Average time to hire: key recruiting metrics to track

Daniel Howden | |

Using recruiting metrics effectively is about finding the signal in the noise. Hiring managers, business owners and recruiters need data that delivers actionable insights.

What is time to hire?

Time to hire is the time elapsed between engaging a candidate and then accepting an offer

  • How long does it take you to spot that you have the right candidate?
  • How fast do you move when you find the right person?
  • Where are the bottlenecks in your hiring process?

What are recruitment metrics?

The proper role of recruiting metrics is to answer useful questions about your business. While superficially similar to time to filltime to hire starts the clock ticking once you’ve already engaged with the candidate, so it tells you something different about your hiring process and recruiting team.

Looking for better reporting analytics? Workable’s reports will refine your recruiting process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial.

Time to hire vs. time to fill

If the main function of time to fill is to inform realistic business planning, then the time to hire metric is about tracking the speed with which good candidates move through your hiring process once they’ve already been sourced or have applied. See how quickly your hiring team are making decisions and look at time to hire for an understanding of how quickly you spot the right candidate when they arrive in your hiring pipeline.

Hiring is a complex activity with too many external factors, from the labor market, to location, to seasonality, for a simple read. But time to hire is the efficiency metric, the one that gives senior management the clearest picture of how the recruiting team is performing.

Time to hire is measured from sourcing until their offer is accepted, not when they start their position, because there are a number of complicating factors. These may include obligations to a former employer, to personal commitments that are often beyond the recruiting team’s control. It’s measured from sourced/applied to the acceptance of the offer.

Should you need additional reporting based on start dates, custom reports can be built using your raw recruiting data in Workable and can be integrated with your preferred business intelligence tool.

More: FAQs about time-to-fill and time-to-hire

What is the average time to hire?

Time to hire benchmarks from Workable
Time to hire by industry benchmarks from Workable

While they can be useful, don’t put excessive weight on benchmarks based on industry averages. Our data at Workable has shown us wide variances by role in most industries, where differences in the labor market can cause lags in closing candidates.

How to improve time to hire:

If your average time to hire is completely out of touch with industry benchmarks or other businesses in your location, here are some things you should consider for reducing time to hire:

  • The first step is to break down the metric using velocity reports, which break down your hiring pipeline by stage. If your sourcing is working well but candidates are getting stuck in the screening call stage it may be time to add to your recruiting team or divert resources from elsewhere.
  • Break down the time to hire metrics by job or department. If there’s an obvious lag in one team or on one role, talk to your hiring manager to find out why. Stress to them the importance of time to hire throughput and quick decision making.
  • If there’s a slowdown in the interview stage look at how you’re managing scheduling.

What are the recruiting metrics that matter?

Looking for an all-in-one recruiting solution? Workable can improve candidate sourcing, interviewing and applicant tracking for a streamlined hiring process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial today.

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Daniel Howden

Daniel Howden was the former VP of Comms at Workable. He writes about the ideas shaping the world of work. He was formerly with the Economist and Guardian. He tweets @daniel_howden.

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