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What is Time to Hire?

The best businesses use all types of data to improve processes and remain competitive in their industry. Hiring data is just one category of information that can prove useful. Learn why time to hire is an important metric to track during the recruiting process and what it can tell you about the way you bring on new talent.

Time to Hire Defined

Time to hire is the term used for the amount of time that passes from your very first engagement with a job candidate and the time you make an offer of employment. It ends when they have accepted the job offer, even if they aren’t able to start working for a while after the offer has been made.

Knowing this metric can alert you to problems in your hiring process or tell you if recent changes were the right choice. While just one of many things you should track, it’s a key performance indicator for your human resources team and for recruiters.

Time to Hire vs Time to Fill

Have you wondered about the concept of time to hire compared to time to fill? While similar, they do not track the same opportunities. Time to hire’s sole purpose is to measure the hiring process, from the first contact to an employment offer to the best candidate. You can see what your recruiting team is doing well, and what they could improve on.

Time to fill, on the other hand, includes the days spent between when the job opening is posted and when the job offer is made. Since it can take a considerable amount of time before the first interested and qualified candidate makes contact, these days are not included in time to hire. You can still track this metric if you want, but it shouldn’t be used as a measurement for your internal hiring teams.

Why Should You Measure Time to Hire?

Assuming you have identified the best candidate for the role, what steps are needed to get them on board? All kinds of activities occur between first outreach and offer, including background checks, phone interviews, in-person interviews, and internal discussions. If any one of these steps takes too long or gets lost in the shuffle of your hiring teams, it can extend the time to hire beyond a reasonable number.

Tracking time to hire and looking for higher times than your average can alert you to incompetencies within your hiring team that should be addressed right away. It can signal that it’s time to implement new procedures or hiring technology to tighten the process.

Another benefit to measuring time to hire is that you can see at what point, if any, potential candidates lose interest. If you find that you don’t see the best talent all the way through the hiring process, it could be that your time to hire is too long. Shortening this can ensure that you aren’t missing out on the best talent.

How to Measure Time to Hire

It’s quite simple to measure time to hire. Start with the day that the candidate entered the pipeline, and subtract it from the day you made a job offer. If you first reached out on May 10th, for example, and made a hiring offer on the 25th, you have a 15-day time to hire.

You can further break down this data by time spent on each stage of the hiring process to see which steps are taking the most time. Those that seem unnecessarily lengthy should be examined for possible improvements.

What is the Average Time to Hire?

You should always be aware of your own average time to hire. When you make a hiring decision, document the time to hire and add it to your averages. If you’ve made 12 hires in the last year, you should add up the total days spent hiring and divide by 12. As you do more hiring, you should see a more accurate representation of your average time to hire.

There are also industry averages that you may want to be aware of, but these can range and do not reflect the nuance of hiring. Factors such as the challenges of small companies versus large companies, inconsistencies in geography, unemployment rates, and time of year all play into the average time to hire for an industry. It’s better to know the average for you and then work to improve on that number a little every year.

How to Improve Time to Hire

There are a number of steps you can take to improve time to hire, with some being more involved than others. They include:

  • Break down each step of the hiring process and seeing how much of the time to hire it uses. Address steps that seem uncharacteristically drawn out. Can you improve them or remove them altogether?
  • Track time to hire by job description and department. If you see consistently long times in specific areas, address those directly.
  • Use a modern application tracking system to identify and address inefficiencies. The ATS can dramatically decrease the time to hire in companies who use it.
  • Share your findings with those who hire such as recruiters and your hiring manager’s team, and regularly work together to find process improvements.

What Other Recruiting Metrics Are Important?

Time to hire is just one metric that can alert you to inefficiencies in hiring. Other data sets include:

  • Time to fill, or the days between when you first advertise for a position and fill it.
  • Qualified candidates per hire, or the number of suitable applicants who enter the pipeline for each job posted.
  • Interviews per hire, or the number of suitable applicants with which you conduct a phone or in-person interview.

Each of these metrics plays a vital role in identifying inadequacies in your hiring process. Look at each one individually and match it against the documentation in your ATS so you can see what departments, employees, or tasks result in the most lost time. You should also look at the overall quality of applicants and if they change significantly as these metrics change.

At Comeet, we’re dedicated to improving the ways you source, track, and hire the best candidates for your company. Learn more about how we can help you speed up your time to hire with our automated tools.

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Barry Lenson

Barry Lenson

Barry Lenson has spent more than 25 years writing blogs, website copy, and books on business, education, healthcare, and the arts. He has written and co-authored more than a dozen books, including the Amazon.com bestseller Good Stress, Bad Stress. Barry earned degrees from McGill and Yale.

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