How Long Should a Hiring Process Take?

As your company handles the challenges of hiring employees and works to develop strong recruitment strategies, you might find yourself wondering: How long should a hiring process take?

From creating the job advert that showcases the role to welcoming a new employee and helping them settle in, how much time should elapse?

A week?

A month?

A year? 🤨

What are we looking at here?

According to a 2017 Talent Acquisition Benchmark Report by SHRM, the average time it takes to fill a job role is just over a month, or 36 days.

But what about the ins and outs of those 36 days?

In this blog, AdBuilder research has been able to split the hiring process down into three distinct sections, each of which has its own timings to consider.

These sections are:

  • The job advertising process
  • The interview process
  • The onboarding process

Let me break it down for you… 🕺💃


The Job Advertising Process 📣

In phase one, it’s all about building a strong job advert and sharing this in digital spaces.

Spaces like your company’s website, your company’s social media feed and highly trafficked online job sites.

But how long is all of this going to take, and is there anything you can do to speed things along? ⏳

How Long Should I Spend on My Job Advertisement?

Before your job role can see the light of day and the position can have a hope of being filled, you’ll first need to craft a job advertisement.

Ideally, this advertisement should be under 300 words, and definitely no more than 700.

Short ads of 300 words or under see an application rate that’s 8% higher than average.

You might think:

Hey, if it’s only 300 words or less, it’ll take me no time at all to write!

But nope.

Not so much. 🤷‍♂️

When you’re working with such a small economy of words, you have to make each one count.

You still need to communicate all the essential information in this tiny count.

And you need to do it in a readable, well-written manner, too.

A good job advert includes a LOT of different working parts, including:

– A strong hook

– A compelling call-to-action

– The right amount of detail about your company (not too much, not too little)

– Plenty of detail on the job, the salary, the location and the benefits package

There’s no clear-cut time to aim for when you’re crafting a job ad.

You should simply keep going until you’re confident that your listing is as good as it can be.

Unfortunately, that might take hours and hours.

The saviour?

AdBuilder, of course.

We can reduce the time you spend writing job adverts considerably, cutting it down to under 10 minutes. 🥳🎉

The 3 Crucial Ways That AdBuilder Saves You Time When Creating Job Adverts

Standing out in the saturated digital recruitment market is impossible without a carefully crafted, painstakingly produced job advert.

Or is it?

Here are the three crucial ways in which AdBuilder can save your company a huge amount of time and effort, without sacrificing quality in terms of the end result:

1. AdBuilder puts things into the perfect format for you

A strong format takes time to perfect, and time to match with each new job advert you produce. AdBuilder takes the often-time-consuming effort of structuring and formatting out of the picture. Plus, the job advert building platform makes it impossible for you to forget any of the important, essential information, as you’ll fill out each box along the way.

2. AdBuilder allows you to view multiple tone options at once, without writing each from scratch

AdBuilder essentially writes four versions of your ad at once. The Formal version, the Informal version, the Simple version and the Edgy version. You can easily view each one and choose the tone that feels most appropriate – either to your company’s branding and tone of voice, or to the specific job that you’re advertising at that moment. This can all happen far more quickly than it could without AdBuilder.

3. AdBuilder copy can be edited and supplemented before posting

You’re not stuck with what you’ve got and forced to post once the AdBuilder algorithm has worked its magic. You can still make changes and adjustments to the copy if anything doesn’t feel correct. But as you can imagine, these small tweaks will take far less time to achieve than producing an entire job advertisement from scratch would have done.

How Long Should My Ad Run?

Next question:

How long should my ad run?

Whether you’re listing for free or paying for a listing term (usually of something like 30 days or 60 days), you’ll need to know how long you can expect that advert to be running for before it gets a bite. 🧛🏻‍♂️

According to Indeed research, most job postings stay active for 30 days.

This is likely because it’s the standard listing term, and it’s sufficient for many businesses.

It balances the demands of:

– Keeping to a recruiting budget

– Giving candidates enough time to view and apply to the job

– Giving the company enough time to develop a pool of potential interviewees

If your job adverts can generate applications quickly, you’ll find you’re able to reduce the time you need to list for.

As a result, you’ll be able to spend less on job advertising.

For help in this department, turn to AdBuilder, or to our new debiasing tool that ensures your ads are fully inclusive – AdGrader.

The Interview Process 💬

With those questions answered, we move into phase two.

The interview process.

This phase is known to be dreaded by candidates up and down the UK, but it’s not always a cakewalk for employers, either. 🍰🧁

Let’s jump into some of the biggest questions that arise during this phase.

How Many Candidates Should I Interview?

Career Sidekick reports that the typical employer will interview six to 10 candidates for a job.

If none of these candidates quite fits the bill, they might then interview some more.

When determining how many candidates you should interview, consider all of the following factors:

– The industry your company works in – the current state of play and level of demand

– The amount of time you can dedicate to interviews

– The number of rounds of interviews that you plan to complete

– The timeframe in which you’d like to hire someone and fill the open role

– The quality of the applications that you’ve received in response to your ad

Despite the average figure standing at six to 10 interviewees, TPP Recruitment suggests that you interview no more than five candidates in the first round, and three in the second (if you host a second round).

This way, the expert recruitment company argues, you’ve vetted and qualified your candidates sufficiently pre-interview and you’re not wasting your own time. ⏰🚮

How Long Should It Take to Conduct First Interviews?

Each interview can last from 15 minutes up to several hours.

Times that by the number of interviewees you’ve invited, and it adds up.

Throw scheduling interviews into the mix, and it keeps on adding up.

Strike the balance between gathering enough information and not keeping your interviewees for too long. ⚖️

(Or yourself, for that matter!)

33% of surveyed interviewees claimed they knew whether they’d hire someone or not after 90 seconds, but let’s be honest.

It’s jumping the gun to cut things off there, based on an early instinct that might well be informed by unconscious bias.

Here’s what you need to know, at the end of interview one:

– Did the candidate do their research? (On the role, on the company, etc.)

– Was the candidate prepared to be interviewed and open to conversation?

– Did the candidate come across as confident and competent?

– What are the candidate’s career goals and aims, and do they align with your company’s?

– What experience does the candidate have that will be useful and relevant in the role?

– What skills and strengths does the candidate feel they possess?

Aim to make the interview no longer than 90 minutes and no shorter than 30, and you’ll be able to glean all of this without wearing out both parties.

Should I Have Second Interviews?

A second interview is a different beast. 👹

But it’s a necessary beast.

If you’re 100% certain of who you want to hire after round one, and you know this person will be the perfect fit for your company, then no, you probably shouldn’t conduct second interviews.

That’s a pretty rare scenario, though.

If, as is more likely, you’re still weighing up your options, second interviews will help you out.

They’re a chance to get to know candidates on a deeper level, perhaps even introducing them to potential colleagues and testing out those new workplace dynamics in advance.

If you do choose to do a second round of interviews, make them longer than the first round and invite fewer people.

Dive deeper with each one. 🤿

The Onboarding Process 🚢


We’ve reached the final phase of hiring – onboarding.

You’ve shared your ad, you’ve gathered a pool of applicants, you’ve conducted interviews.

Now what?

How Long Do I Take To Make a Decision, to Ensure I Don’t Lose the Best Candidates?

Finding great employees isn’t an instantaneous process.

It takes time, effort and thought.

And deciding who to hire shouldn’t be something you rush.

On the flipside, jobseekers don’t enjoy being kept in the dark for too long and are likely to be applying for multiple jobs at once.

Delaying the decision process could result in a perfect candidate slipping through your fingers. 

I know it isn’t easy to choose when you have more than one strong option.

Here are some of my best tips, if you do happen to find yourself in that situation:

Look beyond qualifications and consider vital soft skills – If two candidates are equally qualified in terms of experience and educational background, you should think about what else sets them apart. Is one more confident with public speaking and leadership? Does one cite an interest in coding and computers that might make them uniquely technologically literate in comparison to another?

Measure enthusiasm for the industry and the company – Was anyone enthusiastic about the company? Remember, someone who deeply cares is more likely to stick around for a long time, improving cohesion in the workplace and morale in the workforce.

Get some trusted second opinions – If you can’t break the tie, maybe another member of the team can. Did someone else in the interviews have a strong preference? Can someone who WASN’T in the interviews tell you who sounds better on paper? Even if you disagree with their paper-based assessment, this in itself could tell you who you’re subconsciously leaning towards.

It’s also worth considering the standards of the industry that you work in, as some sectors of business have a much longer average time to hire than others.

Check it out… 🔎📊

How Long until an Employee Is Settled into My Company’s Culture?

Having extended a job offer and received an acceptance (something that applicants should usually aim to do within 48 hours if you’re wondering), it’ll be time to welcome your employee to the workforce.

Time to help get them settled in and comfortable.

Time to show them, too, that within your company they’ll have plenty of room to grow, progress and develop as a professional. 🔜

Employers generally agree that onboarding a new employee takes around three months.

It’s not a speedy process, and it’s not a place to cut corners.

In fact, newer research suggests that onboarding should continue, in some form or another, for the employee’s entire first year with the company.

After all, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years or more following a great onboarding experience.

Essentially, the answer to how long it takes an employee to feel comfortable depends on three things:

The quality of your onboarding programme.

The employee’s personality/personal experiences.

The existing personalities and dynamics at play in the workforce.

If that onboarding programme noted in point one is good enough, it will account for points two and three.

Make Hiring an Employee Simpler with the Help of a Job Advert Building Platform

AdBuilder is uniquely equipped (and specifically designed) to make finding the right employee easier. 🤗

Our job advert building platform will save you time, energy and money.

You’ll then be able to reinvest these things into other areas of recruitment. For instance, you could develop a stronger interview process, or improve the structure of your onboarding programme.

Rather than thinking too deeply about how long a hiring process should take, maybe it’s time to ask yourself…

“How long do I want the hiring process to take, and what can I do to get my company to that point?”

For more ways to streamline, speed up and generally improve your hiring process, check out some of our other blogs on the subject:

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James Ball
Written by James Ball

James is the founder and owner of AdBuilder and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes and advertising.

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