Increasing your speed of hire ranks as the No. 2 option for improving a firm’s quality of hire. The competition for talent is so high these days, that if you don’t hire extremely fast, quality candidates who apply at your firm will be gone within days because they have accepted another offer from a firm that acted faster. Some firms like Intuit have even had to resort to something as radical as “same-day hiring” to land applicants in tight fields like cybersecurity and AI before it’s too late.
If your firm is considering trying to speed up your corporate hiring process, know that, in my experience, most corporations stumble when they try to implement speed-of-hiring initiatives. A primary reason is that they pay little attention to speed-of-hire metrics. And when they do choose them, the wrong ones are used. The most common error is to rely on the classic time-to-fill metric solely.
Time to Fill — What’s Wrong With the Most Common of All Speed Metrics
Time to fill is often also known as time to hire. It is by far the most commonly used metric in the area of speed of hire. Unfortunately, it is an extremely misleading metric for a variety of reasons.
Traditional metric — Time to Fill — the average number of calendar days between the posting of a job and offer acceptance.
The primary flaw of this metric is that it is an average between all jobs. And that is problematic because the speed-of-hire approach is primarily needed only in hard-to-fill jobs where candidates are in extremely high demand. So, this metric is deceiving because even though your overall time-to-fill number of days may be relatively low, your time-to-fill could be extremely high in the handful of targeted jobs where extremely fast hiring is actually necessary. As a result, using this generalization metric can effectively hide the fact that where it really matters, your days to hire are way too long. Incidentally, if you’re curious, the average time-to-fill of the U.S. is currently 42 days (Source: HireVue).
The Top 7 Speed of Hire Metrics That You Should Be Using
Once you realize that relying solely on the classic time-to-fill metric is a major mistake, your next step should be to examine additional speed of hire metrics that really make a difference. There are six of them that I recommend.
“Time To Fill For “In Demand” Jobs” Is a Related But Superior Metric
This metric is superior primarily because it exclusively measures only the “in-demand” jobs — those that really require an extremely fast hiring decision to keep your top candidates from dropping out.
Speed metric No. 1 — Time to fill for in-demand jobs (TTFiD) — the number of calendar days between the posting of an “in demand job” and offer acceptance.
By reporting on only in-demand jobs, you not only place a focus on them, but you also keep recruiters from pushing speed hiring approaches for average jobs where they have little impact on quality of hire. A typical TTFiD metric target would be two weeks or fewer.
“Filled by Need date” (FbND) Is by Far the Most Powerful Metric
Both previously mentioned varieties of time-to-fill metrics focus on the number of days that it takes to fill a job. But unfortunately, it is quite possible to fill a job fast and then have the new hire available at a time when the business doesn’t really need them. For example, you could fill your Santa Claus openings in a handful of days. However, if you filled your Santa Claus jobs really fast in June, they unfortunately, would be available far before they were needed to begin work (around their “need date” in November).
Speed metric No. 2 — “Filled by Need Date” (FbND) — the average percent of time that a job is filled within three days of its “need date.”
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The need date is the date that the manager specifies when he or she needs the new hire to start their job. Filling a job by its “need date” reveals whether managers are getting the employees they need “on time” (as opposed to “too early” or “too late”). By tracking the percentage of fills occur on or close to the need date, you measure the percentage of times that the recruiting function produced the hire on (but not before or after) the date they were actually needed to start work.
Measuring the number of minutes, it takes to cook dinner … never tells you whether the food was actually ready exactly at dinner time.
Filling a job too early may mean you will need to pay salary dollars to a new hire who may be doing nothing more than standing around. And obviously filling a job too late will mean that some critical work will simply not get done. And if it’s a revenue job, revenue will be lost. The percentage 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.
Some Additional Speed-of-Hire Metrics That Can Have a Powerful Impact
There are other speed-of-hire metrics that will help you demonstrate to executives and managers the importance of hiring fast when the situation demands it. Those additional five measures include:
- Speed metric No. 3 — Quality-of-hire metric — the primary reason for hiring fast is that it prevents you from losing your highly valuable “in-demand” applicants to better offers. And by not losing quality candidates, you directly improve your chances of making a quality hire. You can’t tell if you’re increasing the quality of hire unless you directly measure it in a metric. In my experience, your quality-of-hire metric should measure only two things. The first component is the level of on-the-job performance of new hires compared to a standard. The second component is the retention rate of new hires over their first year.
- Speed metric No. 4 — The percent of exceptional applicants that were not hired — remember the primary reason why you hire fast is to avoid losing exceptional applicants to other offers. So, the best metric that shows that exceptional applicants are not dropping out of your hiring process prematurely is known as the “quality of those not hired” metric. It is measured by simply tagging all the exceptional applicants (or the top 5 percent) who have applied to one of your “in-demand” jobs. You then calculate the percentage of exceptional candidates who were not hired for whatever reason. The ideal “not hired” percentage should be less than 10 percent. Incidentally, you can even track these lost exceptional candidates on LinkedIn, where you can find out how quickly they got a job and where.
- Speed metric No. 5 — The dollar impact of speed hiring — if you expect to get executives and managers to pay attention to anything, you need to literally “show them the money.” To show them the dollar impact of speed hiring, focus only on your in-demand jobs where the performance of an employee is already measured in dollars. Start with sales, business development, collections, customer service, and accounts-receivable jobs. You should then work with the CFO’s office to calculate the dollar difference (the performance differential) between the dollar amounts generated by the speed of hire new hires and the dollar amounts generated by those hired under the normal time to fill. You can then use the difference in generated money to show that the ROI speed hiring in key jobs is incredibly high.
- Speed metric No. 6 — Identify the key delay points in the hiring funnel — this metric identifies problem areas. It should be evident that you can’t improve your speed of hire until you determine precisely where the longest hiring delays occur. Use a reengineering process and a process map to identify the areas within the recruiting funnel that take up the most delay days. Look for wide variations in the number of days used as a likely indication that improvement is possible. Then focus on external speed of hire benchmarking to find superior methods to reduce the delays at these pain points by at least 25 percent.
- Speed metric No. 7 — Satisfaction with the hiring process — make sure that an accelerated hiring process also improves the satisfaction of those who use it. Periodically survey hiring managers, your recruiters, and a sample of applicants to determine if their satisfaction with the hiring process is improving. Normally faster hiring with less frustration and delay makes managers, recruiters, and applicants more satisfied.
Unfortunately, most of those who lead corporate speed-of-hire initiatives routinely treat metrics as mostly an afterthought. That can severely damage your results because without the right metrics many have been fooled into thinking that their speed-of-hire process is actually producing the desired results (i.e., losing few exceptional candidates to other offers and increasing the on-the-job performance of your new hires), when in fact your speed of hire process is only producing mediocre results. If you failed to measure all the right things, you will focus on the wrong things, and unfortunately, you will likely produce the wrong results.
Author’s Note: If you could not attend my well-received speed-of-hire workshop at the ERE conference, you can find the slide deck for it at www.drjohnsullivan.com. If this article stimulated your thinking and provided you with actionable tips, please take a minute to follow or connect with me on LinkedIn and subscribe to the ERE Daily.
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