Time to fill is a metric used in the recruitment process. They refer to the amount of time that the employer needs to fill the position. This refers to the time it takes to find and hire a new candidate, often measured by the number of days between publishing a job opening and hiring the candidate. This metric helps you plan your hiring better and also serves as a warning when your hiring process takes too long. Measuring time to fill is an important way for recruiters to demonstrate their efficiency. By accurately measuring time to fill, HR leaders can evaluate the speed of their recruitment processes, and provide fellow managers with realistic time frames for their vacant positions. The time to fill metric also provides recruiters with insight into their own strategies, as well as guidance for resource allocation and budget planning. Time to fill is influenced by supply and demand ratios for specific jobs. It’s a great metric for business planning and offers a realistic view for the manager to assess the time it will take to attract a replacement for a departed employee. In addition, a short time to fill usually has a positive effect on the rest of the team as it means less overtime and instability.

Time to fill is a simple calculation which measures a time period.

• When does time to fill start?
The standard is the day when a job requisition is opened or the day approval is given to fill a position.
• When does the metric end?
Recruiters can measure until an offer has been made, or accepted, or until the new employee actually starts.
• How do you calculate the time to fill?
Time to fill represents the calendar days until your company fills a position. To count those days, first, define the time period you will be measuring.
For example, your starting point could be the moment.
• A hiring manager submits a job opening for approval.
• HR or Finance approves a job opening.
• A recruiter advertises a job opening.

The end of your time to fill is usually the day a candidate accepts your job offer. Choose what makes the most sense for your company, but make sure that you count time to fill consistently for all positions and teams.

Time to Fill = Total Number of Days Job is Available and Unfilled


How do you calculate the average time to fill?

Average Time to fill measures the average length of time that elapses from the date a job vacancy is opened to the date a candidate accepts an offer to fill the position. In many cases, organizations use this measure as an indicator of the efficiency of the recruiting process.
Calculate your company’s average time to fill by adding all time to fill measurements for each position you filled in a given period (e.g. a year) and then divide by the number of roles. For example, if you hired for three roles, with 20, 30 and 40 days time to fill respectively, then your average time to fill is 20+30+40/3 = 30 days. This calculation should refer to the same time period. If you have positions that are always open (e.g. for junior salespeople), don’t include them in your time to fill calculations. This is because these positions would greatly inflate your average time to fill without reflecting the efficiency of your hiring process.

Average Time to Fill = Total Number of Days of Open Jobs / Total Number of Jobs Open

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports an average time to fill at 42 days. Workable’s Benchmark tool, which gathers data from thousands of customers, presents time to fill categorized by industry and location. For example, the average global time to fill in Engineering is 59 days. The best candidates are off the market in 10 days. With the proper application of artificial intelligence, an international hospitality chain took their hiring time from 42 to 6 days.

How can we reduce time to fill?

We can reduce time to fill by using effective recruiting strategies such as:

1. Build a candidate database. You don’t have to look for candidates from scratch every time a position opens. Your ATS already has many qualified candidates who may have made it to the final stages of a hiring process, or applied after a position was filled.

2. Source actively. Reach out to passive candidates and connect with them. Even if you don’t have an immediate opening, lay the foundation for a strong relationship so you can contact them in the future.
3. Scrutinize your time to fill. Your time to fill has many layers: time to interview, time from application to phone screen and more. Find which stage takes too long and think about how you can improve it.
4. Create an effective referral program. Offer incentives for referring candidates and send reminders of job openings to your colleagues. Send them an email with a job description and ask them to recommend qualified candidates. This process reduces the time spent on job advertising and resumes screening.

Time to fill looks like a simple calculation, compared to many other talent acquisition metrics. But recruiters shouldn’t take this figure lightly. The time can change as different recruiting methods are applied to different types of jobs. High volume recruitment during the holiday shopping season, compared to the time-bound recruitment of students, and specialized recruitment for highly technical jobs, may all employ different recruitment strategies. So their time to fill will not match up.

Why Calculate Time to Fill?

These metrics lead to other data that can be analyzed in order to optimize the recruitment process. Here are some examples of how this plays out:

  • Longer time to fill = budget increase due to higher cost per hire
  • Conversely, shorter time to fill = smaller budget needed
  • Longer time to hire = lapse in productivity due to unfulfilled duties
  • Conversely, quick hires = greater productivity in a shorter amount of time

Metrics allow for estimated timeframes for giving managers. They also give insight into how much resources will be needed for this hire. Measuring time to fill gives employers an opportunity to reevaluate the hiring process by finding ineffective, weak points that may be costing time and money