It’s rare that any job has only 2 or 3 people that can do it. I will admit that given the right conditions, maybe only 2 or 3 people want to do it, good or bad. But ultimately, we work to get a couple of people to choose from for a job. How long it takes us to get those two or three people to choose from varies position to position, and the greatest variable that impacts the time that project is open is sourcing.
Now I said the biggest variable for time, not the most amount of time. Staffing processes can be long or short, but if it takes 40 hours of effort to go from interview to offer for one candidate, it likely does not take 140 hours for another candidate to go through the same steps on the same position. Don’t confuse effort (hours worked) with duration (time elapsed). 40 hours of work in regards to one candidate may be accomplished in 2 weeks, while another candidate takes 4 weeks to complete the same 40 hours.
Which leads us back to sourcing. It may take 40 minutes of effort over a 1 day period to find three candidates that you want to submit to a hiring manager or 40 hours of cold calls, research, etc over 3 weeks to find the same people. It’s up to you as a talent acquisition professional to keep your clients/managers informed of that variability.
Try separating your work estimates into three pieces…sourcing, recruiting, and staffing:
1 How much effort will it take to find people
2 how much effort to convince them to apply/enter the staffing process
3 and how much effort to go through your staffing process
Now do the same for duration estimates:
1 how many days will it take you to complete your sourcing work
2 how many to complete recruiting work
3 how many to complete staffing
Set expectations and happy hunting.