What’s the difference between time to hire and time to fill? 

Time to hire and time to fill are among the most important HR metrics in people analytics. We sometimes treat them like synonyms, but in reality they are two completely different measurements.

In this article, we explain the difference between “time to hire” and “time to fill” and present the formulas for how to calculate them.

Time to hire


The number of days between the time you contact the candidate and the time a candidate accepts your offer.

In other words, it counts the days from the time a candidate enters your recruiting pipeline. It answers the question: how many days does it take to hire someone after a candidate applies for the job or after you reach out to a candidate?

How do you calculate time to hire?

Measure the number of days from the day a candidate applies for the job or you approach the candidate to the day the offer is accepted.

TIP: You do not have to manually calculate time per hire! With Human Panel, you get automated reports on time to hire, time to fill, and time to onboarding. If you want to see how our product works, sign up for a free demo and see people analytics in action.

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Why is time to hire important?

This metric shows you how much time you spend recruiting and how quickly you can select the right candidate once you have multiple candidates in your pipeline. It can also show you how efficient your recruitment process is.

The more time you spend recruiting a candidate, the more costs they incur. Increased time to hire can be the result of an inefficient recruiting pipeline and indicate that you need to make changes to improve the productivity of the recruiting team.

If you are recruiting for entry-level positions, the time per hire can be much lower, so take this into account when calculating your average time to hire.

The formula for calculating time to hire:

Time to hire calculation formula

How do you calculate average time to hire?

To calculate your average time to hire, simply add up the time to hire of your most recent recruiting processes and divide the total by the total number of open positions. For example, if you recruited candidates for three positions and took 30, 40, and 20 days to recruit, then your average time to hire is 30 days (30+40+20/3=30).

What is the average time to hire?

It depends on the market, the country, and the positions. According to LinkedIn data, 30% of companies are able to fill a vacant position within 30 days. The SHRM 2017 Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report found that the average time to fill a position is 36 days.

Time to fill


The number of days between the time you publish a job posting (or get an approval to do so) and the time a candidate accepts your offer.

In other words, it counts the days from the moment you create a job posting to the day you hire a candidate. It answers the question: How many days does the whole recruitment process take?

How do you calculate the time to fill?

Measure the number of days from the day a job offer is posted (or you agree the job posting with your supervisor) to the day the offer is accepted by candidate.

The formula for calculating the time to fill:

Time to fill calculation formula

Why is time to fill important?

This metric is mainly used for business planning and shows what the demand/supply ratio is for specific jobs. It also shows how long your overall hiring process is.

How to improve the time to hire and time to fill?

One of the ways to improve time to hire is to use people analytics software. Instead of manually calculating time to hire, you will get an automated report where you can see what the average time to hire is for different departments and positions. You are also able to see time to hire per recruiter.

From the visualized data, you can see how long each step of the recruiting process takes and how much time candidates spend at each stage. This way, you can identify the bottlenecks and improve the efficiency of the recruitment funnel.