It’s not what you might think!
According to the 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report from the Society of Human Resource Management, it takes 42 days to hire someone. A Glassdoor stat says that it’s 24 days (USA) and 20 days (Canada)
The problem with statistics is that they don’t give you the whole picture and can be based on totally different variables.
The stats don’t tell the whole truth
From my professional recruiting experience, it typically took waaaaaay longer than 24 days (and even 42 days) to place mid-career to senior level people in a variety of open positions across different industries.
So, based on that PLUS the countless complaints I get from jobseekers about how long the hiring process takes, the 42 days would be closer to reality. But I think even that’s optimistic.
Here’s the stark reality
I would argue that the actual number from résumé submission to job offer is closer to 60 days – maybe more.
Just to clarify, I’m basing my estimations from the day the résumé is uploaded online (or emailed directly) to the day a written job offer is accepted by the candidate. If you don’t include the application process which alone can be a waiting fiasco, the timeline can be shorter.
I’m also talking about permanent full-time jobs and at least mid-level candidates (not junior). Junior level, part-time, and contract positions usually take less time to fill.
Here’s my rundown of the best case and worst case timeline scenarios based on what I was dealing with as a recruiter.
#1: Résumé submitted (uploaded online or emailed directly)
Let’s assume your résumé gets past the ATS filters (most of them don’t) and the employer or 3rd party recruiter wants to set up an interview.
#2: Initial contact from the employer regarding your résumé
5 to 30 days (after résumé is submitted)
Once you’ve applied to a job, you can get lucky and hear back right away about arranging a meeting or it can drag on for weeks – or nothing happens.
There are so many factors that affect if and when your résumé is seen and selected which accounts for the huge discrepancy in the timeline.
How long it takes to get a response from the employer depends on things like:
✔ How closely your résumé matches the job description. Most of them don’t. If you send a résumé that’s not customized to the position, ATS friendly, keyword rich, and accomplishment-based, it will probably get lost in the “big black hole”.
✔ How many candidates applied. The more there are, the slower the process will take.
✔ How far along in the process the employer is. They might already have more than enough candidates in the pipeline and you’ve been put on the back burner.
#3: Phone screen booked and conducted
3 to 7 days (after initial contact)
If you’re the fortunate few that actually gets the first interview, just setting that up can take a bit of time. If there is an initial phone screen, it’s usually conducted fairly quickly, but again, that will vary from company to company.
You might be required to complete some kind of test to proceed to the next stage.
#4: First in-person interview booked and conducted
7 to 14 days (after phone screen)
If you’re lucky, the employer will forget the phone screen and go directly to the first face-to-face interview to speed up the process. Even then, it can still take a bit of time to arrange the first interview, especially if the employer has to coordinate more than one person’s schedule.
At this point the employer might want you to complete a test to determine if you will be moved to the next stage.
#5: Second in-person interview booked and conducted
7 to 14 days (after first interview)
The vast majority of companies will not hire after just one interview. According to MRINetwork only 30% of job offers are presented after the second interview.
Once again, the process can be delayed if you’re required to complete any tests.
#6: Third in-person interview booked and conducted
7 to 14 days (after second interview)
In the “old” days, you might have been offered the job after only two interviews. Not anymore. MRINetwork reports that it takes on average 3 interviews to get the offer. In fact, 48% of job offers came after the third interview.
There could be some kind of test and/or background check you will need to complete successfully to move forward.
#7: Verbal offer presented and accepted
3 to 7 days (after third interview)
You’re not finished yet.
Just because you passed the last interview and you’ve been identified as the top candidate for the job, that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing from there. You still have a few hoops to jump through.
Ideally, the employer will get back to you right away with a verbal offer, but usually it will take at least a few days because HR has to talk to the Hiring Managers and whoever else is involved in the decision process.
If you’ve been deemed as the #1 candidate, a verbal offer will be presented. This is to confirm that you are in alignment with the compensation package and any other important components of the offer before the employer moves the process forward.
So, by the time you get the verbal offer and accept it, it could be up to a week or even longer. Remember, this isn’t a perfect science.
#8: Written offer presented and accepted
7 to 14 days (after third interview)
You’re close to the finish line – well sort of.
After you accept the verbal offer, the employer will conduct the references, required background checks, and any tests – all of which can take a bit of time to complete. Once you’ve passed everything with flying colours, the employer will draft the actual, written document.
In the perfect world, you will accept the offer immediately upon presentation, but usually it doesn’t happen that way. You might need a bit of time to review the content. Maybe you need to take it to a lawyer. Maybe there’s a bit of negotiation so that document goes back and forth a few times for revisions.
At some point you accept the written offer. Congratulations!
Best Case Scenario: 39 days! Okay…I guess it’s not horrible and is in line with the 42 day average. But honestly, I really think this is a super-optimistic scenario because it doesn’t take into consideration any major delays.
Worst Case Scenario: 100 days! This really sucks! But to be honest, I think this isn’t too far off, unfortunately.
My Average: So, based on my numbers, my “average” would fall somewhere close to the middle, like 69 days. That’s over two months and way longer than the reported 42 day average.
How do you speed up the process?
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to make the hiring process go a lot faster. It is what it is.
That’s why you’ll want to take a more proactive approach that goes beyond applying to jobs. Start networking (on and off line) to uncover jobs that aren’t necessarily advertised by setting up informational meetings. Many of these “hidden” opportunities are “confidential searches” so there are way less candidates in the pipeline which can make the hiring process move a bit faster.
Regardless of your strategy, you need to get all of your career marketing documents in order. That means having a killer résumé, cover letter, and Linkedin profile that effectively market your unique value and give employers compelling reasons to reach out to you.
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Hi! I’m Diana.
I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.
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