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Quick hiring is all the rage, according to headlines. UPS hired several of its seasonal workers within 30 minutes of their request. South West Airlines completed a team of track workers with on-site interviews and job offers.
But other employers have quietly fought in the market, picking up candidates faster than their competitors through process excellence. In the recruiting world, there’s a name for this process: time to hire. Also known as recruiting time, this measure reflects the time it takes for an employer to recruit a new person for a vacant position.
Hiring at full speed is not about bragging rights. Sources told HR Dive that an organization’s time-to-hire rates impact business deliverables as much as they influence the candidate experience. The good news for those who are slow to hire? Employers can take several steps to accelerate their speed of hiring.
60 days: “It’s the norm”
On average, it takes organizations about 60 days to fill a non-managerial professional position. “That’s the general understanding of recruiters,” Erin Stevens, senior talent acquisition specialist at Fortune Brands Home & Security, told HR Dive in an interview. “That’s the norm. You want it as soon as possible, of course, but that’s just how long it takes.”
Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Talent at Employ Inc. Corey Berkey agreed with Stevens’ 60-day standard. At Employ, it usually takes 60 days to get an offer accepted from the time the company opens a job.
Stevens noted that the time to fill will decrease or increase depending on the level of the role. Entry-level positions require two or three weeks to fill. At his company, recruiters aim to close non-executive positions in 45 days or less. Directors and vice-presidents? It can take up to 120 days, Stevens said.
Still, Stevens, who said she finds the metric fascinating, is trying to beat the clock. “For me personally, I always try to do it as soon as possible,” she said. “40 days or less.”
When it comes to hiring, Berkey focuses on another metric: pipeline days. “I watch ‘days in the pipe’ a lot,” he said. “I gauge it from the day the right candidate throws their hat in the ring to the day we make an offer.” At Employ, a candidate’s days in the pipeline are typically 16 days or less.
No matter what an organization’s average hiring time, most are trying to move at full speed, Stevens said. She compared the job market to the real estate market, noting the similarities. “We have lots of jobs but limited inventory,” she said. “It’s really on the job seeker’s side – they’re able to go out and search through all of these options.”
Stevens has seen candidates say yes to offers from his company, only to accept a counter offer from their current employer days before their start date. Contestants will also drop out late in the game after accepting an offer from a contestant.
All about responsibility
As employers compete for workers, hiring speed is the top priority. “It’s a really critical metric. It’s very important in today’s market,” Berkey said. “This ensures that we get our selection of top talent quickly.”
Berkey said companies endure “a trident of pain” if they’re not careful with hiring time. First of all, they will lack talent. Then they will run into the business implications of empty roles: burnout of current team members, stagnant business goals, and delayed deliverables.
Stevens also highlighted the importance of time-to-hire tracking, but listed different reasons. “It’s a question of responsibility,” she said. Time-to-hire tracking sheds light on delays in the process. Individual recruiters can be careful with their own numbers. But, depending on the system a company uses, the metric can be broken down by department and hiring manager. “Data is great for starting those conversations and really seeing where those bottlenecks are or where things are taking longer,” Stevens said. “It all comes down to responsibility. Who does what, who moves who.”
Part of the recruiting challenge is to unite multiple teams around a common goal. If a hiring manager asks to post a job but is hesitant to schedule interviews, it’s a long time to hire. “It looks bad to me, but in reality it’s the manager,” Stevens said. “If you’re not ready, we have to put it on hold.”
The accountability time given to recruiters is valuable because it allows them to speed up the process. And quick experience makes for happy candidates, Stevens and Berkey noted. When candidates don’t have to wait for recruiters to respond – that they have to go for an interview, that hiring managers need a few days to make up their minds, that they have the job, that they have to keep looking – job seekers are told that they are wanted and taken seriously.
By tracking time-to-hire, employers and recruiters can identify people and processes that are lengthening the time-to-hire. This could come down to a hiring flow with too many steps or too many participants. Or the problem could be with a specific person; Both Stevens and Berkey mentioned hiring managers as potential culprits.
“If a recruiter is the first line of defense and flags a suitable person, but that person isn’t scheduled for the next round of talks for a week and a half, you have a problem,” Berkey explained. “We say recruiting is a full-contact sport. That means we’ll remove items from your calendar to make room for those conversations. Otherwise, you’ll lose that candidate.”
Ironically, recruiters can also struggle to find time to recruit, Stevens pointed out. “A lot of people do HR and recruiting, so you have to spend time recruiting,” she said. Although Stevens’ position is solely in recruiting, she still dedicates parts of her days to this task. It actively recruits every day from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from noon to 1 p.m. And it also blocks every Friday afternoon.
Aside from people, a few pipeline processes can extend time-to-hire, Berkey said. Appraisals are common speed bumps that Berkey encouraged other recruiters to reconsider: “What if you changed it? What if you eliminated it?”
Recruiters should also consider how long it takes to communicate decisions throughout the process. If a team interviews an amazing candidate, but the candidate doesn’t hear about an offer until four days after the interview, recruiters should question the gap, Berkey said.
Berkey and Stevens reported another time for hiring a problem: scheduling. They both praised the scheduling tools to ease the burden.
As recruiters look for slowdowns in their hiring processes, they need to remember why speed matters. “It all depends on the candidate’s experience,” Stevens said. “It’s go, go, go. A constant back and forth. You have to connect with people and get them answers.”