3 Reasons You Should Track Time-To-Hire (And How To Do It Right)

Avatar photo

Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

10 days. That’s how long the most desirable candidates are on the market before being hired.

Why is this a critical statistic in the HR world? Because successful companies track time-to-hire.

If you aren’t currently tracking time-to-hire, it’s a good time to start. High-demand candidates are being snapped up quickly in today’s competitive hiring market. Employers that shorten their time-to-hire gain many advantages.

What Is Time-To-Hire?

Time-to-hire is one of the most important recruiting metrics. It is defined as the number of days that pass from when you contact an applicant until you hire them. The initial contact could be the result of the candidate applying or outward sourcing.

Some organizations track time-to-fill instead of time-to-hire. The distinction is that time-to-fill starts the clock from the day you post the opening. The time-to-fill measurement can reveal slowdowns before a candidate applies. After the candidate applies, they both measure the same processes.

Cost-per-hire and quality-of-hire are additional KPIs frequently used along with time-to-hire. The three metrics help companies improve their recruiting outcomes.

Why Should You Track Time-To-Hire?

The obvious answer is ‘So you can shorten it.’ Let’s break it down.

1. Tracking Time-To-Hire Measures Recruiting Efficiency

Time-to-hire measurements are most useful when they track each step in the recruiting timeline. This allows you to pinpoint which workflows slow things down. Is it during the resume review phase? Does scheduling interviews take longer than it should? Does it take the applicant too long to complete the skills assessment?

2. Tracking Time-To-Hire Helps You Improve The Candidate Experience

A long, cumbersome hiring process is a hassle for applicants. Over half of jobseekers lose interest in a company if they believe the hiring process takes too long. Of course, ‘too long’ is a subjective evaluation. In a survey conducted by Robert Half, 4 out of 10 applicants said 7-14 days is too long! In the same survey, 23% of participants said they would wait for just one week to hear back from a potential employer.

Contrast these perceptions with real-world timelines. In some industries, the average time-to-hire is 40 days.

3. Tracking Time-To-Hire Helps You Improve Your Recruiting Processes

Companies who want to shorten their time-to-hire create a plan. A good plan will address systemic problems in the hiring process. You can’t identify the problems without tracking time-to-hire.

How Does Slow Time-To-Hire Hurt Your Business?

A lengthy hiring process doesn’t only reveal problems with your operations. It reflects poorly on your corporate culture.

‘Most of the top talent are fast and accurate decision-makers, it is highly likely that they will view slow hiring decisions as an indicator that once on the job, business decisions will be made just as slowly.’ -Dr. John Sullivan, Talent Management Expert

How Do You Measure Time-To-Hire For Multiple Job Candidates?

Hiring managers can use a calculator, spreadsheet, or applicant tracking system (ATS).  

To use a calculator, add up the number of days from initial application to offer acceptance. Record the totals in a document. When you have tracked it for several applicants, you can compare by applicable variables. These include position, department, supervisor, and job boards used. Look at the breakdown of the workflow. Which processes take longer than they should?

With a spreadsheet, you can use the built-in calculator to tally days spent in each phase. Enter each phase (or task) in your hiring process in a row or column. Enter the number of days for each phase, per applicant. Add all the cells in the ‘number of days’ to reach a total. Compare and contrast as described previously.

The calculator and spreadsheet method require manual data entry. It is tedious and time-consuming. If you are doing a lot of manual data entry, let us show you a better way.

This brings us to the ideal method.

What’s The Best Way To Track Time-To-Hire?

Since you are on the ApplicantStack blog, you won’t be surprised to learn that we recommend an applicant tracking system (ATS).

We have the perfect solution: ApplicantStack Recruit.

ApplicantStack: A Better Way To Track Time-To-Hire

ApplicantStack Recruit is an affordable, web-based solution for candidate sourcing, evaluation, and hiring.

Why Use An ATS To Track Time-To-Hire?

Companies that use ATS’ are more likely to shorten their time-to-hire. Many recruiting teams that use an applicant tracking system can hire for a position in 10 days or less!

An applicant tracking system:

  • Automates hiring processes
  • Measures their effectiveness
  • Helps you fix problems

Tracking time-to-hire is just one feature of an applicant tracking system.

How Do I Identify Roadblocks That Slow My Time-To-Hire?

In your ATS, run a report that shows how long each hiring phase takes. These are the workflows to concentrate on. Do you need to assign the task to another user? Do you need to send more reminder emails? Are you waiting too long for manager approvals?

How Does An ATS Remove Process Bottlenecks?

In many cases, your ATS can provide a solution to recruiting process bottlenecks. Suppose there is a lag time between an application and the candidate receiving a confirmation email. If you are used to writing an individual ‘thanks for applying’ email, consider using the auto-email feature in the ATS.

All you need to do is write an email and the system will send it automatically when an application is received. Create an email for each position and hiring phase. Modify your template as necessary.

Speedy Scoring

The candidate scoring process is a bottleneck for many companies. With ATS’, you create a questionnaire for each position. Score each question as appropriate. Include knockout questions that disqualify candidates. Knock-out questions help narrow the pool quickly.

When a candidate applies, they are automatically emailed the questionnaire. No lag time there. When they complete it and send it back, it’s time for the hiring team to review the scoring.

The questionnaires (and all other documentation) live in a centralized location—your web-based ATS. This is key if you’re used to paper applications.

Universal, Anytime Access

With electronic documents, each member of the team can access the system from any mobile device. The hiring manager, team lead, and department head can all review the applicant at the same time.

Each user can enter notes for all to review. Use checklists to show where each applicant is in the process. If everyone is dedicated to shortening time-to-hire, there will be no lag time here.

Intelligent Interview Scheduling

Interview scheduling can also lengthen time-to-hire. The most efficient system is for the applicant to choose a slot on an online calendar in your ATS. (Some systems integrate with third-party calendars like Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar.)

You set up the calendar to show slots the interviewer is available. This eliminates the need for back-and-forth texts, emails, or phone calls to coordinate a time. It’s simple, yet brilliant. Best of all, it shortens time-to-hire.

Add Onboarding For A Comprehensive Solution

Time-to-hire is only half the battle. Time-to-productivity is just as critical. If your onboarding processes aren’t working, improving time-to-hire is not enough. ApplicantStack Onboard brings our 10 years of expertise to your onboarding processes.

For more information about ApplicantStack Recruit and Onboard, visit SwipeClock ApplicantStack applicant tracking solutions.



Robert Half

John Sullivan


Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

Navigating the Complexities of Healthcare Recruitment

April 19, 2024
Posted in ,

The healthcare sector is renowned for its rewarding nature, offering professionals the chance to significantly impact individuals’ lives by aiding in their recovery from various ailments and conditions. However, for those tasked with recruitment within this sector, the challenges are plentiful. Delve into our in-depth guide for an array of strategies to elevate your healthcare…

Read More

How Improving Candidate Engagement Influences the Hiring Process

April 12, 2024
Posted in ,

Applicants invest considerable time, effort, and thought into their job applications. Regrettably, it’s all too common for employers to delay responses, with some failing to provide any follow-up whatsoever. Such practices can have a negative effect on the candidate experience, influencing your organization’s hiring efficiency and reputation. Ensuring a positive experience for candidates is crucial…

Read More

WorkforceHub takes care of business.

We’ll show you how.

Request a Demo - Footer Form

Looking for help? Please click here.

brand - dots