Talent Acquisition

Time to Hire: Definition, Examples & More

  • March 21, 2024
  • Adam Roy
  • Approx. Read Time: 6 Minutes
Five Steps to Improve Your Time to Hire & Recruit Top Talent

Time to hire is a core metric in the recruitment process. It measures the timeline from when a candidate applies to when they accept the job offer.

This metric highlights how effective your company's hiring practices are and how swiftly you can secure top talent. 

Optimizing time to hire helps you identify bottlenecks and improve your recruitment strategies so you remain competitive.

Below, we provide some time-to-hire insights. Let’s dig in!



Key Takeaways

Here are key takeaways you need to know about the time-to-hire recruitment metric:

        • The time-to-hire refers to the time it takes you to complete the hiring process for a specific position.
        • Companies in different industries use time to hire to assess their hiring strategies.
        • Time to hire helps you discover recruiting inefficiencies, assess the quality of the applicant pool and compare industry averages.
        • The formula for calculating time to hire can be expressed as the date the candidate is hired minus the date of the application. 
        • Using the right applicant tracking software helps you simplify and speed up the hiring process.


Table of Contents

  1. What Is Time to Hire?
  2. When Is the Metric Used?
  3. The Importance of Time to Hire for Recruiting
  4. How to Measure Time to Hire
  5. How to Improve Your Company's Time to Hire Average

What Is Time to Hire?

Time to hire measures the duration it takes for you to complete the hiring process for a specific position.

It starts when a candidate applies and ends when the candidate accepts your job offer. It includes all stages of the recruitment process, including: 

    • Sourcing
    • Screening
    • Interviewing
    • Offer negotiation

Time to fill measures the time from job opening to candidate acceptance. By contrast, time to hire focuses only on the hiring process. It excludes time spent waiting for a candidate's response to the job offer.

You use the average time to hire metric to evaluate recruitment efficiency and identify areas for improvement.

Analyzing this metric allows you to pinpoint bottlenecks in the hiring process, streamline workflows and expedite decision-making.


Time to Hire  1


Time to hire shines a light on three insights:

  1. Identifying inefficiencies: You can assess the time spent at each stage of the hiring process to identify potential bottlenecks and areas for optimization.

  2. Improving candidate experience: A shorter time to hire indicates a more streamlined and responsive recruitment process. Candidates are also less likely to withdraw their applications if your time to hire is shorter.

  3. Enhancing workforce planning: Understanding the average time to hire for different positions helps you forecast staffing needs and allocate resources where needed.


Overall, the time to hire metric serves as a valuable tool for organizations. It helps you gauge recruitment efficiency, enhance candidate experiences and make data-driven decisions to achieve hiring success.


Time to Hire 2


When Is the Time to Hire Metric Used?

The time to hire metric is used by companies across different industries to assess and improve their recruitment processes.

Examples of companies that benefit from an optimized time to hire include:


High-Growth Startups 

Startups experiencing rapid expansion use the time to hire metric to quickly onboard new talent to support their growth trajectory. High-growth startups often struggle with hiring issues, such as:

    • Difficulty in scaling recruitment processes to meet increasing hiring demands.
    • Concerns about losing top candidates to competitors due to lengthy hiring cycles.
    • The need to maintain agility and responsiveness in the competitive talent market.


Large Enterprises

Established companies with sizable workforces rely on the time to hire metric to streamline recruitment efforts and minimize hiring costs. They experience issues like:

    • Challenges in coordinating hiring processes across multiple departments or locations.
    • Risk of prolonged vacancies leading to productivity losses and increased workload for existing employees.
    • Pressure to optimize recruitment strategies to attract top talent and maintain competitiveness in the market.


Seasonal or Project-Based Industries 

Seasonal or project-based companies, such as retail, hospitality or construction, use time to hire metrics to manage fluctuations in staffing needs. These companies must overcome challenges such as:

    • Urgent need to ramp up hiring during peak seasons or project cycles.
    • Risk of delays in filling positions impacting service delivery or project timelines.
    • The need for a flexible recruitment process to adapt to changing demand levels and workforce requirements.

Time to Hire 3


The Importance of Time to Hire for Recruiting

The time to hire metric assesses your recruitment approach and identifies potential issues within the hiring process. You uncover inefficiencies such as lengthy approval processes, communication gaps or sourcing challenges. 


Discover Recruiting Inefficiencies

Time to hire sheds light on inefficiencies within the hiring process. You can pinpoint specific stages or areas where delays occur. For instance, let’s say the time to hire is delayed due to lengthy approval processes or interview scheduling. You may discover potential bottlenecks in the recruitment workflow. 


Assess the Quality of the Applicant Pool

A shorter time to hire may indicate a highly talented pipeline and successful candidate sourcing efforts. A prolonged time to hire could signify challenges in attracting qualified candidates or mismatches between job requirements and candidate qualifications. 


Compare to Industry Averages

Understanding how your organization's time to hire stacks up against industry standards provides context for identifying areas for improvement. If your timeline is longer than the industry average, you’re almost certainly losing good candidates to your competitors. You may need to streamline processes or invest in tracking software.


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


How to Measure Time to Hire

To calculate time to hire effectively, it's essential to establish a clear methodology for tracking the duration of the hiring process. 

There is one simple formula for calculating time to hire. It involves recording the date when a candidate officially applies for a position and the date when the candidate accepts the job offer.

The difference between these two dates provides the time to hire metric for that specific candidate.

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

Time to Hire = Date of Candidate Acceptance − Date of Application

You can also determine your company's average time to hire for multiple candidates. Just sum the time to hire values for all candidates and divide by the total number of candidates.

Here are two examples illustrating the calculation of time to hire using the provided formula:


Example 1:

    • Date of Application: January 10th
    • Date of Candidate Acceptance: February 5th

Using the formula:

    • Time to Hire = Date of Candidate Acceptance − Date of Application
    • Time to Hire = February 5th − January 10th = 26 days
    • The Time to Hire for this candidate is 26 days.


Example 2:

    • Date of Application: March 15th
    • Date of Candidate Acceptance: April 20th

Using the formula:

    • Time to Hire = Date of Candidate Acceptance − Date of Application
    • Time to Hire = April 20th−March 15th = 36 days
    • The Time to Hire for this candidate is 36 days.

Time to Hire 4


How to Improve Your Company's Time to Hire Average

Lengthy time-to-hire processes impact your ability to attract and retain top talent. Extended hiring timelines frustrate candidates and increase the risk of losing qualified individuals to competitors. 

If you’re facing lengthy time-to-hire challenges, you may struggle to identify root causes and implement effective solutions. Without a streamlined hiring process, you lose valuable candidates and productivity. 

To address time-to-hire challenges effectively, you can implement several strategies:


1. Compare Your Average to Industry Averages to Determine a Realistic Baseline

Benchmarking time-to-hire metrics against industry averages provides valuable insights into how your recruitment process compares to competitors. Benchmarks help you set realistic goals and identify areas for improvement.


2. Develop a Consistent Hiring Process

Establishing a standardized hiring process creates efficiency and transparency. It defines roles and responsibilities and streamlined communication channels. You can reduce delays and enhance the candidate experience to accelerate hiring.


3. Keep Track of Documents and Interview Notes

Document management systems can simplify your process and help you make informed decisions. Centralizing your document storage gives everyone access to critical information. You eliminate redundancies and save everyone time.


4. Interview Highly Qualified Applicants

By focusing resources on the candidates who most closely match job requirements, you secure top talent more efficiently. Providing timely feedback and communication improves the candidate experience and strengthens your brand.


5. Take Advantage of Streamlined Candidate Screening Services

Utilizing streamlined candidate screening services like Cisive can significantly improve your time to hire. Our background checks and verification provide quick and accurate screening so you can focus on evaluating the most qualified candidates. We help companies secure top talent faster by creating a faster, simpler hiring process.


Cisive Can Help You Hire a Highly Qualified Workforce

Improving your company's time to hire is crucial for securing top talent and maintaining a competitive advantage.

Strategies such as benchmarking against industry averages, developing a consistent recruiting process, tracking documents and prioritizing qualified applicants reduce hiring time.

Cisive streamlines the candidate screening process for your HR team, allowing you to make smarter hiring decisions. By leveraging our screening solutions, you secure the most qualified candidates in a shorter amount of time.

Discover how Cisive can transform your hiring process. Speak with an expert today!

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


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