Time to Hire

June 5, 2023
Hiring & Recruiting
Optimize your hiring process with a reduced Time to Hire. Enhance candidate experience, save costs, and attract top talent.

What is Time to Hire?

Time to Hire refers to the duration it takes for an organization to complete the hiring process for a job opening. It encompasses the period starting from the day the job vacancy is posted until the candidate accepts the job offer. Time to Hire is a critical metric used by HR and hiring managers to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of their recruitment processes. By tracking and analyzing Time to Hire, organizations can gain insights into the speed at which they are able to identify, evaluate, and onboard new talent.

Importance of Time to Hire in HR and Recruitment Processes

Time to Hire holds significant importance in HR and recruitment processes for several reasons:

  1. Quality of Candidates: A prolonged Time to Hire can result in the loss of high-quality candidates. In today's competitive job market, top talent is often in high demand, and candidates may receive multiple job offers. By reducing Time to Hire, organizations increase their chances of securing the best candidates before they accept other offers.
  2. Cost Efficiency: A lengthy hiring process can lead to increased costs for organizations. Extended vacancies due to a slow Time to Hire can result in productivity losses, increased workload for existing employees, and potential revenue impact. By optimizing Time to Hire, organizations can reduce costs associated with vacant positions and minimize the need for external recruitment agencies.
  3. Candidate Experience: A protracted hiring process can negatively impact the candidate experience, leading to a decline in their perception of the organization. Candidates who face long delays or lack communication during the hiring process may develop negative impressions, which can harm the employer brand and deter potential applicants. Optimizing Time to Hire ensures a positive candidate experience, enhancing the organization's reputation and attractiveness to top talent.
  4. Time and Resource Management: Streamlining the hiring process and reducing Time to Hire allows HR and hiring managers to allocate their time and resources more efficiently. By improving coordination, leveraging technology, and implementing best practices, organizations can optimize the recruitment process, saving valuable time and effort for HR teams and hiring managers.

Significance of Optimizing Time to Hire for HR and Hiring Managers

Optimizing Time to Hire brings several benefits and advantages for HR and hiring managers, including:

  1. Attracting Top Talent: In a competitive job market, candidates have options. By reducing Time to Hire, organizations demonstrate efficiency and effectiveness in their recruitment processes. This enhances their reputation as an employer of choice, attracting high-quality candidates who are more likely to be interested in joining the organization.
  2. Minimizing Productivity Loss: Vacant positions can lead to decreased productivity and increased workload for existing employees. Optimizing Time to Hire reduces the duration of these vacancies, ensuring that the organization functions at full capacity and minimizes the impact on business operations.
  3. Cost Savings: Streamlining the hiring process and reducing Time to Hire results in cost savings for organizations. By minimizing the time and resources required to fill a position, organizations can reduce costs associated with external recruitment agencies, advertising, and potential overtime or temporary staffing during the vacancy period.
  4. Enhanced Decision-making: An optimized Time to Hire allows HR and hiring managers to make informed decisions promptly. With a streamlined process, candidates can be evaluated and compared efficiently, ensuring that the best-fit candidate is identified and selected in a timely manner.
  5. Improved Employer Brand: A fast and efficient hiring process positively impacts the organization's employer brand. Candidates who have a positive experience during the recruitment process are more likely to share their experiences with others, leading to an enhanced employer brand reputation. This, in turn, attracts a larger pool of qualified candidates in the future.

By recognizing the significance of optimizing Time to Hire, HR and hiring managers can proactively implement strategies and best practices to enhance their recruitment processes, leading to improved candidate quality, cost savings, and a stronger employer brand.

Time to Hire Key Metrics and Calculation

How to Calculate Time to Hire?

Time to Hire is calculated by measuring the total number of days it takes to fill a position, starting from the day the job opening is posted until the day a candidate accepts the offer. It includes various stages such as resume screening, interviews, decision-making, and offer acceptance. The formula for calculating Time to Hire is:

Time to Hire = Total Number of Days from Job Posting to Offer Acceptance

Time to Hire vs. Time to Fill

Although Time to Hire and Time to Fill are both recruitment metrics, they measure different aspects of the hiring process. Time to Hire focuses on the duration it takes to hire a candidate, including all the steps involved, while Time to Fill measures the overall time it takes to fill a vacancy, considering factors like the notice period of the departing employee or internal transitions.

Components Involved in Time to Hire Calculation

To accurately calculate Time to Hire, several components should be considered:

  • Job posting duration: The time it takes for the job advertisement to be active and available for potential candidates.
  • Resume screening time: The period spent reviewing and shortlisting resumes received from applicants.
  • Interview scheduling and duration: The time allocated to schedule and conduct interviews with shortlisted candidates.
  • Decision-making time: The duration required to evaluate candidates and make a hiring decision.
  • Offer acceptance time: The time it takes for the selected candidate to accept the job offer.

Benefits of Optimizing Time to Hire

Improved Candidate Experience and Engagement

Optimizing Time to Hire significantly enhances the candidate experience, leaving a positive impression of the organization on potential hires. By reducing delays and keeping candidates informed throughout the process, companies can attract top talent and build strong relationships with prospective employees.

Reduced Cost per Hire

Efficiently managing Time to Hire leads to cost savings for organizations. By minimizing the time spent in the recruitment process, companies can allocate fewer resources, both in terms of HR personnel and external recruitment agencies, reducing overall hiring costs.

Minimized Productivity Loss Due to Vacant Positions

A lengthy Time to Hire can result in vacant positions for an extended period, causing a loss of productivity and increased workload for existing employees. By optimizing the hiring process, organizations can minimize these productivity gaps and ensure business operations continue smoothly.

Increased Competitiveness in the Job Market

In today's competitive job market, candidates have options and often consider multiple job offers. A fast and efficient hiring process positions organizations as attractive employers, increasing their chances of securing top talent before competitors do.

Enhanced Employer Brand Reputation

A streamlined and efficient hiring process positively impacts an organization's employer brand reputation. When candidates have a positive experience during the hiring process, they are more likely to share their experiences, leading to a strong employer brand and attracting a larger pool of qualified candidates.

Factors Influencing Time to Hire

Internal Factors

  1. Inefficient Recruitment Processes: Poorly designed or outdated recruitment processes can contribute to longer Time to Hire. Streamlining and optimizing these processes are essential to ensure efficiency.
  2. Lack of Coordination Among Hiring Team Members: When there is a lack of coordination and communication among the hiring team, delays can occur at various stages of the process, leading to an increased Time to Hire.
  3. Inadequate HR Technology and Tools: Outdated or inadequate HR technology and tools can slow down the hiring process. Implementing modern Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and recruitment software can streamline the process and reduce time spent on administrative tasks.
  4. Limited Resources and Budget Constraints: Insufficient resources and budget constraints can impact the organization's ability to allocate adequate time and personnel to the hiring process, thereby extending the Time to Hire.

External Factors

  1. Job Market Conditions and Competition: The current job market conditions and the level of competition for specific roles can influence Time to Hire. In a competitive market, where qualified candidates are in high demand, the hiring process may take longer.
  2. Availability of Qualified Candidates: The availability of qualified candidates suitable for the open position directly affects Time to Hire. If there is a shortage of qualified candidates, it may take longer to find the right fit.
  3. Lengthy Background Checks or Pre-employment Screening Processes: Certain industries or job roles require extensive background checks or pre-employment screening processes. These additional steps can prolong the hiring process, increasing Time to Hire.

How to Reduce Time to Hire?

Reducing Time to Hire requires a proactive approach and the implementation of efficient strategies. By streamlining the recruitment process and leveraging technology, HR and hiring managers can expedite the hiring timeline while maintaining the quality of candidates. Here are some effective strategies to reduce Time to Hire:

  1. Streamline Job Descriptions: Craft clear and concise job descriptions that outline essential qualifications and responsibilities. Avoid vague language and focus on the key requirements to attract relevant applicants quickly.
  2. Utilize Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Implementing an ATS automates resume screening, organizes candidate data, and speeds up the initial evaluation process. Utilize ATS features like keyword matching and customized filters to identify the most qualified candidates efficiently.
  3. Implement Automated Resume Screening: Leverage AI-powered tools to automate the initial resume screening process. These tools can quickly analyze resumes, match them against predefined criteria, and rank candidates based on their suitability for the role. This significantly reduces manual effort and expedites the candidate shortlisting process.
  4. Streamline Interview Scheduling: Utilize scheduling software or tools that offer real-time availability to streamline interview scheduling. Automated interview scheduling eliminates back-and-forth communication and reduces the time spent coordinating interview times with candidates and interviewers.
  5. Conduct Panel Interviews or Group Assessments: Instead of conducting multiple rounds of interviews, consider panel interviews or group assessments. This allows for simultaneous evaluation of candidates by multiple interviewers, speeding up the decision-making process.
  6. Leverage Video Interviews or Pre-recorded Assessments: Incorporate video interviews or pre-recorded assessments as an initial screening method. This enables flexibility in scheduling, eliminates geographical barriers, and allows candidates to showcase their skills efficiently.
  7. Build a Talent Pipeline: Proactively source and engage with potential candidates, even before specific positions become available. By building a talent pipeline, organizations can quickly tap into qualified candidates, reducing the time needed to fill future job openings.
  8. Develop Relationships with Passive Candidates: Cultivate relationships with passive candidates who may not be actively seeking new opportunities. Engaging with them through networking events, industry conferences, or professional social platforms allows for a faster recruitment process when relevant positions arise.
  9. Implement Employee Referral Programs: Encourage employees to refer qualified candidates through employee referral programs. Referrals tend to be pre-screened, resulting in a shorter recruitment process. Additionally, referred candidates often have a higher acceptance rate.
  10. Continuously Monitor and Optimize the Process: Regularly review and analyze recruitment metrics and data to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Solicit feedback from candidates, hiring managers, and HR teams to refine and optimize the recruitment process continually.

Strategies for Optimizing Time to Hire

Preparing for the Hiring Process

  • Workforce Planning and Forecasting: Anticipate future hiring needs by analyzing organizational goals, departmental growth, and potential turnover. This allows HR teams to plan and proactively start the hiring process, reducing time spent on reactive hiring.
  • Identifying Hiring Needs and Requirements: Clearly define the skills, qualifications, and experience required for the open position. This helps attract suitable candidates and avoids delays caused by unclear job descriptions.
  • Building a Strong Employer Brand and EVP (Employee Value Proposition): Invest in employer branding initiatives, showcasing company culture, benefits, and growth opportunities. A strong employer brand attracts candidates who are more likely to accept job offers promptly.

Sourcing and Attracting Candidates

  • Effective Job Advertising and Marketing: Craft compelling job descriptions and advertisements that accurately represent the role and highlight the organization's unique selling points. Utilize relevant keywords and phrases to optimize visibility in search engines and job boards.
  • Utilizing Online Job Boards and Professional Networks: Leverage popular job boards, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and industry-specific platforms, to reach a wide pool of candidates. Actively engage with professional networks to identify potential passive candidates.
  • Leveraging Social Media and Employer Branding: Utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share job openings and promote the organization's employer brand. Engage with the online community, respond to candidate inquiries, and share employee testimonials.

Screening and Evaluating Candidates

  • Developing Streamlined Resume Screening Methods: Define clear criteria for shortlisting resumes and use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to efficiently filter and review applications. Implement automated resume screening tools to save time and ensure consistency.
  • Implementing Skills Assessments and Pre-employment Tests: Administer skills assessments or pre-employment tests to evaluate candidates' qualifications and aptitude before moving forward in the hiring process. This helps identify top candidates and minimize time spent on unsuitable candidates.
  • Conducting Initial Phone or Video Interviews: Conduct brief phone or video interviews with shortlisted candidates to assess their communication skills, cultural fit, and general suitability for the position. This step helps narrow down the candidate pool before in-person interviews.

Interview and Selection Process

  • Structured Interview Techniques: Develop standardized interview questions and evaluation criteria to ensure consistency and fair assessment across candidates. This reduces decision-making time and provides a clear framework for comparing applicants.
  • Panel Interviews and Multiple Interviewers: Arrange panel interviews with multiple interviewers from different departments or levels of the organization. This allows for a comprehensive evaluation and faster decision-making.
  • Using Technology for Remote or Virtual Interviews: Embrace video conferencing tools to conduct remote or virtual interviews. This eliminates the need for travel, expedites the scheduling process, and accommodates candidates from different locations.

Offer and Onboarding Process

  • Efficient Negotiation and Offer Extension: Streamline the offer negotiation process by clearly communicating compensation and benefits. Promptly extend offers to selected candidates to minimize the chance of them accepting competing offers.
  • Preparing Onboarding Materials in Advance: Develop an onboarding package that includes necessary paperwork, orientation materials, and any pre-employment requirements. Having these prepared in advance ensures a smooth transition for the hired candidate.
  • Streamlining Background Checks and Reference Verifications: Partner with reliable background check providers to expedite the verification process. Clearly communicate expectations to candidates, allowing them to gather necessary references promptly.

Best Practices for Time to Hire Optimization

  • Setting Realistic Time-to-Hire Goals: Analyze historical hiring data and industry benchmarks to set realistic Time to Hire goals. Consider the complexity of the role, market conditions, and internal resources available.
  • Aligning HR and Hiring Managers' Expectations: Foster open communication between HR and hiring managers to align expectations regarding the hiring process timeline. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and decision-making authority to avoid unnecessary delays.
  • Effective Communication with Candidates: Keep candidates informed throughout the hiring process. Regularly update them on the progress, provide estimated timelines, and address any concerns or questions promptly. Positive candidate communication enhances their experience and improves the likelihood of acceptance.
  • Regularly Monitoring and Evaluating Recruitment Processes: Continuously track and analyze recruitment data to identify bottlenecks, areas for improvement, and trends. Regularly review and refine the recruitment process to optimize efficiency and reduce Time to Hire.
  • Continuous Improvement and Learning from Past Experiences: Encourage HR and hiring managers to learn from past experiences and apply those learnings to future hiring processes. Conduct post-hire evaluations and gather feedback to identify areas of improvement.


Optimizing Time to Hire is crucial for HR and hiring managers to attract top talent, reduce costs, and maintain a competitive edge. By following strategies, best practices, and learning from successful examples, organizations can streamline their recruitment processes, enhance candidate experience, and expedite the hiring timeline. Embracing modern HR technology, fostering effective communication, and continuously improving the process will pave the way for successful Time to Hire optimization.