Is time-to-hire the right metric to measure?
Some organizations prefer to track time-to-fill instead of
time-to-hire. The two metrics are similar, but time-to-fill starts
with the day that the open role was approved, rather than the day
you posted a job.
Time-to-hire is the most useful metric for identifying potential
inefficiencies that harm the candidate experience since it starts at
the moment a candidate applies. This can help you pinpoint things
like long delays in scheduling interviews, a large number of
interviews with the same candidate, or long delays in receiving
feedback from hiring managers.
Time-to-fill, on the other hand, can identify inefficiencies that
also affect internal teams. These may be things like waiting too
long for approvals from executives or hiring managers, or not
getting enough applications from qualified candidates.
Both metrics are useful in that, when actively tracked, they can
identify potential pain points for your HR team, hiring managers,
and executive team. However, if your focus is on creating a better
experience for candidates, time-to-hire is a better metric to use.
Why you should track — and improve — your time-to-hire
When you track your organization’s time-to-hire, you can expose the
pain points and inefficiencies that result in things like the loss
of qualified candidates or long wait times to fill vacancies. Armed
with this data, you can then get to work on making improvements to
Improving your time-to-hire — and the candidate experience — starts
with tracking candidates as they move through your hiring process.
As mentioned earlier, your ATS can likely track this metric for you
automatically, as well as offer advanced reporting on time-to-hire
by role, period, or department. These breakdowns can help you
identify specific problems — for example, one hiring manager taking
a very long time to make decisions or a specific department falling
behind in scheduling interviews.
If your ATS is unable to track time-to-hire or doesn't offer a
complete breakdown of data, you may want to use an external tool or
spreadsheet that's shared among your team. Whichever method you opt
for, be sure that everyone on your hiring team is able to access and
log data on a regular basis: incomplete data won't help you find all
possible areas for improvement.
Once you have data for a few hires, you can generate a report
showing your team's average time-to-hire. However, a high or low
time-to-hire without context isn't very helpful, so if your goal is
to find potential inefficiencies, you'll want to take a deeper look
into how long each stage of the hiring process took, then break down
what occurred within each stage.
How much time passed between the candidate's response to the job opening and
a review of
How much time passed between that review and a call or email to
them to schedule the phone screen?
How long after the initial phone screen did it take to collect
feedback from the hiring manager?
How long did the decision-making process take internally?
Did this candidate have to complete any additional tasks
(projects, whiteboard interviews, or on-site presentations) that
added extra time to the hiring process?
Breaking down your data into individual stages will give you the
best insight into where there are opportunities for improvement.
For example, if your data shows that the average time to review
candidate applications is a week, you may ask yourself:
Does the recruiting team not have enough bandwidth for the initial
review? This might mean you need additional staff.
Could recruiters make use of a tool to automatically grade or
highlight the highest-quality candidates? This could automate or
speed up your processes.
After resume screening, is the hiring manager prioritizing making
decisions on who to reach out to? You might check to see if they’re
utilizing your ATS to effectively collaborate with the rest of the
team, or you may need to have a quick conversation with them about
why time-to-hire is important.
Are you receiving too many applications from unqualified
applicants (which causes a delay when the team has to review all of
them)? You may need to limit the number of job boards you post on or
use the analytics in your ATS to determine which boards are bringing
you the best candidates.