Taking More Time to Hire a Vacancy Pushes Candidates Away

Time to hire is an important metric that most businesses are unable to meet. Did you know that only about 30% of companies hire a candidate in less than 30 days? Data is the driver of the future and if you are not leveraging data to boost the hiring process, you are missing out on an opportunity.

Do you love stories? I do, so I am going to share one with you. This story is about Jake and Becky. 

Jake is a 30-year old accountant for a management consulting firm. Jake has been in this job for over a decade and is really good at his work. However, he has mastered the art of minimal effort. Whenever the manager passes by, Jake pretends to be busy. But most of his day is spent browsing through Facebook, swiping right on Tinder, and planning about playing with the boys.

Jake knows that maybe there are better jobs out there but who cares when this one is paying the bills and is practically a stress-free minimum effort job? Also, he is most likely going to be promoted without having to push up his productivity. Why? Well, he has been here the longest and most of Jake’s colleagues are younger than him.

Enters Becky. Becky has just graduated from university and recently started working as a risk analyst at a law firm. It took her some time to get this job but now that she has started it, she is very excited. Every day, she wakes up with eagerness and enthusiasm. Generally, Becky is the first to arrive at the office.

Not only is she learning everything about her job & the ins-and-outs but also getting involved with company-wide initiatives. Becky has already made her way into the firm’s strategic team and is quickly forging relationships & building networks within and outside the business. She loves her work so much that often she stays late without feeling exhausted or having the irritation of putting in so many hours at work.

If you have to choose between hiring Jake and Becky, who will you hire? Unless you desperately need an accountant and do not care who it is, Becky seems to be the obvious choice, right?

But do you know the sad thing? Candidates like Becky are limited editions while there is an oversupply of Jakes. So, when you have a Becky-like candidate, what do you do? You take 40 days to hire.

Is reducing time to hire really important? 

If I ask you right now what is one thing that will grow your business, most of you will answer with “dedicated employees”. And that is true. So many research papers have studied the correlation between business performance and employee.

Yet, it looks like most of you are not even working hard enough to hire great, revenue-driving, golden goose candidates fast enough. Because the existing recruitment process works well enough and sends some really good candidates (like Becky) your way who form the top executives’ list.

“Just because something works, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”

Shuri, Black Panther (2018), Marvel Studios

Statista studied the average time to hire for job applicants worldwide between 2015 and 2018 and they found a 7.8% decrease over three years. Thank god for all the modern job application boards and better project management systems, right?

Wrong. The average attention span of people is dropping, information is being thrust on people’s faces, and the internet is becoming a dark lonely place. Companies are overworking, people are pushing their limits, and you are ready to chop your competitor’s head off to get the bigger slice of the cake. And all that in just 8 seconds; the average attention span of any user.

Businesses adapt and evolve. We are shifting from 30-minute videos to micro-videos. Instagram stories get way more engagement than native posts.

Why? Because it is all about speed. It is all about how fast you are able to work your way around something and attract the users to get what you desire.

A user spends roughly about 10 seconds on a single post, no matter how long it is. And you think they are going to wait for 40 days to work for you?

To hire faster or better?

Time to hire is the average time your company takes in filling one vacancy – from job posting to extending an offer letter. And measuring this metric is important because – ding dong ding – good candidates are rarely available.

“Well, thanks for sharing,” you say, “But this means my screening will be hustled. And you literally just told us above how hard it is to get a great candidate. What is the point in that if my ultimate goal is to reduce the time I take to hire without caring what kind of candidate I am selecting?”

On any other day, I would have said that you are right, packed my bags, and gone home. But you caught me on a break today so allow me to use this time in taking you on a journey. A journey of how can you reduce time to hire for your business and hire great candidates at the same time.

Ready? Let’s go.

Stop One: Data

Data is the next big thing. Since we are talking about metrics, it is obvious that data comes into the picture. So, whenever we have to measure this metric and reduce it, data is the answer.

Study your processes and optimize them. What do I mean by that?

Start by monitoring how many days (average them, of course) are you taking to fill one role. 

Then try filling the job application yourself and see how long it takes to move between stages. 

Further, compare your time to hire with the industry standard.

You also should focus on how many days you take in making the final selection and making the job offer to the candidate.

When you have all the data, measure it and find the weak points. For example, the industry standard is 40 days to fill a role; how better or worse are you? Or you can measure it against the standard of 10 days in making the final offer before they get hired somewhere else. Reducing time to hire means improving these metrics.

Interested in knowing how talent analytics and big data are influencing recruitment metrics and business growth?

Stop Two: Structured Hiring Process

Whaaat? Am I being serious? Who would need to hear this? Well, you will be surprised.

Let me tell you how things happen in a small company. The team leader says to the management guy, “Mike, I need a Java developer.” The management guy looks up the table, pretends to press some keys on the keyboard, and tells him, “No, we do not have the budget.”

When the budget is there, the management guy says, “Okay, talk to Rachel in the HR. See what she can do.” The team leader goes to Rachel who takes out an employee request form and asks the team leader to fill it. She then goes to a job portal, creates a new job posting from scratch, and hopes a nice candidate comes by.

But when you create a structured hiring process, you know exactly what the candidate’s journey is like, where is the friction in the process, and how you can reduce it by eliminating unnecessary steps. Making things visible lets you study the entire process and improve it.

Further, the structured hiring process means you do not have to start from scratch every time a new job opens up. So, that is another way of going about the question of how can we improve time to hire, and this one is a pretty solid answer.

Stop Three: Improve Careers Page

Go to Infosys’ career page, Google’s career page, and Facebook’s career page.

Now open this career page and visit this career page.

See the difference? Now, tell me, if you are a job seeker – a millennial or a Gen Z –  which website will you be happier to engage with? The first three, right? So how do you expect good people are going to apply and look forward to working with you when you are having career pages like the latter?

“The applicant is the center of our universe.”

Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The ActOne Group

A job is a sales transaction that happens both ways – you are selling the candidate your job and the candidate is selling you their skills. And research shows that candidates visit the career page of your website at least twice before they get onboarded.

Improving the career page is useful for two reasons:

  1. Poorly designed career page and application process make the candidate lose their interest and abandon their application. The metric – application drop-off.
  2. A poorly designed career page can be the reason for the communication gap or build a negative brand image in the candidate’s mind which forces them to reject the offer. The metric – offer acceptance rate.

With a good career page, you have a low drop off rate and a faster average time to hire. Start optimizing by giving all relevant information to the candidates right in front and in an interactive manner.

Stop Four: Source Candidates Fast

The first step of any recruitment process starts with the candidate. Well, not exactly the first but you get the feel. So, when you are looking for ways to improve time to hire, there is no doubt that managing a candidate is a useful recruitment metric for that.

Poor candidate sources increase your average time to hire. Start by monitoring how many relevant applications are you getting and sort them on the basis of their medium. You’ll get to know which medium is sending you the least relevant applications. Once you have the “poor” source, you can either choose to plug it or look for ways to improve it. Because you do not want to invest more time in sourcing candidates and increase the hiring time with irrelevant applicants.

Why does it matter? Okay, how to put this nicely.

*thinking hard*

Yes, see it this way. Imagine that you love eating burgers. Now, you do not care much about where the burger is from as long as it is edible. But one fine day, you fell sick. But you’re still eating burgers. And you are not getting any better. What do you do? Stop eating burgers? No, you will identify which deli is selling the burger which is causing the sickness, stop eating from there, and move on with your life.

The same thing happens when you do not monitor where you are getting applications. In the end, getting poor applications is going to increase your hiring time and set back the process a few days back.

Final Stop: Use the Power of Automation

When the hip-hop group Bad Meets Evil released their studio album Hell: The Sequel in 2014, the song Fastlane had these lyrics:

Livin’ life in the fast lane
Movin’ at the speed of life and I can’t slow down 
Only got a gallon in the gas tank 
But I’m almost at the finish line, so I can’t stop now

And honestly, the 21st century is all about speed. Consequently, speed is the solution to how to reduce time to hire. And how do you do that? By automation, of course (Psst, you can check out Vasitum also. We are a full-stack recruitment automation platform). Some of the tools:

Application Tracking System allows you to filter resumes and applications using keywords so that only relevant ones are delivered to your inbox. Many job platforms provide you with a free high-end ATS in their system.

Assessment Software: Many companies automate the assessment tasks needed to screen the candidates. These can be technical, psychometric, or cognitive assessments that help you in assessing a candidate at a deeper level.

Synchronization: Most recruiters like you rely on sharing spreadsheets with the team. But that can lead to an error one day or another. With an automated platform, you can stay in sync with other departments to create an end-to-end recruitment process in a single dashboard.


Having a low time to hire for your business is good because you do not want to lose out on the opportunity of hiring a great candidate. Because of smartphones, the attention span of the users has fallen drastically and that is visible everywhere – social media engagements to job applications.

Surveys show that candidates drop their application process if it is too complex, they are less likely to work with an organization that keeps on scheduling interviews & drags the process, and are not at all happy when they are not told a straightforward answer soon. You’ll be surprised to know that the most common reason for rejecting an offer is because they already joined somewhere else.

Monitor, track, measure, and optimize your time to hire to not let your prospective “great employees” become stars of someone else’s organization.