Key takeaways:

  • Recruiting metrics measure candidate sourcing and pipeline efforts as well as overall recruiting performance and ROI.
  • Examples of these metrics include time to fill, cost per hire, source of hire, and quality of hire.
  • Organizations need to track recruitment metrics to demonstrate the health of their recruitment departments and the new talent’s return on investment.

Take a look at our Recruitment Software and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) guides for solutions to start tracking your recruiting metrics.

What are recruiting metrics?

Recruitment metrics are measurements companies can use to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of their hiring processes. As businesses grow beyond the need for an occasional hire here and there, gathering and analyzing recruitment is essential to streamlining hiring processes. 

In particular, recruitment metrics can:

  • Help a company see the success of its hiring efforts.
  • Indicate if a company budgeted for recruitment spending correctly.
  • Determine inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the hiring pipeline.
  • Provide insights around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) hiring practices.
  • Measure the effectiveness of candidate sources.
  • Support candidate engagement and retention.

Layering recruiting metrics with effective hiring strategies can take your recruitment process to the next level. Check out our 5 Employee Recruitment Strategies To Improve Your Hiring Process video to start optimizing your hiring procedures.

Which recruiting metrics should you measure? 

Companies decide which recruiting metrics to track based on their unique business objectives. There are many metrics to choose from, but layering metrics from these four categories can help optimize recruitment processes and initiatives:

  • Sourcing metrics
  • Candidate pipeline metrics
  • Recruitment performance metrics
  • Return on investment metrics

Sourcing metrics

Sourcing metrics measure where and how candidates enter a company’s recruitment funnel. This data is relevantly easy to track — even by manual methods — and is useful in determining a source’s return on investment (ROI).

The two most common metrics tracked in this category are the source of hire and the source of application.

Source of hire provides insight into how applicants enter a company’s recruitment pipeline, whether through referrals, recruitment agencies, social media, online job boards, or another avenue.

Source of application is a narrower metric indicating the exact sourcing channel from which the candidate’s application came. For example, a candidate’s source of hire may be an online job board but their source of application is LinkedIn.

With sourcing channel effectiveness, companies can quickly determine which sourcing methods and channels produce enough quality candidates for the quantity received.

For instance, say sourcing channel A produces 100 candidates, of which a company hires five. Meanwhile, sourcing channel B produces 300 candidates, of which the company employs three. The sourcing channel effectiveness of channel A is 5% while channel B’s is 1%. In other words, companies can see channel A is more effective than channel B.

By determining which sources provide the most and best candidates, companies can invest more time and money into the methods and channels reaping quality hires while reducing or eliminating the sources that don’t. In turn, this can move recruitment teams to focus on optimizing the use of their top-producing sources — such as upgrading their career site or offering bonuses to employees who refer great hires.

Metric Measurement Impact
Source of hire Number of candidates from a sourcing method. Indicates how the candidate entered the pipeline (job board, internal reference, job fair, recruitment agency, etc.).
Source of application Number of applications from a sourcing channel. Indicates where the candidate’s application came from (career page, job board site, social media site, etc.).
Sourcing channel effectiveness Total number of applications via one source channel divided by the total number of hires via the channel, multiplied by 100. Indicates which sourcing channel produces the most qualified candidates.

Candidate pipeline metrics

Candidate pipeline metrics are tied to the amount of time a candidate remains in the recruitment pipeline. The main purpose of these metrics is to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s recruitment pipeline.

For instance, time to fill and time to hire both measure portions of the time it takes to hire a new employee.

Time to fill is a much broader metric that companies can use to estimate the time until they have a new hire. Companies can use internal company benchmark data or compare it against national benchmarks for the job position based on industry and location. Consulting firm Robert Half estimates it can take companies up to 11 weeks to fill an open position.

Meanwhile, time to hire and time in process step metrics measure much narrower timeframes and reveal a recruiting team’s overall efficiency. An unusually long time to hire could indicate the team is spending too much time getting candidates through the pipeline.

Or, it could reveal factors outside their control — such as poor sourcing methods or inadequate recruitment software — are preventing pipeline movements. This metric can help teams locate which stages are taking the longest so they can adjust their processes and prevent bottlenecks.

Pipeline metrics depend highly on the industry, location, and company. For example, one company may value a slower pace or more difficult stage progression to be more selective when finding their perfect candidate; others may want quick pipeline movement to fill desperately needed key positions. In any case, leveraging this data can help determine when open job positions will yield new hires.

Metric Measurement Impact
Time to fill Time between a job opening’s creation to a candidate’s offer acceptance. Provides a ballpark of how long it takes to hire a candidate for a role.
Time to hire Time between a candidate’s application and their offer acceptance. Provides executives with an idea of overall recruitment efficiency.

Recruitment performance metrics

Recruitment performance metrics help companies determine the effectiveness of their recruitment strategies and pinpoint areas needing improvement.

For example, a low number of applicants per opening could indicate poor sourcing channels, job unpopularity, or a job description that is too narrow.

Similarly, low application completion rates could mean a poor user experience due to an overly complicated application or website design for candidates applying online.

Other metrics, including the percentage of open positions and offer acceptance rate show how efficient and successful recruitment efforts are in yielding qualified candidates.

Lower percentages can indicate poor candidate recruitment experiences, high demand or inadequate supply of candidates for the role, or noncompetitive salaries and benefits. As a result, companies may have to readjust their job descriptions, compensation, or benefits packages to keep a steady stream of candidates and entice them to join the organization.

Finally, recruitment funnel effectiveness illustrates a candidate’s difficulty moving between recruitment stages and can be represented as a percentage or a yield ratio. The interview-to-hire ratio is an example of a recruitment funnel effectiveness metric targeting candidate progression between the interview and job offer stages.

Looking at recruitment funnel effectiveness can help companies see inefficiencies and tweak the steps in the hiring process to fit their needs. A high effectiveness percentage, for example, may indicate a stage was too easy to pass and the company needs to add additional screening filters. On the other hand, a low percentage may mean the step was too difficult, resulting in the company missing out on qualified candidates.

Metric Measurement Impact
Applicants per opening Number of applicants who applied for each position. Illustrates a job opening’s popularity.
Application completion rate Number of completed job applications divided by the number of job applications started, multiplied by 100. Determines the effectiveness of the job application platform or process.
Percentage of open positions Number of open positions divided by the total number of positions in an organization, multiplied by 100. Indicates current labor market trends, like supply and demand, for a position.
Offer acceptance rate Number of offers accepted divided by the number of offers made, multiplied by 100. Indicates how attractive the job opening’s benefits and compensation packages are.
Interview to hire ratio Number of offers made divided by the number of interviews, multiplied by 100. Indicates the effectiveness of recruitment and screening strategies in bringing quality candidates to hire.
Recruitment funnel effectiveness Number of candidates who completed the stage divided by the number of candidates who entered the stage, multiplied by 100. Provides recruiters with yield ratios to estimate how many candidates will progress through each step.

Return on investment metrics

Return on investment metrics help companies see if the money they are investing in their recruiting efforts is paying off with productive, contributing new employees. By measuring these metrics, companies can see which areas of the recruitment process are worth the investment and which are not performing up to par.

For example, sourcing channel cost evaluates the effectiveness of the company’s subscription to or advertising on a sourcing channel, like an online job board or social media platform. Companies spending money on a sourcing channel and receiving few qualified candidates might consider moving away from that platform and focusing on channels with more success.

Similarly, companies can plan future budgets for particular roles by estimating the cost per hire. Businesses that compare this data with their quality of hire can see directly if their recruitment costs produced the intended result. How quality of hire is measured differs for each organization; generally, if the new hire satisfies the role’s key performance indicators (KPIs) and generates revenue for the company exceeding the cost to hire them, they are a net win.

Metric Measurement Impact
Sourcing channel Dollar amount spent on a sourcing channel in a specific timeframe divided by the number of successful job applicants from that source in the same timeframe. Indicates which sourcing channels are providing the best candidates for the money.
Cost per hire Total internal and external recruitment costs divided by the total number of hires. Determines how much companies are spending on recruitment costs for a new hire.
Quality of hire Varies; typically measured by a new hire’s performance rating. Illustrates recruitment teams’ hiring success.

Miscellaneous metrics

These metrics do not fall into other recruiting metric categories; however, companies can still use them to uncover essential insights about the company’s recruitment experience.

Recruitment-based satisfaction scores, for example, are another way companies can attain qualitative and quantitative feedback from stakeholders involved in the recruitment process — including from unsuccessful applicants.

While some metrics require employers to infer why a process or stage is ineffective or inefficient, satisfaction scores can provide companies with much-needed context from sources directly involved.

Likewise, if a company gathers EEO data, it can use candidate demographics to see its applicants’ diversity throughout the hiring process. Companies can then take measures to address any hiring biases or market their job openings through sourcing channels to increase applications from diverse groups.

Metric Measurement Impact
Satisfaction Scores Varies based on surveying method, like Net Promoter Score. Allows companies to obtain direct feedback on recruitment processes, such as candidate experience, new hire job satisfaction, and hiring manager satisfaction.
Candidate demographics Varies based on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data collected from candidates. Provides anonymized context around DEI initiatives.

Make software do the work for you

Most of the top recruiting tools today automatically track and calculate recruitment metrics; some even provide companies with customizable reports and visualizations to make drawing meaningful conclusions easier.

In addition, recruitment tools can: 

  • Compare recruitment benchmarks for job openings in similar industries and locations.
  • Save historical company recruitment data to create company-specific criteria.
  • Streamline hiring processes to improve overall efficiency.

Companies can also integrate their recruitment data with other HR software, such as their all-in-one HR suites, onboarding, offboarding, and performance management solutions, to track additional workforce analytics like retention, turnover, and attrition rates. In other words, businesses that take full advantage of their entire HR tech stack can improve their recruitment processes and outpace their competitors in the race for the best new hires.

Check out our Recruitment Software and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) Guides for solutions to start tracking your recruitment metrics.

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