How to Speed Up Time to Fill (and Accelerate Hiring)

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Finding and hiring the right candidates is plenty hard enough for recruiters. Doing so speedily — and, thereby, realizing a quick time to fill (and making their C-suites happy) — simply adds yet another layer of complexity to these professionals’ already-difficult jobs.

The total number of calendar days it takes to fill a position is certainly a key data point every talent team tracks. However, too few of them — along with other internal stakeholders, like hiring managers — make a concerted, coordinated effort to continually drive down their average time to fill and, in turn, streamline their recruitment process.

  • Thankfully, this metric can be improved with relative ease when using robust recruiting software.

More specifically, a complete ATS and candidate relationship management (CRM) solution that provides rich insights into recruiting-process stages — from the starting point (when the job requisition is approved) to the very end (when a candidate is hired or ‘archived’) — and helps TA teams identify areas to improve with their hiring process.

Measuring and improving time to fill: Essential to your talent team’s long-term hiring success

How you calculate time to fill (and time to hire) may differ slightly from other recruiting orgs. For instance, some may factor in the completion of employee onboarding into the metric and/or start the time-to-fill ‘clock’ when a requisition is submitted versus when it’s approved.

Regardless of the exact formula you use, though, the metric is a useful barometer for every TA department that denotes just how efficient (or inefficient) they are with closing requisitions.

A common use of the metric today is to not just monitor the amount of time it takes the team as a whole to fill roles for various business units, but also at the individual recruiter level.

Getting granular with your time-to-fill tracking enables your talent org — particularly your TA leader — to better understand strengths (recruiters who excel at meeting, or even beating, deadlines for open reqs) and weaknesses (talent specialists who take considerable amount of time to fill job openings) with your acquisition efforts.

Consider this recruiter example — and what can be inferred by their time-to-fill numbers:

  • If one recruiter takes, say, 60 days on average to convert a candidate into a new hire, that’s a clear indication there’s an issue with their sourcing, nurturing, and/or interviewing approaches.
  • Conversely, if another recruiter on their team fills open roles in 40 days (or less), they clearly have a good handle on their hiring process. They turn to the right sources to find quality candidates. They engage those individuals with well-timed, personalized nurtures. They effectively evaluate prospects’ fit for roles as well as their intent (based on recent engagement with the brand online). And they automate key tasks (e.g., offer approvals, candidate screening/archiving, email notifications) to eliminate manual labor and save time.

Of course, context is required when measuring time to fill and one’s recruiting performance:

  • For instance, the talent specialist who takes roughly 60 days to make a hire may have driven down their average from 80 days just a few months prior, thus showing progress with their work.
  • Similarly, their colleague who fills roles in 40 days on average may have seen that number slip from, say, 30 days in the previous quarter or year, meaning their hiring speed has diminished somewhat.

Lever customers keep this context top of mind — and account for other factors, like the software they use to guide and track their recruiting activities — so they can improve.

One such customer, Cogent Biosciences, is a prime example of how using the right recruiting platform — and combing over hiring intricate recruitment data daily in said platform — can lead to speedier (and smarter) hiring and help them scale according to their business needs.

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Using the right recruitment software to reduce time to fill (and improve other key hiring metrics)

Traditional applicant tracking systems were once useful for talent orgs. (Emphasis on “were.”)

Today, though, old-school, limited-capability ATS solutions (i.e., ones that essentially acted as simply storage for resumes and assorted candidate notes and details) just don’t cut it for recruiting teams with increasingly complex hiring needs and goals.

  • Cogent Biosciences recognized its legacy ATS wasn’t helping its TA team achieve its hiring quotas — and in swift fashion. So, it invested in a ‘full’ talent acquisition suite: LeverTRM.

“The biggest pitfall of [our old ATS] was the amount of time required to review applicants,” Cogent Biosciences Senior People Partner Doug Shipton said. “Hiring managers spent more time waiting for documents to load than they spent on reading resumes.”

Time is obviously a valuable commodity for talent specialists and hiring managers.

Force these stakeholders to wait on their TA operations manager/coordinator to sync candidate data and information from disparate solutions into their centralized recruiting software and then sort through each manually, and you end up with lots of wasted work hours.

Thankfully, this is no longer an issue for Cogent, which now uses LeverTRM to make its recruiting process more efficient. Its talent team uses our native CRM capabilities, including:

  • Fast Resume Review: Qualified candidates’ resumes populate to the relevant Cogent recruiter, who can then easily advance or archive the prospects in question quickly and efficiently. As Doug noted, it “removes distractions for hiring managers and makes the whole process seamless.”
  • Easy Book: By connecting all hiring stakeholders’ calendars (e.g., Office 365, Google) with LeverTRM, Cogent enables candidates to schedule interviews (often phone screens or offer reviews) at times that work for them and the hiring team, which helps the business provide a stellar CX.
  • Visual Insights: “The reporting function in Lever is excellent,” Doug noted. “You can break it out into a variety of details, whether it’s tracking referrals or candidate pipeline stages. All those metrics are very helpful, when you’re kind of considering your processes and fine-tuning things.”

Add in direct integrations with invaluable recruiting tools (e.g., Goodhire to aid with background checks; Zoom to support remote interviewing; Adobe Sign to build, send, and track offers), and Cogent has been able to speed up and streamline just about every element of its recruiting strategy, eliminate tedious manual tasks, and realize its desired ROI.

Notably, the Cogent talent acquisition team has:

  • Driven down its average time to fill to 33 days
  • Accelerated its resume review process by 92%
  • Achieved headcount growth of almost 500%

“We’re saving hours,” Doug explained. “Downloading resumes and waiting for review processes added up to a solid hour each day per recruiter, but LeverTRM cut that down to minutes.

“It speeds up the hiring process substantially.”

Read our entire Cogent Biosciences case study to learn more about the company’s efforts to improve time to fill and other critical metrics using our complete ATS + CRM solution.