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Time To Fill Best Practices for Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Teams

Most Underestimate Time to Fill

Companies have a tendency to underestimate time to fill. And when they're doing their hiring plans, they typically make best-case-scenario assumptions versus the reality. If a single software engineer role was filled in 30 days in 2020, that doesn’t mean you should project 30 days for all future software engineer roles. Market conditions are constantly changing and that software engineer might take 60 days in 2022.

We recommend adding two weeks on top of your average time to fill just to be sure you have enough time. Although there is a lot in your control to make hiring more predictable, you're still dealing with people, who can be unpredictable. Adding two weeks will make sure you have a little bit of extra time and will help you set realistic expectations.

Your time to fill estimates shouldn't be averaged out across the entire company. At a minimum, it should be broken out on a department level basis but ideally on a per role basis. The best way to come up with accurate time to fill estimates on a per role basis is to look at the data for your specific company.

What Does The Data Say?

Forecasting time to fill for different positions is an exercise made easier with data. Look in your systems to see the average time to fill for technical roles, sales roles, marketing roles and others. Using internal data is the best way to benchmark. Consult with your SecureVision talent advisor to understand current market competitiveness for each role you're trying to fill.

If you’re in a situation where you don’t have any data, here are some general time-to-fill guidelines to help you:

  • junior roles can be around 30 to 45 days

  • mid-level roles can be 45 to 60 days

  • senior roles, leadership roles, senior director roles, etc, can be 60 to 90 days

From this point on, start collecting data to help you generate more accurate forecasts.

How Time to Fill Impacts Capacity Planning

Communicating realistic time to fill goals to hiring managers, senior leadership, and department heads is critical to setting yourself up for success. A lot of companies end up with a really tight five or six weeks time to fill for every position across the board, and then they don't fill those roles on time and the talent acquisition team winds up looking bad.

Inaccurate time to fill estimates can mess up the hiring plan for the entire year. When you start capacity planning and assigning roles out to your recruiters, the workloads they have to manage ends up becoming a lot more which can lead to poor outcomes for the talent acquisition team.

Consider this, if a recruiter is working on an executive leadership role, for example VP of technology or VP of Product, there's a good chance that could take up to 50% of their time. The reality might be they're only working on that singular role 50% of the time, and then they're working on maybe three other positions for the other 50% of the time. That's only four roles, which is contrary to how a lot of companies are doing it, which is putting 20 - 30 open roles on a recruiters plate regardless of the role.

Given the competitiveness in the market for talent, baking in a higher time to fill makes sense. Even if the time to fill is 45 days, you need to give yourself and your team realistic goals and enough time to accomplish those goals. Of course, velocity is important. So you always try to meet that goal as well.

How SecureVision Can Help

Here at SecureVision, we are constantly helping our clients improve their talent acquisition function including time to fill optimization. For more information on time to fill best practices, benchmarks, and industry data, please reach out to us.


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