Here’s How to Speed Up Your Hiring Process

Jun 12, 2024

When you’re looking to fill a role, chances are you have a critical need for that role. Maybe this person will be the key to reaching your yearly business goals. Perhaps they’ll unlock a new process to help your team work faster and smarter. Whatever the reason for opening the role, you want to get that new hire in the door as quickly as possible so they can hit the ground running.

But the hiring process should also ensure you get the right person in the door—one who has the chops to tackle the job responsibilities, embodies your company culture, and will push your organization forward on its mission. On the other hand, hiring the wrong people can hurt your team’s morale and bottom line since employers spend between $7,500 and $28,000 in hard costs1 to find and onboard each new employee.

So, where’s the balance between a quick hiring process and an effective hiring process? It’s important to move quickly, but speed will do you no good if a bad hire costs your company more time and money than the hiring process itself.

By implementing a few key strategies and hiring tools into your recruiting efforts, you can speed up your hiring process timeline without missing out on the best person for the job.

How Long Does The Hiring Process Take?

According to a report from The Josh Bersin Company the average time-to-hire (the number of days from when the job was listed to when the candidate accepted the offer) has risen to 44 days2. Of course, this can vary depending on the role you’re hiring. An executive-level role will likely take more time to fill than an entry-level position will.

Other external factors may also play a part in the hiring process timeline. Candidates may not be actively looking for new roles during the winter holiday season or the busy summer months. And depending on the state of the economy, you may be flooded with candidates to choose from or have to roll out the red carpet to make a great impression.

While 44 days serves as a solid baseline, it’s essential to set realistic hiring timeline goals based on all known factors, including the urgency of hiring for the specific role.

What Hiring Process Steps Will Speed Up The Timeline? (And Attract Quality Candidates)

An effective recruitment process uses many strategies to reel in top-quality candidates. Below, we outline some hiring process steps to implement as you work toward a faster hiring timeline while maintaining a pipeline of qualified candidates.

  1. Write a Job Description That Attracts Top Talent

The best way to change your hiring process is to start at the beginning: how you’re talking about the open position. How to write a job description is one of the first things any HR pro learns, but many times, a job description isn’t fully leveraged as the powerful candidate-attraction tool it can be.

When a position needs filling, hiring managers are often too stressed about finding a candidate to slow down and think about what kind of candidate they really want and need. In the interest of time, they may not spend enough time developing an effective job description, and the result is either a flood of unqualified candidates or a trickle of candidates who can meet super-specific demands.

Here are three tactics to consider as you generate a job description:

  • List five core skills: While you should be clear about the critical expertise needed for the job, don’t get overly-specific, or you could risk people not applying because they perceive themselves to be underqualified.
    • Not-so-fun fact: Men will apply for a job when they meet just 60% of qualifications, whereas women need to be closer to 100% to feel confident enough to apply3.
  • Provide a breakdown: Explain what this person will spend most of their time doing, which teams they’ll be working closely with, and what their general day-to-day will look like.
  • Discuss markers of success: What does a job well done look like? What types of metrics will this person need to track? What will they report on?

By creating a job description that accurately reflects the position along with preferred and critical qualifications, you cut out a massive amount of time you might otherwise spend screening. On the other hand, omitting qualifications that aren’t critical can open your talent pool to non-traditional candidates or candidates that could grow into the position.

  1. Eliminate Unnecessary Steps in Your Hiring Process Timeline

Not only will cutting out unnecessary steps speed things up for your hiring team, but you’ll also be less likely to lose candidates along the way. According to SHRM, 92% of job seekers abandon online applications because of their length and complexity4. That 92% doesn’t account for candidates who may drop off because of slow communication, extensive interview processes, or having to jump through too many hoops.

When evaluating the steps of your hiring process, consider these questions:

  • What does each step accomplish?
  • Which steps take the longest?
  • Which steps lead to bottlenecks in the hiring process?
  • Where do candidates typically choose to exit the process?

By carefully auditing your process, you can determine which phases are moving you forward and which are holding you—and potential candidates—back.

  1. Leverage Hiring Tools

Shave time off your hiring process and increase efficiency by automating key workflows. When everything is automatic, no one has to wait around to be told what’s next. An applicant tracking system (ATS) can take menial tasks out of your hands so you can focus on what’s really important in the hiring process: the people. An ATS can carry the load for you by providing:

  • A branded, pre-built careers page
  • Automatic job postings to job sites
  • Candidate keyword search and filtering
  • Automated workflows so your hiring team knows what to do and when to do it
  • A collaboration hub for the hiring team
  • Email and offer letter templates that auto-populate candidate and job info
  1. Set Hiring Timeline Goals with Your Hiring Team

At the beginning of the recruitment process, set an ideal hiring timeline with your hiring team, including the hiring manager. Create milestones and slate out due dates so everyone is on the same page about what needs to happen—and when. Consider setting timeline goals for the following hiring process steps:

  • Write the job description
  • Post the job description
  • Schedule interviews
  • Complete interviews
  • Debrief as a hiring team
  • Narrow down your top candidates
  • Send an offer letter
  1. Make the Interview Count

After you’ve screened your candidates, you’ll want to narrow down the pool even further by interviewing them individually. Many organizations lose candidates during the interview process because of bad interviewing practices.

Let’s look at a few of the most common interview pitfalls here:

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

It might seem important to have every department head provide input on each candidate for the graphic designer position. But think about this: are all 10 of those individuals ever going to agree? By involving too many stakeholders, you may be creating an impasse. A better way to gain group approval is to take input from people at the beginning as you’re crafting the job description, then leave a small group as the actual decision-makers.

Ineffective Questions

It might be a good ice breaker to ask a candidate what their spirit animal is, but it won’t give you much insight into how well they’ll perform the job. To make each interview as comprehensive and meaningful as possible, use the targeted job description as a point of reference for what to ask in the interview.

No Structure

When Manager A says she liked the first candidate the most, does she have a good reason? Effective feedback must go beyond gut feelings and hunches. And your interviews need structure if they’re going to fairly evaluate different candidates and eliminate unconscious bias. Consider preparing a list of questions and scorecards for each hiring manager before the interview process begins. Each hiring manager in the interview can then rank each candidate on elements such as culture fit, skill set, and whatever else is essential. By sticking to the same questions and using a consistent rating system, you can compare apples to apples (and leave the oranges out of it).

Poor Follow-Up

It’s not enough to put candidates through an interview, hand out scorecards to the managers, and hope it all comes together. To make the most of your hiring process timeline, you have to follow up with managers and candidates while the interview is still fresh in their minds. Give hiring managers a chance to make notes and debrief from the interviews and keep candidates informed on the next steps. (Reminder: an ATS can help you automate those workflows!)

  1. Keep the Communication Channels Open

There’s no faster way to drive someone away than to give them radio silence.

Schedule communication from the very start so they know:

  • How long the application will take
  • When you’ve received their application
  • When they can expect to hear back
  • How long each step will probably take

Transparency will make for a much better application experience and encourage candidates to stick around for the entire process, even if you can’t move quite as fast as your competitors.

Along with communication, there needs to be a sense of individual attention—especially for those candidates who make it further through the process. Interviewing is stressful, but making candidates feel welcome and comfortable means they’ll be more themselves during the interview. Remember: we’re all humans here!

  1. Maintain and Widen Your Talent Pool

Imagine a world where you open a job listing and already have the perfect candidate lined up. It may sound like a dream, but it can be a reality when you maintain a robust talent pipeline. How often have you told a candidate that you’d keep their resume on file but never looked at it again? You could be housing a goldmine of qualified candidates in your files—ones that would happily consider another opportunity with you if they were impressed by the recruiting process before.

Beyond providing a stellar hiring experience so that candidates want to come back, you can widen your talent pool by including internal candidates, candidates with criminal records who are re-entering the workforce, and other non-traditional workers. Consider implementing diversity recruiting tactics to ensure your company is welcoming and considerate of people with different backgrounds and needs. Doing so will lower the barrier to entry when it comes to candidates applying, which will open you up to a wide range of candidates you otherwise would have missed out on.

Put Yourself in Candidates’ Shoes

When it comes to improving and speeding up your hiring and recruiting process, the best way is to experience it firsthand. If you improve your process, have your hiring managers “apply” and walk through the new steps along with you. If all of you find certain steps confusing or lengthy, chances are your candidates do, too. Identify where you can eliminate cumbersome procedures, streamline work, and improve communication.

By making changes like the ones outlined above, you’ll save your organization considerable time and money while sweeping the best candidates off their feet.

Hailey Tielkemeier is a Customer Marketing Manager at BambooHR, where she connects HR professionals with impactful resources. Her research covers benefits administration, performance management, and streamlining HR processes through software integrations. She holds a B.S. in Communication Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.

  1. BambooHR. 2023. “From Recruitment to Onboarding, What’s the True Cost of Hiring Employees?” Bamboo HR blog, 2023. https://www.bamboohr.com/blog/cost-of-onboarding-calculator.
  2. PR Newswire. 2023. “New Research Shows That Hiring is Harder Than Ever: Time to Hire Increasing Significantly for Almost All Roles.” PR Newswire website, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-research-shows-that-hiring-is-harder-than-ever-time-to-hire-increasing-significantly-for-almost-all-roles-301839785.html.
  3. LinkedIn. “Gender Insights Report: How women find jobs differently.” LinkedIn website, https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions-lodestone/body/pdf/Gender-Insights-Report.pdf.
  4. SHRM. 2022. “Most People—92%—Never Finish Online Job Applications.” SHRM website, https://www.shrm.org/topics-tools/news/talent-acquisition/people-92-never-finish-online-job-applications.
Written by: Hailey Tielkemeier

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