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How to Reduce Time to Hire: A Complete Guide

7 min read

Hiring is tough! You want to make sure that you are finding the best possible candidate for each role. However, if your hiring process moves too slowly, you’ll lose candidate interest and limit your team’s productivity and effectiveness.

That’s why time to hire is such an important metric for recruiting.

Reviewing the time to hire will provide insight into inefficiencies in your business’s hiring processes. There are many factors that might negatively impact your time to hire.

As part of our series on key HR metrics, we’re not only looking at what time to hire is, but also what factors can impact it. We’ll help you increase your time to hire in order to give candidates a better recruitment experience.


 What is Time to Hire?

Time to hire or TTH refers to the amount of time that passes between a candidate submitting their application to a job posting and the candidate accepting a job offer. Reducing time to hire can improve the candidate experience as well as the brand image of your company.

This is one of the most important recruiting metrics. Why are recruiting metrics important? They can help organizations quantify hiring success. They should play an important role in helping us to evaluate and optimize hiring procedures.

Data is at the center of many hiring decisions and processes. This allows organizations to create a feedback loop based on their previous hires. Using time TTH metrics and other such parameters, recruiters can optimize the hiring process, by investigating two major points:

  • The efficiency of the recruitment process in question i.e. the speed of each step of the process.
  • Candidate satisfaction at the end of the process.

 Time to Hire vs. Time to Fill

While TTH and time to fill (TTF) sound like similar concepts, there are some stark differences between the two. Understanding the differences can help you identify and improve these metrics in your recruitment process. Both are an important part of existing processes.

As we discussed, TTH refers to the time period between a candidate’s application for a job, and them accepting the job offer. This starts when the candidate is introduced to the recruitment funnel and ends at the time of the candidate’s acceptance.

TTF, meanwhile, refers to the number of days between the job requisition opening and the offer being accepted. It includes weekends and holidays. SHRM puts the mean time-to-fill at 36 days.

Both play an important role in recruitment efficiency and candidate satisfaction, however, they are not the same metric. In fact, TTH falls within “time to fill.”

What is the Average Time to Hire?

Finding the time to hire metric does not involve complex calculations or mathematical formulae. It is simply the day a candidate accepts the offer minus the day the candidate enters the pipeline. Assuming that the day you posted the job is 1, a candidate applies on the 5th day and is accepted on the 30th day, TTH becomes 30-5, i.e 25.

If you accept 5 candidates with TTH of 25, 24, 22, 10, and 30, the average TTH becomes the sum of the TTH by the number of candidates, i.e, ( 25+24+22+10+30)/5, which is 22.2 days.

Average TTH varies according to industry and workplace. LinkedIn places the average TTH at 30 days. Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, a chief economist at Glassdoor, published a study that estimates that the average TTH can be anything between 10 to 35 days. His research takes the hiring trends into account in 25 countries.

A low average TTH shows that your recruitment process is more effective, which is more appealing to candidates.New call-to-action

What is the Ideal Time to Hire?

It is no mystery that the shorter your TTH is, the more attractive an offer is to candidates. Lower TTH metrics generally signify an efficient hiring process. Research shows that 57% of job seekers find waiting for an interview result frustrating. In fact, they point to the wait as the most frustrating part of a job hunt.

23% of candidates are willing to wait for just a week after the interview. 39% think that 7 to 14 days is too long, and 57% of job hunters lose interest in the job if the hiring process is too long.

 HR Metrics to Consider in Addition to Time to Hire

TTH is not the ultimate metric. In fact, there are a number of other parameters that can measure the speed, efficiency, and quality of candidates you hire.

You can choose to improve your recruitment efficiency by opting for an automated applicant tracking system. While a good TTH is certainly important, you can also adopt these metrics to gain a holistic view of your hiring process.

Quality of hire

While time to hire measures how long the hiring process takes, quality of hire is a metric to measure how successful the process is in finding candidates that are a good fit for the position.

Different companies may measure the quality of their hires in different ways. Performance reviews, turnover, and hiring manager satisfaction may all be relevant.

The quality of hire differentiates between a high number of candidates and the best candidates. It helps you streamline the recruitment process. You also gain insight into whether the available resources are being used optimally, or if the top talent is slipping during or after the recruitment process.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate offers insights into the number of candidates who were offered the job and those who accept it. This gives you an idea as to how competitive the offer is.

If you have a low conversion rate, it might be time to rethink either the pay, perks, opportunities for growth, and so on. Most people prefer perks, so you might want to consider flexible work timings, options for remote work, or a better package.

A good conversion rate implies that your job offer is either in tune with or better than job offers from your competitors.

Candidate Experience

A good candidate experience is vital to a good conversion rate, as well as to the quality of hire. Make sure you ensure a positive candidate experience and engage the applicant at every step of the process.

It is vital that potential candidates stay informed about the status of their application, so make it a point to give regular status updates. This plays an important role in keeping prospective hires from accepting other opportunities.

It also ensures that good word about your positive candidate experience gets around, which helps attract better talent.

 How to Reduce Time to Hire

It is important to reduce the time taken to hire an employee. All organizations try to complete an efficient hiring process in the least amount of time possible. There is an art to finding the perfect blend of a thorough interview process and a short TTH.

However, if you find that your TTH falls short of expectations, there are a few steps you can take to modify this.

In fact, here’s what you should do to optimize your hiring time.

1. Track the phases of your recruitment funnel

Identifying the main points in your recruitment funnel and then tracking the progress and efficiency of each of these checkpoints is vital to maintaining a good, cost-effective recruitment process. You can track this with a simple excel sheet, or use an applicant tracking software.

Make sure to address key concerns such as:

  • How do candidates identify job opportunities from your organization? The most common ways would be through LinkedIn, social media, blogs, referrals, or review sites like Glassdoor. You need to handle all the sources and figure out which one provides maximum reach. Candidate quality from each source also needs to be assessed.
  • Follow-up questions are also important. In fact, this helps understand the level of connection and interaction indirectly. This includes things like whether they interact with the postings, visit your career portal and search for opportunities, and so on.
  • Interaction with the candidate after they have applied for a job is an integral step to the hiring process. This includes sending regular updates via email or SMS, general information about the company, clarifying the responsibilities of the role they are applying for, and the like. You could easily do this with the help of automation tools and solutions.
  • After the interview process is over, how long do candidates have to wait for a final response? This is an important metric to consider, as candidates lose interest if an organization takes too much time to respond.

2. Focus on Qualified Candidates

Irrespective of industry and economic conditions, it is important to ensure that your organization has a quick and efficient hiring process.

In addition, it is vital that you hire the right people for the right roles. Consequently, it is advisable to focus on qualified candidates. But how exactly do you identify qualified candidates for the role you are offering?

  • Make sure that your job posting shows exactly what it is you are looking for. Craft your job posting in such a way so as to limit the number of resumes to the most qualified candidates. The more detailed the job posting, the more relevant the candidate pool for you to choose from.
  • Write an inclusive job description that avoids gendered language and unnecessary corporate jargon which may make women or minorities feel uncomfortable. Always make sure to emphasize your business’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Sort through the resumes, and skim for red flags like errors, lack of experience, or employment gaps that cannot be explained. You may use software to make sure that you are using a more objective scoring process and not letting unconscious bias affect the outcome.

3. Analyze Pre-Selection and Assessments

Pre-selection and assessments are the best way to screen your candidates and find the right fit. Analyze your CV screening tools and identify the strategies you use. You can even make use of automation tools here to quicken the pre-selection process.

Your pre-selection process should shortlist qualified candidates with relevant experience and skill. These include cognitive testing, job samples, and other tests that help you determine how good a fit the candidate will be. This also includes a realistic job preview.

Assessment includes General Mental Ability tests, integrity tests, and job knowledge. A thorough analysis of both pre-selection and assessments ensures that you are able to minimize the number of candidates to a manageable number. This further enhances your efficiency, shortening the time it takes for the candidate to join the office.


Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about time to hire metrics, how to reduce it, and so on.

1. What is the average TTH?

Average TTH is an extension of the time to hire metric. Assuming you have hired 3 candidates, and the time taken to hire each candidate is 22 days, 20 days, and 18 days, your average hiring time is (22+20+18)/3, i.e, 20 days.

In simple terms, average TTH is the total time taken to hire all the candidates, divided by the number of candidates. The lower your average hiring time is, the better candidate experience you provide.

2. How do you calculate TTH?

TTH spans the time spanning from when the candidate applies to job to when they join the workforce. Let’s say you post the job opening on day 1. If the candidate applies for the job on day 6 and joins on day 20, the hiring time becomes 20-6, i.e, 14 days. This metric usually determines the efficiency of the hiring process.

3. What is the difference between Time to hire and Time to fill?

TTH and TTF are both similar metrics, but there are key differences. Time to hire measures the time between when an applicant applies to a position to when they sign their contract.

Time to fill, meanwhile, measures how much time the position has been open, regardless of how many applicants begin the recruitment process.

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