58.1 days. That’s a long time for most of us. In 58 days most of us will have given up completely on our New Year’s resolutions, forgotten someone new we met this week and won’t likely be able to recall anything that happened on this day. Even so, 58 days is the average amount of time between the day a candidate applies for a job and their first day of work. When I see this statistic, I can’t help but think that we’re doing it wrong. Collectively, as an industry, we’re doing something wrong if 58.1 days is the average.
The job market has shifted a lot over the last several years and is on solid footing at this point, making our timeliness and strategic hiring more important than ever. This job market is a significant contributing factor to the fact that 30 percent of employees are leaving their jobs this year for better and higher paying opportunities. Our companies simply cannot afford to spend nearly two months per hire, so it’s time to shake things and fix what’s broken in this process. 
It’s too long
This is the most obvious, but it’s just one of many problems. 58.1 days is longer than most people’s dating relationships. By dragging this process out for nearly two months, you are asking candidates to wait around blindly and make a pseudo commitment without any meaningful conversations taking place and minimal courting and engagement between prospective employer and employee occurring. Set the expectation within your company that hiring decisions won’t be rushed, but they also won’t be dragged out. What can you do in your organization to speed up the process?
Aptitude and evaluation should happen first
Aptitude and skill tests are all too often the last step in the hiring process but we could all save ourselves a lot of time if it became one of the first things we did. And when I say “all,” I mean that it’s beneficial for employers and candidates. In the same way that you are dating many different prospective candidates, your candidates are probably dating many potential employers, and no one likes to be strung along. By moving this part of the screening process up, both parties find out if the situation is a good fit and whether or not the skills match the position requirements. 
Recruiting doesn’t start with an open position
Employers who wait to recruit and engage prospective candidates after a job opening comes available are already losing the race. This is one of the main reasons it takes so long to complete the hiring process. You have to start building relationships, qualifying candidates and establishing a connection far before you have an opening. Otherwise, you are late to your own party.
Beyond honing the hiring process so that we’re able to snag the best employees, it’s also important that we’re making the most of our time. I can admire someone who works tirelessly to fill a position, but the people I want to learn from are those who already have a few candidates in mind when an opening occurs because they’ve been doing the legwork to connect with these individuals for months. It can no longer be the case that posting a job opening, whether on your career site, social media or a job board, is the beginning of the hiring process. We must shift our mindset to recruit along the way if we want to transform how we hire. 
 Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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