Time to Start: What It Is, Why Use It, and How to Calculate It

Time to Start is another top metric that every Recruiting and HR team should track and monitor regularly.


Different from Time to Fill, Time to Start represents the number of days that a vacated position stays empty until a new hire is recruited and onboarded. The longer a position stays empty, the more productivity loss your team will experience, and the more the responsibilities of that job will be distributed to other team members.


This guide will tell you everything you need to know about Time to Start, how to calculate it, and how you can best use this metric in reports and analyses.


Table of Contents

  1. What is Time to Start?

  2. Why Measuring Time to Start

  3. Time to Start vs. Time to Fill

  4. How to Calculate Time to Start

  5. Using Time to Start to Make Better Workforce Decisions


What is Time to Start?


Time to Start measures the total number of calendar days from the date a job becomes vacant to the date a new hire starts work in the new position, summed across all hires or positions filled and expressed as an average number of days when divided by the total number of hires or positions filled.


Time to Start is largely driven by internal recruiting planning, job requisition posting, onboarding time and other post-offer processes.


Organizations typically measure the metric Time to Fill for externally hired positions, as opposed to Time to Start, which counts every day the position is vacant or unfilled instead of the time it takes recruiting to fill the position.


Why Measuring Time to Start


Time to Start is most commonly used as a measure of HR recruiting or talent acquisition efficiency. When using with other advanced recruiting metrics like Internal Hire Rate, Net Hire Ratio, and Cost per Hire, Time to Start is a great metric because it helps shine a spotlight on existing recruiting challenges and bottlenecks that leaders might miss.


Time to Start is also an excellent indication and measurement of productivity loss due to vacancy. An excessive number of vacancy dates will negatively impact employee engagement, employee morale as well as workforce productivity.


Time to Start vs. Time to Fill


As illustrated in Time to Fill.


If Time to Fill is an indicator of how efficient a recruiting team is at filling an empty position start, Time to Start is the efficiency measurement of the entire recruiting process from the date a job becomes vacant till the date a new hire finishes the onboarding process and starts the new position.


You can visualize the differences and see a side-to-side definition comparison between Time to Fill and Time to Start below:

Time to Start: Total number of calendar days from the date a job becomes vacant to the date a new hire starts work in the new position.

Vs.

Time to Fill: Total number of calendar days from the date a job requisition is posted to the date a new hire accepts the position.


How to Calculate Time to Start


Definition: Total number of calendar days from the date a job becomes vacant to the date a new hire starts work in the new position, expressed as an average number of days when divided by the total number of hires or positions filled.

Using Time to Start to Make Better Workforce Decisions


Example 1: Use Time to Start as a Recruiting Score and KPI

Time to Start is often used hand in hand with Time to Fill as indicators of talent acquisition effectiveness and efficiency. This metric is most important when the organization is seeing an excessive number of vacancies or vacancy dates versus the industry average or when it begins to trend upward.


We recommend that HR uses this metric with other talent quality metrics to ensure that the organization is filling empty positions quickly and with highly qualified individuals.


Example 2: Cross compare Time to Start with Other Metrics for Additional Insights

Similar to Time to Fill, we recommend that HR cross-compares Time to Start with other employee metrics such as the number of qualified candidates, employee engagement scores, and retention rates for better insights into the talent pipelines.


Example 3: Discover additional Insights by Filtering Time to Start by various Workforce Dimensions

When measurement dimensions such as workforce category, critical job group, business unit, performance category, and tenure category are added, Time to Start can be a predictor of improved Time to Full Productivity, cost savings from minimized overtime or open position lost revenue or productivity, reduced total cost of workforce and voluntary turnover.


Below is an example of new insights can be found by drilling Time to Fill by job category.


Want to see how your organization can better measure and track the Time to Start? Talk to us.

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