• HR Directors in the UK spend 27.59 days on average recruiting for open positions within their organisation
  • The challenge to find qualified candidates (59%) and the increase in the number of CVs per job opening (52%) are the main reasons the hiring process is longer than it was three years ago
  • HR Directors risk losing out on qualified candidates to other opportunities because of the length of the recruitment process

London, 2 November 2016 - New research1 from Robert Half UK reveals that human resources (HR) directors are spending a month (27.59 days) on average recruiting for open positions within their organisation. 

The recruitment process can be broken down into six key stages, all of which take more than four days, on average to complete when using their own in-house resources to manage. Screening CVs of job applicants (5.19 days) and interviewing applicants (4.77 days) are the most time intensive aspects, while candidate skills testing (4.18 days) takes the least amount of time.

Table one:  Average amount of time spent when hiring for an open position

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 for hire


Negotiating / confirming a job offer with the candidate




The time taken on the internal recruitment process has increased over the last three years according to nearly half (49%) of HR directors. Less than one in ten (8%) said the duration had decreased.

The challenge to find qualified candidates (59%) was listed as the main reason for the increased time taken during the hiring process, followed by the increase in number of CVs per job opening (52%) and the increase in expectation of the desired candidates (33%).

Table two:  Reasons for the increased duration of the hiring process over the last three years*

Reasons for the increased duration of the hiring process compared to three years ago

Percentage of HR Directors

Finding qualified candidates has become more challenging


Number of CVs per job opening has increased


Expectations of the desired candidate have increased


Number of interview rounds has increased


More candidates have accepted other job offers


More internal stakeholders are involved


No internal agreement about the desired candidate


*Multiple responses permitted.

The length of time taken to recruit for a position within their organisation is resulting in some HR directors losing out on talented candidates, who accept jobs from other companies who are able to make hiring decisions more quickly. More than half (54%) of HR directors have lost a qualified candidate to another opportunity because their in-house hiring process was too lengthy, partly because they receive too many unsuitable CVs that all need to be waded through. 

Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half UK, UAE and South America, commented: “While there is no denying the importance of finding the candidate with the right expertise and cultural fit, as the demand for highly skilled  professionals grows, taking too long to decide may see you miss out on your preferred candidate.

“To ensure a robust, streamlined recruitment process, it is essential that the job description and budget allocation are approved ahead of time. A specialist recruitment consultancy can support by leveraging insight into current hiring trends and having access to an established pool of talent that may not be actively searching. Recruitment consultants can manage the process – from sourcing skilled candidates, filtering CVs and arranging interviews through reference checks – allowing the hiring manager to remain focused on their day-to-day responsibilities.”

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

1 The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior HR directors from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (2022). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.