time to hire

Time to hire: A key metric to use & boost results

Tracking recruitment metrics can sometimes seem complicated and overwhelming. That’s why many recruiters choose not to do it. However, fear of complications is not a big enough reason to abandon metrics, not when their benefits outweigh any issues. When talking about time to hire, it has never been easier to get results, help HR out a little bit, and make progress. This is why the time to hire is one of the most frequently tracked recruitment metrics. Getting command on recruitment metrics can be an easy process when you have the right guide, so we’ll make sure to bring you the most simple and tested tips. 

What is time to hire & how is it measured?

Time to hire is a recruitment method that allows you to see if your hiring process is efficient or not. It shows the time you need to attract and snatch the best candidate off the market. In summary, the time to hire metric will show the amount of time between the moment a candidate enters your job pipeline and the moment they accept the job offer. That way, you can have a better understanding of your whole recruiting process.

It is measured by subtracting the number of days it took the candidate to enter the pipeline through sourcing or application from the number of days it took to sign the contract for the new job. Day 1 should always be the day you open your job position. Then you start counting down the days until your ideal candidate turns up from the pile of resumes you are getting, or you can move faster and be more efficient by using referrals

Simple as ABC: How do you calculate time to hire? 

Let’s say your future hire entered your pipeline on the 10th day. They got called back, nailed their interview, and you offered them the job on the 34th day. They had some thinking to do; they had other job offers (how could they not – they are perfect for the position). Luckily, they ended up accepting your job offer and signing the contract on the 39th day.

Time to hire in this case is 39-10= 29.

You could also calculate the average time to hire. For example, you had 6 job openings last month. The average time to hire would be the total time to hire for all those openings divided by 6.  

An important thing to remember is that time to hire doesn’t include onboarding.

Time to hire is a simple yet crucial recruitment metric that allows you to see if your hiring process is efficient or needs a little improvement.

Bonus info: What is onboarding?

For those wondering, onboarding is the key ingredient to a successful start of a new job. Ideally, it means getting on the right foot from the first day when a new employee meets everyone and tries to figure out their place in the company. In general, this phase should last around three months. By the end of it, the newly welcomed teammate should be fully integrated and at the top of their daily duties. 

But here’s the bottom line: Onboarding can depend on many different causes that have nothing to do with you or the efficiency of your hiring process. The first day can start a lot later for some people than for others, for various reasons: 

  • A new mother needs to find a full-time nanny in order to get back at work; 
  • A newly hired candidate still has some obligations towards the previous employer; 
  • The job requires moving to another city and finding an apartment; etc. 

That is why time to hire is measured with the endpoint being the moment the candidate accepts the job offer and the champagne is popped. 

Must-know: What is the difference between time to hire and time to fill? 

At first glance, these two recruitment metrics seem identical. One might think they’re just two peas in a pod. Sure, there are some similarities. Both are very useful recruitment metrics, and both are used to notify us when our hiring process isn’t going as efficiently as it should. But there is a slight distinction in their function. Here are a few key differences that will help you set them apart:

  • The difference in starting and ending points – As we mentioned, time to hire includes the time between entering the pipeline and accepting the job. It does not include onboarding or anything related to HR’s problem of composing and writing the job descriptions or where they will post the job. Time to fill, on the other hand, covers all of it. It is measured by the time between a job opening being approved and hiring someone for the position. 
  •  Fixed starting and ending points – Time to hire has set starting and ending points, and every company uses them as marks throughout their hiring process. Meanwhile, time to fill has starting and ending points that can vary from company to company. Some companies begin the countdown from the moment the job requisition gets approved, and some start it from the moment the job ad is posted. The end of the countdown also differs. For some people, it includes onboarding; for others, it ends when the contract is signed. In this sense, time to hire is a bit more stable.
  • The area it covers – Time to fill is a broader term. It monitors the hiring process in its entirety, from start to finish. It tells the whole story of how the empty work desk got a new owner. Time to fill is valuable when you are dealing with business planning. On the other hand, time to hire is more specialized, which allows you to monitor specific parts of your recruitment process more carefully and closely. Here’s the most simple comparison: Time to fill shows if your recruitment process is inefficient; time to hire shows if your HR team is inefficient. 

Pro tips: How to use and improve these metrics? 

Just like with anything in life, the right opportunity won’t wait on you for long. So you’ll need to grab it as soon as you spot it. This is why time to hire is such a helpful recruitment metric. It tells you how efficient your team is in noticing the right person for the job and hiring them. 

Know why you fail & boost the game: What mistakes am I making?

When we showed you how to calculate time to hire, we used an example that resulted in 29 days to hire. That means it took you 29 days to hire someone after they had applied for the job. Apparently, you took your sweet time. Your recruiters should be able to recognize the best applicant much quicker! You were very lucky that the candidate didn’t decline your offer after such a long time. In most cases, quality candidates are swept off the job market after two weeks tops. They can easily find another employer of choice: maybe with better pay, and possibly with an HR team that simply works a lot faster than yours. Ultimately, it doesn’t even have to be a better offer. Candidates are more likely to take a different path if they don’t get any feedback quickly. If more than two weeks pass without communication with the potential employer, candidates will probably lose interest in your company or start to think they are out – hence, accept another offer. 

Make a smart & efficient strategy: Know when less is more, and when it isn’t.

Decreasing your time to hire should be a priority. That way, everyone will be happier: you will fill out a position faster, and your candidates will be pleased you didn’t waste their time. But the rule “the end justifies the meaning” doesn’t always apply. Don’t decrease time to hire if it will cost you more than it will do you good. You might come to a point where your hiring process seems short, sweet, and efficient, but something is still not right. The reason being that you haven’t taken into account other factors at play, such as candidate experience. When pursuing an improved record or a more encouraging metric, your recruitment and HR team could fail to communicate with each candidate through the hiring process. That all results in a negative candidate experience and people dropping out of your hiring process. 

Luckily, there are ways to overcome this obstacle. Automated emails that have built-in templates are one tested way to shorten the process. And it’s quite easy to personalize them and send them out. They can help you let down candidates in a polite way or call back the ones you think might have a shot for an interview. 

Measure your time to hire & snatch the best candidate!

Time to hire genuinely is the easiest recruitment method to track. These days you don’t even have to do the counting yourself. There is software that will do it for you. At the same time, it’s the least demanding and the most helpful way to advance and make progress. Don’t make the mistake of letting the perfect candidate be the one that got away. Do your research and start tracking today!