Is Time to Hire a Valuable KPI?

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Time to hire is a common hiring and recruiting metric that measures the efficiency of an organization’s hiring process. More specifically, it tracks the duration between when a candidate enters an organization’s pipeline and when they accept a job offer. Often paired with cost of hire and quality of hire, time to hire is one of the most important and popular recruiting metrics. 

The importance of time to hire

Time to hire is a valuable KPI because it empowers organizations to evaluate and optimize their hiring process. 

While the “ideal” time to hire varies between industries and with fluctuations in the labor market, a speedier time to hire improves candidate experience and reduces hiring costs. This is especially important considering top talent tends to leave the job market after just ten days of searching. Which means, organizations that don’t move quickly lose out.

But for the average job seeker, a prolonged hiring process is frustrating and discouraging. Approximately 39% of job seekers think 7-14 days is too long to wait for an offer,  which is a fairly large discrepancy between the average 24 day time to hire

Optimizing time to hire is critical to improve candidate experience and acquire the most skilled individuals. It also saves money. 

Reducing time to hire reduces the cost of hire, as the fewer days spent searching and evaluating talent, the fewer resources are used. 

Because of this, time to hire is a valuable KPI for organizations to assess the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their pipeline. However, time to hire has its limitations, and overemphasizing time to hire can have a negative effect. 

The drawbacks of time to hire

While time to hire is a useful KPI, it is an efficiency metric that measures the speed of the hiring process, not the quality. Focusing too much on time to hire can lead organizations to prioritize efficiency over quality and proceed too quickly.

No matter how quickly an organization wants to progress, various factors will always limit the ideal speed, such as the time to acquire a full slate before conducting interviews and the time needed to make a thoughtful hiring decision. No one wants to hire the wrong candidate, and any executive would choose to spend a little more time and money on choosing the right person than deal with the consequences of rushing into a hiring mistake. 

For the best outcome, organizations must evaluate time to hire alongside other metrics to produce a more rounded view of their hiring process. 

Complementary metrics 

There are a few metrics organizations should consider alongside time to hire, such as time to fill and quality of hire.

While time to hire and time to fill are often considered synonyms, they measure slightly different time frames within the hiring process. While time to hire tracks the efficiency of the pipeline, time to fill starts earlier, measuring from the moment hiring is approved to when a candidate is accepted. 

Because time to fill evaluates the speed of the entire hiring process, it is a valuable supplement to time to hire. But it is still an efficiency metric.

To evaluate quality, organizations should track quality of hire as well. 

Quality of hire assesses the value a new hire brings to the company, essentially determining the hiring team’s ability to select qualified candidates. 

Quality of hire is important because an organization’s ultimate goal is not to fill vacancies -- finding and teaming with productive, highly skilled individuals is. And quality of hire is the best way to determine if an organization is successful in its selections. 

Quality of hire is, however, a subjective KPI, as the quality of a person is not quantifiable. Because of this, quality of hire must be accessed through other metrics, such as hiring manager satisfaction, first-year turnover rate, and ramp-up time, to name a few. 

In conclusion, time to hire is a commonly used and useful KPI. When tracked and utilized properly, time to hire provides valuable insights into the efficiency of an organization’s hiring process.

However, to get the full picture of their hiring process, organizations need to pair time to hire with other metrics, particularly quality metrics, to ensure their hiring process is both swift and effective. 


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