Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions
Time to hire is an important performance indicator in the field of recruiting. It shows how long it takes to hire a candidate for a position—from application to signing of the employment contract. The value is given in days.
Time to hire measures the time between the entry of a selected applicant (job seeker) into a company’s hiring process and the time when he or she signs the employment contract. It is therefore a person-related indicator.
Time to hire also covers the duration of all intermediate steps between application and hiring:
Time to hire is often also called time to contract, as a lot can happen between the signing of the contract and the new employee actually joining a company.
Time to hire and time to fill are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably. In fact, they are two different but related recruiting key performance indicators (KPIs).
They both provide different but equally valuable insights into the performance of a recruitment process:
Consequently, the time to hire is only a partial sum of the time to fill. This is also reflected in the temporal and financial outcomes: Time to fill is usually higher than time to hire and also includes significantly higher costs.
The beauty of time to hire as a metric is that it doesn’t require a complicated formula. All recruiters need are:
The time between the publication and the candidate’s application (2) is then subtracted from the total time (1). The result is the time to hire.
A calculation example:
A job advertisement was online for a total of 80 days until the candidate was hired. The candidate who was selected only applied to the published job advertisement after 10 days.
80 days (posting period)
– 10 days (time to apply)
= 70 days (time to hire)
Alternatively, it is also possible to add up the days it took to go through the intermediate steps from the candidate’s point of view. However, this involves a little more effort and offers more room for error.
As a person-related indicator, the time to hire is slightly different for each candidate, which is why individual case numbers are not representative here. Instead, it is advisable to determine an average value and use this as a reference.
Comparisons with external time-to-hire benchmarks on a national level should also be treated with caution: Depending on the position, sector, and size of the company (e.g. SME), completely different average values may apply here, which are not applicable as a benchmark for your own company.
One problem seldom comes alone, and this one in particular brings with it a whole host of subsequent problems:
However, companies can counteract this with some simple measures:
To reduce time to hire, both a selective and a holistic approach can be taken. However, for the best long-term effect you should use a combination of both.
Here are some example measures:
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