How Long Does it Really Take to Get Hired?

It’s Official: Engineers are… Precise

LinkedIn has been around since 2010, and it’s using its millions of profile data points for some fascinating research. In a new study from LinkedIn sheds some light on how long it takes to get hired. Researchers from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team analyzed the profiles of 400,000 confirmed hires on their platform between June 2020 and March 2021 to determine which jobs take the longest time to fill across 15 different industries.

In news that will probably surprise no one, engineers top the list for a long hiring process; it takes an average of 49 days from submitting a candidate’s job application to starting their first day on the job. Technical positions in general take the longest to fill, with positions in research, finance and information technology (IT) following closely behind, taking 48, 46 and 44 days on average to fill. 

In a competitive labor market where time to hire can mean the difference between hiring first tier talent and settling for your second choice, long interview processes are a source of frustration for both hiring managers and candidates. When a candidate needs to give notice before leaving their current position, it can add another two weeks or more to the timeline.

LinkedIn says hiring tends to move at a faster pace in non-technical fields, including sales, human resources and customer service, which typically hire and start candidates in new roles within 38, 39 and 34 days, according to the study. 

LinkedIn’s report authors attribute the gap to the lengthy technical evaluations assessments engineers and other STEM job candidates may have to complete during the hiring process. They also tend to go through several rounds of interviews before a decision is made.

Richard Wang, CEO of Coding Dojo, a tech-training company, is quoted in the study report. He said, “For [customer service] jobs, you get a feeling on the first or second interview if this is the right person.” Wang says he takes a very different approach to hiring IT professionals. He says four or five rounds of engineering interviews are typical for his company when they’re “seeking world class people.”

Molly Graham, a tech executive who is also quoted in the report, says “Companies in the tech industry tend to value precision — sometimes false precision — over speed.” Graham says that can mean putting candidates through endless technical interviews, assessing deep textbook knowledge that’s far beyond what jobs may require.

Size matters, as well. Companies with more than 5,000 employees take an average of 58 days to make an offer, even for non-technical positions. Large and well-known companies attract thousands of candidates, which take much more time for even a cursory review. They may also have more layers of approval and more stakeholders who must weigh in.

SHRM, the national HR membership organization, lists the national average time-to-hire for all non-executive positions as 36 days in its most recent published member survey (from 2017.) The time includes an average of eight days from the position becoming open to approval to hire, seven days to screen applicants, eight days to conduct interviews, and five days to make a decision. says most companies don’t track time-to-hire as a recruiting metric or hold HR departments accountable for managing it, although they do track hiring costs. Eventually, companies may come to the conclusion that in recruiting, as in the rest of the business, time really is money.


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