Unemployment is at a historic low, meaning there are more open roles than available, qualified talent to fill them. And once qualified job seekers start looking for new opportunities, they get taken off the market. To secure top talent, your team needs to have a quick, efficient hiring process

Many employers who lose prospective applicants because of slow hiring have no way of knowing where applicants might have gotten held up in the process. But by continuously tracking data related to the hiring process, your team can identify areas for improvement--helping you speed up hiring time and build a team of qualified employees. 

According to the 2020 Global Talent Trends report from LinkedIn, there has been a significant increase in recent years of HR professionals with data analytics skills--up 242 percent in the past five years. The report surveyed 7,000 talent professionals from 35 countries. 

Whether your team is already tapping into data or you're looking to start taking a data-driven approach to your hiring, I've outlined a few key metrics your team should track.

1. Time to review applicants 

Hiring managers often receive applications only to let them sit in their inbox for days or weeks. During this time, not only will candidates get frustrated, but also top talent will likely receive job offers from other employers.

Each time you have an open role, your team should measure how long it takes to review applicants. If it takes a week, for example, you can set a goal encouraging your hiring managers to spend time each day reviewing new applicants. The sooner applicants are reviewed and acted upon, the sooner you can move along with the hiring process.

One reason many hiring managers take too long to review job applications is that they manually review each one--including those by people who would not be a fit for open roles. If this is the case with your team, you can take steps to avoid wasting time on unqualified applicants. For example, you can distribute automated prescreen surveys to applicants as soon as they apply, which will help you eliminate unqualified job seekers before your team spends time reviewing them. 

2. Time spent in each hiring step 

Beyond time to initially review applicants, it's also important for your team to have an understanding of how long candidates spend in each hiring step. This can help you identify where candidates are getting held up in the hiring process--and enables you to see where in the process you might be losing candidates to competing job offers. 

Armed with this data, you can determine key ways for your team to speed up hiring steps that tend to lag, helping you secure qualified talent before other employers. 

For example, if the data shows it takes several days or weeks for one of your hiring managers to schedule interviews--and your team loses applicants along the way--you can work with this manager to ensure he or she is more efficient with coordinating interviews. 

3. Total time to hire

Once you have an understanding of time to review applicants and total time in each hiring step, you can take a look at the bigger picture: total time to hire. This refers to the total time between when a job is posted and an offer letter is signed.

Each day that you have an open role at your organization, productivity is disrupted, as your current employees are left picking up the slack covering for the open position. And for each day you have an open revenue-driving position at your organization--such as a sales role--your overall revenue can take a hit. This means you need to be proactive about hiring quickly and efficiently.

In today's competitive hiring market, top talent is taken off the market within 10 days of beginning the job search. If the data shows your total hiring process takes longer than 10 days, you're missing out on the most qualified prospective candidates, meaning you need to speed up your hiring efforts. 

Decreasing your time to hire doesn't mean you should skip hiring steps. Along with sending prescreen surveys and setting goals with your hiring managers, as outlined above, you can also leverage technology to speed up certain hiring steps--such as interview guides during the interview stage and automated reference and background checks. 

Any action you can take to speed up your total hiring time--without skipping critical steps--will help your team hire the best possible candidates in the long run. By leveraging data and taking action to improve your hiring process, you can overcome the challenges of today's tight labor market and set your team up for success.