One of the long standing arguments that have gone around in the recruitment community for quite some time is the issue of time to hire as a recruiting metric. Time to hire is literally how long it takes for a recruiter to source, screen, interview, and place into an assignment for an open assignment. The shorter this time to hire, the more “successful” the recruiter is viewed.
Why is time to hire used as a measurement of success in recruitment?
There are a couple of reasons why time to hire has been considered an important metric in the recruiting business. First, the more efficiently a recruiter can manage candidate selection and placement, the less time and cost are incurred. This means more money for the recruiter for a short period of work. Second, to clients, the sooner a candidate can be located and starts working, the sooner they too can realize productivity levels and eventually, profitability.
However, there are some critics of the time to hire metric as an actual proof of good recruiting practices. These are some of the points made that point to flaws in this old school method of evaluating recruitment efforts.
- It puts speed before quality. Sure, you can staff open assignments at the speed of sound, but just how much time did you spend confirming that the candidates have the right stuff for the job? In many cases, the faster you place candidates, the more you compromise certain quality standards. Quality is always more important than time to hire – focus on quality candidates!
- It doesn’t factor in retention. Once you’ve placed all your emphasis on quickly placing candidates into assignments, time to hire is done. You are no longer concerned with any other recruitment metrics, such as employee retention rates and candidate advancement. These are serious matters that the best performing recruitment firms factor in.
- It takes out the human factor. Sure, having a great time to hire number seems great, but you cannot fit just any candidate into any assignment. Attempts to beat the figures can result in poor fitting hires and major problems later on down the road. Again, carefully look at the human factor and get to know each candidate better to make sure the job fits their unique skill sets.
- It doesn’t work with specialists. Certain industries require highly educated and trained specialist candidates, therefore the time to hire metric just doesn’t work that well. In fact, you need to spend at least 30-45 days searching for the right candidate for a specialist assignment vs. trying to get in under that percentage. Time to hire just goes out the window.
The rule of thumb for successful recruiting is to stop worrying so much about metrics and focus instead on quality of hire. Take the time to carefully assess each candidate and open order. Don’t rush to fill assignments, rather find the best person for the job. This will help you grow as a company and increase your success rate as a recruiter.
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