Time-to-Hire: The Best Practices To Reduce It

by Sarah Reyes

Importance of time-to-hire? Young professionals, including Gen Zs and millennials, receive multiple offers at the same time. And with this scenario, those hiring teams with a very slow recruitment process are more likely to lose top talents. This costs businesses. It’s why HR teams should figure out ways to reduce time-to-hire.

Why time to hire matters

Time-to-hire is an essential metric that recruitment teams should look into to avoid losing candidates and shorten the time to fill a vacant position, especially if they need to hire more often in such a particular position or there isn’t a large supply of talents for that industry.

Hiring managers, business owners, and HR professionals rely on this data, along with other metrics, such as time-to-fill.

They can help determine the efficiency of the recruiting practices.  Time to hire in particular allows teams to monitor the number of calendar days passing from the initial contact of the candidate to apply for the position until they receive the job offer to join the company.

A shorter time to hire is better because it can improve the overall candidate experience. For example, it can eliminate any frustration on the part of the applicant; especially that response time from the company is of the essence. For some of them, they feel frustrated that they don’t receive feedback after the interview. Or in other cases, they receive it after a week or two.

The lag time costs money to the business. As at any point of the recruitment process, the candidate drops off or worse accepts an offer from another company. The slow application progress is an issue. That’s why your hiring team must look into your recruitment process, and check in which area does the delay occurs?

As if you have an efficient time-to-hire, you can quickly hire top talents who perfectly fit the role instead of them being hired by another company that has a streamlined recruitment process.

A good TTH also reduces the budget your company spends on every hire or the average cost per hire – including fees in job ad sites and hiring and selection marketing.  As if you’d be able to fill in the roles in a shorter period, your recruitment budget won’t be as high as it would be with a longer time spent on hiring an employee or two.

Improving time-to-hire also ensures that productivity won’t be lost. Imagine, a position won’t be sitting empty without a worker. But if the hiring process takes a long time with delays in the way, another person in the company would have to take the job of the person supposed to be performing that role. In this case, important hours would be lost and thus productivity.

Again, a poor time-to-hire metric can also mean that you’d be losing top talents along the way. Candidates dropping out of the entire process stop responding to communication from your company or worse being hired by other companies. 

When this happens, a poor candidate experience follows. You can do something about this. And again, you can start looking at the current hiring process and check for areas where most delays happen.  In the following, let me explain the advantages of an efficient time to hire further.


Reducing time-to-hire also reduces time to fill

Time to fill is greatly reduced with a good time-to-hire. This will indicate a more efficient HR in terms of reducing the company’s overall time to fill a vacant position. This will also free some of your hiring team’s time, and that will give them more time to work on other important tasks.

Quality candidates

Especially if you’re in the industry where there is a lack of talent supply for a particular position, it will help to shorten the time-to-hire. It will mean that you can pull quality candidates in the funnel, and this eventually accelerates hiring.

Having a fast hiring process also means that you can make a job offer faster to the right candidate. This also lessens their chance of being interviewed and hired by your competitors.

Candidate experience

A smooth sailing candidate experience with your company leaves them a good impression. They would have a feel of the kind of employer you are and the company overall.

With a more positive feeling about your organization, they can use it in deciding if they’ll accept a job offer from you or not later in case you hire them.

Particularly for candidates who have just recently lost their job, they’d feel more confident with a company that makes an offer faster. Also if the candidates have multiple offers at the same time, they’re likely to accept an offer from the first company that reaches out to them.

Reduced cost per hire

A large portion of a company’s budget goes to the human resources department. However, it might not anymore be a surprise because there are a lot of important activities that this department has to look into and take care of, including job advertisements, new employee training, background checks, onboarding, and other hiring activities.

Not to mention, businesses also pay for the salaries of their HR professionals. But if organizations would start improving their time to hire, they can minimize the cost of recruitment.


Best Time-To-Hire Reduction Tips and Practices

As mentioned, your organization can take advantage of the different benefits it will receive by improving time to hire. So, what can be done to reduce it? Check out the following for tips.

Talent pipeline

Create a talent pipeline especially for positions where you need more people often. In this case, there will be standby qualified candidates who can be ready to take on the job when called.  This will also prevent you from waiting for new applications every time you need to fill that position.

Thus, you’ll also be able to fill the vacant positions easier and faster other than starting from scratch like posting a new advertisement, waiting for applications, interviewing candidates one by one, and so on. Nevertheless, it will save your company a lot of money to cut the hiring time. Not to forget, your human resource department will also be able to focus on other important tasks.

Want to build a talent pipeline effectively? Allot time for this weekly, and look into the roles that your company hires for more often.

  • Where can you find those candidates?
  • How can you stay being active in those venues or channels? (E.g. social media, networking events…)
  • How can you keep in touch with those candidates?

Remember that building and nurturing your talent pipeline does not take overnight. They take years instead. But looking into this from time to time, you will save a lot of effort, resources, and time. 


Use a scientific approach in reducing time-to-hire and then implement strategies. You must collect sufficient data so that you can improve your recruiting process. Being able to collect and analyze data, you can determine the strategies to implement to improve TTH.

Key metrics for data analysis

  • Application completion rate to help you check on how efficient your existing process is
  • Communication channels and candidate’s response rate to check how responsive the candidates are in the communication channels you’re using
  • Candidates per hire to determine the number of interviews being held before finding the right candidate
  • Channels used and effectiveness – examples include your career page, LinkedIn,  Zip Recruiter, Indeed
  • Industry’s time to hire average to check how your company is doing versus your competitors, offering you insights into how political and economic events, for instance, affect the workforce
  • The time that the candidates take between the stages in the hiring funnel before going to the next
  • Satisfaction rates to check if you need to improve your hiring process by sending out surveys to the new hires; this will allow you to discover their feedback on the overall experience they received from your company
  • Quality of hire to determine if your strategies are effective in finding good candidates from a pool of applications and the rate of turnover in your new hires
  • Cost per hire to check how much you’re spending per hire and to determine if you’re using a lot of resources before getting positive recruiting results
  • Time to fill to figure out the number of days/weeks/months your company takes before filling up a posted position

Through collecting these metrics, you’ll have a better look at your recruitment process and determine which of your strategies need improvement. You’ll also be able to figure out where the most delays or slowing down in the process happen. Through this, you can adjust the ways that will suit your business the most.


Interviewing process

Limit the number of interview schedules you have by filtering out qualified candidates earlier in the recruitment. As the interview takes the most time, it will greatly reduce the time to hire by making this more efficient and simpler. It will also save your recruiters time and allow them to concentrate on strong candidates.

One way to make an efficient interview process is to send assessment tests to candidates and check for their competencies early on before inviting them for an interview. It will also help to screen candidates over the phone and select only those that can proceed with an interview with the hiring manager.

Careers page

This is an important corporate page, which is also a great way of introducing your company culture to your applicants.

When candidates are interested to work in your company, one of the first they check is the careers page and more so if they are interested to work in your industry. They’ll visit your careers page to check your company and look for available jobs.

When creating the careers page, you should include as much information about the role, but this doesn’t mean filling an entire page with an overwhelming set of information.

Instead, you must first think about the most commonly asked questions about the company and the job vacancy. Offer these details right away.

This will give candidates the chance to think over if they will continue with the application process further after knowing such information.

Recruiting funnel

Recruiting funnel to allow you to visualize your hiring process, and this is important in identifying which areas would need improvement.  Your hiring team can create this one if you don’t have it yet. This will help them assess in what stage the candidates spend the most time on.

Job descriptions

Refine your job advertisements to reduce your time to hire.  For one, most candidates are drawn away from advertisements with long texts – and a whole long list of requirements. You might want to prevent this from happening by choosing and using only the characteristics that matter most for you. Making your job post simple, straightforward, and reader-friendly, you’ll invite qualified candidates and see them applying. 

Application process

Another key improvement you can make is to create a smooth and easy application process.  What can be done?  Consider shorter applications to avoid discouraging applicants or making them drop out in the application process.

For example, don’t ask to upload information that they already included in their resume or CV.  Or else, they’ll feel frustrated and less motivated to apply.

Using their mobile phone, they will feel even more annoyed to enter information already in their resume.  Having this said, you must also make your application process mobile-friendly.

Your process must be simple. For example, if you’re using a job board, make sure that your application allows applicants to apply right away other than redirecting them to another website or your careers page.

Applicant tracking software (ATS)

An ATS allows your business to gather information about your ideal candidates in no time, while also letting you screen candidates through the recruiting funnel. As it’s an all-in-one platform, hiring managers can rely on it to keep up with their applicants in one program instead of many.

So, in one place, the applicants can submit their resumes, tests, and others – all of these are stored in one place. A good one also allows you to reduce the time to hire while also making a more efficient hiring process – that is beneficial for both the employers and candidates.


Employee referral programs

Another way to reduce your time-to-hire is to create an employee referral program. This will significantly improve your chances of hiring quality candidates into your team. Perhaps, your employees already know qualified people in your industry. Thus, you’ll be able to invite strong candidates right away and shorten the time to hire.

Skills assessments

Check for candidate competencies early in the recruitment process so that you can evaluate the candidates and figure out ways they perform their duties if they would be hired. Assessments can be customized based on the role you’re trying to fill in. They can also help you assess how well a candidate is doing in terms of handling different job-related scenarios.

Using assessment tests, you can determine a candidate’s fitness for the role because they can offer you more insights. In this case, you’ll be able to filter out candidates that do not pass certain skills test requirements.

Hiring team

No hiring strategy will be effective if your recruiting team does not collaborate, communicate, and coordinate well.  You must hold regular meetings with your team to talk about your different strategies and your hiring metrics. It will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and updated with any changes in the recruiting strategy.

HireNest can help speed up the recruitment process for its whole set of features that enable faster hiring, which eventually improves the overall candidate experience.  It has an intuitive and simple dashboard and interfaces that allow you to check and monitor important data in one place. Finally, it helps small to large companies improve their hiring team’s productivity and efficiency by automating common HR tasks.

Final Thoughts

Time-to-hire remains one of the most important recruitment metrics in terms of your hiring team’s performance. While measuring it is no easy task, you can do it with some changes here and there. For example, you might want to have a total look at your hiring process and find out which stage or area should be improved to prevent any slowing down or delays along the way. As remember, taking too much time to fill a role increases the cost per hire, reduces team productivity, and causes a poor candidate experience. Again a few areas to look into are –

  • Talent pipeline
  • Data
  • Recruiting panel
  • Job descriptions
  • Application process
  • Interviewing process
  • Applicant tracking system
  • Employee referral program
  • Hiring team
  • Skills Assessments

Which among the best practices to reduce time-to-hire have you considered or have been using in your recruitment team? Or do you think we’ve forgotten to list an important tip that must be included above? Tell us in the comments. Finally, share this article on social media and help fellow HR professionals improve their time to hire practices. 

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