Time to Fill: A Key Recruitment Metric | Toggl Blog
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Time to Fill: A Key Recruitment Metric

Mile Zivkovic Mile Zivkovic Last Updated:

Time is money. This is true in all walks of life and it’s no different in hiring. As we’ve written before, the cost of hiring a new employee can be very high, and one of the biggest reasons is the time it takes. With that in mind, there is a hiring metric that deserves your full attention: time to fill.

Let’s dive deep into the time to fill metric; what it is, how it differs from its cousin – time to hire, how it impacts your recruitment process, and what you can do to improve it.

What is time to fill?

Simply put, time to fill is the total number of days that it takes to fill an open position in a company. There is no strict time point when the measuring begins, so you can choose from:

–   The moment you put out a job ad

–   The moment HR approves your job opening

–   The moment you officially submit a request for a job opening

On the other hand, the end date is usually just one – the moment when a candidate accepts your job offer. It doesn’t matter which starting date you choose. However, it does matter that you measure your time to fill consistently for all of your open roles.

For example, if you announced a job opening and it took 30 days to get a candidate that accepts your offer, your time to fill is 30 days. If you want to calculate your average time to fill, just add up the number of days and divide them by the number of positions. Let’s say that you filled three roles, at 30, 40 and 50 days each. Your average time to fill is 30+40+50/3, or in other words, it’s 40 days.

What’s a good time to fill?

Given that this is an important hiring metric, there are lots of companies that keep close track of it. A good time to fill for you will depend on lots of factors, mostly the industry that you’re in and the position that you’re hiring for.

The average time to fill across all industries is 42 days. However, it can go anywhere from 14 to 63 days, depending on a variety of factors. Needless to say, you need to aim to be on the lower end of that scale – we’ll explain why in a second..

average time to fill

Depending on your source, you’ll see different data. According to this research, the shortest time to hire is in the hospitality industry, with 10.2 days to fill a position. On the opposite side of the spectrum, it took 53.8 days to fill a position in government.

Time to fill vs. time to hire

These two hiring metrics are often mixed up because they are seemingly similar. Time to hire is the time from the first moment your best candidate(s) enters your hiring pipeline until the moment they accept your job offer. For example, your time to fill may be 40 days, but your time to hire could be 30 days because on day 10, your best candidate entered the pipeline.

time to fill vs. time to hire - what's the difference?

With this in mind, your time to fill and time to hire will usually be different numbers. Of course, you could get lucky and spot your best candidate on day one. It’s important to identify your best applicants as early as possible, which is why you should aim to make your time to hire as short as possible, like we did with Monese (it dropped by 86%!).

Why is it important to have a short time to fill?

Every day that a position is open costs more money. It doesn’t matter if you’re running ads on LinkedIn, Facebook or some kind of job board, you have to pay for your job ad to stay up.

Secondly, you have to work without an important role in your team. Imagine a SaaS company that’s left without a developer for two months – that’s a serious setback in time and money. The sooner a position is filled, the less money and productivity the company loses in the long run.

Thirdly, 70% of candidates lose interest in a position if they don’t hear back from a company one week after applying. In other words, a long hiring process means that you may lose your best candidates.

Finally, for those companies that outsource their HR, every day a position stays open incurs extra HR agency costs. 

One thing that’s important to bear in mind is that many companies calculate their time to fill differently because they may choose different starting points.

How to improve your time to fill

As mentioned, reducing time to fill is crucial for any company in any industry. From saving money to saving time and grabbing the best talent off the job market quickly, the benefits of a short time to fill are numerous. Here is how you can improve yours.

1. Analyze your hiring process

Break down your entire hiring process by length to find out which step takes the most time. For example, you may find out that it takes too long to source your candidates or that your interview process could be significantly shorter.

2. Reduce the time spent on screening

If you’re using resumes for hiring, you’ll want to know that resumes spend 23% of the hiring process in the screening stage. One of the easiest ways to reduce the time you spend on screening is to simply eliminate resumes as a hiring tool. Instead, we suggest using pre-employment assessment tools such as Toggl Hire. Instead of wasting time going through resumes and grading them, automate the way you test and score your candidates.

3. Tap into your previous applicant pool

If you’ve been around for some time, you probably hired for a few positions before. In addition to searching for new candidates, reach out to those that did great in the past but didn’t make the final cut. You may find some great opportunities and the candidates will have had more time to get even more experience.

4. Introduce more touchpoints

One of the easiest ways to get more candidates to apply is to open up your communication. Besides the applications that you get, you’ll also get lots of questions from interested applicants. Invest your time in answering them through email, your website chatbox, social media or whatever other channels the candidates may prefer.

5. Be smart about your interviews

The coronavirus pandemic taught us some pretty difficult lessons, but it also did one great thing. It showed us that all job interviews can be held online, regardless of the position. Even if you insist on working from the office, always try to have interviews online. Not only does it take less time for everyone involved, but it’s also far more convenient from the candidate.

6. Reach out to passive candidates

Sometimes, it’s much quicker to hire someone who’s already employed and looking to make a switch, instead of putting out a job ad and starting from scratch. As you look for new candidates in a traditional way, reach out to great performers that you would want on your team. This can be the quicker way of filling a position and you’ll make sure you get the best person for the job. As we mentioned more times on our blog, the best talent on the job market is gone in 10 days, which is why you have to look into hiring passive candidates if you want the absolute best the market has to offer.

Moreover, you can set up your favorite hiring software to automatically schedule interviews based on vacant slots on your calendar.

Average Time to Fill Metrics by Industry

Below are the average time to fill metrics by industry in the US, according to data from Workable, and DHI Group’s Hiring Indicators September 2017 report – which is itself compiled from data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).







Financial Services


Health Services




Leisure & Hospitality

Logistics & Supply Chain


Professional & Business Services


Staffing & Recruiting


Warehouse, Transport & Utilities

Wholesale & Retail

Average Time To Fill (days)






















Time to fill is one of the most important hiring metrics because neglecting it will cost you time and money. Even if you’re willing to wait months for your best candidate to show up, a longer time to fill will hurt your wallet and productivity.

By the way, one of the easiest ways to reduce your time to hire is to cut down your time on screening. Sign up for Toggl Hire today and find out how to replace resumes with skills tests, saving time and money!

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