Talent Acquisition

Time to Fill: A Critical Recruiting Metric and KPI

  • March 28, 2024
  • Adam Roy
  • Approx. Read Time: 7 Minutes
  • Updated on March 28, 2024
Cisive. Five Reasons to Track Your Time to Fill.

In today's competitive job market, understanding time to fill is paramount for organizations aiming to secure top talent efficiently.

Prolonged vacancies due to a poor hiring strategy can lead to staffing issues and increased employee burnout, hampering organizational productivity. 

By understanding and using the right time-to-fill metrics and technology, you can eliminate staffing challenges and maintain efficiency.

Below, we’ll explore the significance of “time to fill” as a valuable key performance indicator (KPI) for your recruiting operations. We’ll also provide actionable strategies to enhance its management for organizational success.



Key Takeaways

        • Time to fill is the amount of time it takes between posting a job and hiring a candidate.
        • The average time to fill is 30-60 days for most positions.
        • A proper time-to-fill strategy helps identify bottlenecks and enhance steps in the recruitment process.
        • Time to fill, when calculated consistently, provides insights into market competitiveness and hiring trends.
        • There are several ways to improve your strategy and position your company to hire top talent, including employing recruitment technology.


Table of Contents

  1. What Is Time to Fill?
  2. How Does Time to Fill Work?
  3. 5 Reasons Time to Fill is Important for Recruiting
  4. How Do You Calculate Time to Fill?
  5. Use Cisive to Make Better Workforce Decisions


What Is Time to Fill?

Time to fill is the duration it takes for you to complete the recruitment process and fill an empty position. It includes the period from the initial job posting to when the candidate accepts of the job.

    • Time to fill is a core metric in recruitment management, and it’s a key indicator of how efficient your hiring process is.
    • Time to fill includes the entire recruitment cycle, including sourcing, interviewing and offer negotiation.
    • Recruiters use time to fill to assess recruitment strategies, identify bottlenecks in the hiring process and make necessary adjustments.
    • The average time to fill ranges between 30 to 60 days for most positions. 


How Does Time to Fill Work?

Time to fill tracks how long it takes you to complete the recruitment cycle from job opening to candidate acceptance. It involves monitoring each stage of the hiring process, including:

  1. Sourcing
  2. Screening
  3. Interviewing
  4. Final selection

To produce a time-to-fill metric, you gather data at every step to analyze the efficiency of your recruitment strategy. By identifying bottlenecks and areas of delay, you can pinpoint where you need to improve.


What is it Used for?

By analyzing time-to-fill data, you can identify obstacles that prevent your process from being more efficient and effective.

Analyzing time to fill helps you understand more than just the efficiency of your own hiring practices. It can give you insight into market competitiveness and hiring trends, including candidate availability.

With this information at your fingertips, you can refine your recruitment approach and allocate resources where they need to go.


What Does it Take to Measure Time to Fill?

Measuring time to fill requires a structured, methodical approach to recruitment management. It involves defining key stages in the hiring process, such as 

    • Job postings
    • Candidate sourcing
    • Screening and interviewing
    • Offer negotiation

You collect data on the time it takes to complete each stage, which helps you assess your recruitment pipeline. It allows you to identify areas for improvement and implement changes to meet talent acquisition goals.


Time to Fill 1


5 Reasons Time to Fill is Important for Recruiting

Up-to-date time-to-fill metrics offer you actionable data that allows you to pinpoint specific areas for improvement in your recruitment practices.

For instance, if your time to fill consistently exceeds the industry average, it may prompt a review of the job description. Tracking time to fill can also help in additional ways:

    • Identifies potential bottlenecks
    • Helps in planning recruitment strategies
    • Identifies positions that take longer to fill
    • Reduces understaffing issues
    • Improves the candidate experience

Let's look at each of these in turn.


1. Identifies Potential Bottlenecks

One common bottleneck involves sourcing strategies, where organizations fail to leverage the right platforms or channels to advertise job openings.

Relying solely on traditional job boards may limit exposure to qualified candidates, especially in industries where passive job seekers are plentiful.

Another bottleneck could stem from delays in the screening and interviewing processes. This occurs due to a lack of standardized procedures or lack of communication. 

There may also be an overwhelming volume of applications to sift through. If you manually review each application without utilizing applicant tracking systems, it extends the time it takes to identify suitable candidates.


2. Helps in Planning Recruitment Strategies

By understanding the average duration it takes to complete the process, you can anticipate staffing needs and allocate resources accordingly.

If the time to fill for certain roles is longer than others, you can initiate recruitment campaigns to mitigate delays.

Time to fill fosters efficient planning for onboarding and handover procedures once a candidate is selected.

You simplify the onboarding process, ensuring that necessary training and orientation materials are prepared in advance.


Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


3. Identifies Positions that take Longer to Fill

Time to fill helps you identify positions that are harder to fill within your organization's recruitment landscape. You can pinpoint specific positions that consistently require a lengthier hiring process. 

Your HR team can delve deeper into underlying reasons for delays, such as specialized skill requirements or niche job markets.

As a recruiter, you can also discern which channels yield the quickest and most successful hires for particular positions.


4. Reduces Understaffing Issues

Understaffing impacts productivity and increases the risk of employee burnout and dissatisfaction.

It also impedes collaboration and hinders the achievement of business goals, which affects employee morale and performance.

When you effectively track time to fill, you can manage your recruitment timelines and reduce understaffing issues. It minimizes the likelihood of long vacancies and keeps productivity high without gaps in key roles.


5. Improves the Candidate Experience

A straightforward, well-organized time-to-fill process ensures that candidates receive prompt feedback and updates throughout the hiring process.

It promotes transparency and engagement. Candidates appreciate timely communication and a high level of professionalism from start to finish.

A shorter time to fill reduces the risk of candidates losing interest due to prolonged waiting after submitting an application.

Prompt communication and efficient decision-making demonstrate respect for candidates' time and effort.


Time to Fill 2


How Do You Calculate Time to Fill?

Calculating time to fill involves a straightforward process that enables organizations to assess the efficiency of their recruitment efforts. 

  1. To determine time to fill for a specific job opening, you start by recording the date you opened the position.
  2. Next, you record the date when the selected candidate formally accepts the job offer and agrees to join the organization. 
  3. The difference between these two dates represents the time to fill for that particular position.

The formula for calculating time to fill can be expressed as follows:

Time to Fill = Date of Candidate Acceptance − Date Position Opened

Once you calculate the time to fill for multiple positions, you determine the average time to fill for your organization. The formula may look like this:

Time to fill = TTF 1 + TTF 2 + TTF 3 / Total number of positions filled in that time period 

In short, to find the average time to fill, add up the time to fill values for all positions and divide by the total number of positions. This helps you understand the typical duration it takes for your organization to fill vacant positions across various roles and departments.


Time to Fill 3


Time to Fill Examples

Time-to-fill metrics offer valuable insights into various aspects of the recruitment process, helping organizations enhance their hiring strategies and improve overall efficiency. Let's explore how different time-to-fill formulas apply to critical recruitment metrics:


Candidate experience

Formula: Time to Fill = Date of Candidate Acceptance – Date Position Opened

Example: You calculate the number of days it takes for candidates to receive a job offer after the final interview. A shorter time to fill indicates a positive candidate experience.


Conversion rate

Formula: Time to Fill = Date of Final Interview – Date Position Closed

Example: The conversion rate measures the efficiency of converting applicants into hires. Calculating the number of days it takes from the final interview to job offer acceptance helps you assess the effectiveness of your selection process.


Source of hire

Formula: Time to Fill = Date of Offer Acceptance – Date Position Opened

Example: Track the time it takes for candidates sourced from different channels (e.g., job boards, employee referrals, social media) to accept job offers. Analyzing time to fill by source of hire helps identify the most effective recruitment channels for attracting top talent.


Quality of hire

Formula: Time to Fill = Date of Hiring Manager Decision – Date Position Opened

Example: Time to fill in relation to your decision reflects the time it takes for hiring managers to evaluate and select candidates. A longer time to fill may indicate a thorough candidate assessment.


Use Cisive to Make Better Workforce Decisions

Time to fill is a crucial metric that, when tracked regularly, can help guide your organization toward a more efficient hiring process. By diving in deeper, your recruiters can identify bottlenecks, streamline your procedures and elevate the candidate experience.  

Cisive can look at your existing process and find ways to help you reduce your time to fill. Speak with an expert for a free assessment of your recruitment process.


Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


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