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Optimizing Time to Hire: A Crucial Metric for Effective Hiring

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Streamlining Time to Hire: A Key Metric for Efficient Recruitment
Streamlining Time to Hire: A Key Metric for Efficient Recruitment

Recruitment is significantly shifting towards data-driven practices. In-house recruiters and HR managers increasingly utilize various metrics to assess their hiring processes, such as time to hire, fill, and offer acceptance rates. However, as recruitment adopts a more sales and marketing-oriented approach by generating a wealth of performance data, it faces a familiar challenge: determining which hiring metrics matter and should be given priority.

While the collection of hiring process data is still relatively new for many in the recruitment field, the next phase involves leveraging this data to optimize processes. To steer these improvements, it is recommended to begin with a well-established recruitment favorite: time to hire. Organizations can effectively channel their resources and initiate targeted enhancements to expedite the hiring process by using the time to hire as the guiding hiring metric.

Define the time to hire

Time to hire is the duration measured from the first interaction with a candidate until the point at which the candidate officially accepts a job offer. On the surface, this definition seems straightforward and easy to grasp.

However, things can become more intricate when tracking time to hire through data and comprehending its implications for your organization.

How to calculate the time to hire?

Calculating the time to hire involves considering the unique requirements and steps in filling different roles within your organization. Certain positions, such as developer roles, may involve additional stages like technical assessments, which can extend the recruitment process. Additionally, it is beneficial to compute an average time to hire, offering a comprehensive overview of the overall speed of your hiring process across various positions.

To determine the average time to hire for your organization, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the total time it took to fill all open vacancies within a specific period.

  2. Add up the time taken to hire for each role.

  3. Obtain the average time to hire by dividing the total time taken by the number of positions.

This average time to hire provides a valuable metric to assess the overall efficiency of your recruitment process. However, digging deeper into the specifics is essential to gain more insights. Consider comparing the time to hire across different departments, locations, or under specific management. Additionally, analyzing differences in time to hire between seasons can help identify trends and patterns that may influence the hiring process. These detailed comparisons can provide valuable information for targeted improvements and optimizations in your recruitment efforts.

Why is the time to hire metric relevant?

Time to hire is a crucial hiring metric for several reasons:

1. Candidate Experience: Alongside effective communication, time to hire significantly impacts the candidate experience. It reflects the speed of your hiring process and sets expectations for candidates regarding the duration of their engagement with your vacancy. Lengthy times to hire can indicate bottlenecks and contribute to a negative candidate experience. Candidates generally prefer a streamlined process without excessive delays.

2. Recruitment Process Efficiency: Time to hire indicates the efficiency of your recruitment process. Slow candidate selection, delays in screening or interview stages, or a lengthy decision-making process can increase hiring time and result in missed opportunities to secure talented candidates. By monitoring and optimizing this metric, you can identify areas for improvement and streamline the overall recruitment process.

3. Optimization Opportunities: Various factors impact the time to hire and require optimization efforts. Following up with candidates on time, facilitating effective internal decision-making and communication, maintaining a solid talent pipeline, tracking candidates' progress and efficient document gathering reduce hiring time. Addressing issues in these areas can enhance the speed and effectiveness of your recruitment process.

How to improve your time to hire?

To make an impact on your time to hire and optimize this hiring metric, consider the following steps:

1. Measure time spent on each stage

Quantify the average duration for candidates to transition from one stage to the next. For example, calculate the time between CV selection and phone screening, interviews and assessments, or between the final interview and the offer. Utilize your applicant tracking system (ATS) or recruitment software to track and analyze this data accurately.

2. Role-based segmentation

Segmenting the data by role or department is valuable for gaining deeper insights into your time-to-hire metric. This segmentation allows you to refine your analysis and understand the factors contributing to hiring timelines' variations.

3. Evaluate the quality of your applications

Assessing the quality of applications is an essential aspect of optimizing your time to hire. By evaluating the quality of candidates who apply to your vacancies, you can address potential issues that may impact your recruitment process.

4. Establish an inclusive talent pool

Optimize your hiring time by building an accessible talent pipeline that provides transparency and facilitates efficient communication within the hiring process. You can use a free ATS, such as HireTalent, to manage your recruitment workflow. An ATS allows you to centralize candidate data, track their progress, and provide access to relevant stakeholders involved in the hiring process.

5. Utilize questionnaires to expedite the process

Implementing questionnaires can be an effective solution to accelerate the hiring process and reduce delays caused by a lack of information. Here's how you can use questionnaires to speed up the hiring process:

  • Pre-Screening Questionnaires: Instead of conducting time-consuming phone screenings, use pre-screening questionnaires to gather more in-depth information from candidates.

  • Video Questionnaires: Complement questionnaires with video responses. Request candidates to answer a set of questions via video, which allows you to assess their communication skills, professionalism, and cultural fit.

  • Automate Questionnaire Processes: Utilize applicant tracking systems or other HR software to automate the distribution and collection of questionnaires. This not only saves time but ensures consistent and organized data management.

To embark on data-driven recruitment, it's crucial to initially focus on one critical metric and gradually expand your efforts. Starting with the "time to hire" metric is an excellent choice because it holds significant importance regarding a positive candidate experience and attracting the right talent. By tracking and analyzing this metric, you can gain insights into the factors that affect it and make incremental improvements.

Approach optimization with confidence and consistency to ensure sustainable outcomes. Selecting one metric allows you to understand the underlying issues and implement minor but impactful enhancements. This approach sets the foundation for a data-driven recruitment strategy and enables you to build upon your successes over time.


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