Recruiter shaking hands with a job seeker.

As a job seeker, you may not have heard of ‘time to hire’, but if you’ve worked in human resources, you’re probably familiar with the term. In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing what this metric means and why it’s important. We’ll also be pulling some data to examine the average time to hire in the United States, and it’s implications to job seekers. So if you’re curious about this metric and how it affects you, read on!

Time to Hire vs. Fill

To understand time to hire, you have to also understand time to fill. This means you need to be able to discern between the two. Time to fill is the average time that it takes a recruiter to fill a job, from the moment it is posted. Time to hire, on the other hand, begins when the recruiter first reaches out to a candidate. So ultimately the difference between the two is when they occur in the process. Time to fill includes the time when the job is posted, in addition to the interviewing process. On the other hand, time to hire is made up entirely of the hiring process after initial contact is made.

  • Time to Fill: When the job is posted – When an employee is hired.
  • Time to Hire: When the candidate is contacted – When an employee is hired.

Understanding the Numbers

Now that you understand the difference, we can discuss averages, and what they mean to you. According to DHI Hiring Indicators’ January 2018 report, the average of ‘vacancy durations’ in the private sector was 27.4 days. What they call vacancy durations are equivalent to average time to fill. So in 2017, the average time it took to fill an open position was 27.4 days. We’ll elaborate more on this figure later. Alternatively, the average time to hire was 23.8 days in the United States, according to Glassdoor’s Economic Research Blog. This data is taken from the first half of 2017, since they have yet to release an updated report. If you’re interested in reading more, check out the full blog, which goes on to compare time to hire figures across the world.

So what is the importance of these two metrics? For starters, they are used as KPI (key performance indicators) for recruiters. These figures are used to judge performance. The shorter the time to hire, the better the job being done by the recruiter. Although it’s important to note that there it will always take a certain amount of time to ensure that quality candidates are brought in. Typically though, the a lower time to hire is indicative of a more efficient hiring process. So now you know why these figures are so important to HR!

How It Affects You

So what does it all mean to you as a job seeker? For one, now that you are familiar with those figures, you can keep them in mind when looking for a new job. If the average time to fill is around 27 days, you can assume a job will typically be filled in about a month. Obviously every company and industry is different, but it works as an approximate benchmark. That means the next time you see a job that has been posted for around 30 days, it’s possible that it’s already been filled. This shouldn’t discourage you from applying, but it’s something to keep in mind if you never hear back. Use that number as a frame of reference when you see how long a job has been posted for.

You may also be wondering why the average time to hire is so long. 27 days seems like a long time to find the right person, doesn’t it? It’s actually even longer for government jobs (around 35 days). So what is eating up all of that time? Well for starters, recruiters have to comb through all of the resumes they’ve received, and decide who they want to contact. That time frame is the difference in time to hire, and time to fill.

Other Factors

Once the recruiter makes contact, there are a number of factors. Availability and red tape are two of the biggest causes. Finding a time to call, meet, or chat, can wind up extending the time to hire. Also, some companies have policies in place that can push off the start date as well. Background checks, drug tests, and multi-round interviews all contribute to that ‘time to hire’ figure. There’s also a likely correlation between the level of the position, and the time to hire. The more important and higher paying the role is, the longer a recruiter would want to take to ensure they hire the best candidate.

Now you know the meaning of time to hire, and have a mindset for how it affects the hiring process. Keeping that figure in mind will be helpful as you begin to notice how long jobs have been posted. It’s also something to keep in mind if you keep track of the dates you applied. After a week, you may want to follow up if you didn’t hear anything, so you don’t miss out. We hope you found this blog insightful, and are able to use this information in your job search going forward!