Fill vs. Find

About two-thirds of companies use “time to fill” as a metric, a measurement that Stephen Lowisz, for one, pooh-poohs.

Tony Blake, of last night’s recruiting-department-of-the-year award-winner DaVita, says the “infamous time-to-fill metric is somewhat of a necessary evil in recruiting.”

But, Blake said today at ERE’s Spring conference, a better metric is “time to find.” This is the time beginning when a job request comes in, ending in the time the recruiter sends the candidate to the hiring manager.

“If it took five weeks to fill the job,” Blake says, “but if they sent the job to the hiring manager after seven days, the time-to-find is seven days. The great sourcers on our team are literally sending great candidates in the first 10-14 days of the process.”

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By lowering registered nurse time-to-fill 15.1%, DaVita saved $5.5M in potential overtime and contract nursing costs, while filling over 3,300 registered nurse positions.


4 Comments on “Fill vs. Find

  1. I thoroughly agree that time to find, or time to slate is much more reflective of the service delivery recruiting brings to the table. Time to fill has influences that are beyond the scope of control of recruiting alone.

    If recruiting gets evaluated on time to fill it seems that the hiring manager should also be evaluated against that measure.

  2. During the panel group session today, I received a great question today about DaVita’s use of metrics – and immediately after the session I was upset with myself for giving a rather lame answer.

    At DaVita, we talk about spreading ripples of citizen leadership. In that spirit, I’ve highlighted below EACH metric we included in our application. This is only a FRACTION of what we track and measure with DaVita recruiting. I would like to invite anyone to reach out to me at to discuss these metrics or anything else metrics-related – it’s one of my passions.


    ? Lowered 2008 RN vacancy rates (percentage of positions open) by 19.4% versus 2007. This is the second consecutive year we’ve achieved significant vacancy rate improvement (15.5% prior year).
    ? In the context of the U.S. nursing shortage, we have grown our RN population 17.1% over the last two years.
    ? By lowering RN time-to-fill 8 days (15%), we saved the DaVita Village $5.5M in potential overtime and contract nursing while filling over 3,300 RN positions.
    ? Additionally, this reduced cycle time avoided 140,000 vacant patient care hours, resulting in delivery of an additional 300,000 patient treatments.
    ? Again, from an economic perspective, we reduced external recruiting fees by 41%, saving another $3.0M.
    ? Customer satisfaction increased – as measured by hiring manager and new hire surveys – every quarter during 2008 (currently 4.5 and 4.7 respectively – on a 5.0 scale).
    ? In the quarterly survey of 70 corporate departments at DaVita, we cracked the Top 20 for the first time ever (as recently as Q1-2006 we were a Bottom 5, “broken” department).
    ? Six of our recruiting teammates rode in the 2nd annual Tour DaVita – this year a 280-mile, 4-day bike ride across Wisconsin – and raised over $10,000 for kidney care awareness.

    ? In 2008, our website became our #2 source for external hires, behind teammate referrals. Combined with a SEM strategy, site visits increased by 55%, unique visitors increased by 39%, and page views increased by 65%. We beat Google benchmarks for healthcare company sites in average time spent on site, average bounce rate, and pages per visit.
    ? Executed a targeted strike on a competitor which resulted in 113 experienced clinical hires, $2.8M savings in training costs, stealing 7% of our competitor’s workforce, and 1 “cease & desist” letter!
    ? Of the 40 teammates in clinical recruiting roles, 8 of them were promoted last year – demonstrating that we are constantly increasing bench strength and growing our own recruiting talent.
    ? Unlike most healthcare companies, WE KEEP REQ LOADS DOWN! Our field recruiters only carry about 25 openings at a time on average. In 2006, the average was 60.
    ? RECRUITER PRODUCTION: Our field recruiters average 17 clinical hires (fills) per month for licensed healthcare talent in the hard-to-fill areas of RNs, registered dietitians, and masters-level social workers.
    ? We DONATE $150 for each referral hire to the non-profit Kidney Trust, which provides our communities 5-10 free kidney screenings with each hired referral.
    ? Using “TIME TO FIND” the hired candidate rather than “Time to Fill” as our key sourcing measure of effectiveness (contact me for a more formal definition)
    ? FORCE-RANKING recruiters every month using a unique Recruiter Scorecard – which drives our recruiters’ quarterly bonus payments. This scorecard is re-set every quarter, as recruiters are “scored” on production, hiring manager surveys, sourcing time, and divisional vacancy rates.
    ? Our CEO and Village Mayor, Kent Thiry, was featured in a “Defining Moments” recruiting video on and We conservatively estimate that this 5-minute video has been viewed over 10,000 times.
    ? Our dedicated military recruiter hired 27 diverse, retired leaders from the armed forces to assume director and manager positions within DaVita.

  3. First of all, hats off to Tony and his team for a job well done!

    Its quite obvious that niether “Time to Present” nor “Time to Fill” is an issue for Tony and his team. The additional metrics that Tony lists in his comments show that quality of hire, hire manager satisfaction, sourcing methods, etc are the metrics driving his team. As a result, my assumption is that the cost per hire and time to fill/present are reduced. There is a saying I like to quote – “The smartest recruiting managers don’t make problems go away, they make sure they never appear!”

    A poor time to fill/present is a way to determine that there is a problem somewhere in the recruiter’s process, however focusing only on that metric drives bad behaviors. Focusing on high quality activity and conversation rates by recruiters ultimatley drives down the time to fill/present – making sure the problem never arises.

    My previous article that Todd refers to does a good job of explaining the negative impacts of focusing on time/cost as part of the recruiters performance rating. These metrics are a tool for recruiting managers to hold themselves accountable to, not their individual recruiters. If the recruiters focus on quality of activity (conversion rates – see my article), quality of hire, client/candidate expereince,etc., it will almost always drive down time and cost to fill.

    Any business manager needs to understand the cost effectiveness and return on investment for their group, however we need to drive the appropriate recruiter behaviors through the right set of metrics.

    It is obvious that Tony is one of those managers that focuses on making sure the problems never appear, not in being reactive and making sure problems go away!

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