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Time to Hire vs Time to Fill: Time-Based Recruitment Metrics

time to hire vs time to fill

Time-to-fill and time-to-hire are often mistaken to be synonymous to each other. While both are concerned with the measure of time, it differentiates on the starting point where duration is measured. 

Each of these measures efficiency of different aspects in your recruitment structure. Here, we will explore the key differences between time to hire vs time fill and how you can leverage both metrics to optimize your recruitment efforts. 

What is time-to-fill

By definition, time-to-fill is the time it takes for a company to fill an open position from when it is raised. The key objective of this metric is to measure the efficiency of your overall recruitment process.  

As this measurement directly impacts business agility, it is suitable as a key performance indicator for your head of talent acquisition or head of HR.

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How to measure time-to-fill 

Time-to-fill is usually measured in terms of days needed to fill a position. The number of days can either be calendar days or work days, depending on company preference. The more critical question you need to ask is what is the appropriate start and end point. This will depend on the recruitment process you have established or if the position is planned or unplanned. 

For example, starting points can be defined as such:

  • [Planned recruitment]: Following when recruitment cycle for position starts based on hiring calendar
  • [Unplanned recruitment]: Time when position is raised by hiring manager and approved by HR and finance
  • Moment a vacant position is assigned to a recruiter

The end point is usually set when a selected candidate accepts the job offer, often documented by a signed employment agreement. Whichever point you opt for, it should remain fairly consistent in order for it to be meaningful in judging the health of your recruitment process.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a typical time-to-hire usually sits around 42-59 days depending on your measuring mechanisms. However this number tends to vary from position to position and should be used as a quick check only. 

How to improve your time-to-fill

Time-to-fill touches upon your end-to-end recruitment cycle, and so many factors influence its results. How you create your recruitment plan, preparatory activities prior to sourcing, recruiter effectiveness all play a role in determining your time-to-fill. Below are some of the top tips you can do in order to see impactful results:

  • Build a recruitment plan. Having your recruitment efforts planned out for the year will generally focus your team on the most impactful things. It will help you to project hiring before the need arises, giving you ample time to prepare a pool of talents ready to be contacted upfront. It also has the benefits of improving your hiring quality.
  • Involve your hiring managers from the start. It can be unnecessarily time consuming if you process many candidates that are ultimately rejected by the hiring manager. In order to minimize wasted efforts, involving hiring managers in your planning process can help your understanding of the role better and avoid mishaps. 
  • Monitor your screening process. Each new step of screening will inevitably increase your time-to-fill. You will have to scrutinize each step and identify which ones are causing the longest delays. Then conduct a review on the need of these steps to improve hire quality against time-to-fill.
  • Maintain strong employer branding. A good branding is a natural magnet to job seeking talents. Once you have a strong brand, you will quickly get a larger influx of incoming applicants for open positions and saves you time in sourcing. 

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What is time-to-hire

time to fill vs time to hire metrics

Time-to-hire is the time it takes to process an eventual hire from when they enter the talent pipeline to accepting the offer. Generally time-to-hire is a subset of time-to-fill, where this metric places a higher emphasis on the effectiveness of your recruiters and candidate experience. 

This metric is better suited for individual recruiters to measure their effectiveness. As this metric does get impacted by the rigor of your selection process, you will have to set your own appropriate target based on historical data. 

How to measure time-to-hire

Similar to time-to-fill, time-to-hire is often measured either in calendar days or work days. The starting point for this metric is also often more clear-cut from when the applicant enters into the pipeline. Depending on how the candidate is sourced this can either be from when they first send in their resume to a job portal or when you actively reach out to them. The end point is when the candidate has accepted the offer.

According to a recent survey by Spark Hire, an average of around 14 days should be an ideal benchmark for time-to-hire. This will give your team enough time to understand the candidate while not making the selection process too lengthy and cumbersome. 

How to improve time-to-hire

Time-to-hire is all about efficiency in moving candidates across stages in the hiring process. Reducing time-to-hire will require you to dive deep into the nitty-gritty of your recruiting team and process. Some tips to improve time-to-hire include:

  • Secure time commitments from hiring managers: As the clock starts running the moment candidates enter into the pipeline, we advise that you align schedules with hiring managers prior. This helps to avoid impromptu interviews and reduce delays through scheduling. 
  • Monitor recruiter time-to-hire: As individual ability plays a large role in time-to-hire, you will need to ensure your team is performing to your standards. If there are any that are lagging behind, you would need to identify the reason and rectify. 
  • Build a motivated recruiting team: Cultivating a conscientious and hardworking culture in your team is a sure way to improve time-to-hire. Recruiting teams that are organized and stay on top of timely follow-ups will reduce errors and delays in your hiring process. 
  • Automate your process: Use tools such as Shortlyst’s AI-based recruitment software to automate your follow ups. This will ensure that no candidate is overlooked and a fixed standard is set for your hiring process. Furthermore, it also has the benefit of reducing unnecessary burdens on your team!

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Written by

Shortlyst Team

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