Are Your Requisitions Falling Into Today’s Time To Fill Black Hole?

Are Your Requisitions Falling Into Today’s Time To Fill Black Hole?

Mike Roberts

Earlier this year, we discussed how in February 2015 average time to fill hit a fifteen-year high of almost 27 working days. That was concerning in and of itself, but it seems as though we were only scraping the surface of what’s turning out to be an even bigger issue. DHI Hiring Indicators recently reported that time to fill (or average vacancy duration) has hit yet another high: 27.8 working days. It doesn’t seem to be improving.

On its website, DHI Hiring Indicators said, “The DHI-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure climbed to 27.8 working days in May 2015, another all-time high and 3.3 days above its May 2014 value. The latest mean vacancy duration figure for the U.S. economy is 23% greater than in May 2007, before the onset of the financial crisis and recession.”

The accompanying line chart shows trends that are indicative of a few talent acquisition challenges that have been mounting:
long time to fill

If this trend persists, talent acquisition teams are going to be answering some tough questions from senior leaders inside and outside of their department in the not-too-distant future. That said, now is the time to evaluate performance in this area, and start making plans to bring this number down before it starts affecting your organization’s performance.

7 Factors That Impact the Time To Fill Recruiting Metric

Time to fill is a metric that is impacted by many different factors. Below, we’ll discuss seven different ones—some in your control and some out of our control—that should be on your radar.

1. Economic health

How the general economy is preforming can certainly impact time to fill. If we look back at previous data on time to fill, we can see the vacancy durations were significantly lower around the time of the Great Recession. Clearly, companies didn’t have a hard time filling positions, because so many professionals were looking for employment.

2. Internal communication

Especially at large organizations, where thousands of people may be hired every year, it’s not all that uncommon for a position to go unfilled for long periods of time. In some cases, it may have simply been forgotten, and in others a recruiter might be waiting for a hiring manager’s feedback on a particular candidate or set of candidates. Either way, having a standardized process and technology that enables progress can be crucial here.

There’s also a challenge with getting the right information from hiring managers up front. If hiring managers don’t clearly convey requirements of the requisition to the recruiter, they might be presented with candidates that are a mismatch, which of course slows down the hiring process.

3. Offer competitiveness

There seems to be a connection between the economy recovering from the Great Recession and growth in average time to fill. As more companies are hiring and demand rises for new workers, recruiters need to be able to offer competitive salaries and benefits. Some recent research is showing that the inability to meet job seeker salary expectations is resulting in rejected offers. As an article from ERE recently said, “47 percent [of recruiters] say the biggest obstacle to hiring are salaries that are too low.”

4. Time to offer

A few weeks ago, we asked the question, “When was the last time you went through your own application process?” This was meant to inspire recruiters to review their own career site. The same can be said for the interview process. Does it take a week to set up a phone interview? And then another few weeks to get to the in-person interview? It may be beneficial to review the length of your process by interview stage, and make some adjustments.

5. Candidate quantity

Any recruiter will tell you the strength of her talent pipeline is directly related to her ability to fill a position. Continually operating in a reactive state often means starting from scratch with identifying, attracting, and engaging talent—all attributing to a longer time to fill. Becoming more proactive is a long-term strategy that could have a big impact in this area. But having too many applicants can be a challenge, too.

As was discussed in The Talent Board’s 2014 Candidate Experience eBook, which compiled data from 150 firms and 95,000 survey-takers, “Companies on the average receive an excessive number of resumes per every open full-time permanent position. This according to the CandE data from the past two years alone that shows open requisitions for all levels of positions are tracking over 200 resumes each.” You can read more about the research here.

These high applicant numbers some companies are experiencing raise questions about the age-old challenge of quantity versus quality.

6. Candidate quality

Getting hundreds of applications for a position doesn’t mean much if the quality’s not there. This can impact your ability to fill seats. But improving quality of candidates isn’t something that can be done overnight. It will take some inspection of areas like your application process (the qualifiers you’re using), from where you’re sourcing candidates, and so on.

7. Dollars spent to market openings

A decade ago, dollars spent to market openings tended to mean “how much money are you spending on job boards?” As more companies start shifting resources away from job boards to things like the candidate experience on their career site, social recruiting, and SEO, this becomes harder to measure on a per-requisition basis. But it’s still important to acknowledge the connection between recruitment marketing spend and time to fill.

Filling your positions at a faster rate

As shown above, there are many different factors that impact time to fill. While you cannot control the economy’s performance, you can definitely adapt your recruiting strategy in response to it. When it comes to talent acquisition, the agility of recruiting organizations isn’t something many people think about. But driving continuous improvement means having the ability to identify areas for growth given the current and prospective circumstances, and then taking action.

All of the other areas discussed on this list are in the control of talent acquisition teams—to some degree. It would be very helpful to break each of them down and determine where refinements can be made, so your requisitions don’t fall victim to this growing time to fill black hole.

The first step toward making any data-driven decisions is to get a better understanding of analytics in recruiting in general. To learn more read our whitepaper, Analytics in Talent Acquisition: The Hype, the Reality, and the Future.

analytics whitepaper cta


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