How to Reduce Time-to-Hire: 10 Steps & Strategies

Berkley Recruitment
7 min readMar 16, 2022


Is your organisation struggling with high candidate drop-off? The length and complexity of your hiring process could be to blame. Read our guide to discover how to reduce your time-to-hire in 2022.

What Makes For A Best-In-Class Employer in 2022?

It is a volatile market and employers today are facing a myriad of unprecedented challenges. In 2022, employers across the board are contending with skills shortages, wage demands, candidate expectations and that’s before even mentioning remote work!

In 2021, a record 2.5 million people were at work in Ireland — up 10% from 2020. A buoyant employment market means that skilled candidates have never had it so good. Candidates today are confident and can take their pick of opportunities.

However, many employers are struggling to attract interest and hire talent for their open jobs. They may have a strong brand and a compelling message but their recruitment process is letting them down. So what can employers do to stand out in today’s fiercely competitive market?

Speed Matters

“A key challenge and a particular point of interest that I always highlight to my clients is the need for a fast and clear interview process. An elongated interview
process and delays between each round will result in the candidate losing interest and potentially accepting an offer elsewhere. It’s very important to create a smooth and efficient process to keep the candidate engaged.”

Aidan Crowley - Manager, Berkley Life Sciences

In the fast-paced and competitive candidate market of today, the speed of an organisation’s hiring process can have a significant bearing on the candidate experience. Time-to-hire is the biggest issue impacting hiring, yet the easiest thing for employers to control. If your hiring process (i.e. candidate CV received to offer tendered) takes more than four weeks then you will see little return on your time invested. Your preferred candidates won’t wait.

The employers we partner with that are most successful in hiring are simply getting to candidates faster, have a streamlined interview process, know their value proposition and can communicate it.

Employers need to review and streamline their own internal processes before hitting the jobs market. A streamlined and efficient hiring process demonstrates that you respect the candidate’s time. What’s more, a carefully designed hiring process gives the candidate a positive impression of what it would be like to work in the organisation. Finally, focusing on delivering an efficient time-to-hire will enable you to outpace your competitors and attract top talent.

What Factors Slow Down Time-to-Hire?

Failure to attract the right candidates: There are many reasons why an organisation may not be attracting enough suitable candidates for an advertised vacancy. This could include a badly written job description, advertised salaries that are below the market average, or a poor advertising strategy.

Mismanaged timing and scheduling: The person or team responsible for executing the hiring process may not be able to make the required time commitment to the hiring process.

Inefficient Interviews: Failure to create a comprehensive interview strategy will likely lead to an inefficient interview process full of preventable duplication, confusion and follow-ups.

Lengthy Processes: It may be the case that the steps you require the candidate to take are very time-consuming and are slowing down the process as a whole.

How to Reduce Your Time-to-Hire in 10 Steps

1. Map, Measure & Monitor

Start by mapping out your hiring process as it currently stands. Identify areas where you could streamline the process by eliminating bottlenecks, removing duplicate activities, and cutting out unnecessary steps.

Set goal metrics in time-to-interview and time-to-fill. For each role you advertise, make sure that you clearly communicate these goals to the people responsible for hiring.

With every vacancy, ask the responsible team to actively monitor and measure their performance against pre-defined benchmarks. Over time, you can use these figures to identify what factors are contributing to a slow hiring process.

2. Secure Full Internal Approval First

Don’t advertise the role or engage a recruiter until you have received full internal approval to hire. We have found that internal disagreements are one of the most common causes of disruption and delay when it comes to hiring. Before engaging the support of an outside third party, create a checklist of relevant internal stakeholders and ensure everyone on that list is aware of and satisfied with your hiring plans.

3. Mobilise an Interview Panel in Advance

Additional preparation will be required if you plan on using an interview panel. Like any interview, taking care to plan and prepare will greatly affect your success in securing the right candidate.

To ensure a swift and effective hiring process, it is essential to select and prepare your panel well in advance of scheduling any interviews. You will first need to thoroughly brief each panel member on the role requirements so that there is alignment among the team. You will also need to share any necessary documentation (e.g. role outline, candidate checklist etc) in advance of the interview. Some basic interview training may also be required to ensure a higher quality interview.

4. Schedule Interview Blocks in Advance

With interview panels, scheduling can quickly become complicated so it’s best to get this out of the way well in advance of bringing in any candidates. Arrange a meeting with the panel members to discuss availability. You can then use this information to schedule dedicated interview blocks using a calendar tool. This exercise will also allow you to get a better idea of realistic and achievable hiring timelines.

5. Stick to Three Interview Stages or Less

In the fast-paced employment market of today, employers need to be careful not to turn the interview process into a marathon. Many organisations are experiencing high levels of candidate drop-off as a result of scheduling too many interviews. Interview fatigue is real and candidates will drop out of the process if they are asked to jump through too many hoops.

Our consultants’ recommendation? Set a strict maximum of three interview stages. For junior and mid-level candidates, you should aim for no more than two interviews.

6. Agree on a Salary Range in Advance

Salary is one of the most common reasons why candidates turn down job offers. According to Berkley’s own research, 63% of job-seekers say that a low salary is the ultimate deal-breaker for them.

To reduce your time-to-hire, you will need to set a reasonable salary that is in line with current market averages. In our experience, many organisations struggle to hire for certain roles because candidates won’t entertain below-average salaries. As such, it’s important to do your research. You can benchmark salaries by talking to a specialist recruitment consultant, researching competitors and downloading salary guides from trusted sources.

7. Know Your EVP

“An Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is your company’s core benefits that make up your wider employer brand. Think of it as a promise between an employer and a potential applicant. What can your company and culture offer them, in exchange for their talent, skills, and experience. An EVP is where you can explain and build the case for top talent.” ~ Personio

Knowing how to sell your role is a key part of achieving a faster time-to-fill. Know your audience and craft messaging that will appeal to them. To learn more about candidate preferences, talk to a seasoned recruiter. Once you have solidified your messaging around the benefits and opportunities associated with the role, make sure that you can comfortably communicate it in a consistent way to candidates.

8. Formalise Your Remote/Hybrid Policies

Our consultants have found that many employers are missing out on their desired candidates due to inflexible working options. In the post-covid working world, two-thirds of job-seekers would turn down a job offer if remote/hybrid working wasn’t offered. So, if you have decided that remote/hybrid doesn’t work for your business, then you should be prepared to defend your case to candidates.

If your organisation hasn’t already put a formalised policy in place, then it’s time to write one. CIPD offers the following advice on what to include in your policy:

Setting out who (or which role types) is eligible for hybrid working.

Explaining how to request hybrid working.

Clarifying roles and responsibilities for hybrid workers and people managers.

How hybrid working intersects with other forms of flexible working.

Reviewing other related policies including, for example, expenses, IT usage, homeworking and data protection.

9. Perfection is the Opposite of the Good

Unrealistic employer expectations and the subsequent lengthy search for mythical “Unicorns” and “Purple Squirrels” can greatly prolong your time-to-hire. In today’s fiercely competitive market, employers need to be flexible and realise that no candidate is going to be a 100% match for the role. Unless you are willing to commit to a large compensation package or a months-long search process, then there is little point in waiting around for your ideal candidate to appear.

Instead, employers should base their selection criteria on a brief list of Remember, that in many cases candidates can be trained and upskilled in technical skills. Whereas, soft skills, attitude and cultural fit can be far more tricky to instil.

10. Automate Time-Consuming Tasks

Another way to reduce your time-to-hire is to invest in smart technology that can automate time-consuming processes. AI search tools, digital talent pools, and ATS tools can all help to eliminate laborious and time-consuming activities. If you don’t have access to these resources in-house, then you may want to consider partnering with a recruiter with smart technology capabilities.

Need More Advice on How to Reduce Your Time-to-Hire?

“In the fast-paced, candidate’s market of today, reducing your time-to-hire is one of the most effective strategies for winning the war for talent.”

Katie Sullivan — Manager, Berkley Business & Technology

If you need guidance on how to reduce your time-to-hire by streamlining your hiring process, then why not book a free consultation with Berkley’s team of experienced recruitment consultants?



Berkley Recruitment

We provide Recruitment, Search & Selection and Talent Management services in our 3 specialist sectors: IT, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences and Engineering.