What is the average time to hire in the UK?

HR secrets of speeding up your hiring process

27.9 days. In that amount of time, you could go around the whole earth if you traveled at a steady pace of 37 miles per hour. You may potentially complete a total of four revolutions around the moon. Or, if you're in the mood for something more rock and roll, you might always look for a new employee.

That's correct, the average duration of the recruiting process in the UK in 2016 reached a new high of 27.9 days, which is just three days short of a full month. This is a significant rise in comparison to the preceding several years, and we are making every effort to determine the cause of the delay.

It should come as no surprise that improving the effectiveness of recruiting procedures is the second top goal for human resource managers for the next two to three years (just behind candidate experience if you wanted to know). A lengthy recruiting process is not ideal because of the high overheads and negative consequences it has on talent acquisition; yet, it is regrettably a reality for a significant number of firms in the UK.

The reasons why this might be quite varied, depending on the size of the firm, the processes that are involved, and the job that is being recruited for. Therefore, beginning at the top, why are these phases equally responsible for increasing the amount of time it takes to complete the process, and how can we simplify them?

The size of the organization that is handling the hiring is one of the most significant contributors to a drawn-out selection process. When compared to bigger companies, smaller businesses often need less time to recruit and hire new workers. When it comes to the timeliness of the shortlisting process, smaller organizations often have an edge due to the lower number of applications they get (although this is also a disadvantage as it means there is potentially less choice of high quality candidates). This implies that a choice is made on the last two or three candidates sooner, which means that the interviewing process may begin sooner than it would at a bigger firm.

In addition to this, one other thing to take into consideration is the fact that smaller businesses often have less people coming and going. In most cases, the bigger the organization, the more the number of managers a CV will need to appease, and the greater the number of interview stages that will be necessary. To recruit a candidate, a smaller firm would often just need the approval of two people (typically the MD and a line manager), however this is not always the case.


Our kind of hoop jumping has become the standard practice for highly trained occupations in this day and age as a result.

A corporation might lose a lot more money due to poor hiring decisions than you could ever realize.

Last but not least, and this is something that we will discuss in more depth later down the page, the larger organizations often have a lot more thorough system in place. The extensive background checks, the several interviews, the trial days, and the overall thoroughness at the beginning of the process all add considerable amounts of time to the whole duration.

To get a better idea of how much of an impact business size has on the recruiting process, have a look at the graph that we've created below, which compares the United Kingdom and the United States in terms of the link between company size and the duration of the hiring process:

It is quite evident that the employment procedure in the UK is noticeably more time-consuming than that in the US. In addition to this, we can observe that the duration of the procedure becomes much longer as the firm grows in size. Companies that have between 10 and 49 workers are the lone exception to this pattern (in both the UK and the US); compared to the group before them, their recruiting procedure is substantially less competitive (less than 10 employees).

It is possible that this is due to the fact that a tiny startup firm with less than ten employees is more likely to spend a great deal more time on selecting the appropriate personnel since those employees will be essential lynchpins to the company's future success. Although the feeling expressed above will very definitely be shared by all businesses, it is undeniably more of a primary concern for those that fall into the smaller group.

The graph also draws attention to the fact that organizations with over 100,000 workers in the United States require less time to recruit new employees than the companies in the two groups that came before them. The same cannot be true for the United Kingdom, where there has been a steady increase. It is not quite obvious what causes this peculiarity; nevertheless, staff retention rates in response to the change in population might be an uncontrollable variable that is not represented in these statistics. Regardless of the specifics, it is obvious that the recruiting procedure in the United Kingdom is far more time-consuming than the one in the United States.

Now that we are aware of the affects that the size of the firm has on the length of time it takes to hire new employees, let's investigate the role that the different kinds of jobs have in the delay.


Vacant Role Available

The job that is being advertised is the following most important element regarding hiring timetables. The recruiting process moves through considerably more quickly in industries like retail and hospitality, which have a high volume of jobs that are either temporary or seasonal because of the high need for workers in those industries. Because they call for a more specialized skill set and, as a result, call for further testing and verification, occupations with increased levels of responsibility often need more time to fill.

This helps to explain why a lot of the bigger businesses that operate in fields like information technology and pharmaceuticals need a lengthier amount of time to apply for. The same principle applies to the field of education, given that different teaching responsibilities need for different kinds of competence evaluations and background checks.

A curriculum vitae (CV) is nothing more than a glorified printscreen of LinkedIn profiles at this point; it is a waste of ink and trees and is a ritual that we continue to follow despite the fact that it is no longer totally essential.

Because hiring the wrong person may cost a business more money than you could ever think, passing through several hoops like this one has become the standard for specialized professions in this day and age. In light of this, it is possible that their caution is warranted; yet, it continues to be an area in which candidates find themselves feeling frustrated.

On the other hand, a recruiting process that is more streamlined and efficient may save a lot of money, so striking the right balance is essential for maximizing the financial effectiveness of hiring.


The following chart provides information on the average number of days required to complete the recruitment process across a variety of industries in the UK:

Biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the educational sector, seem to have the most drawn-out recruitment processes, as was to be anticipated. It should come as no surprise that the process is quickest in the retail and food services industries, as these two fields often have a greater need for temporary or seasonal workers.


When it comes to hiring, what additional criteria come into play?

You may be confident that the size of the firm or job are not the only factors that affect a hiring delay. There is always the possibility that more elements may enter the picture and throw a wrench into the process. Let's take a look at some of the potential causes of these problems and how they manifest themselves:


Uncertainty in the economy

Even while the economy is showing signs of improvement, businesses are nevertheless exercising extreme caution as they re-build after the crisis. In light of the fact that significant political difficulties are on the horizon, with Brexit being the primary topic of discussion, companies are pondering how they will manage the impending financial repercussions of these political shifts. This will undoubtedly have an effect on their choices on recruiting, particularly given how recently the economic downturn has left its scars.


Increased government oversight of the labor market

When it comes to providing employment contracts, businesses have a number of considerations to make, including issues about equal chances, employment for a certain period of time, and the rights of workers on the job. It is necessary to take into account and verify each of these restrictions with each applicant, which might result in an increase in the amount of time spent on general administration.


Reluctance to recruit those who have been out of work for a long time

If you have previously read our article on obtaining job after being unemployed, you are aware of the potentially detrimental effects that long-term unemployment may have on an individual's life. When an applicant has not had a job for at least three months, potential employers become wary of the candidate's qualifications, even if they seem to be relevant to the position. Because of this, hiring managers are more likely to remain undecided, which might lengthen the process of shortlisting candidates.


Look for the "ideal" person to fill the position.

Every every business is guilty of doing this at some point or another. They will use up all of their available resources and spend weeks looking for the ideal applicant, only to come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a "perfect" match for their business. This frequently unsuccessful pursuit might cause a corporation to ignore extremely talented and skilled individuals in the goal of finding "something better," adding weeks onto the timeline for no good reason in the process.


The manufacturing process for CVs

When a candidate's curriculum vitae (CV) is sent in, it goes through many rounds of evaluation before an employment decision is made. Because each step inherently requires some amount of time, it stands to reason that the total number of strong CVs submitted might have a significant impact on how long the recruiting process takes. The following statistic is presented in the form of a pie chart, which illustrates the amount of time that an average CV spends in each step of the process:


Is there anything that can be done that will make things go more quickly?

The million dollar question There are a variety of approaches that may be used in order to simplify and expedite the recruiting process. Naturally, they will differ from business to firm; thus, it is essential to determine which aspects of your particular process are especially arduous in order to prioritize them. After doing a comprehensive review of the process from beginning to end, you will be able to identify the steps that take the most time by conducting post-hire process evaluations with the assistance of your current workforce. You will be able to determine what needs to be improved and what can be sped up based on the input that they provide.


For the time being, however, have a look at these five actions that the majority of businesses can do to have an immediate and beneficial influence on the length of time it takes them to fill open positions:


1. Simplify the application process by lowering the amount of hurdles potential candidates have to clear.

In order to be considered for some jobs, applicants must first complete extensive application forms, submit to background checks, and go through pre-employment tests. Nevertheless, this does not imply that carrying them out must be laborious and time-consuming. Make some changes to the application form your firm uses, and consider if all 21 pages of the questionnaire are really necessary. Any further checks that need to be done should also be conducted as quickly and easily as feasible, with as little work as possible from the applicant.


2. Organisation

Fairly obvious from the context. To limit the amount of time spent on administration to a bare minimum, having good organizational skills with regard to paperwork is essential. This process can only be made to go forward more quickly by storing the files of each applicant in a single location, ensuring that any papers received are immediately sorted, and providing line managers with easy access to the candidates' personal information. In addition, your organization will act as a model for the firm as a whole, demonstrating to any prospective employees that you run a corporation that is both professional and careful in its operations.


3. Talent Management Software

There are already a growing number of talent management software alternatives available on the market. These options include a variety of features to help keep your prospects organized and up to date. Oracle and Halogen Software are two of the better ones that are now accessible. Both of them provide trials so that you can get a handle on how they function and determine whether they would be beneficial to the management system that is already in place at your organization.


4. Comprehensive job descriptions

A component of the process that is often neglected is the job description. When a prospective applicant is seeking to apply for a post that is being advertised, they will experience uncertainty and trepidation if the function is described in an ineffective manner. Make the description as clear as possible and check to be that it covers every facet of the open position in sufficient depth. In the same vein, make an effort to keep it as brief as you possibly can. When someone is trying to find work, the last thing they want to do is read a chapter from a book. Make good use of bullet points to emphasize important responsibilities and required expertise. Taking the time to ensure that your job description is accurate will save you a significant amount of time in the long run; otherwise, you will have to deal with applicants who have misunderstood the position or who have been unintentionally led astray by the ambiguity of the advertisement for the job.


5. Do your research before you start setting up interviews.

If you wait to offer your applicants with evaluations until after the interviews, you might be causing significant inefficiencies for yourself. There are various web-based evaluations that are accessible for download, and each one may be modified to fit the requirements of your business. You are able to cut down on the amount of time (and money) spent interviewing individuals who do not meet your requirements, whether those requirements are based on abilities or on behaviors.


The use of technology in the recruitment process

As was just briefly mentioned above, the employment process has been significantly altered by technological advancements in recent years. Because of the growing popularity of social networking platforms for recruiting purposes, recruiters and employers now face the monumental challenge of selecting the best candidates from among hundreds of resumes submitted for almost every open position. It is virtually a full-time job in and of itself to sift through these applications in order to discover the necessary talent; thus, the issue that has to be posed is whether or not technology can assist.

Absolutely, but only up to a certain degree. A fantastic approach to keep track of incoming applications, make documented contact with each one, and ensure that all paperwork are filed accurately is to make use of the talent management software that we described earlier in this paragraph. Even software that analyzes all resumes received for any keywords or problems and immediately eliminates those that are irrelevant or badly written is now readily accessible, which significantly reduces the burden associated with manually sorting through applications.

The job description is often the component of the process that is given the least amount of attention. When a prospective applicant is seeking to apply for a post that is being advertised, they will experience uncertainty and trepidation if the function is described in an ineffective manner.

However, despite the fact that this helps cut down on the amount of time spent on resumes, it may also present certain difficulties. There is always the possibility that a wonderful applicant may pass the 'cyber-caesar' test with a mistake or two in their writing, or they might not employ enough keywords (or they might use the incorrect keywords). Would you be ready to overlook the fact that the ideal prospect misspelled something on their application if it meant missing out on them? No, even I wouldn't, and that is the problem with these brand new systems: they aren't foolproof.

They are also unable of recognizing specific forms that are used in a CV. Therefore, some bots will not recognize the element at all, making the applicant's life accomplishments appear as a big fat blank space even if they have made a snazzy looking table or chart to showcase their qualifications and experience. This is because some bots will not recognize the element at all.


The way that people will be hired in the years to come

When online job applications and a previously obscure social network known as LinkedIn began to gain popularity, they were seen as complements to the conventional paper curriculum vitae. If we fast forward 10 years, the world of recruitment will almost entirely consist of digital interactions. A curriculum vitae (CV) is nothing more than a glorified printscreen of LinkedIn profiles at this point; it is a waste of ink and trees and is a ritual that we continue to follow despite the fact that it is no longer totally essential. Even while they won't become extinct anytime soon (at least not in the foreseeable future), their influence will dwindle with time.

Candidates in 2016 and beyond will be assessed by far more than was previously the case; all of their social networks, in addition to their references, will be scrutinized in great detail. Applicants who are members of Generation Y have extremely different expectations about the recruiting process than candidates who are members of earlier generations. According to Marley Dominguez, the Chief Executive Officer of Haystack Job Search, "[Millennials] were brought up with technology, therefore they do not accept many of the traditional ideals that are associated with recruitment and employment. In order to be successful, recruiters will need to find new techniques to engage the applicants from Generation Y."

Would you be ready to overlook the fact that the ideal prospect misspelled something on their application if it meant missing out on them? No, even I wouldn't, and that is the problem with these brand new systems: they aren't foolproof.

He continues by elaborating on how this is especially true with regard to passive talent. Because of factors like as the size of the firm and the reputation it has, certain businesses may have difficulty convincing potential applicants to submit their applications; as a result, they are forced to be more proactive and inventive in their search for the most qualified applicants online.

The phenomena of mobile recruitment is now spreading throughout the nation, and as a result, applying for employment is becoming far less difficult than it was in the past. People are more eager than they have ever been to just upload their CV and hit the "apply" button as a result of the proliferation of "two-click" applications that may be completed on a mobile phone through a number of websites that are now available. The ease of applying makes it possible for applicants with lower qualifications to "try their luck," which is excellent news for candidate attractiveness but also extremely challenging to manage.

As business organizations strive to adjust to the magnitude of the challenge at hand over the next several years, it would not surprise me in the least to see an increase in the number of 'cutting edge' solutions for talent management. It has to be observed if these newly developed technological solutions genuinely provide anything of useful advantage or whether they are merely recycled versions of older concepts.


Employment market position

The use of social media certainly functions in both directions. These days, savvy job seekers will investigate an organization before submitting an application for a position, so it is important to have your employment brand reviewed. The following are some of the highlights provided by Amber Hyatt, SPHR, who is the director of product marketing for the HR software business SilkRoad:

"It is crucial to have a well-designed career site in order to offer a consistent brand image that matches the firm's goal, vision, and values. Since these corporate storefronts serve as a one-stop shop where job seeking starts, it is important to have a well-designed career site. Job searchers are engaged by the corporate brand experience, which, when combined with precise job descriptions and an online application, helps them assess proactively whether or not they are a cultural match for the organization and whether or not they should apply for a position there."

In the previous paragraph, Hyatt described how a company's employment brand has become one of the most effective strategies for luring the most qualified applicants. If you are able to do this task, then the only thing that will really slow down your recruiting process is having to decide whether to hire Superman or Wonder Woman.

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