Why Hiring Friction is Costing You Time, Productivity and Great Candidates – Part 1

Amit Samson

Learn more about Comeet’s collaborative recruiting platform. Click here to register to join our upcoming demo.

This is part 1 of a two-part series on hiring and recruiting metrics including the cost to hire and time to fill. 

Why is it so hard to find and recruit good candidates? Talent shortages play a part but recruiting isn’t easy even when talent is plentiful – if it were, every business would be best in class. A successful recruiting plan requires organization, communication, planning, and flexibility. They’re what make it possible to recruit top candidates, scale for growth and build a talent network.

Friction in the hiring process – bottlenecks, poor communication, unclear priorities and processes – costs you time, productivity and the kind of talent your business really needs. But just how big is the impact of that friction?

When Time to Fill Is Too Long

In 2016 the average time it took to fill a position in the U.S. jumped to 42 days. That’s almost two months spent on finding and integrating new employees, and two months where your team may be down critical team members. During those 42 days you aren’t just missing a key team member – the position you plan to fill – but your hiring team is dedicating hundreds of hours to finding the right person for the role. Taking too long to make a decision or making the wrong one means wasted time, money and mental energy.

Time to fill seems like a fairly simple metric. It’s just how long a position remains open, right? But while it’s cut and dry in terms of calculation, understanding its implications and impact is a little more complicated. Defining the what “time to fill” includes is the first step to understanding how efficient and effective your hiring team is. Time to fill is usually defined as the whole period of time in which you are seeking to fill an open position. It includes posting the job, screening resumes, interviewing, hiring and beginning the onboarding process.

A simple calculation for time to fill is just the number of days a position left vacant. Your average time to fill, then, is the total number of days all your open positions are left unfilled, divided by the total number of unfilled positions.

time to fill, recruiting metrics, hiring metrics

How Friction Drives Up Time to Fill

What’s harder to identify and understand are why some positions are harder to fill than others and how your internal processes impact that. Tools like Comeet, which provide metrics on all your open positions, make it easier to pinpoint problem areas and really understand where problems are cropping up. If, for example, all engineering positions are taking longer to fill than all administrative positions, then it’s clear that something is different about the hiring process. What’s great about Comeet is that it allows you to see if that difference is internal (a long gap between accepting and responding to resumes, for example) or external (fewer applicants) and make informed strategic plans to change things for the better.  

Comeet breaks down how much time you’re spending at each step of the hiring process, from identifying top candidates, to screening them, to sending an offer and finally to onboarding. Once you understand that you can look for ways to reduce your time to fill, saving yourself time and money, and getting top candidates working for you faster.

When Cost To Fill Is Too High

The average cost to fill in the U.S. is now $4,000. Some industries have higher costs to fill and some have lower. There’s also a great deal of debate in terms of how to calculate cost to fill because there are many soft costs including your hiring manager’s time to interview, select, and the discussion the happens prior to offering a candidate.  

The cost to fill a position is a key metric for all hiring teams. All organizations have a cost to fill the sweet spot. But when cost to fill is too high it puts a burden on the organization and makes it harder to fill future positions. Hiring teams should be able to justify their cost to fill and draw a clear map of how investing in recruiting has a big impact on an organization’s future.

But a high cost to fill isn’t always justified. Sometimes friction in the hiring process drives costs up past what the organization can bear. Understanding cost to fill and the bottlenecks that increase it is essential to having an effective and efficient talent strategy.

Cost to fill isn’t just the salaries paid to the hiring team. It includes a variety of fixed, unfixed, internal, external and sunk costs as I mentioned before. Sunk costs include the cost of your ATS system and other software used for your hiring team. External costs include advertising, posting jobs and performing background checks. Internal costs include employee referrals, compliance efforts and of course those salaries. Or put simply, Average Cost to Fill = Total External Costs + Total Internal Costs / Total Hires.

recruiting metrics, cost to fill, hiring metrics,

How Friction Drives Up Cost to Fill

Without a good hiring process cost to fill increases. It’s not just that cost to fill increases with time to fill (which it generally does) but friction within the hiring team can create other costly problems, like compliance-related lawsuits [link to ATS post] and fines or a high turnover rate. The cost of non-compliance and bad hiring practices is staggering. In the United States, employers lose $404 million in Employment Opportunity Commission settlements every year, alone, not to mention to other federal agencies and lawsuits. The cost of a high turnover rate is just as painful. It can cost up to six months of a position’s yearly salary to off-board an employee, restart the hiring process and then train a new hire. Consider too, the opportunity costs of missing out on top candidates who bailed on you because your hiring process was disorganized or too slow. Top performers are 10 times more productive than your average employees.

But just as hiring bottlenecks and bad practices can create costly, long term problems for an organization, improving your hiring process reaps immediate rewards. Cost to fill naturally shrinks over time after initial investments in applications and training are made, and your hiring team learns to work together.

Comeet, which helps you treat your hiring process with a project management mindset, reduces time to fill by helping you to prioritize the hiring process and keep the lines of communication open at all times, within the whole hiring team.

This is part 1 of a two-part series that dives deeper into hiring friction, recruiting metrics, and hiring best practices.

Learn more about Comeet’s collaborative recruiting platform. Click here to register to join our upcoming demo.