Ishaan Gupta

How long does it take to hire a software developer

Recruitment is a tedious process and a better understanding of the time and money involved in hiring can greatly impact the whole business and its progress.
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Recruitment is a tedious process and a better understanding of the time and money involved in hiring can greatly impact the whole business and its progress. A few studies in the past few years have shown that the hiring process is taking more time than ever across all areas, especially in the US, Europe and Australia. While one may think that technical innovations should have fastened the process, on the contrary, it’s actually adding more stages and challenges for potential candidates to overcome.

When it comes to the tech sector, there are of course a lot of job options out there, and statistics highlight that the demand for software developers is expected to grow by a whopping 21% in 2028, whereas the average growth for all other jobs is mere 5%. WIth this availability and growth, recruitment metrics such as time-to-hire and time-to-fill have become more important that ever. Longer hiring times can negatively affect the growth of your company and it becomes crucial to streamline your recruitment procedures to onboard the best developers in the market.

In this article, we will take a look at the average time to hire for various tech roles, the impact of longer hiring procedures and how to speed it up.

Average Time-to-Hire

One of the most cited studies on average time-to-hire was conducted by Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, the Chief Economist at Glassdoor from 2009 to 2015 in six countries: the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Australia covering over 70,000 job titles. Later, the study was expanded to 25 more countries including India.

The study found that the average time-to-hire across all jobs in the US is 23.8 days whereas in India, it’s 16.1 (making it the country with the shortest interview process), and a number of tech jobs take longer than this average. Here’s the list of various tech roles and their average time-to-hire in the US.

* The average duration for tech roles India is calculated by comparing the average time-to-hire for both the countries and scaling down to give a rough approximate

The average length of the interview process for the Internet and Tech industry in the US comes about roughly 24 days. Based on the above temple, one can make certain estimates about the time taken for hiring at different levels of seniority, for example:

  • It takes approximately 20% longer to fill a senior application developer’s role (28.3) than that of web application developer. ‍(23.5)
  • It takes more than twice the time to hire a senior software engineer than a junior one.

The insight here is (and, it’s no surprise) that senior roles take a longer time to fill than an average role whereas juniors roles are much faster to fill than the average. The average time-to-hire mentioned above should give you a benchmark point to keep in mind when determining the length of your interview process for various technical roles.

What’s causing these delays

A key question that arises is ‘What factors contribute to a long hiring process?’. These factors can be broadly categorised into ‘in control’ and ‘not in control’ of the company/hiring managers. The ones in control include the number and screening stages of interviews, internal policies, etc. whereas factors such as industry, city, country, job titles, etc. are beyond their control. The Glassdoor study finds that the factors controlled by the company contribute more than the other factors when it comes to the interview timeline. To quote:

“We find that company specific factors — that is, a set of binary indicators for each specific employer who conducted the interview — explained 14.7 percent of variation in hiring delays. In other words, knowing what specific company was doing the hiring explains about 15 percent of the differences we see in hiring delays across all interviews in our sample.”

Impact of Longer Hiring Times

As the averages indicate that the interview process could take two to four weeks, any hiring process that goes beyond four weeks can be detrimental to the growth of your business, let’s see how long hiring times impact your business.

Quality of hires

Software developers are very much in demand and a majority of them already have jobs, making it harder for you to recruit them. If you make your candidates wait for long, they are most likely to take the job somewhere else unless you are a big name that would make them decline other offers while they wait to hear from you. Thus, you face the risk of losing A-class candidates to other companies and in return are left with a reduced talent pool and average candidates to hire from.

Financial Impact

It might seem that a vacant position will save you money as you don’t have to pay for the salary or benefits, the situation is exactly opposite. As explained in this article, it is easy to calculate the direct costs saved from a vacant position, you can calculate it as follows:

Preliminary cost saving: Position’s annual salary / 220 working days X average days to hire

However, you have to now subtract the costs involved for contingent labour and the overtime that other employees are doing to handle the pressure of an unfilled position, so your estimate becomes

Total costs: Preliminary cost saving — cost of contingent labor and overtime

Which often comes out to be negative, and you end up spending more money. Secondly, you need to evaluate the impact on revenue due to the vacant position as follows

Revenue lost: (Annual revenue / number of employees) / 220 working days X average days to hire

For senior positions, these revenue losses can be quite significant!

Product Development

Since, the industry is based on team collaboration and communication, it becomes extremely difficult for an understaffed team to meet the targets and expectations. Higher hiring times not only lead to delays in product development but also a great loss in productivity levels and increased frustration of the employees, which cannot be afforded in the tech industry. More than the delay in development, issues related to the current products such as bugs and delayed technical support reduce customer satisfaction levels. This in turn leads to higher churn rate of existing customers.

Speeding up your hiring process

As mentioned above, the most significant factor adding to the hiring time is related to the company’s internal policies, which means that you have a greater control on reducing your average time-to-hire and streamlining the interview process. Here are a few tips that can help you speed up the process:

Get better at screening

By choosing the right screening method depending on the job role, you can greatly shorten your screening time. You have to decide what stages are essential for the position you are advertising, and you shouldn’t add extra stages or interviews than required. For instance at Google, four interviews was enough to predict a new hire’s performance with 86% confidence. Take a look at the extra days added by various screening methods according to the Glassdoor study in the US.

Secondly, for developers, their technical and communication skills are of utmost important, so a technical interview is a must. You could develop these tests yourself or use a skill screening software to your advantage.

Thirdly, always get more than one opinion.Statistical studies have shown that more the people, higher your chances of identifying the better candidate. It’s best to run fewer interviews with more people.

Simplify your application process

Recruitment is a two way process, you are not only looking for potential hires but also marketing your company by projecting its brand image and work culture. You have to make the whole process more candidate-centric and make it more appealing for them.

The application process should be designed to be simple and fewer steps, the more complex a procedure, higher the chances of candidates dropping out. The application should be designed to obtain a candidate’s basic information as well as their technical expertise which can be assessed via their Stack Overflow reputation or GitHub repositories.

You should also provide a timeline and let the applicants know how long it usually takes at your end and how long they might have to wait to get the offer. At each stage, make sure you notify the ones who didn’t make through, don’t leave them hanging for your response.

Note that a simple application process doesn’t imply a simple interview, easy interviews will only add to your difficulty in finding the right candidate. Hard interviews often lead to better hires and happy workers.

Leverage historical data

Just like the Glassdoor study, if you take some time out on analysing your own company’s historical data on the average time-to-hire and the candidates who had applied, you’ll gain more insight on doing things better. For example, you can find how long it took for top candidates to drop out because they were kept waiting (it’s usually around 10–20 days), at what stage they dropped out, etc. You can also research the promising candidates in the past and see what they’re doing currently and if they would be interested in working at your company.


You have to keep up with the pace in the rapidly changing tech industry, recruiting isn’t an easy task and the consequences of a longer hiring process are severe. You have to keep emphasising on how long it takes to hire at your company and how you can speed things up.

However, long interview processes despite being costly and unproductive aren’t always bad, if they have led to quality hires in the past who are still there with your business. You have to maintain this balance between careful screening and filling a vacant position quickly.

At Pesto, we can help you speed up your hiring process and save your time, thanks to our curated and trained developers. We make it super easy for you to hire your rockstar developer, all you have to do is share the details about the job role using our typeform and we will share a curated list within 72 hours for you to shortlist and request interview.

Ishaan Gupta

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