What is Time-to-Hire? Recruiting Metrics That Matter

Author Sean Behr Date Jul 12 2019

When using a full recruitment lifecycle, there are lots of metrics that matter – one of the most important being time to hire (not to be confused with time to fill). This is the one you should definitely be checking to ensure you continually improve your candidate quality and the length of time it takes to fill vacancies.

What is time to hire?

Time to hire is a recruitment metric that measures how quickly you can select and hire the best candidates for an open vacancy. Time to hire measures the number of days that have passed since an applicant entered your recruitment pipeline until the day they become an employee.

Want to find out about other important recruitment metrics for the on-demand industry?

How to reduce average time to hire?

Download our free Ultimate Hiring Benchmark Report for a detailed analysis of the on-demand industry and strategies to improve your hiring practice. Using this benchmark report, you’ll find advice on how you can reduce your average time to hire. 

Time to hire vs time to fill

Most of the time, time to hire and time to fill are used interchangeably, but this is incorrect. Time to fill and time to hire are separate metrics that measure different parts of the recruitment process.

  • ‍Time to hire lets you know after you’ve sourced candidates for an open vacancy, the number of days it takes to hire someone. ‍
  • Time to fill deals with the entire recruitment process, which includes commissioning a new job all the way to making the hire.

So, the difference is that time to fill is concerned with the full recruitment lifecycle and time to hire only deals with the specific length of your selection process. In short, time to fill is always longer than time to hire.

How to calculate time to hire?

The following is the formula to calculate your time to hire:

Time to hire equals the days an applicant accepts an offer divided by the days that candidates entered the pipeline.

What is the average time to hire per industry?

Depending on the industry you operate in, time to hire can vary from a few days to many months.

Some of the findings, taken from the DHI Hiring Indicators report, are below:

  • Leisure and hospitality: 20.7 days
  • Wholesale and retail: 24.6 days.
  • Warehouse, transports and utilities: 24.9 days.
  • Professional and business services: 25.2 days.
  • Construction: 12.7 days.
  • Education: 29.3 days.
  • Manufacturing: 30.7-days.
  • Financial services: 44.7 days.
  • Health services: 49 days.
  • Government: 40.9 days.

As you can see, the average time to hire varies a lot according to different industries. However, you should always be working to find ways to reduce your time to hire irrespective of your industry.

How to improve time to hire

One of the main things that slows down time to hire is interviewing. A Glassdoor study measured the average length of interviews in different countries and found the following:

The Industries with the shortest interview processes are:

  • Restaurants and bars: 10.2 days
  • Private security: 11.6 days.
  • Supermarkets: 12.3 days.
  • Automotive: 12.7 days.

However, industries with the lengthiest interview processes are:

  • Government:  53.8 days
  • Aerospace and defense: 32.6 days
  • Energy and utilities: 28.8 days.
  • Biotech and pharmaceutical: 28.1 days.

Given that interviewing can be so disruptive to your time to hire, you should use all the tools available to ensure that your interview process runs smoothly.

Use Fountain’s interview scheduling toolkit to send candidates an SMS message (or an email) with links to interview dates and time. Your candidates can easily choose a time slot, which is automatically updated depending on the availability on your calendar.

When a candidate chooses a time, they will get an SMS message confirming the interview and that’s it!

This type of seamless arrangement of interviews cuts down a large chunk of time since there’s no need for back-and-forth conversations about the best interview time.

Steps to reduce your time to hire

Every company wants to hire great employees, fast. So, they need proven strategies and the best recruiting tools.

Here are some steps to take to reduce the time to hire for your company:

Structure your hiring process to reduce time to hire

Develop a recruiting strategy to hire like a pro every time. This step shouldn’t be overlooked, irrespective of the size of your business.

Your strategy should include all the steps in your recruitment process – i.e. the full recruitment lifecycle, including who is responsible for different parts of the process. You also need to identify tools that automate as many parts of the recruitment process as possible. This process should be documented and updated from time to time.

Having a clear written hiring process enables you to measure the results and the important time to hire metrics that are crucial recruitment.

Analyze your data to improve time to hire metrics

Analyzing the correct data plays a critical part of reducing your time to hire metric.

It’s important to know the following:

  • The length of time it takes to fill a role.
  • The amount of time it takes for candidates to move between different stages.
  • A comparison of your time to hire in relation to the average time to hire for your industry.
  • The proportion of unsuitable applicants you receive compared to every successful applicant.

Use Fountain’s analytics dashboard to help you collate and make the best use of hiring data. This helps you make smart hiring decisions with clear insights. You can choose the level of metrics you need. Select either high-level hiring metrics on how your recruitment funnel is performing or drill down to get more detailed analysis on the following:

  • Drop-off insights.
  • Interview attendance.
  • Team performance.
  • Applicant conversions.
  • Page metrics.

Create a talent pipeline to improve time to hire

Your talent pipeline should have candidates who have already been pre-screened for a previous open vacancy.

When you have a talent pipeline, you may not need to advertise your job to see improvements to your time to hire metric. You’re able to approach these candidates directly because you know that they’re already suitable or interested.

Do the following to build a talent pipeline filled with quality candidates:

  • Classify the type of roles you hire for on a regular basis.
  • Find out the requirements of these roles – for example, experience, skills, etc.
  • Determine the places where you can source these candidates, such as LinkedIn, referrals or events.
  • Reach out to candidates who you think would make a good fit.
  • Stay in touch with these candidates by sharing useful information with customized messages. If you’re in the same area, you can even invite them for coffee.

You should spend a specified amount of time every week building up your talent pipeline. That way, when a suitable vacancy comes up, candidates will be used to hearing from you and will already have developed a level of trust. Most companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to build and manage their talent pipelines.

Write better job descriptions to decrease time to hire

How your job description is received will have an impact on your time to hire. If you write an engaging job description, it will encourage the right candidates to apply and will significantly reduce your time to hire.

[Read: Sample Job Descriptions]

Ensure that you remove biased language from your job descriptions as this could be a big turn-off. Research shows that job descriptions with gender-neutral language attract 42% more candidates than job listings without it.

If you want to benefit from great job descriptions without the hard work and effort, use our job description templates for your job adverts. It’s easy. All you have to do is select the position and then use the job description that matches. Of course, you can also tweak it to suit your business.

We have job descriptions for different industries, including:

  • Bank teller
  • Customer service
  • Electrician
  • Payroll staff

Click here for a full list of our job descriptions that you can plug-and-play and use in your job post to reduce your time to hire.

Always look out for ways to speed up your hiring process

Sourcing candidates can have a direct impact on your time to hire. With the right analytics, you will find out whether there’s a blockage in the sourcing process.

Even with an ATS, sorting through unqualified applications wastes time and energy.

Here are some useful tips for sourcing better candidates and reducing your time to hire.

Tips to Reduce Time to Hire

Use social recruiting

The role you are advertising for will determine the social network you use. For high-level professionals, LinkedIn is preferred. For on-demand workers, Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter are good options.

Try referral programs

Start a referral program to incentivize current employees to refer people they know that could be suitable for the job.

This is a good way to source clients because your current employees want to make a good impression and, therefore, will refer only the best candidates.

Check out Fountain Boost

Fountain Boost helps you source candidates faster.  It’s simple to use. All you have to do is let us know how many candidates you need and your deadline. We will work with you to recommend a budget and post your job on the best free and paid job boards. This is a simple way to source quality candidates at a faster rate.

With Fountain Boost, you can:

  • Secure more applicants with a single click of a button to save time.
  • Manage your applicants in one place. So, there’s no need to log in and track candidates in different systems.
  • Integrate your system and reduce your trying to hire.


Your time to hire will be largely dependent on the tools you use during your recruitment lifecycle.

Most software will have some functionality, but they may not have everything you need to complete every part of your recruitment process. Lack of system integration could cause confusion and become a barrier to your time to hire.

At Fountain, we integrate with a number of recruitment tools and other third-party vendors to ensure a smoother process.

For example, we integrate with:

Zapier: which enables you to connect to as many apps and tools as your business needs.

Checkr: one of the most popular background checking services.

Traitify: an online assessment tool that helps to make sure that you are getting the right candidates for your job.

The one solution you need to reduce your time to hire

Fountain has a host of benefits to reducing your hire time.

Our features include:

  • A complete mobile-first experience that means all functionality can be accessed by you and the candidate on a mobile device.
  • More efficient onboarding, so candidates get the necessary documents (contracts and forms) to complete the hiring process and onboard successfully.
  • SMS-driven communication that keeps you in touch with your candidates in a quick, easy and convenient way.

Click here to read our customer success stories and find out how companies, like Deliveroo and Cabify, have reduced their time to hire and other important recruitment metrics.


Enter a new era of frontline workforce management.

Learn more about how Fountain Hire can help you transform frontline recruiting, onboarding, and retention for improved workforce management.

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About the Author

Chief Executive Offier

Sean Behr

Sean Behr is the CEO at Fountain and has served in leadership roles at STRATIM (acquired by KAR), Adap.tv (acquired by AOL), and Shopping.com (acquired by Ebay). Behr also advises, mentors, and invests in entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.