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A True Timeline of Hiring a Candidate: An Employer's Guide

7 minutes

Hiring into your business is an intricate process that demands mindful planning. Sure, ...

Hiring into your business is an intricate process that demands mindful planning. 

Sure, sometimes you can put an advert out and strike it lucky with a diamond of an immediately available applicant, but the truth is that those rapid turnarounds are few and far between. From identifying the vacancy to getting a great hire not just settled in, but actually being able to perform their role productively, is usually a matter of months, not weeks.

With multiple stages to consider, as a hiring manager or business owner, it is important to contemplate the potential timing that each of these steps could potentially take, in order to project and execute your growth plans or redistribute responsibilities whilst you recruit the new hire.

Let’s break down each stage:

Identifying the Role:

Your recruitment journey begins when the need arises for a replacement, or indeed an extra team member. Even if you’re looking for a straight replacement, it is still important to consider the skills gap in the team, the future goals, and maybe even some redistribution of responsibilities within the existing team before you embark on the search. Then comes the matter of signing off (if applicable) and drafting comprehensive job descriptions.

Estimated time taken: 1-2 weeks

Search – Part I

The search then begins. You advertise the role internally and place an advert with a job board and or Linkedin. Then you wait. In a perfect world, you’ll receive some relevant applications within a week or two and begin interviewing. However, in a more realistic, extremely candidate-short, post-Covid, post-Brexit market, the chances of this plain sailing process are sadly, slim.

PS: If you’re looking to hire a replacement, your existing team member is probably already very close to completing their notice period by this point.

Estimated time taken: 2-4 weeks

Search Part - II

 Next port of call, get in touch with a recruitment specialist. You may already have terms agreed with one, or some agencies, if not, you’ll need to find and nail down an agreement and assign some time to explain the role to them.

Estimated time taken: up to 1 week 

The Recruiter Search

It’s hard to pitch the length of this stage as it varies depending on factors such as the role's specificity, market demand, and the organization's reputation and offering. Recruiters will advertise the role through their channels and draw upon their network to produce a viable shortlist for interview.

Estimated time taken: 2-6 weeks

 Interview Time:

This can be as quick or as drawn out as your resources allow. Any professional recruiter will tell you that a long, multi-stage interview process is the best way to lose candidates and take you back to square one of the search. Striking a balance between a thorough evaluation and a timely decision is crucial to keep the momentum of the hiring process. 

Estimated time taken: 1-2 weeks

Offer and Reference Check:

Negotiations, benefits discussions, and finalizing terms can elongate this stage. Simultaneously, conducting reference checks adds an additional layer of due diligence and time taken. While this step is essential for verifying a candidate's credentials and performance, it also contributes to the overall duration of the hiring process.

Estimated time taken: up to 1 week

Notice Period: 

While candidates navigate professional courtesies and fulfil contractual obligations to their current employers, organizations must patiently await the completion of this period. It is not unusual for employers to tie in key team members to a 3 month notice period, so this must be taken into consideration.

Estimated time: 4-12 weeks


While not directly part of your process with your recruitment partner, the time it takes to get your new hire bedded still needs to be thought through. Depending on the level of hire and their required training, this could be up to a few weeks, at least.

Estimated time 2-4 weeks

With all things considered, we estimate that a best-case scenario average time to hire is roughly 14 weeks from requirement until you have a person productively working in your team. 

This is why, if you know you have a critical vacancy coming up in the next few weeks or months, the time to begin doing something about it is right now! 

If you would like to engage with a consultancy who understands your business needs and works quickly and thoroughly to achieve your required recruitment outcome, contact our partners today to find out how we can help you at Integro.