How to Fast-Track Time to Fill for an Exceptional Candidate Experience

August 22, 2023
Checkr Editor

Learn how your staffing firm can reduce time to fill and keep candidates in your funnel with enhanced workflows and tech.

Time to fill is one of the top criteria employers use to evaluate staffing suppliers, and a slow process can also impact the candidate experience and attrition rates. How can staffing teams tackle the time to fill challenge?

Every hour that a candidate hasn’t accepted or started a job is lost revenue—and potentially a lost client. Yet median time to fill for commercial staffing is four to five days, Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) reports; professional staffing takes even longer, at 9 to 14 days. And when candidates drop out of the funnel due to a poor experience, it only slows the process further.

In this recent webinar, Adrianne Nelson, SIA’s VP of Solutions Delivery, hosted Michael Schultz, SIA Research Analyst; Cheri Saito, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Checkr; and Angie College Hooper, COO of workforce-as-a-service platform Gojob. These experts shared strategies and tactics staffing professionals can use to evaluate their current time to fill performance, identify bottlenecks, and leverage technology to accelerate hiring while providing a world-class candidate experience.

What’s slowing down your time to fill performance?

In an informal poll of webinar attendees, manager response time (45%), background checks (21%), and candidate response time (15%) were cited as the three biggest roadblocks delaying time to fill.

Other common bottlenecks include:

  • Shortages of qualified candidates: The difficulty of finding qualified workers means it’s more important than ever to keep them in the funnel.
  • Poor visibility into the hiring process: Candidates who don’t know where they stand may accept other job offers or simply drop out of your hiring funnel.
  • Inadequate tech stacks: Processing records manually is time-consuming and may cause errors, which can further slow the hiring process.
  • Poor communication and follow-up: Unless you stay in contact and provide direction, candidates may not complete forms or upload documents in a timely fashion.

Your team’s hiring bottlenecks may vary. Identifying them requires visibility into your entire process, from acquisition to fill, Hooper says. “Understanding your data at every moment for every job and every client will show you where you need to pivot,” she explains. Documenting your process in detail will help to gain insights.

Integration with Checkr for background checks has helped Gojob’s recruiters access the data they need to spot problems and speed candidates through the funnel. Gojob’s staffing team can see a background check’s status in real time in the Checkr dashboard and take steps to eliminate delays, such as pushing reminders to candidates—all without switching back and forth between systems.

Top staffing trends affecting time to fill for 2023 and beyond

After years of rapid growth, Schulz says, the staffing industry has plateaued, making the business more competitive than ever. To get and keep market share, your firm needs to stay on top of trends. For 2023 and beyond, critical trends include:

Digital transformation

AI and chatbots can play an important role in speeding the hiring process and increasing candidate engagement, Hooper says, but it’s important to balance technology with a personal touch. “We are using AI in prescreening and early engagement, but we follow up with a candidate after each step in the process,” she explains. Technology that automates your team’s workflows can reduce their workload and accelerate time to fill.

Upskilling/re-skilling to fill talent gaps

Savvy staffing firms are overcoming a talent shortage by providing additional training to help candidates thrive in their new roles. For example, Gojob learns the career path for a job before placing a candidate and provides training and resources to help candidates prepare for success.

Fair chance hiring

Many studies have shown that diverse workforces, including those that support fair chance hiring, are more productive and financially successful. Today, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is a priority initiative for organizations of all sizes, and fair chance practices can even help you fill your funnel in a tight labor market.

“At Checkr, we advocate for fair chance and second-chance hiring as part of DE&I,” says Saito. “Staffing firms can attract and win more talent by including justice-impacted individuals in their candidate pool.”

Tech-driven tactics to reduce your time to fill

Implementing tech-driven strategies and solutions can help staffing firms expedite hiring processes to accomplish key goals, such as:

Increase transparency

Communication and transparency can mean the difference between onboarding your newest employee and someone falling out of the hiring funnel. Solutions that provide easy access to your data enhance visibility for staffing teams and candidates alike.

For example, Checkr Analytics provides insights into turnaround times for background checks, so staffing teams can forecast time to fill more accurately. They can also spot reasons for unexpected delays, such as a courthouse without digitized records that requires an in-person visit. Candidates gain transparency through Checkr’s user-friendly candidate portal, which provides an estimated completion time for background check completion at the county level.

Enhance efficiency

Automating your staffing team’s workflows is an easy way to shorten your time to fill by streamlining key steps such as background checks. Checkr enhances efficiency with a mobile-first candidate portal where candidates can access self-help tools and get answers to their questions. Less time is spent fielding candidate questions, so staffing professionals can spend more time filling orders.

Staffing teams can also nudge background screenings along by sending push reminders to candidates who forget to upload a document or haven’t taken the next step in the process. “Staying in touch with status updates and ETAs throughout the process keeps candidates informed and engaged, so they’re less likely to drop out,” Saito explains.

Expedite adjudication

Compliant criminal background checks require adjudication, which can trigger the adverse action process, and other potentially time-consuming tasks. But the right technology can reduce heavy lifting for your staffing team.

For example, Checkr’s adjudication tools surface clients’ adjudication criteria within the platform, eliminating the need to manually review records deemed irrelevant to the position. Hooper notes that manual adjudication used to take a lot of time at Gojob, but “with Checkr, we only have to look at exceptions. That’s a huge win.”

Accelerate time to fill and put candidates first with Checkr

Gaining full visibility into your hiring process and identifying bottlenecks can reveal what’s delaying time to fill so you can take action. Creating a smooth and swift candidate experience, broadening your talent pool to include justice-impacted individuals, and using automated workflows to minimize time-consuming manual work can all help improve your time to fill.

As your staffing firm evolves, your tech stack should, too. A tech-forward, machine-learning-based background screening solution like Checkr can help reduce human error and bias while increasing transparency. With Checkr as your background check partner, you can speed time to fill while keeping candidates engaged and informed at every step of the hiring journey.

Is your hiring team ready to modernize your background checks? Learn more.


Nothing in Checkr’s Blog should be construed as legal advice, guidance, or counsel. Companies should consult their own legal counsel about their compliance responsibilities under all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Checkr expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of information provided.

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“Understanding your data at every moment for every job and every client will show you where you need to pivot.”
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Angie College Hooper, COO

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