Time to Fill: What’s Holding Up Job Offers and Acceptance?

Time to Fill: What’s Holding Up Job Offers and Acceptance?

Emily Smykal

The time to fill metric has a direct impact on the performance of your organization. Whether you’re replacing an employee, or filling a new position, that opening leads to reduced productivity and increased use of HR resources. No one wants to make a mistake and hire the wrong person, but recruiters are acutely aware of the pressure to fill vacancies sooner rather than later.

Plus, an accurate measurement of time to fill can help demonstrate the efficiency of your talent acquisition strategy. So it would make sense for lower time to fill to be a priority for recruiters. Yet the mean time to fill in the U.S. hit 29.3 working days in April this year, a new high. Economic uncertainties, fluctuations in the labor market, talent shortages in certain industries, and inefficient recruitment practices may all be hampering efforts to fill jobs quickly.

To get a better idea of the hold up in time to fill from a recruiter’s perspective, we analyzed responses to MRINetwork’s 2016 Recruiter & Employer Sentiment Study. This survey of global recruiters, human resource professionals and hiring managers examined the current employment situation and projected its path in the coming months.

What Is Time to Fill?

Simply put, time to fill is the total number of days an available job goes unfilled. Talent acquisition analytics then collects that number for every job posting within a specific time period, and finds the average. This metric has become important both for recruiters and for their organizations as a whole.

Time to fill reflects how quickly and efficiently a talent acquisition team can source, select, and ultimately hire a new employee. Measuring time to fill can help recruiters identify inefficiencies in their process, ideally leading to a lower metric in the future. Perhaps it takes too long to get your job descriptions posted in the most visible locations. Or maybe hiring managers don’t have enough time to conduct interviews on a timely basis.

Time to fill also lets the company know just how long, on average, the burden of an unfilled role must be passed on to other workers. This can disrupt the normal productivity in your office, possibly delaying projects that were previously on track. And time to fill can be useful when leaders from outside HR need to get more involved in the recruitment process, as it demonstrates to them the importance of making more efficient hiring decisions.

What’s Causing Delays?

MRINetwork asked its respondents to identify the factors that prevent them from hiring new workers, excluding their organization’s revenue. The most common response? Lengthy hiring practices, which 56% of recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers attributed to longer time to fill. Close behind was the lack of suitable candidates for their vacancies (52%).

HR professionals also blamed hiring delays on an inability to offer the most competitive compensation (45%) and even resistance from senior leaders to sign off on their choices (23%). And some of the less popular choices reflect the small but growing changes in candidate preferences for new jobs. A lack of telecommuting and flexible schedules hampered 9% of recruiters, while the unavailability of clear promotions and career paths delayed hiring for 8% of respondents.

Many of these issues are related, as a shortage of appropriate talent might lead to hesitancy from management to approve a new hire. And less competitive salary packages may reflect constrained resources throughout the organization, which could contribute to a less efficient hiring process. All of which only serve to compound the problem of time to fill.

reasons for hiring delays
Is Candidate Quality the Answer?

One of the biggest factors increasing time to fill, according to the MRINetwork survey, was the scarcity of candidates qualified for the jobs recruiters need to fill. So the study dug a little deeper into this issue. Recruiters and HR professionals were also asked which issues they face most often when trying to source qualified applicants.

Half of the respondents said there just are not enough suitable candidates out there to fill the jobs they have open. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as we’ve seen numerous reports of the skills shortage many industries face today. For many recruiters, the simple fact is that not enough workers have the skills needed to satisfy employer demands.

candidate quality concerns
Another problem in the search for qualified candidates is the amount of unqualified responses HR professionals find in their inbox. Many Americans are still eagerly looking for work, and job boards have made it easier than ever to submit resumes for countless job postings after just a few clicks. While that process may seem simple from the candidate’s perspective, it adds up to a lot of time for recruiters to sift through each resume, with the hope of finding a gem among the junk. We’ve seen some companies use assessments, as a follow up to the application, to further quality candidates.

Recruiters alone cannot increase the number of qualified candidates in the job market–there is much work to be done from all sides to upgrade the skills of our workforce. But talent acquisition teams can take some steps to find better applicants, and help bring down their time to fill. One source of top talent is passive job seekers, those already employed who may not be actively looking for work. They may already have the skills recruiters are looking for, making them easier to move through the hiring process, cutting back your time to fill.

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