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Mastering Time to Fill: 5 Strategies For Reducing Recruitment Time

Kristin Bachman
5 min read

From finding the right prospects at the right time to filling positions quickly with the most qualified candidates, timing directly impacts hiring outcomes.

It’s not surprising that time-related metrics are among the most useful ways to assess your organization’s hiring success.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at one especially valuable metric: time to fill.

We'll also cover why it matters and how it differs from time to hire. Then, we’ll focus on five proven tips for reducing time to fill so you can further optimize your recruiting process.

What Is Time to Fill?

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) defines time to fill as “a metric which measures the average number of days it takes to fill a position, from job requisition to job acceptance.”

In other words, time to fill evaluates how long it takes to identify and hire a candidate for a particular position.

By measuring time to fill, you’ll gain a heightened understanding of both the speed and quality of your recruitment process and the candidate experience.

However, there is one caveat to SHRM’s definition. While job requisition is a common starting point and job acceptance is a common ending point, some organizations choose other benchmarks (like the publication date on a job board and the employee's start date).

The most critical factor is not which benchmarks you choose, but using the same ones across your openings.


Time to Fill vs. Time to Hire

You may have also heard of time to hire as a metric. While these two metrics do have some similarities, they are very different in nature.

While time to fill considers the time between a job being posted and a candidate accepting the role, time to hire considers their entire journey through the talent pipeline.

In other words, time to hire focuses on the candidate instead of the open position.


Why Time to Fill Is an Important Hiring Metric

Time to fill offers many actionable insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of your recruitment process, including the following:

Refining Your Recruitment Strategy

The more you understand about your hiring process, the better positioned you’ll be to improve upon it.

Whether it means reassessing your talent sourcing methods or streamlining your interview process, time to fill can help you target and correct inefficiencies.

Time to fill is also beneficial for workforce planning and forecasting.

An accurate idea of how long it will take to fill a job can help you know when to start the overall recruitment process and what to expect along the way.

Identifying Bottlenecks in the Process

Time to fill encompasses many stages, including:

  • Days needed to identify candidates
  • Days needed to reach out to job seekers to set up an interview
  • Days until the interview is conducted
  • Days until your team makes a job offer following the interview
  • Days before the selected candidate accepts (or declines) the job offer

Measuring time to fill can help you identify which of these stages are holding up your process in order to take corrective action.

Reducing Costs

The longer a position sits empty, the more it may cost your organization. When you reduce time to fill, you’re more likely to reduce other metrics, like time to hire and cost per hire.

The result? Less wasted time, money, and resources.

Improving the Candidate Experience

Improving time to fill doesn’t just benefit your organization. From better and clearer communication to faster turnaround times, time to fill also provides a better candidate experience.

A great upfront impression during the hiring process can help establish your organization as an employer that values employees' time.

Understanding Your Quality of Hire

If the rush to fill a position leads to poor performance, attrition, and other costly issues, your hiring process may be in need of fixing. On the other hand, understanding and refining your time to fill can improve your quality of hire.


How To Calculate Time to Fill

Tally up the total number of calendar days it takes to fill a position, excluding weekends and holidays.

Time to fill = Number of days between job requisition posting and job acceptance

Earlier, we mentioned that job requisition and job acceptance are the common measuring points, but your business may use other variables — like the position vacancy date and the new hire's official first day.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must rely on consistent variables to get an accurate representation of your organization's time to fill.


Calculating Average Time to Fill

To calculate the average time to fill for your department or company, add all time to fill measurements for a particular time period (monthly, annually, etc.). Then, divide by the number of positions.

Here's a formula to help put this into perspective:

Average time to fill (quarterly) = Time to fill 1 + time to fill 2 + time to fill 3 / Total number of positions filled during the quarter

This calculation can also help you understand how time to fill differs between types of roles, levels of roles, departments, industries, and other variables.


What Is a Good Standard Time to Fill?

The average time to fill is 42 days, according to Industry Today.

As mentioned earlier, however, the average time to fill varies depending on everything from your industry to the experience level you're seeking to hire. For example, the average time to fill is much higher for a C-suite position in the tech industry than for an entry-level new hire in healthcare.


5 Tips for Reducing Time to Fill

The good news is that time to fill is not static. In fact, there are many ways to reduce time to fill and improve your hiring process. Five proven tips for optimizing time to fill include:

1. Assess Your Current Hiring Practices To Identify Inefficiencies

As mentioned earlier, many recruitment stages occur during time to fill. Looking closely at each of these can help you identify procedural inefficiencies.

Perhaps there’s a notable lag between when an employee is interviewed and when the offer is made.

Awareness of this bottleneck is the first step in fixing it.

2. Use Network Recruiting Strategies

Given the country’s ongoing labor shortage, reducing time to fill can be especially challenging for today’s HR teams. Not only will qualified candidates be in greater demand, but you may struggle to build up your application pool.

This is where network recruiting comes in, and it's where Hunt Club excels. By leveraging the power of people to source top talent through strategies like employee referral programs, social media campaigns, and networking events, our AI-powered network recruiting approach helps organizations connect with top candidates faster.

Network recruiting can also have benefits across everything from pre-vetting candidates to supporting your DEIB initiatives.

Not convinced that networking is the key to casting your recruiting net in the most fruitful waters? Consider that a staggering 80% of jobs today are filled through existing personal and professional connections.

3. Leverage Your Current Employee Network for Referrals

One of the most valuable networking recruiting strategies for a hiring manager hits surprisingly close to home: leveraging your current employees.

Not only do your current employees have a vested interest in bringing in a new hire who will stick, but they’ve also got a unique understanding of your company and culture.

This means they’re more likely to identify candidates for “fit” more accurately than generic candidates in the talent pool responding to a job ad. 

4. Track and Evaluate Recruiting Metrics

All the data in the world won’t do you any good if you aren’t using recruiting metrics to make sense of it. Analytics can offer extraordinary insight into what you could be doing better to attract the talent you need to reach your business goals.

In addition to the time to fill metric, other essential recruiting metrics include:

While tracking these metrics can seem overwhelming, Hunt Club offers a powerful partnership. Not only will our industry-leading recruitment technology help you easily and efficiently track and evaluate these critical recruiting metrics — we’ll also help you glean actionable insights for making better and faster hiring decisions.

5. Utilize the Right Tools and Platforms To Streamline the Process

Technology has transformed the world of hiring and recruiting. If you’re not using the most cutting-edge strategies like network management and trusted referrals, you may fall behind the competition.

Reduce Your Time to Fill and Hire Better With Hunt Club

Is a long time to fill standing between your business and the best candidates? If so, Hunt Club is ready to help.

Our full-service recruiting and talent acquisition services harness the power of AI to optimize the hiring process and connect forward-thinking companies with game-changing talent.

To start putting Hunt Club’s proprietary recruitment software and other recruiting technology to work for your recruiting team, contact us today.

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