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How long is the hiring process?

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Whether you’re looking for a job or want to bring someone on board quickly, the length of time a hiring process takes is important to know. While the average time for hiring processes vary between industries, sectors, and even companies, there are some rough guidelines available to help you with planning.

Good recruitment agencies will always take the time to find the most suitable candidates for a position. If your business hasn’t already built a prospective candidate pool, consider doing so as this will help cut down hiring times in future. A candidate pool means these people have already proven their skill and experience for certain roles in your organisation, they just weren’t available for a role or vice versa at the time. Having this set up can hugely cut down on hiring process times and speed things up for everyone involved.

A general hiring process will follow these steps roughly, depending on the industry and candidate:

  1. Application by candidate or candidate is approached by a recruiter.

  2. Initial phone call with the candidate to discuss skills, experience, job expectations. A recruiter will then put forward the candidate if they think they are suitable.

  3. Arrange the first interview between the candidate and employer.

  4. If the first interview is successful, this will usually be followed up with feedback about the candidate’s skills. Often, a knowledge/skills test or presentation will be set to help get a better feel for the candidate’s competency and experience. 

  5. A second interview is conducted to discuss the results of the skills test and/or give a presentation. This stage may involve more senior staff and is likely to discuss more technical aspects of the job. 

  6. Candidates are reviewed internally and with the recruiter, and a decision is made with a job offer. 

Depending on the number of initial applicants and candidates that go through the various stages, as well as how technical or skilled the candidate needs to be in order to fill the position, the average hiring process could be anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Many businesses aim for the hiring process to be completed within a month or so, but are often willing to wait for the right candidate. This is particularly true if the position is highly specialist and there are few people in the field available for hiring at any one time. 

Why does the hiring process take so long?

A common issue recruiters will hear from candidate is that the hiring process is taking too long. It’s an understandable frustration. Candidates are often keen to hand their notice in, or have been actively looking for work for a while. They might have other offers on the table and not want to keep people waiting.

In truth, the hiring process takes as long as it takes. Positions that have a lot of high-quality candidates interested in them have to give everyone a fair chance. Similarly, if it’s a more senior position, C-suite level staff may need to be engaged for interviewing, who often have busy schedules and commitments to work around.

A good recruiter and potential employer will keep candidates informed as much as possible throughout the process, providing feedback and arranging dates for the next steps as soon as they can. The time between steps should never be more than two weeks and as a candidate, there is no harm in following up in the meantime, especially if you have other offers to consider.

If you find that you often have a strong pool of candidates at the start but your hiring process drags on and the best ones get snapped up, consider some of the following questions:

  • Are you prioritising recruitment? If it’s taking a back seat to your daily work, we recommend bumping it up the list - it’s only short term after all.

  • Are you adding any unnecessary steps, such as third stage interviews, additional knowledge and skills tests? Consider if you really need the extra information.

  • Is your feedback to candidates or recruiters given in a timely manner?

  • Are the next steps for interviewing booked in quickly and prioritised in your diary?

  • Are you offering competitive packages that require little negotiation once an offer is made?

Reflecting on how you recruit is important as you want to ensure you’re getting the best quality candidates. If people are put off by long wait times or having to come in for multiple rounds of interviews and tests, they are likely to choose another offer that shows more value for their time.

Your recruitment agency can help you work out a better structure for the hiring process, one that ensures you get the best candidates possible every time, helping your organisation to grow and thrive.