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Is Time To Hire Still A Key Recruiting Metric?

Somen Mondal

March 27, 2018

If you work in a tech-driven atmosphere, time to hire is still important, even increasingly so. A lot of tech organizational planning is based on road maps and sprints with sequential budgets (e.g., Project A must be finished before Project B can commence).

is time to hire still a key metric

If this how you’re doing planning and budgeting, speed in hiring is crucial. You need to get the right people – and fast. This means thinking really strategically about remote workers, salary bands, how to source effectively, and everything else that would go into a quality hire discussion.

But there’s another school of thought, embraced by people such as Malcolm Gladwell, that recruiters have too much of a focus on speed, and should slow down and think more about what they actually need.

His argument, presented at the Wharton HR and Analytics conference, comes down to companies need “more tortoises than hares”: people who can think through a process and complex problems.

Similarly, some talent acquisition leaders believe time to hire has become an inflated metric that leads to rushed decision-making and questionable quality of hire.

Hiring is not actually getting faster

In 2013, the time to hire across multiple industries was 24 days, double what it was in 2009. If you’re just counting work days, that’s five work weeks to make a hire.

So despite a focus on time to hire as a metric, we’re actually becoming slower – or worse – at time to hire on average.

What’s the solution?

Well, first you need to think about what slows down time to hire. If you read through almost any survey of talent acquisition professionals, it’s typically logistical, admin tasks that slow down the process. This includes:

Depending on the survey, up to 65% of a recruiter’s time goes to top-of-funnel logistical tasks. That’s a lot of time to be spending on task work.

What recruiters want to be doing instead

You should be:

  • Working with the hiring manager on clarity and needs for the role
  • Building a proactive pipeline of potentially interested candidates
  • Conducting interviews
  • Going to networking/industry events and meeting potential future candidates
  • Thinking about the bigger strategy of your hiring process

How to bridge the gap

Simple: automation.

All those logistical top-of-funnel tasks can be automated. Screening can be automated almost 100%, actually.

So can huge chunks of messaging — which means recruiters can spend more time trying to personalize the messages they send. Personalized messages have a much higher response rate.

You can also automate the process of finding your best previous candidates (ie.., rediscovery). If you have someone already in the system who’s a good fit, your time to hire is naturally going to drop.

There’s a lot of discussion about the impact of technology on recruiting. Is it good? Bad? Both good and bad?

The short answer is that technology’s impact on recruiting is based on however the talent acquisition team in question decides to use technology. Technology is, at heart, supposed to make tasks easier. It’s supposed to create “friction-less experiences.”

If you’re using it for that, you will improve your processes and reduce time to hire. You’ll get the right people and stay on budget.

Can you automate the entire process? Not yet. And if you tried, you’d probably fall behind — candidates still want a human touch. But can you improve your process and decrease time to hire with proper automation applications? Of course.

Time to hire still matters as a recruiting metric, but most companies aren’t really approaching it correctly. If you take the strategy of using the tech available to you to automate the task side of the recruiting process, that’s your path to faster, more effective hiring.