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

Time to Hire and Time to Fill

There are many ways you can measure the efficiency of your hiring process. However, it’s time to fill and time to hire that offer recruiters the most valuable insights. While there’s a difference between time to fill and time to hire, both metrics make it clear how long it’s taking for you to fill a vacant role. Are you struggling to keep on top of recruitment timelines? Perhaps your current time to hire average is falling far below the industry standard. Read on for a full breakdown of what both metrics mean, along with some handy solutions to help you reduce them.

What is time to hire?

Some recruiters class time to hire and time to fill as the same thing. However, you should really be looking at them individually if you want to gain the most useful insights. The time to hire metric refers to the number of days between a candidate applying for a role and that same person accepting a formal job offer.

There are a couple of reasons why time to hire is so important. For one, it gives companies an idea of how efficient their recruitment processes are. As it measures the time spent on each part of the hiring process, you can see just how long it’s taken for candidates to be processed, evaluated, and interviewed. A significant slowdown at any point can be seen as a bottleneck. If you notice any inefficiencies with the hiring process, it’s easier to start making changes.

Time to hire is also closely related to candidate experience. If you’re receiving applications from top talent, you can expect a shorter time to hire. If the recruiting process is regularly taking longer than 30 days, you’re probably going to be dealing with a poor crop of candidates.

Easily measure Time to Hire

How to calculate time to hire?

Time to hire is one of the most useful recruiting metrics around and there are a couple of ways you can measure it. Some employers choose to perform a single time to hire calculation for a company-wide average. Others prefer working out time to hire for individual teams and departments. In either case, the calculation is relatively simple.

To work out time to hire, you’ll need to determine how many days your hiring process has taken. You’ll then need to work out which day a candidate accepted a job offer and first applied for a position. These days then become key values in the time to hire equation:

Day candidate accepts offer – day candidate applies = time to hire

So, if a candidate accepted a job offer on day 24 and applied for the role on day 4 of the hiring process, your time to hire would be 20.

Average time to hire in the UK

The average time to hire is on the rise across most industries. In the UK, the average time to hire is around 36 days. What’s more, the numbers show that the amount of time it takes to secure a hire is steadily increasing across most sectors.

If we talk about industries, the average time to hire in the UK for marketing roles is 27 days. That being said, this average is relatively low when compared to the global average. Engineering is a sector that suffers from a high time to hire score, as it takes an average of 65 days from when a job is posted to a candidate accepting a role.

Other industries fare a little better as far as time to hire is concerned. In the IT and financial sectors the average time to hire is 24 days. The average is even lower for admin and HR roles, with a time to hire of just 22 days. However, it’s the customer service sector that enjoys the lowest swiftest time to hire, with an average of just 20 days.

What is time to fill?

Along with time to hire, time to fill is one of the most useful recruiting metrics available to organisations. It differs slightly but significantly from time to hire. time to fill tracks the time from when a job vacancy is officially posted to the moment a candidate accepts the job offer. This metric encompasses the entire recruitment cycle, including job posting, candidate sourcing, screening, interviewing, and the final job offer.

Understanding and optimising time to fill is crucial for strategic workforce planning and resource allocation. It helps identify potential bottlenecks in the hiring process and areas that need improvement. By keeping an eye on this metric, organisations can enhance their hiring efficiency, reduce vacancy costs, and better align their recruitment strategies with their overall business objectives.

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How to calculate time to fill?

Measuring time to fill is fairly simple. As with time to hire, you can perform the calculation for an entire company or focus on a single team. To find your company-wide average, first decide on the amount of time you want to cover. You might want to cover a single month or an entire year. Next, add the amount of time it took to fill every role you recruited for in that particular period. You can then divide that value by the number of roles to find your average.

Need an example? Imagine you filled five roles over a 12-month period. Now let’s say those roles took 15, 20, 25, 26, and 30 days to fill respectively. Add these together to get 106, then divide that by five. This gives you an average time to fill of 21.2 days.

Time to hire vs time to fill differences

Average time to fill in the UK?

As you’re factoring in the amount of times for a job requisition to be processed, time to fill is always longer than time to hire. The amount of time it takes for a job requisition to be approved varies from company to company. If you’re waiting for the input of senior stakeholders, waiting times are even longer. Currently, the average time to fill across all industries is around 42 days according to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).

What are the differences between time to hire and time to fill?

The distinction between time to fill and time to hire, while subtle, is significant. Both metrics are used to assess the efficiency of the hiring process, but they focus on different aspects. Time to hire measures the duration from when a candidate applies for a job to when they accept a job offer. This metric specifically tracks the speed and efficiency of the candidate selection process.

In contrast, time to fill starts earlier in the recruitment cycle. It begins when a job requisition is formally approved or a vacancy is identified and ends when a candidate accepts the job offer. This metric encompasses the entire recruitment process, including the time taken to identify the need for a new hire, create and approve a job requisition, advertise the position, source candidates, and make a hiring decision.

A high time to fill average can indicate inefficiencies in the recruitment process and suggests that a comprehensive review of the recruitment strategy may be necessary. It’s important for companies to monitor both metrics, as they provide valuable insights into different stages of the hiring process and can guide strategic improvements in recruitment practices.

Why Time To Hire and Time To Fill Are Important?

Both time to hire and time to fill are crucial metrics for assessing the effectiveness of your recruitment strategy, each offering unique insights and benefits.

Cost Control and Efficiency

Both metrics are instrumental in controlling recruitment costs. The time to hire metric helps identify which parts of the hiring process are unnecessarily lengthy or expensive, allowing for adjustments to make hiring more budget-friendly. Similarly, time to fill can highlight cost-saving opportunities by reducing the duration of job vacancies, thus minimising the expenses associated with prolonged hiring processes, such as job advertising costs and the financial strain of overburdening existing staff.

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Strategic Recruitment Planning

Time to fill is particularly beneficial for planning purposes. It provides a reliable estimate of the time needed to fill positions, especially critical for senior roles, ensuring timely recruitment to avoid operational disruptions. This foresight also allows for the implementation of backup plans and the refinement of onboarding processes.

Market Trends and Hiring Initiatives

The time to hire metric offers valuable insights into market trends, helping to navigate shifts in job seeker behaviour and preferences. It also serves as a barometer for the success of new hiring initiatives, such as offering flexible hours or adjusting salaries. If time to hire improves following these changes, it indicates their effectiveness.

Spotting Inefficiencies

Regularly monitoring time to fill helps identify roles or departments with consistently longer hiring times, signalling inefficiencies in the recruitment process. This information is vital for refining recruitment strategies, such as exploring new talent sources for roles that are difficult to fill.

Conclusions on time to hire and time to fill

In summary, time to hire and time to fill are essential metrics for gauging the effectiveness of an organisation’s recruitment process. While time to hire measures the duration from candidate application to acceptance, time to fill encompasses the entire recruitment cycle, offering a broader overview. Efficiently managing these metrics leads to cost-effective hiring, strategic planning, and identification of process inefficiencies.

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can be instrumental in tracking and improving these metrics. By automating and organising candidate tracking, an ATS streamlines the recruitment process, providing real-time data that helps in reducing both time to hire and time to fill. Ultimately, leveraging these metrics with the aid of technology like an ATS enables organisations to recruit more effectively, optimising their processes to attract top talent swiftly and efficiently.

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Triin Elias

Triin Elias

Customer Success Team Lead

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