Everything You Need to Know About Time to Hire and Time to Fill

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The industry’s top candidates are on the market for only 10 days before they get hired. This statistic — known as time to hire — is critical in the world of HR.

Did you know, 50% of companies report using this metric to inform their recruitment strategies? If you aren’t currently tracking time to hire, you could end up behind the curve.

In today’s competitive job market, most high-demand candidates are hired quickly. And those that don’t get a job offer in a reasonable time frame are likely to turn to other opportunities. By shortening your time to hire, you can optimize your recruitment strategy to land the best candidates for your needs.

So what exactly is time to hire and how do you calculate it? In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about time to hire and why it should be an essential part of your recruitment strategy.

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What is Time to Hire? 

Time to hire is one of the best-known recruitment metrics. It’s the time elapsed between when you first engage a candidate and when they’re hired. Simply put, you measure the number of days between application and job acceptance.

Why does this matter? Measuring your time to hire provides vital information about your recruitment, process including:

  • How efficient is your current recruitment? This metric shows how long it takes for a candidate to go through the pipeline, from application assessment to acceptance. If you have a long time to hire, it could indicate a slow, inefficient hiring process that could be hindering your chances of landing the perfect candidates.
  • How fast do you move once you find the right person? While it can help to compare a handful of top candidates, moving too slowly could be hurting your recruitment process. If you take too long before making a job offer to your top candidate, you run the risk of losing them to a more prompt job offer from another company.
  • Are you offering the best possible candidate experience? The time to hire metric can also indicate the quality of your candidate experience. A faster time to hire will lead to a stronger candidate experience, making them more likely to accept an offer. For example, an offer delivered within two weeks will leave a better impression than an offer delivered after two months.

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Time to Hire Versus Time to Fill

Time to hire and time to fill are often used interchangeably. The line between them is thin, but there’s a clear difference that sets them apart.

What is time to fill and what sets it apart from time to hire? The difference is simpler than you might think. While time to hire measures the days between the candidate applying and accepting the job, time to fill measures the days between the formal job requisition and a candidate accepting the job. This means that time to fill captures the entire hiring process — from the moment it’s approved or set into motion to the moment that the candidate accepts the final job offer. In contrast, the time to hire only starts once the candidate enters the hiring funnel.

To clarify, consider this example: A company is hiring for a key position with a quick turnaround. They approve a formal job requisition at the very beginning of the month. Their top candidate applies on the 10th. After a resume review, interview, and skills assessment, this candidate is offered a position. The candidate accepts the offer and signs their paperwork on the 20th.

In this case, the time to hire would be 10 days. However, the time to fill started earlier, making it 20 days.

Time to hire tends to be more effective if you’re assessing the speed at which a candidate moves through the hiring pipeline. If you want to assess the overall efficiency of your recruitment — starting with when your job is first posted — you can look at time to fill.

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Why Measure Time to Hire? 

How long does it take your company to find the ideal candidate? It might seem like a straightforward concept, but it’s not a metric that should be taken lightly.

If your hiring team is too slow to pick up high-quality job seekers, they could lose some of the top candidates for the job. If a candidate is highly qualified, interviews well, and has valuable skills to bring to the table, they could easily move on to another company that presents them with an offer much earlier. That’s why it’s important to know how long it typically takes your company to hire someone for each role or department in your company.

Measuring time to hire will help you identify inefficiencies in your recruitment process. These analytics will also tell you which parts of the pipeline need to be optimized — Resume Parsing, job advertising/marketing, phone interviews, in-person or online interviews, or assessment. By breaking this down, you’ll find out how long it takes before each candidate moves on to the next stage.

These metrics will also give you a chance to compare hiring statistics for each department.  Are some departments lagging behind others? Which roles are proving to be slower to hire?

Once you’ve identified weaknesses through time to hire and time to fill metrics, you can better address them, strengthening your recruitment pipeline for the next batch of candidates. You can identify areas where more resources need to be allocated, along with adjustments to fine-tune your overall recruitment strategy.

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How to Measure Time to Hire (And Time to Fill)

Both of these recruitment metrics are a necessary part of streamlining the hiring process. It takes a slightly different mathematical process to learn how to work out time to hire and time to fill. Let’s break down each formula.

Time to Hire 

The time to hire extends from the moment a candidate submits their application to the moment they accept the job offer. That means that the first variable in the formula is the day they submit. The second variable is the day they accept the job offer.

The rest of the calculation is simple. The formula is: (day they accepted the job offer) – (day they applied) = time to hire.

Consider this example. A candidate submits their application on the 12th. They end up accepting the position at the end of the month, on the 31st. The formula would be: 31 – 12, which comes out to 19.

To find out your average time to hire, simply add several results together and divide them by the number of results. For example, imagine that you did this formula for five different candidates and got the following numbers: 19, 11, 24, 10, and 21. Adding them together brings you to 85. Then, you divide by 5 and reach the average time to hire, which is 17.

Time to Fill 

While the formula is just as simple as time to hire, it may take slightly more work to establish the parameters for time to fill. It all depends on what point the hiring manager considers the beginning of the job requisition. This could be the moment the job opening is approved by HR, when the job requirements are posted, or when the job is first advertised to job seekers.

Once you’ve determined when the job opening officially starts, that number becomes your first variable. Your second variable is the same as time to hire — the day the candidate accepts the job.

The formula follows the same structure as time to hire: (day they accepted the job offer) – (day the job opening started) = time to fill.

When determining the average, you’ll follow the same process as time to hire. Simply add up all the results and divide by the number of results. So if you have time to fill at 15, 20, and 31, your average would be 66 divided by three, which is 22.

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Four Ways to Utilize Your Time to Hire 

Measuring time to hire is an essential part of honing your recruitment process. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to break down the numbers and apply them to your own company. It takes the right techniques to make the most of your analytics.

There are a few best practices to keep in mind when making time to hire a part of your recruitment strategy. Here are some recommendations to follow.

1. Compare Time to Hire Versus Quality of Hire 

While time to hire is a valuable metric, it can only offer so much insight into your hiring process without comparison to other metrics. A great way to assess the effectiveness of your hiring speed is to compare it to your hiring quality.

Quality of hiring measures the value that new hires bring to the table in their new role. This recruitment metric can show a new hire’s job performance and the duration of their position at the company. Combining this recruitment metric with time to hire will give you a better look at what kind of hiring strategies will result in the best results — and then you can focus on replicating them.

2. Don’t Focus Too Much on Speed 

When it comes down to it, faster hiring isn’t always better hiring. It’s important to have an efficient hiring process that brings a candidate from application to job offer with a quick turnaround. But if you’re too focused on speed, the quality of your recruitment process could suffer.

Don’t sacrifice necessary steps in your recruitment pipeline just to improve the speed of your hiring — quality is just as important. This means you shouldn’t skip steps like reference checks, skills testing, or an extra round of interviews with the sole purpose of improving time to hire. Instead, focus on your time to hire as a way to optimize the process, not a number that you need to get as low as possible at any cost.

3. Make Use of HR Technology 

While you can use formulas to measure time to hire manually, this can quickly grow repetitive and cumbersome. It also opens you up to the risk of human error, especially when processing a high number of candidates.

Instead, try leveraging recruitment technology to make the most of your time to hire metrics. The right platform can track time to hire, break the numbers down by department or role, and offer real-time insights to help recruiters understand what these metrics mean for their company.

4. Find Your Ideal Hiring Speed 

The speed of recruitment is different for every company, as well as each individual role. Some roles require a more advanced assessment process, including multiple rounds of interviews, additional screening, or skills-based evaluations to test their aptitude for the job. Other jobs might require a less rigorous process with fewer stages to get through.

To make the most of your recruitment metrics, it helps to set an ideal range for moving a candidate through the pipeline. Identify a minimum and a maximum number of days to aim for, and then consider what you could do to accelerate the process.

This is another area where HR technology can offer a convenient solution. The right recruitment metric technology can offer you data-driven predictions about your desired time to hire, including which stages may take longer than others.

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Making Time to Hire an Essential Part of Recruitment 

If you aren’t already considering time to hire, it’s time to incorporate it into your strategy. Using this metric, you can get to the bottom of what might be slowing down your process and how to sharpen your strategy to keep your Recruitment Funnel moving. Once you do, you can see concrete results: Faster hiring, improved candidate experience, and more accepted job offers from the top candidates in your industry.

Measuring time to hire is just the first step towards an improved recruitment process. It takes the right application of those numbers to inform your strategy effectively. The key is to work smarter, not harder.

Instead of managing your time to hire manually, let technology take over. With Oleeo’s intelligent recruitment platform, you can use data-driven automation and dynamic workflows to fast-track the best candidates, engaging more effectively with top talent and providing the best possible candidate experience. Learn more about our recruitment features or request a demo today.

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