time to hire recruitment

Managers in any organisation will want to make sure that their recruitment is as efficient as possible. That means they’ll hire the best people they can, as cost-effectively as possible. There are all kinds of ways to track how well-organised a company’s recruitment is, and in most cases it’s clear in which direction you would want this to go. For example, you would want placement success rate to be high, while cost should be kept low.

However one metric is misunderstood perhaps more than any other, and that is time-to-hire. Time-to-hire refers to the duration of a recruitment campaign, from the decision to start the campaign, through to the offer being accepted. The average time-to-hire in the UK is said to be around three or four weeks.

Some say time-to-hire doesn’t much matter. The cost of hiring and the quality of the final candidate are most important to a business’s bottom line, and so there’s a perspective that these are the only two metrics worth balancing. However good recruiters know that time has a bearing on both of these factors.

Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages to a long TTH – no doubt you can think of a few more that apply in your industry:

Pro: A longer application deadline allows more people to apply

Con: The chance to build a larger candidate pool is not a good thing in itself – only if the candidates are high quality

Pro: Companies will be able to fit in more interviews, giving them more data with which to come to a decision

Con: Candidates may become frustrated at a drawn-out process and go elsewhere

Pro: A prolonged TTH is cheaper than running a second campaign, which will happen if a rushed campaign produces an unsuitable candidate

Con: Time is money, and it’s easy for managers to spend too much time on interviewing and scoring rather than on their core tasks

Pro: A longer process allows a company to adapt the role requirements in line with the applications received

Con: Adapting the role in this way is not always desirable. Many industries would rather remain focused on the role as originally described

Overall, a longer time-to-hire is fine if it results in a great candidate, but there are definite downsides to drawing out a months-long campaign just to settle with somebody who applied in the first week of the process. If you regularly take much more than a month to hire, it may be worth thinking about if you really know what kind of candidate you’re looking for. Without a clear picture of what kind of skillset or function the final employee will have, it’s unlikely that what they bring to the table will end up being worth the time, money or effort invested.

What’s your perspective on this ‘third metric’? Did we miss any pros or cons? Let us know in the comments!

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