Research Library Article


New U.S. Time-to-Hire Data

David Earle

Three sources explain rising national time-to-hire statistics, and also point to the increasing need for dedicated data capabilities within the corporate staffing function.

In a recent series of articles, the Wall Street Journal reviewed data from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Glassdoor, and DHI. The Conference of Mayors data reviews unemployment statistics, city by city,  from 2013-2015 plus projections through 2017. While the overall national trend is down as the nation approaches what economists consider full employment, individual metro areas have performed differently and will continue to do so. For example in places like Dallas-Ft Worth and Houston, healthy job gains appear to be mostly over with future employment remaining flat. In the NY Metro, on the other hand, employment is projected to continue rising.

The DHI report provides an industry-by-industry review of time-to-hire as measured from requisition to accepted-offer. Breakouts include private vs public, 14 industry sectors, labor market slackness, company size and recruiting intensity (a metric covering recruiting methods used, expenditures, screening speed, comp packages and hiring stance).

The data from Glassdoor focuses specifically on interviews, a component of the hiring process that often results in unwanted time delays and is especially tricky to manage given its opposing mandates of efficiency and effectiveness.

Staffing efficiency is devilishly difficult to get right. It’s highly circumstantial, subject to several dozen variables, and much less important to corporate success than staffing effectiveness, which means hiring people who turn out to be great performers and corporate citizens. A staffing organization can be highly efficient yet serve its organization’s overall business interests poorly.

Mean Vacancy

While relatively useless as measures of staffing performance excellence, statistics like these are useful if they prompt questions, starting with, “Is our staffing function 100% effective in doing what we want it to do? If not, why not?”

For example, if a company decides to target a 90% first year retention rate and 75% outstanding performance reviews, its time to hire and cost per hire will probably, and justifiably, exceed industry norms for TTH and CPH, perhaps by considerable amounts. If those quality goals and business goals are met, is it fair to say the staffing function is inefficient?

Data like this is also useful in revealing trends. We don’t know exactly why interview times are rising (there are multiple reasons), but it’s interesting to note the steady increase over a broad range of industries. More questions: “Does that reflect our experience? What is causing the increase? is this hurting our recruiting? What are the direct and indirect costs?

It’s also interesting to note how this information is increasingly coming from “big data,” in other words, data produced by systems instead of data produced by individual surveys. Glassdoor didn’t have to invite 70,000 people to submit information about the interview process. It embedded the questions in its platform. The system did the work.

Most interesting of all is the issue of who in each HR organization is responsible for collecting, managing, analyzing and reporting on this kind of data in order to generate the best possible talent intelligence and performance for business leaders. That kind of expertise is already a defining characteristic of top tier staffing organizations.


  • DHI — Analysis of U.S. vacancy duration rates derived from U.S. Bureauy of Labor JOLTS data
  • Conference of Mayors —  U.S. job market data by metro area, 2013-2017
  • Glassdoor  — Analysis of international interview processes based on proprietary data

“The latest outlook is broadly upbeat, though there’s still some bad news for urban centers and their suburbs…While just over half of all cities have hit record employment levels, almost one-third expected to remain short of that mark by the end of 2016…It will still be the case that 130 metros will enter 2017 with fewer jobs than they supported almost a decade ago.” - Wall Street Journal





Wall Street Journal

Date Published

All 2015



Sample Size



U.S. Conference of Mayors - all U.S. metro areas

Glassdoor - all

DHI Hiring Indicators - all

Company Size

U.S. Conference of Mayors - NA

Glassdoor - all

DHI - all


U.S. Conference of Mayors - U.S.A

Glassdoor - worldwide



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