By Disha

The time to hire metric remains one of the top three key performance indicators for hiring teams. You’d be surprised to learn that only 30% of companies are able to fill a role within 30 days. The remaining take anywhere between 1–4 months to make a hire!

Taking too long to fill a role doesn’t just increase the cost per hire, but with it comes the risk of losing fast-moving (high quality) candidates. A whopping 57% of job seekers lose interest in a job if the hiring process is lengthy. In short, a long time to hire is bad for business.

So, to help you game up and improve your recruitment process (and find the perfect person for your job the fastest), here are ten effective ways to reduce Time to Hire.

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1. Be data-driven

A data-driven hiring strategy means using numbers to plan and make hiring decisions. When it comes to reducing your time to hire, data IS the key.

As the first step toward working on your time to hire, find out:

  1. How long it takes you to fill a role currently
  2. The time it takes for the candidates to move between the stages (for example, from the application stage to the phone interview stage or from the phone interview stage to the in-person interview stage, and so on)
  3. How your time to fill compares with the standard time to fill in your industry
  4. The calendar days from the final selection to making the job offer
  5. The ratio of good to poor applications you typically get (this will help you diagnose if the slowdown is happening in the sourcing phase)

Once you’ve all the data, pick the most alarming numbers and find ways of improving them. Remember that you only get around 10 days before your top candidates get hired elsewhere.

Data DashboardOrganizing your data will definitely
benefit you in reducing TTH

2. Establish a structured hiring process

A no brainer right? Sure, but many businesses out there still have much to improve on this part. Not having a structured hiring process means a longer time to fill as you basically end up starting from scratch each time there’s a new job to fill.

And even if you have a process in place, grab a big piece of paper and sketch it out! From start to finish, what does the candidate journey look like, what are the steps, how long do they take? Make it visible, that’s the only way you can exactly check where to improve.

Visualize your recruitment funnelGet your hiring process visible. Take out pen and paper,
get creative!

A documented hiring process also protects you from slowing down and improves your time to hire dramatically as you know exactly what to do at each step.

Advocating the need for a documented hiring process, Adam Robinson (CEO and Cofounder of Hireology) says: “A structured hiring process is cost effective and will streamline how you find and qualify candidates. Plus, it can provide measurable, tangible results for your business by helping you avoid damage caused by bad hires.

To create a robust and repeatable hiring process, check out some of these best hiring books. They’ll walk you through setting up scripted hiring processes and save you some precious time to fill.

3. Build a talent pipeline well ahead of time

A talent pipeline—or a group of candidates you’ve pre-screened for a certain role— is one of the most powerful ways of bringing down your time to fill metric.

When you have a number of qualified candidates on your speed dial, you don’t have to advertise your job, wait for the applications to dribble in, or spend time vetting the applicants. All of this is already done. All you need to do is reach out to these people about the open role.

Here are 5 basic steps to build a quality talent pipeline:

  1. Identify the roles you hire for often
  2. Determine the requirements for the role (skills, cultural fits, etc.)
  3. Find the hangouts where you could get your ideal candidates (conferences, industry events, social networks like LinkedIn, referrals etc.)
  4. Identify the talents who look like good fits and reach out to them
  5. Stay in touch with the candidates by sharing meaningful content and personalized messaging (invite them for coffee every now and then!)

For more insights on building a solid talent pipeline, check out Oracle’s talent pipeline building playbook.

4. Improve your careers page

Candidates visit your careers page at least two times during the hiring process:

(1) When they learn about your job opening, and (2) when they’re considering your job offer.

If your careers page doesn’t sell them on your jobs, they’ll either drop off or reject your offer. Now, both these situations negatively impact your time to hire as drop-offs result in fewer applications (and possibly a slower time to fill), and offer rejections mean starting over with making the offer to the second most eligible candidate and the following negotiation(s) if any.

By improving your careers page, you can reduce such instances of drop-offs and rejections and pace up your time to hire. You can start by anticipating all the information your candidates seek on your careers page and give it to them. Find out how you can optimize your careers page to offer all this information and more in our in-depth article on optimizing a career page.

Career Page ExamplePayscale does a great job in conveying a personal
message on their careers page

5. Look for speedy ways to source candidates

Sourcing enough qualified candidates is often the stage where the time to hire really drags. Instead of depending on just the job boards to send qualified candidates, diversify your sourcing methods.


  1. Programmatic advertising: Programmatic advertising means running paid ad campaigns to advertise your job openings. If you’ve got the budget, programmatic advertising can help you raise awareness about your openings, build your employer brand, and earn some promising applicants.
  2. Social sourcing: Use social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to identify the people in your industry who could be good fits for your company. You can even use offline events like industry gatherings and meetups to connect with your ideal candidates.
  3. Internal talent auditing: Stay updated on the status of your internal talent situations. You might find you’re able to fill some positions just via internal promotions.
  4. Referrals: The #1 way candidates learn about jobs is through referrals. So recruit all your existing employees to refer their friends for your openings. Design winning referral schemes and reward the employees who earn you quality talent.
  5. Browse talent databases: Job websites like Indeed maintain millions of resumes. Tap into these and use the platforms’ advanced search functionalities to filter the candidates who could make excellent employees at your company.

Building a talent pipeline is often considered the most effective way of sourcing candidates. You should spend at least 30 minutes each week on building talent pipelines and sourcing candidates (even when you aren’t actively hiring).

When you get enough applications, you’ll be able to move to the screening phase sooner, which will result in a shorter time to hire.

6. Invest in a good Application Tracking System (ATS)

A good ATS helps you at each point during your hiring process. Right from posting your job ad on multiple job boards to notifying you in real time as people apply, an ATS can automate large parts of your hiring.

With interview scheduling, application streamlining and sorting, talent pipeline building, compliance-checking, candidate experience optimizing, and automation capabilities, an ATS is the ultimate tool to power up your hiring and reduce your average time to hire.

7. Use automated screening

Assessments like skill tests, personality tests, and IQ tests add time to your hiring process but add a lot in terms of getting the right candidate in:

  1. IQ Test on average adds between 2.6 and 4.4 days
  2. Job Skills Test on average adds between 0.6 and 1.5 days
  3. Personality Test on average adds between 0.9 and 1.3 days

Considering that the best talent is available only for 10 days,  bringing down this screening time is imminent. A good screening solution can dramatically cut your time to hire without losing quality.

Harver clients, for example, can screen candidates for the right skills, personality, and cultural fit without having to design tests that take days to create and implement. With intelligent screening, you also get to rely less on the resume and more on the candidate him/herself.

Harver, has helped many companies (like Netflix and Zappos) bring down their time to hire (without compromising on the quality of the candidates). Find out if Harver can help you to improve your time to hire.

Zappos Screening ExampleHarver automates part of the hiring funnel
and provides candidates with an engaging experience

8. Connect your systems

There’s not one solution that takes care of the complete hiring process. But if the different tools you use don’t work well together, you’ll lose track of applications and candidates along the way. 

So to plug any leaks in your hiring toolkit and to optimize your time to hire, make sure to connect all your systems. To do so, create a hiring workflow and map the different tools you use at each stage. In the end, your Recruitment Tech Stack might just look a little something like this:

  1. An ATS
  2. A screening solution
  3. An interviewing solution
  4. An assessment solution
  5. A background checking solution
  6. An employee onboarding solution.

All connected and working together to find you the most suitable candidate the fastest.

9. Improve your job listing

Writing a job description is the first step of the sourcing stage. Unfortunately, you lose some amazing candidates right at this point. Losing good candidates at the start of the sourcing stage results in a delay in the time to hire as you get way fewer eligible applicants.

What causes this? Gender-themed words! Yes, this is true. A job listing with gender-neutral wording gets 42% more candidates.

So ensure you write gender-inclusive job descriptions. With a more inclusive job ad, you’ll attract more and better applicants and this will lessen your sourcing time (and also your time to fill).

Textio Example
Tip: Textio can be a great help in writing
the perfect job description

10. Make interviewing quick (you need to prepare for interviewing too!)

Delays in scheduling interviews directly add to your time to hire. With most companies conducting at least 3 rounds of interviews, the time to schedule interviews offers a lot of scope for improvement.

Using an automated interview scheduling tool will save you time here. Also, schedule all the interviews rapidly as delays between interviews frustrate a number of applicants and degrade the overall candidate experience.

In addition to moving the applicants quickly between interviews, prepare yourself for interviews. Robert Half, a recruiting influencer, suggest the following 5 ways to prepare for an interview:

  1. Review the job description
  2. Review the candidate’s work history
  3. Schedule it out
  4. Prepare key interview questions
  5. Meet in a comfortable setting

Quick and efficient interviews will help you screen through the candidates faster and make your time to hire more speedy.

Wrapping it up

Once you’ve found that candidate, don’t delay the offer. You’ll be surprised to know that the biggest reason candidates reject job offers is because they’ve accepted someone else’s offer. You don’t want this to happen with your top pick.

If a candidate makes a counter offer or shares details about a competing offer, be prepared to negotiate. Because you know the candidate very well by this point, use all your information to craft lucrative perks beyond the paycheck.

Most importantly, when speeding up your time to hire, DON’T skip any step. Just be quick.