According to a report from Glassdoor Economic Research, on average, the hiring process takes around 23 days, while the top candidates are out of the market within ten days. Recruiters are working hard to secure top talent for their companies. Employers are spending more time and resources recruiting to hire the best, while candidates are becoming more selective. 

For recruiters to succeed in today’s market, they must act fast to avoid losing a top candidate to their competitors. To do so, let’s talk about how long the hiring process should actually take. 

Let’s Recap: Hiring Process 

In a traditional hiring process, it goes something like this: 

  1. Open the requisition (job ad) 

  2. Screen the applicants 

  3. Interview the candidates 

  4. Take-home assessment, if applicable

  5. Selecting the best candidate 

  6. Negotiating the offer

  7. Background checks 

  8. Start Date

Tackling these steps within ten days (assuming that you’re looking for the best candidate) is quite challenging! 


Reasons Why Hiring is Taking so Long 

Bad hires cost (a lot of) money

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire is around 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings, so, understandably, companies want to make sure they take their time in finding the right employee before making any commitments. 

An exhaustive list of required skills 

To avoid making a bad decision in hiring the wrong employee, hiring managers create a long list of requirements and skills to garner more qualified applicants. However, this may discourage applicants who may or may not fit 80% of the job description. 

Long interviewing process 

I have heard people tell me that their interviewing process took up to five different rounds! It is understandable that companies want to make sure they don’t make a wrong hiring decision; however, that’s asking a lot of a candidate. 


Now, here’s the question, how long should the hiring process actually take?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question as it varies from employers and the position to which the candidate is applying. 

Candidate engagement relationship is key here. 

To keep a candidate engaged, it is extremely important and critical for recruiters to create a fruitful relationship with their candidates. Having a solid relationship with your candidate will allow them to feel respected, wanted, and show them how transparent you are as a recruiter. The last thing a recruiter wants in today’s candidate-driven market is to lose a candidate due to a poor candidate experience. 

Adjust your expectations 

It is understandable that companies want to ensure they are not losing money over a bad hire. Despite that, setting realistic expectations for candidates will set you up for success. 

Employers should not expect new hires to understand the product immediately and pick up on tasks within a week of onboarding. Research shows that it takes around 5 to 8 months for new hires to reach full productivity in a new working environment. 

Understand the candidate’s timeline 

As mentioned, it may take a new hire up to eight months to be fully onboarded. Therefore, be on the lookout for them on their timeline. If you’re a recruiter hiring for a more junior position, try communicating with the hiring manager to be more patient and open. It takes time for people to learn, adapt, and pick up on tasks despite their level. 

In sum, there’s no golden rule on how long the hiring process should actually take. In reality, it is based on how recruiters communicate with their candidates and how the process goes. Setting up unrealistic expectations and requirements for a position will only overwhelm and frustrate the candidate and the hiring manager (and you!). In today’s tight labor market with more jobs than people, it is time to spend more effort to find the right people with the right recruiting strategy to avoid losing a candidate through a poor candidate-engaging relationship. 

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Rene Cheng