Jacob Kaplan-Moss

How Long Does It Take to Hire Someone?

How many hours does it take to hire someone, from approval of the open position to their first day? It takes about 100 person-hours, and that’s about a best-case scenario.

It’s well-established that making a good hire is expensive. Most of that cost is time investment: recruiting, screening, interviewing, and negotiating all take a large amount of time. When I’m actively hiring, my rule is to set aside 50% of my time to devote to hiring. But that’s just a rough heuristic; I wanted to know more specifically how long I (and my team) spent.

So, I tracked a recent hiring round to see. This is just one example, not scientific data or anything. It was a typical hiring round that went fairly smoothly, so these numbers probably represent something close to a best-case scenario.

We spent 100 hours over 4 weeks to get to an offer. The round by the numbers:

  • 60 applicants
  • 15 got initial hiring manager screens
  • 10 full interviews (4 interviews per candidate)
  • 1 offer

It’s a small applicant pool, but the per-applicant numbers are pretty solid and should scale to larger rounds.

Here’s how those 100 hours broke down:

ActivityTime spentTotal hours
Writing JD4 hours4
Posting to job boards1 hour1
Resume review10 minutes / application10
Hiring manager screen45 minutes / screen11.25
Interview scheduling1 hour / applicant10
Interviews3 × 1 hour / applicant30
Interview - hiring manager1.5 hours / applicant15
Interview debriefs15 minutes / applicant2.5
Offer, negotiation, and paperwork4 hours4
Pre-onboarding work8 hours8

Of those hours:

  • 32.5 hours were other interviews' time, split among three people – so about 10 hours per non-hiring-manager interviewer.
  • The remainder, 63.25 hours, was my time – hiring manager time.

Again, this is just one example, but I think it’s representative. I’ll be using this to better forecast how long future hires will take; I hope it’ll help you do the same!