Having recently read Dr John Sullivan’s article on Speed of Hire, Talenytics’ Chief Strategy Officer Howard Flint is left wondering whether or not it could really plug the current gap in hiring metrics.

Speed of Hire is an interesting way of dressing up the traditional Time to Hire metric we all know and (sort of) love. Due to the similarities between the two, the first issue we encounter is the temptation to confuse them and end up with the same old issues we’ve always had.

The Trouble With ‘Time to Hire’

While I believe that the generalised measure of Time to Hire is of little real value to organisations, it is deeply embedded in most hiring teams’ psyche. Time of Hire doesn’t take into account the difficulty in finding candidates for different roles, nor does it consider whether speed or quality is the most important hiring factor.

At its worst, Time to Hire can actually drive negative behaviours within hiring teams; the “let’s just get a bum on a seat as fast as we can regardless of quality” mentality springs to mind. Why, then, is Time to Hire still so prevalent?

The answer is simple – it’s measured because it’s easy to measure! The average ATS can provide this data, and so hiring teams extract the data and use it for reporting. Despite the fact that it gives very little indication as to whether a recruitment team is operating well or poorly, it’s still offered up as proof of performance.

Furthermore, there’s no consensus on what a good Time to Hire looks like. In fact, some of the organisations I’ve worked with prided themselves on having a long Time to Hire – 142 days is the longest I’ve come across – but when an organisation is recruiting high-value staff, e.g.professional services where the ‘product’ is the individual’s skills, it’s imperative to spend time getting the right people.

How About ‘Fill By Need Date’ Instead?

Dr Sullivan posits that ‘Fill by Need Date’ is “by far most powerful metric” of them all. He says,

“The percentage of jobs filled on the “need date” (on time) is a superior measure because it encourages recruiters to complete all hires when they are needed, rather than blindly attempting to fill all jobs faster, no matter how inappropriate and costly that may be.”

I am on board with the fact that Fill by Need Date is a much better metric than good old Time to hire, but I’d argue that understanding the percentage deviation from the need date would be far more use to teams than the arbitrary +/-3 days Dr Sullivan suggests.

The main issue with Fill by Need Date is that no one currently measures it. Target dates are often vague when being agreed at the intake meeting, aren’t recorded, therefore aren’t available for review or analysis post-hire. How often are deadlines pushed back by either the recruiter or the hiring manager? It’s unrealistic to pin performance measurement on information that isn’t reliable.

Finding an Alternative

Dr Sullivan mentions other related and relevant metrics, such as Quality of Hire, in his article, and to me these stand out as being the most obvious choices of robust measurement for hiring teams.

However, the metric that Dr Sullivan fails to mention is productivity, i.e. how efficient and effective are those involved in recruitment at finding the people the organisation needs. Recruiting quickly may be important, but what valuable company resources are being used to deliver this objective?

Recruitment productivity may be higher if more time is taken to carefully assess candidates for goodness of fit. Speed should not sacrifice good resource management.

We considered all of these factors during the development of Talenytics, which is the first platform to accurately measure and quantify Quality of Hire. That’s why;

  • The baseline requirement for dates is recorded in our intake meeting process
  • Recruiter and hiring manager performance is measured versus this baseline
  • Productivity information is collated and reported on

You can read the full article from Dr Sullivan here.


If you’d like to see Talenytics in action, or to find out how it could benefit your organisation, please get in touch to request a free demo.

Howard Flint

Howard Flint

Chief Strategy Officer

Howard has worked in the HR and Recruitment sphere for almost 20 years. He is dedicated to providing his advice and expertise to global HR leaders to help improve Quality of Hire.