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

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

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.