Here are frequently asked questions and answers on time to fill and time to hire to help you plan, assess and optimize your hiring timeline:

What is time to fill?

Time to fill is the amount of time you need to fill a position. This metric helps you plan your hiring better and also serves as a warning when your hiring process takes too long.

How do you calculate time to fill?

Time to fill represents the calendar days until your company fills a position. To count those days, first define the time period you will be measuring. For example, your starting point could be the moment:

The end of your time to fill is usually the day a candidate accepts your job offer. Choose what makes the most sense for your company, but make sure that you count time to fill consistently for all positions and teams.

How do you calculate average time to fill?

Calculate your company’s average time to fill by adding all time to fill measurements for each position you filled in a given period (e.g. a year) and then divide by the number of roles. For example, if you hired for three roles, with 20, 30 and 40 days time to fill respectively, then your average time to fill is 20+30+40/3 = 30 days. This calculation should refer to the same time period.

If you have positions that are always open (e.g. for junior salespeople), don’t include them in your time to fill calculations. This is because these positions would greatly inflate your average time to fill without reflecting the efficiency of your hiring process.

What’s a good benchmark for time to fill?

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports an average time to fill of 42 days. IWA also found benchmarks on time to fill per industry. For example, the average global time to fill in Engineering is 62 days.

Keep in mind that other companies may not calculate time to fill the same way as yours. Also, having a higher time to fill than other companies doesn’t necessarily mean that their recruiting process is more effective than yours. Track this metric internally and compare it over time.

How can we reduce time to fill?

If you want to reduce time to fill, think of using more efficient recruiting strategies. Here are a few ideas:

What is time to hire?

Time to hire is often synonymous with time to fill. But, you can also treat them as separate metrics and gain different insights. Time to hire measures the time between the moment your eventual hire entered your pipeline (through sourcing or application) and the moment they accepted your job offer. This metric indicates how fast you spotted your best candidate and moved them across the job’s pipeline.

To calculate time to hire, imagine that the day you opened a specific position is Day 1. Then, if your best candidate accepted your job offer on Day 25, and they applied on Day 10, your time to hire is 25-10 = 15.

What’s a good benchmark for time to hire?

The moment the best candidate applies, your hiring team should be ready to identify them. Considering that the most talented people are off the market in 10 days, it’s best to aim for the shortest time to hire possible.

How can we improve time to hire?

The more efficient your hiring process is, the shorter your time to hire will be. To reduce your time to hire, start by identifying what caused it to be higher than you’d expect.

What is “time to fill” vs. “time to hire”?

Time to fill and time to hire are often used interchangeably. But, it’s useful to separate the two metrics, as they can give you different insights. The difference between time to fill and time to hire is the point you start counting. You may start counting time to fill before a job is published. But your time to hire timeline starts when your best candidate applies or gets sourced.

So, time to fill tells you how fast your hiring process moves. Time to hire tells you how quickly you were able to identify the best candidate,  and is an indication of how effective your hiring team is.

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