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Understanding Time to Hire Metrics

This guide dives deep into "time to hire" - a crucial metric for efficient recruitment. Learn how to calculate it, analyze data, and improve your hiring process to attract top talent faster.


Let's dive into the world of recruitment, where time is not just money; it's the heartbeat of a thriving company. Ever heard of "time to hire"? It's a metric that's as critical as landing your dream candidate. 

This guide is your golden ticket to understanding why "time to hire" is not just a number, but a reflection of your recruitment process's efficiency. 

Whether you're a hiring pro or a newbie in the HR arena, buckle up! We're about to unravel the mystery behind why quick and quality hiring is the ultimate goal in the talent acquisition saga.

Time to Hire vs. Time to Fill
Understanding Time to Hire Metrics
What is Time to Hire?

Time to hire is the span it takes from the moment a candidate first interacts with your company—be it through applying for a job posting or being sourced—until the moment they accept the job offer. This metric is crucial as it provides insight into the efficiency and speed of your recruitment process. 

Unlike "time to fill," which starts ticking from the day a job requisition is opened, time to hire focuses solely on the candidate's experience and journey.

Why Time to Hire Metrics Matter

You might wonder why there's such a fuss about time to hire metrics. The reason is simple: in today's job market, speed is key. Top talent gets snapped up quickly, and if your hiring process is long and drawn out, you risk losing out on the best candidates. 

A prolonged time to hire can also suggest inefficiencies in your recruitment process, such as bottlenecks in resume screening or scheduling interviews, which can, and should, be optimised for a smoother, faster hiring process.

Benefits of Tracking Time to Hire

Tracking time to hire metrics can be a game-changer for your business. Here's why:

  • Improved Candidate Experience

A swift hiring process enhances the candidate's experience, leaving them with a positive impression of your company.

  • Operational Efficiency 

By identifying delays in the recruitment process, you can streamline operations, which can lead to cost reductions.

  • Competitive Advantage 

The ability to quickly hire and onboard talent means your team is always at its full strength, giving you an edge over competitors who may lag in their hiring processes.

Factors Affecting Time to Hire
  • Sourcing Channels

The channels through which you source candidates can significantly affect your time to hire. For instance, employee referrals tend to lead to quicker hires compared to sourcing candidates through job boards or social media. This is because referred candidates often skip the initial screening processes, and there's already a level of trust established.

  • Screening Processes

The way you screen candidates can either streamline your hiring process or bog it down. Lengthy application forms, complex tests, and multiple screening rounds can severely prolong the time to hire. Conversely, adopting a more streamlined approach, using AI-powered screening tools, or involving fewer but more impactful screening steps can significantly reduce the overall hiring time.

  • Interviewing Techniques

Finally, the interviewing technique and process can have a substantial impact on the time to hire. Traditional face-to-face interviews, while effective, can be time-consuming to schedule, especially when trying to accommodate multiple interviewers and candidates. Switching to telephone or video interviews for initial rounds can speed up the process. 

Additionally, using structured interviews where every candidate is asked the same set of questions can help in quicker, more efficient evaluation and decision-making.

By understanding these key factors—sourcing channels, screening processes, and interviewing techniques—you can start taking steps toward optimising your hiring process and improving your time to hire metrics. 

A more efficient recruitment process not only saves time and resources but also ensures you're not missing out on top talent due to unnecessary delays.

How to Calculate Time to Hire
Formula for Time to Hire

Calculating time to hire is surprisingly simple, yet remarkably insightful. The formula you'll use is: Time to Hire = Day of Hire - Day of Applicant’s First Contact. This calculation measures the total number of days it takes from when a candidate first gets in touch (think application or initial outreach) to the moment they accept the job offer. It gives you a straightforward number that tells you how long it's taking to bring someone on board. Easy, right?

Examples of Time to Hire Calculations

Let’s bring this formula to life with a couple of examples. Imagine Candidate A applied to your company on April 1st and accepted the job offer on April 25th. Plugging these dates into our formula gives us: 25 - 1 = 24 days. Now, take Candidate B who first contacted you on May 10th and was offered a job which they accepted on May 31st. That calculation looks like this: 31 - 10 = 21 days. 

Through these examples, it's clear how the formula works in action, providing you with a quantifiable measure of your hiring speed.

Interpreting Time to Hire Data
  • Benchmarking Time to Hire Metrics

Understanding your time to hire is one thing, but how do you know if it’s good or bad? Benchmarking against industry standards can give you a pretty solid clue. The average time to hire varies widely among different industries and even different roles within the same industry. 

For instance, filling a tech position might take longer than a retail job due to the specialised skill sets required. 

By comparing your numbers to these benchmarks, you can get a sense of whether your recruitment process is on par, lagging, or leading the pack.

  • Analysing Trends and Patterns

Another critical step is to look for trends and patterns in your time to hire data over time. Are there certain times of the year when it takes longer to hire? Do some departments consistently take longer to fill positions than others? Observing these patterns can provide valuable insights and help foresee future hiring challenges. 

This analysis can lead to more strategic planning and resource allocation to smooth out any consistent delays in the recruitment process.

  • Addressing Bottlenecks in the Recruitment Process

Identifying bottlenecks is perhaps one of the most actionable insights you can gain from your time to hire data. These are the stages in your recruitment process that slow down the hiring timeline. It could be anything from delayed decision-making, a lengthy background check process, to slow feedback from interviewers. 

Once you pinpoint where the hold-ups are occurring, you can take steps to address them. This might mean streamlining certain processes, introducing new tools to speed up background checks, or setting stricter timelines for interviewer feedback. 

Addressing these bottlenecks not only reduces your time to hire but also enhances the candidate experience - making your company an even more attractive place to work.

  • Improving Time to Hire

Making your hiring process as efficient as possible not only helps you snag the best candidates before your competitors do but also cuts down on costs and improves your organisation's overall productivity. 

Improving your time to hire involves strategies that streamline the process and implementing practices that are efficient and effective.

Strategies for Reducing Time to Hire

There are several strategies you can employ to reduce the time it takes to hire a new employee. 

Here are a few to consider:

  • Preparation and Planning

Before you even post the job listing, have a clear understanding of the role and its requirements. This helps in quickly identifying suitable candidates.

  • Leverage Technology 

Use applicant tracking systems (ATS) and recruitment software to automate parts of the hiring process like screening resumes and scheduling interviews.

  • Build a Talent Pool 

Regularly engage with potential candidates, even if you're not actively hiring. This way, you have a ready-to-go list of potential hires.

  • Streamline Interviews 

Reduce the number of interview rounds and ensure the interviewers are well-prepared with a set of standard questions.

Implementing Efficient Recruitment Practices

Practical steps in making the recruitment process more efficient include:

  • Clear Job Descriptions

Write clear and comprehensive job descriptions that accurately reflect the role's requirements. This helps in attracting the right candidates.

  • Effective Communication

Keep candidates in the loop at every stage of the hiring process. Prompt communication can significantly enhance the candidate's experience.

  • Feedback Loop 

After each recruitment cycle, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Implement changes based on feedback from candidates and the hiring team.

By focusing on these strategies and practices, organisations can significantly reduce their time to hire, making their hiring process more competitive and efficient.


Understanding and leveraging time to hire metrics can significantly improve your recruitment process. It not only helps in identifying bottlenecks but also ensures you're attracting and retaining top talent effectively. By keeping a close eye on these metrics, organisations can enhance the candidate experience, make strategic hiring decisions, and ultimately achieve a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced job market. 

Remember, in the realm of recruitment, efficiency and quality go hand in hand for long-term success.

Sandra Rachel Oommen

Content Marketer

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