Time-to-Fill vs. Time-to-Hire – Which Is More Important?

Time-to-Fill vs. Time-to-Hire: Which Is More Important?

Among numerous recruitment metrics, two of them primarily demonstrate a company’s recruitment efficiency. Time-to-Hire and Time-to-Fill can sometimes be misunderstood as the same KPI. However, they indicate different timeframes throughout the recruiting funnel.

What do they each represent? Which one is more important?


The Time-to-Hire rate is a candidate-centric metric. It refers to the length of time a candidate is engaged in the recruitment process. It starts when a candidate applies for a job posting and continues until the individual accepts the offer. This number tells you how fast your hiring process is from the candidate’s point of view.

Time-to-Hire Days = Day candidate accepts the offer – Day candidate enters the pipeline

According to AIHR, the average Time-to-Hire days in the US is 24 days.


The Time-to-Fill rate indicates the amount of time in which a position can be filled. It starts when the requisition gets approved or the recruiter receives the requisition. It then continues until the candidate begins the role. This number gives you a bigger picture of how the entire recruitment process runs.

Time-to-Fill Days = Day candidate starts at the position – Day recruiter receives the requisition

According to the Talent Acquisition Benchmark Report by SHRM, the average Time-to-Fill days in the US is 36 days.

Relationship Between Time-to-Hire and Time-to-Fill

As the below diagram shows, Time-to-Hire days are part of Time-to-Fill days. Time-to-Hire emphasizes one individual candidate’s experience, whereas Time-to-File indicates the end-to-end recruitment process.

Time-to-Hire & Time-to-Fill
Time-to-Hire & Time-to-Fill

Which Metric Is More Important?

It depends on various factors—for example, size of business, level of collaboration, etc.

For enterprise companies, the Time-to-Fill rate might be much higher than the Time-to-Hire rate because of the time spent on background checks. In this case, the focus can be on how to expedite the onboarding process to lower the Time-to-Fill rate.

For small businesses, sourcing qualified candidates may take quite a while, impacting hiring time. In this case, a lower Time-to-Hire rate would be more critical.

How to Utilize the Two KPIs

Leverage these two KPIs, and based on the analysis to build your recruitment strategy or shift target of improvement, is a good start towards organizational recruitment process optimization.

Comparing Time-to-Hire and Time-to-Fill with their benchmarks can help you understand how far away you are from the market standards.

Why does Time-to-Hire take longer than the benchmark? Could it be the result of inefficient communication with the candidate or the hiring manager?

Analyzing the difference between Time-to-Hire and Time-to-Fill can help you discover the discrepancies within your operations and collaborations.

Why is the Time-to-Fill rate much higher than the Time-to-Hire rate? Would it be because of the long onboarding process? If so, which part could have been the roadblock, and how can we collaborate better to ensure seamlessness?

Start with analyzing these two metrics if your organization is in the early stages of building a data-driven recruitment strategy and not sure where to look. It can be your first step in utilizing data to optimize your recruitment process.

How to shorten your Time-to-Hire and Time-to-Fill ratios? Check out my article about Agile Recruitment.

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