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Time to Hire -- What It Is and Why It Matters for Talent Recruitment

March 8, 2022

10 days. That’s the average amount of time that the best candidates are on the job market before being hired. That means businesses need to be agile in their recruiting process to get top-tier talent. The ones who successfully shorten their time to hire will have the advantage in today’s candidate-driven market.

What is time to hire?

Time to hire is an efficiency metric that measures how long it takes a prospective candidate to accept a job offer and complete all pre-employment screening after initially applying for a job. Note that this is slightly different from “time to fill”, which refers to the total amount of time it takes to fill an open position after a hiring manager submits a job opening for approval. “Time to hire is really about how quickly a business can identify the right candidate, take action on hiring the person once identified, and be prepared for any obstacles that may delay the hiring process,” said Brandon Bulcroft, expert on background screenings and Director of Channel Partnerships for Vault Health: Workforce Screening. Bulcroft says time to hire often involves back and forth between the hiring manager, assessments,  and interviews with other team members. Depending on what the open position is for, and the industry, additional occupational health tests may be required, such as:

  • Background screenings
  • Physicals
  • Drug and blood testing

Why Time to Hire Matters for Talent Recruitment

The very best candidates are in high demand and are likely to receive multiple offers. Bulcroft says this means a hiring team has to be prepared to move fast with all of the necessary documentation in order, or else they risk losing high quality candidates - especially if prospective candidates are required to undergo various screenings and tests. “It’s really not that different to when you’re buying a house in an extremely tight real estate market. You want to have everything ready to go when you put in your offer, otherwise you may lose out simply because someone else can move faster,” said Bulcroft.“Your company’s time to hire can directly impact whether a candidate accepts your job offer or someone else’s.” The time to hire metric is also an indicator of candidate experience. Most job seekers don’t want to spend months going through an interview and screening process. A better candidate experience gives companies an edge in recruiting top talent, not to mention retention over time.

How to Improve Time to Hire

Recruiting faster doesn’t mean a company needs to forego hiring standards, but it does mean companies should re-evaluate their process. Bulcroft says the reality is that recruitment is no different than marketing, and companies need to start thinking about it as the way their brand is established in the employment marketplace. “Hiring managers are tasked with attracting candidates, much in the same way that companies work to understand what customers want and then market products to them to drive action and revenue.“ Beyond the obvious incentives like higher salaries and better benefits, attracting candidates means improving the candidate experience from the start. Businesses that invest in shortening their time to hire are better positioned to recruit and retain the best candidates.” There are a number of tools a company can use to shorten its time to hire, including:

  • Streamlined Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Background/Drug Screening for Candidates
  • Remote I-9 verification (Section 1 & 2)
  • Fluid onboarding process
  • Rapid turn-around background check
  • Convenient and accessible pre-employment screenings
  • Result delay elimination through active retrieval processes

In today’s job market where candidates—not companies—have the upper hand, speed and transparency are key. The faster a company can secure a candidate and provide them with an expected timeline, the better.