The Difference Between Time-to-Hire And Time-to-Fill

The Difference Between Time-to-Hire And Time-to-Fill

Sugandha SrivastavaFebruary 9th, 20246 min read

Time-to-hire and time-to-fill are crucial metrics in recruitment and retention, offering valuable insights for optimizing processes. These metrics, although varying across companies and industries, empower organizations to enhance their recruitment processes and candidate experiences, ensuring timely acquisition of desired talent.

Distinguishing between the two, time-to-hire focuses on the recruitment journey, measuring the duration from a job's initial applicant to contract signing. On the other hand, time-to-fill delves into organizational dynamics and requirements, capturing the time elapsed from the decision to open a new role to the contract signing with the new hire. Both metrics play pivotal roles in refining recruitment strategies and meeting staffing needs efficiently.

What is time-to-hire?

Time-to-hire pertains to the duration between extending a job offer to a chosen candidate and their acceptance of the offer. This metric holds significant importance for two key reasons. Firstly, any delays in this critical period may lead to the loss of top candidates, as prolonged processes can be frustrating and may prompt candidates to consider offers from competitors with faster time-to-hire.

Secondly, extended hiring times can contribute to negative experiences for both prospective applicants and recruiters, affecting the overall image and reputation of the company. This, in turn, can make it more challenging to attract high-quality and qualified candidates.

Given the substantial costs associated with recruiting, reducing time-to-hire through a more streamlined interview and testing process can alleviate pressure on HR and hiring managers, rendering the process more budget-friendly.

A high time-to-hire score may indicate underlying issues in the recruitment process, such as insufficient or inappropriate job postings, overwhelmed recruiters managing numerous applicants or open roles, unavailability of hiring managers for test reviews or interviews, and overly complex or high-touch hiring procedures. Addressing these issues is crucial to optimizing the recruitment process and ensuring a more efficient and positive experience for both candidates and recruiters.

How do you calculate time-to-hire?

Time-to-hire can be assessed on an organization-wide or team-specific basis. The calculation involves dividing the total number of working days spent on hiring candidates by the number of roles hired. The formula is as follows:

([working days from first job post to official hire, role A] + [working days from first job post to official hire, role B] + [working days from first job post to official hire, role C] + …) / (number of roles hired) = time-to-hire

To determine the organization-wide time-to-hire, aggregate data from all hiring processes across the entire organization. For team or department-specific results, utilize data from those specific groups. This calculation provides a quantitative measure of the average time it takes to complete the hiring process, offering valuable insights into the efficiency of recruitment efforts at both the organizational and team levels.

Time-to-hire benchmark

Time-to-hire represents the duration it takes for an HR team to successfully hire a desired candidate, spanning from the receipt of the first application for a posted role to the signing of contracts.

The average time-to-hire varies across industries, with sectors like engineering and technology often experiencing a lengthier process, averaging around 50 days. In contrast, the overall average time-to-hire across industries typically stands at 24 days.

Benchmarking your company's average time-to-hire allows for an assessment of potential opportunities to enhance and streamline the recruitment process. Optimization efforts could involve refining job descriptions or implementing initiatives like an employee referral program.

A shorter time-to-hire signifies an efficient recruitment process, showcasing the ability to swiftly move from the initial application phase to the contract-signing stage. This efficiency positions companies favorably to attract and secure the best candidates promptly upon their application.

What is time-to-fill?

The distinction between time-to-hire and time-to-fill is subtle yet significant. Time-to-hire assesses the efficiency of the overall organizational hiring process and commences from the date of the first job ad publication. In contrast, time-to-fill initiates when a hiring manager formally submits the official job request to the HR department. This differentiation in starting points highlights the nuanced stages involved in these metrics, providing valuable insights into different aspects of the recruitment timeline and organizational dynamics. Understanding these distinctions helps in pinpointing areas for improvement and optimization in the recruitment process.

How do you calculate time-to-fill?

Similar to time-to-hire, time-to-fill can be evaluated on an organization-wide or team-specific basis. The calculation involves dividing the total number of working days spent between the submission of a job request and the official hire by the number of roles hired. The formula is as follows:

([working days… role A] + [working days… role B] + [working days… role C] + …) / (number of roles filled) = time-to-fill 

Time-to-fill benchmark

The average time-to-fill and time-to-hire durations vary significantly across industries. When assessing what constitutes optimal time frames for these metrics, it's crucial to take into account the diverse skill sets and levels of complexity associated with roles in different industries. Additionally, distinctions between senior-level and junior-level positions within an organization contribute to the variability in these metrics.

Recognizing the unique demands of each industry and position level is essential for setting realistic expectations and benchmarks. This nuanced approach allows organizations to tailor their recruitment strategies to the specific requirements of their sector and the complexity of the roles they are seeking to fill. By considering these factors, businesses can better gauge the efficiency of their hiring processes and make informed adjustments to enhance overall recruitment effectiveness.

What’s a good benchmark for time-to-fill?

Using your industry average as a benchmark for time-to-hire is indeed a sound business practice. Aligning your organization's hiring processes with industry standards reflects a commitment to efficiency and competitiveness. Striving to make the recruitment process and candidate experience as streamlined and effective as possible not only contributes to a positive employee experience but also enhances your employer brand.

Maintaining a time-to-hire in line with industry norms signals to potential candidates that your organization values their time and is dedicated to expeditious decision-making. A swift and well-executed hiring process can positively impact the perception of your company, making it more attractive to top talent. This, in turn, can contribute to the overall success of your recruitment efforts and the cultivation of a positive organizational reputation within your industry.

Importance of time-to-hire and time-to-fill in modern HR strategy

Time-to-hire and time-to-fill are critical metrics in modern HR strategy for several reasons:

  1. Competitive Advantage: In today's fast-paced business environment, attracting and securing top talent quickly can provide a significant competitive advantage. Organizations with shorter time-to-hire and time-to-fill can swiftly capitalize on skilled individuals, gaining a competitive edge over slower competitors.
  2. Talent Acquisition Efficiency: Efficient recruitment processes reduce the risk of losing qualified candidates to competitors with faster hiring timelines. It ensures that the organization is agile in acquiring the talent it needs to meet business objectives.
  3. Cost Savings: Prolonged hiring processes can be expensive, in terms of both direct costs (advertising, screening, and interviewing expenses) and indirect costs (lost productivity, revenue, and potential overworking of existing staff). Shorter time-to-hire and time-to-fill metrics help in minimizing these costs.
  4. Enhanced Candidate Experience: A streamlined recruitment process is crucial for providing a positive candidate experience. Lengthy hiring processes can frustrate and discourage candidates, potentially leading to a negative perception of the organization. Positive candidate experiences can contribute to a strong employer brand.
  5. Improved Retention:Swiftly filling open positions ensures that teams remain adequately staffed, reducing the burden on existing employees and burnout. This, in turn, can contribute to higher employee satisfaction and retention.
  6. Adaptability to Market Changes: Rapid changes in market conditions or sudden business demands may require organizations to scale up or restructure their teams quickly. Having efficient time-to-hire and time-to-fill metrics ensures that HR can adapt to these changes promptly.
  7. Data-Driven Decision Making: Monitoring time-to-hire and time-to-fill provides valuable data for HR leaders. Analyzing these metrics helps identify bottlenecks in the recruitment process, allowing for informed decision-making and continuous improvement in HR strategies.
  8. Enhanced Employer Brand: Efficient recruitment processes positively contribute to an organization's employer brand. Word-of-mouth and online reviews from satisfied candidates can attract more high-quality applicants, creating a positive cycle for the employer brand.
  9. Meeting Business Objectives: Timely recruitment is crucial for meeting business goals and objectives. A swift hiring process ensures that teams are adequately staffed, allowing the organization to execute its strategies effectively.

Time-to-hire and time-to-fill metrics are integral components of modern HR strategies, playing a pivotal role in talent acquisition, cost management, and overall organizational success.

Final Thoughts

Time-to-hire and time-to-fill metrics are indispensable tools for modern HR strategies, providing crucial insights into recruitment efficiency and organizational dynamics. Aligning these metrics with industry benchmarks ensures competitiveness, cost savings, and a positive employer brand. Swift and effective hiring processes not only secure top talent but also contribute to enhanced employee experiences and retention.

In an ever-evolving business landscape, these metrics facilitate adaptability to market changes, foster data-driven decision-making, and play a key role in meeting business objectives. Ultimately, prioritizing and optimizing time-to-hire and time-to-fill are essential for organizations striving for success in talent acquisition and overall HR effectiveness.

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