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Time to Fill

What is time to fill?

Definition: Time to fill is a recruitment metric that measures the amount of time it takes to fill a job position, from the moment the job requisition is opened until a candidate accepts the job offer. This metric is crucial in understanding the efficiency and effectiveness of the recruitment process.

It encompasses the entire hiring cycle, including advertising the position, sourcing and screening candidates, conducting interviews, and processing the final job offer.

Time to fill can vary based on the complexity of the job, the efficiency of the recruitment process, the availability of suitable candidates, and the specific hiring practices of the organization.

Organizations track time to fill to identify bottlenecks in their hiring process, forecast future hiring needs, and improve overall recruitment strategies.

A shorter time to fill is often desirable as it indicates a more efficient recruitment process, whereas a longer time to fill might suggest areas that need optimization, such as sourcing methods or interview processes.

How is time to fill calculated?

Time to fill is calculated by measuring the number of days between the date a job requisition is officially opened and the date a candidate accepts the job offer.

Here’s a simple formula to calculate it:

Time to Fill = Date of Job Acceptance – Date of Job Requisition Opening

To illustrate, if a job requisition was opened on January 1st and the candidate accepted the offer on January 30th, the time to fill would be 30 days.

When calculating time to fill across multiple positions or over a certain period, organizations often average the time to fill for all roles filled during that timeframe.

This average gives a general sense of how long it typically takes for the company to fill a position, which can be a useful metric for assessing the efficiency of the recruitment process and planning future hiring activities.

Time to fill benchmarks

A general benchmark for time to fill across various industries and roles is typically between 30 to 45 days. However, it’s important to benchmark against similar companies in your industry and region for a more accurate comparison.

Time to fill benchmarks can vary significantly based on industry, job complexity, level of seniority, and regional labor market conditions. However, having a general idea of these benchmarks helps organizations evaluate the efficiency of their recruitment processes.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Industry-Specific Benchmarks: Different industries have varying average times to fill. For instance, highly specialized roles in technology or healthcare might take longer to fill compared to roles in retail or hospitality.
  • Role Complexity: Senior-level positions or jobs requiring specific, hard-to-find skills typically have longer times to fill compared to entry-level or more generalized roles.
  • Company Size and Brand Reputation: Larger companies or those with strong employer branding may attract more candidates quickly, potentially reducing the time to fill. In contrast, smaller or lesser-known companies might take longer to attract the right candidates.
  • Geographical Variations: Labor markets differ by region and country, affecting the availability of talent and, consequently, the time to fill. Urban areas with a higher concentration of talent might see shorter times to fill than rural areas.
  • Economic Factors: Economic conditions, such as unemployment rates and market demand for certain skills, can also impact time to fill.

Time to fill vs. time to hire

Time to fill refers to the total amount of time it takes to find and hire a new employee, from the moment a job requisition is opened until a candidate accepts the job offer. This metric includes the entire recruitment cycle: creating and approving the job requisition, advertising the position, sourcing candidates, screening applications, conducting interviews, and extending the offer. It provides an overview of the length of the hiring process and is often used for planning and efficiency assessments.

Time to hire is more focused on the candidate’s experience and the efficiency of the recruitment process. It measures the time from when a candidate enters the recruitment pipeline (often marked by their application date or the date they were sourced) to when they accept the job offer. This metric reflects how quickly a recruitment team can identify, engage, interview, and secure a candidate after they’ve been identified as a potential fit.

The key difference lies in the starting point: “Time to Fill” begins when the job is officially open for applicants, while “Time to Hire” starts when a candidate is first identified or applies for the job.

“Time to Fill” is often longer, as it includes the period needed to prepare and approve a job opening, whereas “Time to Hire” provides insight into the speed and efficiency of the recruitment process once candidates are in the pipeline.


What is the difference between time to fill and time to start?

Time to fill ends when a candidate accepts a job offer, whereas time to start extends to the day the new hire actually starts working. Time to start includes any additional time taken after the job offer acceptance for processes like notice periods at previous jobs, relocation, or other pre-joining formalities.

What is the time to fill strategy?

A time to fill strategy refers to a planned approach to reduce the duration of the hiring process. It involves analyzing and optimizing different recruitment stages, enhancing candidate sourcing, improving screening processes, and ensuring efficient candidate communication and decision-making.

How important is time to fill as a recruitment metric?

Time to fill is a crucial metric as it helps organizations assess the efficiency of their hiring process, plan their workforce needs, and identify areas for improvement in recruitment.

Can time to fill be impacted by external market factors?

Yes, external factors such as labor market conditions, economic trends, and industry-specific talent availability can significantly impact time to fill.

Should organizations prioritize reducing time to fill?

While reducing time to fill is important for efficiency, it’s equally crucial to balance it with the quality of hire. Focusing solely on speed can compromise the effectiveness of the recruitment process and the suitability of candidates.