29 Dec 2022

Why Time to Hire is Your Most Crucial Metric


Time to Hire. Time to Hire. Time to Hire. No matter how you’ve heard it said, if you’re in high-volume recruiting, you’ve most likely heard these three words more than a few times. So, what’s the big deal?

To start, what exactly is time to hire? Simply put, time to hire measures the time between a candidate applying and accepting an offer from your company. This is not to be mixed up with time to fill, which is the time between a job being published and an offer being accepted (when the position is filled)—and hence always longer than time to hire. Time to fill tends to be more relevant to business leaders than to recruiters, so we’ll stick to time to hire for today.

Next, what does time to hire mean in practice, and how is it measured? Time to hire is measured in days. To calculate yours, count the days between the date a candidate submits their application and the day they sign their offer. Within this period, every hiring process has a series of actions, or stages, each of which is either the recruiter's or the candidate’s responsibility.

Between these stages is where time to hire tends to expand. A candidate applies but the recruiter doesn’t reach out to them for a few days, a scheduling link is sent to the candidate but they don’t schedule for a day or two, and so on.

In volume hiring especially, this timing often means the difference between securing top talent or not. Studies show that 57% of job seekers lose interest in the job if its hiring process is too long—and 39% say that 7-14 days is too long. Many of these applicants also tend to apply to multiple roles at once, so your response time could cost you a great candidate if a competitor is even minutes faster.

Your hiring process can also be hurting you internally: not only does it cost more to keep positions open for longer, but every day they do may be a day that current employees need to cover additional duties.

Timing should not only be considered between stages, but also within them. For example, 73% of candidates will desert an application if it is taking too long to fill out. So your speed is not only important to stay competitive among an applicant’s options, but it could also save you from losing candidates to drop-off. Although speed is key, be careful not to sacrifice the quality of your candidate experience in favor of speed.

For tips on how to achieve and maintain a fast yet high-quality hiring process, see 6 Simple Tricks to Improve Your Time to Hire.

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