CAREER & HIRING ADVICE

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What is Time to Hire and What is Its Relationship to Candidate Experience?

Waiting days, if not weeks, for a response to a job application is frustrating and might even put candidates off working for a company. That’s why the time to hire is one of the key metrics for recruitment efforts.

This article covers the what and why behind hiring timelines as well as actionable insights so you can achieve the optimal time to hire. 

What is Time to Hire?

Time to hire, sometimes known as time to fill, measures the number of days between when a candidate applies to a job and when they accept that job. It does not include the time before they start or any subsequent periods like probation or open enrollment periods

Time to hire is an essential recruitment metric as it provides insight into the efficiency and effectiveness of your recruitment process.

You should calculate the average time to hire in calendar days from the applicant applying to their acceptance. If you want to improve your average time to hire, keep this metric in mind and regularly recalculate to see if your efforts have had an effect. 

How Does Time to Hire Affect the Candidate Experience?

Good First Impressions

A quick time to hire gives candidates a positive impression of your company’s efficiency and decisiveness. It also suggests that you run a well-organized workplace that responds quickly to employees.

Promptness in the hiring process also reflects your company’s professionalism and respect for the candidate’s time. This can foster a sense of trust and reliability, which are important when someone new is joining your business. 

A swift recruitment process minimizes the stress and uncertainty candidates face while waiting for responses, which ultimately contributes to a more positive experience.

Improved Candidate Engagement

A shorter time to hire often means you’re giving candidates more regular and timely updates. This keeps candidates engaged and informed about their application status so that your role is at the forefront of their mind. 

On the other hand, prolonged processes can lead to candidates losing interest or feeling undervalued. This could result in them withdrawing their application and even accepting offers elsewhere.

Reduced Stress and Uncertainty

We all know that applying for jobs can be an incredibly stressful process. A swift recruitment process minimizes the stress and uncertainty candidates face while waiting for responses, which ultimately contributes to a more positive experience.

Quick decisions also enable candidates to plan their next steps, whether it involves handing in their notice and transitioning from a current job or relocating. 

Acquire Top Talent

Top talent is in high demand. A lengthy time to hire increases the risk of losing these candidates to your faster-moving competitors.

In addition to getting your offer early, a smooth and expedited hiring process can enhance the overall candidate experience. Candidates who have a positive experience are more likely to recommend the company to others, helping you build a stellar employer brand and attracting more talent in the future.

How to Improve Your Time to Hire for a Better Candidate Experience

1. Review and Simplify Your Recruitment Process

Before trying to improve your time to hire, you need to assess your current recruiting process. You should work to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies and create a standard operating procedure for recruitment that is simple for both your recruiting team and your candidates. 

One way to simplify the process is to reduce the length and complexity of application forms to make it easier for candidates to apply. 

2. Optimize Job Descriptions

Write clear and concise job descriptions that accurately reflect the role and attract suitable candidates. Try to use relevant keywords so that your job postings are easily found by potential candidates using search engines or online job boards. 

It also helps to have a positive and active presence on social media, and company review sites. You should highlight your company culture and employee testimonials on your website and social media with the aim of attracting like-minded candidates quickly.

3. Leverage Technology

Image Sourced from bullhorn.com

There is plenty of tech out there to help you find and organize qualified candidates. Applicant tracking software and or a similar collaboration tool(s) can be used to automate resume screening, track candidate progress, and facilitate communication.

Incorporating finance management tools into your recruitment software can also help track and optimize recruitment spending, ensuring that your investment in hiring is cost-effective and aligns with your company’s financial goals.

Furthermore, consider implementing a digital contract as part of your technology stack to streamline the offer acceptance process and reduce paperwork delays.

Look for automation tools that allow candidates to self-schedule interviews based on their availability. This reduces back-and-forth communication and offers a more flexible experience for candidates. Additionally, ensure that your technology includes effective user onboarding processes to help new hires acclimate quickly and smoothly to your systems.

4. Improve Your Communication

There’s nothing worse than applying for a job and hearing nothing for weeks on end. You can improve the quality of candidate experience by keeping them informed at every stage of the process.

To do this, provide clear timelines from the outset — such as shortlisting and interview dates within the job description. You should also notify candidates promptly of any updates and aim to provide outcomes within 2-3 working days of their interview. 

5. Use Pre-Screening and Talent Pools

Interviews are time consuming for everyone involved, so use pre-screening tools like online assessments to evaluate candidates’ skills and fit early in the process. For example, for a role in a telecommunications company, you might ask candidates basic yet essential questions in a pre-screening quiz like ‘what is an IP phone system?’

Maintaining a database of pre-screened candidates is also a great way to reduce the period of time to hire for roles that frequently open up. This allows for faster times to hire whenever a new position becomes available, as you already have a pool of potential hires.

6. Use Data and Analytics

Image Sourced from pinpointhq.com

Regularly track and analyze metrics related to your current time to hire. This will help you identify patterns and address areas for improvement, such as specific role levels or departments with extended periods of time to hire. 

You should also compare yourself against industry benchmarks for time to hire to gauge your performance and set realistic improvement goals.

7. Provide a Flexible Hiring Processes

Customize your hiring process based on the role’s requirements and seniority level. It’s very common that more complex roles may need more time, while others can be expedited. You might also use separate metrics for different role levels. 

You should also incorporate remote hiring practices to widen your candidate pool and reduce location-based delays. This might include video interviews or phone interviews as well as online skills assessments. 

Final thoughts

Leaving a positive impression on job candidates, whether you hire them or not, is essential for building your employer’s brand and attracting the best talent out there. 

A speedy time to hire reassures candidates that you care about their experience. It also means you can fill roles quickly so that you always have the team you need. 

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