If you feel like the hiring process is getting longer and longer, apparently, you\u2019re right. The average hiring process for the first half of 2017 took 23.8 days, according to the latest study by Glassdoor. You read that right; your urgent hiring need will take at least three weeks to get filled. The hiring process gets even longer when you\u2019re looking for highly specialized roles, like those in tech and digital marketing.\nRather than producing the best professionals available and minimizing bad hire risks with the additional time, long hiring processes tend to result in the most in-demand candidates dropping out to take another opportunity before the final decision is made. That means there is an extended vacancy on your team, which comes with its own costs. Not only do you miss out on the most qualified candidates, but you also pay the price of having an extended vacancy on your team.\nWhile the average length of the hiring process in the U.S. is alarming, it doesn\u2019t have to dictate the length of your hiring process. Here are three strategies to help speed your hiring process.\n1. Start with the job description\nAn effective and efficient hiring process begins with the job description. One of the most common issues resulting in a lengthy hiring process is an unclear job description. You must speak to your target audience effectively through the job description to attract the most qualified talent available. If critical details, key company information, or important day-to-day information are missing from the job description, in-demand professionals will simply move on rather than apply and inquire further. Consider having the team the new hire will work with, or better yet in a similar role, develop the job description to ensure it directly hits the questions qualified candidates want answered.\n2. Know when flexibility is key\nWhen it comes to hiring for emerging tech-based skills or marketing automation tech expertise, the candidate with the exact requirements and experience you're looking for may not exist just yet. This is why it's critical to understand when is the right time to be flexible and adjust your hiring criteria.\nFor example, high-end tech professionals tend to have an array of educational backgrounds, which doesn't mean one background is better than another. While you may be looking for an applicant with a 4-year university degree, the skills developed in college can also be developed in a less formal setting, like an online program or through other certification methods. Rather than having a vacant role stay open for months and paying the price of doing so, identify when a little flexibility in credentials is the right strategy. Flexibility, when applied effectively, will speed up your hiring process without negatively impacting the quality of hires.\n3. Take chances, but know when to trust your gut\nAlong with being more flexible regarding hiring criteria, consider interviewing applicants you may not consider the best fit initially based on what you learn about them through their resumes. While you may be reluctant to interview certain candidates because they may not seem like a culture fit or don't have specific skills outlined in their resume, you may come to find that the candidates are in fact a better fit than the individuals you were bringing in.\nWhen turning down applicants for interviews, reconsider the reasoning behind the decisions and take more chances earlier on. You'll provide yourself with a wider variety of candidates to choose from that may bring skill sets or expertise you hadn't considered previously. However, in the same vein, for an efficient and faster hiring process, you also need to know when to trust your gut. In-demand tech and digital marketing talent are never on the market long. If you interview a candidate you think is the right fit but want to continue interviewing in case a better option is out there, you risk losing out on the initial candidate to a competitor who provides an offer immediately. You don\u2019t want to let qualified candidates slip through your fingers and be left with a role you're still unable to fill.\nSpeeding up your hiring process is a proven strategy that yields access to higher quality hires, savings on related costs and resources, potentially higher acceptance rates and enables you to net high-end talent faster. Implement these strategies to improve your hiring process, and you will be well-prepared with the professionals you need for a successful 2018.