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What is the average time to hire in the UK?

What is the average time to hire in the UK?

Recruitment metrics are used to track hiring success. Time to hire is the time passed between engaging a candidate and then accepting an offer. By tracking the time to hire metric, you’re able to answer questions like:

  •     How long has it taken you to realise you have the right candidate?
  •     How fast are you moving when you have found this candidate?
  •   Where are the restrictions in your hiring process and how can you improve?

The global industry average for hiring can take anywhere between a few days to a few months, according to LinkedIn’s global survey in 2017. To compare yourself accurately to the average, you should first figure out how you calculate time to hire:

  1.   Time to hire can be used interchangeably to time to fill. The definition of time to fill is the number of days between the publication of a job and getting an offer accepted.
  2.     Time to hire can also be used separately from time to fill. This means the time to hire process takes place when your best candidate either applies for the role or is sourced. By using this metric, you are able to see how fast your team was able to identify the right candidate. 

The longest vs. the shortest interview process

As stated above, measurement of time to hire varies by industry, organisation and location. Time to hire is very often synonymous with time to fill which, of course, is the length of time that a vacancy stays open. 

This length of time can be complicated by a number of different factors – for example some industries need to put more thought into the hiring process, whereas some companies can simply hire quicker than others.

It is beneficial as a company to know your stance within average industry hires. To have a good understanding of differing lengths of hiring processes for each industry can provide you with a sense of where exactly your company stands in the rankings. It is also beneficial to gain an insight on what mindset candidates are in during their interview process. 

Industry hiring time differs because some may have more regulatory requirements. This can consist of things like background checks, which will ultimately lead to a longer built-in process. 

In Glassdoor’s global 2017 time to hire study, they found that the slowest interview processes are for: Professor (60.3 days), Business System Analyst (44.8 days), and Research Scientist (44.6 days). The jobs with the fastest interview are Waiter (8.0 days), Retail Representative (8.5 days) and Delivery Driver (8.5 days). Glassdoor found the overall average length of job interview processes in 2017 was 23.7 days across all 25 countries.

What exactly is the average time to hire in the UK? A breakdown of the recruitment process 


Recruitment step

Average amount of time spent when hiring for an open position (days)

Screening CVS of all job applicants




Interviewing job applicants




Checking references




Candidate skills testing




Collaborating/selecting the candidate




Negotiating/confirming a job offer with the candidate 



Total 27.59


Robert Half UK conducted research in 2017 on the average time it takes for the recruitment process to take place and revealed that HR Directors in the UK spend 27.59 days on average recruiting for open positions within their company. 

Why is time to hire an important metric to track?

In accordance with the average hiring time in the UK, where does your company stand in comparison? This is an important factor to take into consideration as both hiring faster or slower than the average hiring time may have drawbacks. 

Below will answer why your company may run the risk of a bad hire, or the loss of the best possible candidate:

Hiring faster

With faster hiring times comes the risk of a hiring process that may be too short to allow time for a thorough screening of candidates, running the potential risk of a bad hire. To avoid this, compare your quality of hire trends to your time to hire trends and then recognise if there is any correlation between the time in which it takes you to hire a candidate and whether you have hired more qualified candidates. If you notice a relationship with those hired faster negatively impacts the quality of your hiring, maybe consider adding further screening stages, like skills assessments, that will ensure the hiring quality doesn’t become compensated.

Hiring slower

Slower hiring times could result in your competitors securing your best candidates before your hiring team does. More time-consuming hiring processes may also negatively affect your candidate experience. Consider speeding up admin tasks – for example checklists to schedule interviews, as well as reshuffling and refining communication with candidates through email templates. 

How to make the most out of your hiring timeline

How do you optimise your time to hire process? By making it as efficient and effective as it can be and invest in hiring tools and techniques. To do this, you could: 

Form talent pipelines

Talent pipelines are groups of candidates that you will have screened and engaged with before a role or position opens. When you have a vacancy, it will be these candidates which you can contact straightaway, cutting time by not having to wait for applications or conduct screening calls.

Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) 

An ATS allows the engagement of easy communication between candidates, recruiters and hiring teams. They provide built-in templates at your disposal, and calendar scheduling options that ultimately reduce how much time is spent on lengthy admin tasks. Applicant Tracking Systems can also help you source (e.g. through tools like People Search), keep track of metrics via comprehensive reports and post jobs to several job boards easily. 

Schedule your interviews in advance

This point is rather self explanatory, to maximise the efficiency of your hiring timeline you should schedule your interviews in advance, so that you are prepared and aren’t wasting any precious hiring time.

So, to conclude, hiring time is an important recruitment metric to track, as you can use to to record your hiring success. Note down correlations between hiring time and the quality of your candidates and you may be able to notice a connection, from here you can then make changes accordingly.

Each industry will have differing hiring times simply due to the nature of their particular business, more or less time may have to be invested in the process. But, other than the obvious reasons for different hiring times – you can make your recruiting process more effective and efficient by using and tracking this metric. 

What is the average time to hire in the UK?
What is the average time to hire in the UK?

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