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Time to Hire: Balancing speed, skills, and inclusion in recruitment

In the ever-evolving landscape of talent acquisition, hiring teams have come to rely heavily on metrics to measure their success and efficiency. One such metric that has gained immense popularity is "time to hire."

It's undoubtedly a valuable tool for evaluating recruitment speed and channel efficiencies, but understanding that it's one piece of a much bigger puzzle mitigates the risk of creating a destructive hiring funnel.

What Is the Meaning of Time to Hire?

Time to hire, simply put, is the time it takes for a candidate to transition from being a prospective applicant to an onboarded employee within your organisation.

It's a crucial metric reflecting your hiring team's ability to identify, attract, and onboard talent. However, time to hire should not be examined in isolation; it's only part of the story.

Time to Hire Tracking

Tracking time to hire involves data across the entire recruitment process. This metric is often seen as a key performance indicator (KPI) for HR departments and hiring managers. It can signal important areas for improvement, especially when layered against metrics like demographic success rates and candidate drop-off.

What Impacts Time to Hire?

Several factors can impact your time to hire, and it's crucial to consider these when interpreting the metric:

  1. Recruitment workflow: The efficiency of your recruitment process, including screening, interviews, and decision-making, plays a significant role in how quickly you can hire a candidate.

  2. Talent market: The availability of skills-aligned candidates looking for work can significantly influence your hiring time. A tight job market for a specialised role may lead to longer hiring times.

  3. Employer brand: A strong employer brand can attract candidates more quickly, reducing time to hire. On the other hand, a poor reputation can deter potential hires.

  4. Candidate experience: A smooth and positive candidate experience can speed up decision-making, as candidates are more likely to respond to timely communications.

Time to Hire vs. Time to Fill

It's essential to differentiate between time to hire and time to fill. Time to hire measures the time from posting a job opening to a candidate's start date. On the other hand, time to fill measures the time from posting a job opening to the moment a candidate is selected. Time to fill does not consider the onboarding and administrative aspects of hiring, which time to hire encompasses.

So, why is it crucial to marry the time-to-hire metric with retention and engagement statistics?

The Importance of Layered Metrics for Hiring Teams

Focusing too heavily on time to hire can lead to unintended consequences. For instance, teams might rush through the recruitment process to meet aggressive timelines or reduce open seat rates, potentially overlooking crucial factors such as skills and cultural fit, increasing turnover rates, and impacting the organisation's sustainability.

That's where Clu comes into play. Clu offers an AI-powered Sourcing Assistant that helps your team stay ahead of talent demand. It builds talent pools and qualifies candidates interest in your company ahead of time, so you have a pool of qualified skills-aligned, often diverse, candidates ready when needed.

By leveraging Clu's market-leading data visualisation across attraction and conversion performance by demographics, you can improve how you build out your talent pipelines, reducing time to hire whilst improving experience without sacrificing quality.

Moreover, companies that get great at proactive hiring processes through a skills-based lens improve diversity conversion rates by up to 4x.
How skills-based hiring complements time to hire

Skills-based hiring focuses on candidates' abilities rather than their background, making it a powerful tool for building diverse and inclusive teams but also reducing time to hire.

By identifying the essential skills required for a role and assessing candidates based on those skills, you can attract a broader range of talent, including those from underrepresented groups, widening your parameters for talent without lowering the bar. This not only enhances diversity but also leads to more qualified hires.

While time to hire is a valuable metric for assessing recruitment efficiency, it should not be the sole focus. Marrying it with retention and engagement statistics and adopting a skills-based approach to recruitment can lead to more sustainable and inclusive hiring practices.

With the right tools, like Clu, you can save up to 600 hours a year in resource wastage, enabling you and your team to better balance speed, skills, and inclusion in your recruitment efforts, ensuring long-term success and sustainability for your function and your organisation.


At Clu, we're reinventing how job seekers find jobs by helping Employers get great at skills-based and inclusive hiring.

Find out more by getting in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you.


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