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Exploring time to hire

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Exploring time to hire

The market for finance talent is still incredibly buoyant, and high-calibre finance professionals are still in demand. However, time to hire is still important for employers to consider - no matter what the market climate looks like. Even in the depths of the pandemic, urgency is paramount. The bottom line is that failure to move quickly with high-quality talent means that you’re more likely to lose it. 

We’re going to unpack time to hire in this blog: what it means, why candidates are wary of long processes, and what you can do to help time to hire and achieve your hiring/business goals.

Candidates have choice and will continue to be wary

Last year saw us enter a very candidate-driven market: candidates in essence “held the cards” when it came to decision-making for roles as they often had more than one on the table. 

Time to hire has never been so important - but despite the market being less “busy” now, candidates still have the same mindset. High quality, in demand candidates want to be desired by organisations, they want to feel valued and prioritised. If feedback isn’t prompt and communication isn’t clear, they’re going to go with the better option that’s available to them. 

The mindset that organisations need to have is that they must move faster than their competitors. In some cases, it isn’t always about speed, either. Over-communication and complete clarity on a process can ensure that candidates are still patient, but not left in the lurch with where they stand with you.


What does “time to hire” really mean 

As defined by Workable Time to hire measures the time between the moment your eventual hire entered your pipeline (through sourcing or application) and the moment they accepted your job offer. This metric indicates how fast you spotted your best candidate and moved them across the job’s pipeline.” 

You should calculate your time to hire from the moment you post a job online (or give it to a recruiter)  through to the moment someone starts with your organisation. This is going to vary based on the time it takes to run the interview process through to how long someone’s notice period is - so breaking this down into separate data points will enable you to have more accurate averages and also figure out where you can and can’t influence time to hire.

For example, the main area that you can “speed up” is going to be your interview process. How many stages is it currently? How long does it take for specific roles? How can you reduce or refine this?

And finally, the next area that you can also influence is your time to hire when using external agencies. What is their performance like? How many candidates are they delivering to you, and what is the success rate? 


Don’t rely on permanent recruitment as your only source of talent

Having a strong permanent team - particularly at leadership level is incredibly important for the growth and stability of your business. However, there are going to be times when this simply isn’t possible. 

This can be magnified if you’re struggling to reduce your time to hire, and even more so if you’re hiring for a specialised role whereby the notice period is unconventionally longer. 

Opening up your options to freelance, contract, and interim talent enables you to very quickly shorten your time to hire because these individuals are readily available, and usually have the specialised skills to get you up and running quickly. 

Especially with experienced contractors - they’re used to picking up projects half-way through, and they’ve seen a ton of challenging situations in previous contracts. So, in some instances, you’re better off hiring a contractor to “clean up” your current projects 

There is also a common misconception that a contractor will cost more. It’s true that a day rate is often higher than an equivalent salary, but there is more to consider. 

You’re only paying the contractor for what they actually do, you’re not paying for their annual leave (on average 33 days per year including bank holidays). 

Also, often employers only focus on the “salary” element and forget about the significant cost of their benefits packages such as healthcare, pension, and bonuses. none of which you have to factor into a contractor's package. 

In summary, if you can’t remember the last time you measured your time to hire - it’s probably time to start looking at it. 

Vet your recruitment partners, consider options outside of permanent recruitment and keep yourself (and agencies representing you) accountable so you can unlock and access the best quality talent out there. 

If you would like to discuss the current market for finance talent, please contact me on

Exploring time to hire

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