The History of Time to Hire

January 19th, 2018 Posted by AI/ML, Recruiting, Text Messaging

The History of Time to Hire

The year is 1921. You just graduated college and landed a potential researcher’s assistant position for Thomas Edison. You’re excited, and reasonably so. But one obstacle stands in your way… the job interview. As you sit down you are handed a written assessment. Confident in the worth of your higher education, yet a little confused, you open it up. After glancing at the questions, your excitement is immediately crushed. Who invented logarithms? What war material did Chile export to the Allies during the war? How is sulphuric acid made?

All no brainers, right?

This is the story of the first job interview, which was a pivotal moment in time to hire, and the hiring process in general. If we look way back prior to the Industrial Revolution, jobs were usually given through apprenticeship programs, mostly given to the children of tradesmen. Job openings would only open up if tradesmen did not have any children to take over their craft. Finally when the Industrial Revolution hit, unskilled jobs were commonplace, but the concept of time to hire was still foreign.

Throughout the 1900s, as more high-skilled positions became available, job interviews became more prevalent and time to hire gradually increased. Most were not as ridiculous as Thomas Edison’s, but they were good ways to guarantee that companies were bringing the right people to their team. Finally, in 2010, time-to-hire reached about 12.6 days.

One would think that with technological advancements that have come in the past 7 years, time to hire would decrease, or at least stay approximately the same. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In 2017, time to hire clocked in at a scary 23.8 days. Even worse are government jobs, which take an average of 53.8 days. The energy sector experiences an average of 28.8 days, IT experiences 24.4 days, and staffers experience 14.9 days (go staffers!).

There are many factors that contribute to this steady increase in time to hire. There has been a dramatic increase in companies that choose to do background checks, personality tests, drug tests, and skills tests. This creates a tricky situation. We want companies to be thorough in their candidate evaluation, but if we know someone is a good fit, we should get them up and running as soon as possible.

So where do we go from here? Are we doomed to an eternity of hiring at a pace that would make the DMV look like the staple of speed and efficiency?


While some areas of the hiring process are not going to change, the way we communicate with candidates can. Artificial intelligence and predictive recruiting are streamlining early stage recruiting tasks such as screening and interview scheduling. Leveraging text messaging as opposed to email earns a higher response rate as well as a faster response time, with most coming in under 30 minutes. Recruiters have the power and tools to create a positive candidate experience that is thorough and gets them working as soon as possible.

The hiring landscape has changed drastically over the years and will continue to do so well into the future. Email was once revolutionary and altered the way recruiters communicate with candidates. However, as technology changes and people find new ways to communicate, recruiters must adapt with it. Let’s just hope no one brings back Mr. Edison’s test.

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