by a factor of over 3 days. When you have your pick of qualified candidates it can be hard to tell one they didn’t make the cut, but remember timely communication is key to keeping rejected candidates in your candidate relationship management system (CRM) talent pool for the next position that opens up!

Learn more about this survey by reading our in-depth unpacking in “Terminal Velocity: Where Most Hiring Time is Spent, Stalled and Saved“.

Kaya Payseno