Ever found yourself at the end of a months-long candidate search — with no new new hires to show for it? If so, then you know lengthy hiring cycles not only hamper productivity, but cost you money and lower the value of your employer brand, too. What can you do about it?

Watch the video below, for starters — or read on to find out the right hiring process timeline to shoot for, as well as next steps you can take today to meet that target in the future.

hire employees faster
hire employees faster

the high cost of unfilled vacancies

Lengthy hiring processes can harm your business in multiple ways. For starters, there's the immediate issue of productivity: Existing employees will have to take on extra workloads in addition to their regular full-time tasks to compensate. Of course, that burden can only be shouldered for so long before you’re looking at potential burnout and disengagement, which in turn leads to higher levels of turnover.

In other words, your already heavily clogged backlog of vacancies could actually get worse before it gets better — and that's particularly problematic at the moment. After all, we’re in the midst of what some observers are calling "the great resignation": a period of readjustment and realignment in the workforce in which a whopping 95 percent of workers say they're currently contemplating changing jobs, according to a study from Monster.com.

And if that even starts to happen at your company, expect the vacancies to pile up quickly. Considering the fact that replacing even one new hire will cost your company on average six to nine months of that employee's salary, according to one study, the risks are hard to ignore. For these reasons and more, ironing out the kinks in your hiring process — and accelerating your time to hire — should be a priority right now. Done right, it should generate considerable cost savings for your organization over the long haul as well.

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how long is too long to fill a position?

Hiring timelines vary wildly from company to company, from candidate to candidate — and even from position to position. Certain roles will require more time and resources to fill than others. So when it comes to identifying the ideal amount of days it should take you to make a new hire, there's no one set number.

We can, however, narrow it down to an ideal range that can act as your guide as you go about hiring. When you hit the upper limit with no new hires, you'll know that it's probably time to hit the brakes, back up and reevaluate your course.

At the low end of the spectrum, we have the number 10. In today's highly competitive hiring landscape, top talent has been shown to be on the market for only 10 days. Between the initial job posting, candidate sourcing and final interviewing, that's not a lot of time. That's why 10 should be the first number on your mind — especially if you're looking to hire for critical, strategic positions that call for hard-to-find skill sets.

At the high end of the spectrum we have the numbers two and three — that's months, not days. And if you're really hoping to secure in-demand talent, you never want your search to reach this point. So if you're approaching this territory and you’re still empty-handed, warning signs should be going off. It's time to streamline your hiring process, because by this point, the odds of landing quality candidates will have diminished greatly.

how to reduce time to hire

Time to hire can drag on for many reasons, so if you're having trouble hitting the ideal hiring timeline, follow these steps to give your hiring process a much-needed jolt:

1. plan in advance

Developing a comprehensive workforce management strategy early will help you avoid lengthy hiring cycles later on. A few simple best practices:

  • Assign dedicated resources on your HR team to forecast future talent needs.
  • Develop a strategy to attract your ideal candidates for those roles.
  • Cultivate an active talent pipeline.

2. improve your job posts

It's not just about listing job requirements and qualifications (though that's important, too, especially from a keyword-search perspective). A well-crafted listing should:

  • Exemplify the voice of your employer brand.
  • Generate buzz and excitement about the opportunity (and about your business).
  • Use clear and simple language. Avoid jargon as much as possible.

3. consider internal development programs

The right talent acquisition and workforce management strategies, together with well-crafted job posts, will help you land talent a whole lot faster, to be sure. But it’s also worth asking: Could an internal development program accomplish the same goal, only faster and more effectively? Consider the following, for example:

  • Employees across the board are eager to develop new skills themselves — in one survey, for example, 77 percent said they’re ready to learn new skills or completely retrain.
  • Seventy-five percent of HR leaders agree that reskilling is effective at mitigating talent scarcity, according to the Randstad Sourceright 2022 Talent Trends report.

4. partner with a staffing firm

If reducing time to hire continues to be a challenge, or you just don’t have time to tackle it on your own, consider working with a staffing firm. Staffing firms can help by:

  • sending you candidates from pre-existing talent networks to help you meet more qualified applicants
  • streamlining the hiring process with the latest HR tech so you can move toward making the right hire faster
  • developing talent strategies tailored to your business to keep time to fill down on future hiring engagements

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