19 Recruiting Metrics You Should Know About

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19 Recruiting Metrics You Should Know About

Recruiting metrics are an essential part of data-driven hiring and recruitment. However, if you would keep track of every recruiting metric you could find on the web, you’d have no time left to do actual recruiting! In this article, we’ll list the 19 most important ones for you.

But first, let’s answer the question: What are recruiting metrics?

What are recruiting metrics?

Recruiting metrics are measurements used to track hiring success and optimize the process of hiring candidates for an organization. When used correctly, these metrics help to evaluate the recruiting process and whether the company is hiring the right people. They are an integral part of a data-driven recruitment funnel, which you can explore in-depth in our Talent Acquisition Certificate Program.

Making the right recruiting decisions is important. This image (from Greenhouse) shows the employee’s lifetime value as the sum of all the HR decisions made about that employee.

Employee lifetime value graph for recruitment

Using this image we can see that hiring someone who is more suited for the job has the potential to create an enormous return on investment (ROI).

ROI of good recruitment metrics

This is why recruiting the right people is so important. Whether you’re starting off by measuring recruiting data or fine-tuning your recruiting metrics, this list will give you a great overview.

Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s look at the 17 most relevant recruiting metrics.

1. Time to fill

This refers to the time it takes to find and hire a new candidate, often measured by the number of days between publishing a job opening and hiring the candidate. Time to fill is influenced by supply and demand ratios for specific jobs as well as the speed at which the recruitment department operates.

It’s a great metric for business planning and offers a realistic view for the manager to assess the time it will take to attract a replacement for a departing employee.

In the learning bite below, we explain the Time to Fill metric in even more detail!

 

2. Time to hire

Time to hire represents the number of days between the moment a candidate is approached and the moment the candidate accepts the job. In other words, it measures the time it takes for someone to move through the hiring process once they’ve applied. Time to hire thus provides a solid indication of how the recruitment team is performing. This metric is also called ‘Time to Accept’.

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A shorter time to hire often enables you to hire better candidates, preventing the best candidates from being snatched up by a company that does have a short time to hire. It also impacts your candidate experience as nobody likes a recruiting process that takes a long time.

This metric is heavily influenced by your recruitment funnel. If you are hiring for jobs that have a relatively straight-forward recruitment process of one interview, the time to hire will be shorter than when you have a phone intake, assessment day, and three rounds of interviews. For that reason, you should be a little bit careful when interpreting the time to hire benchmark we included below!

Time to hire by industry recruiting metric
Time to hire by industry benchmark. Source: Workable.

3. Source of hire

Tracking the sources which attract new hires to your organization is one of the most popular recruiting metrics. This metric also helps to keep track of the effectiveness of different recruiting channels. A few examples are job boards, the company’s career page, social media, and sourcing agencies.

Source of hire recruitment metric

4. First-year attrition

First-year attrition is a key recruiting metric and also indicates hiring success. Candidates who leave in their first year of work fail to become fully productive and usually cost a lot of money. First-year attrition can be managed and unmanaged.

Managed attrition means that the contract is terminated by the employer. Unmanaged attrition means that they leave on their own accord. The former is often an indicator of bad first-year performance or bad fit with the team.

The second is often an indicator of unrealistic expectations which cause the candidate to quit. This could be due to a mismatch between the job description and the actual job, or the job and/or company has been oversold by the recruiter.

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This metric can also be turned around as ‘candidate retention rate’.

5. Quality of hire

Quality of hire, often measured by someone’s performance rating, gives an indicator of first-year performance of a candidate. Candidates who receive high-performance ratings are indicative of hiring success while the opposite holds true for candidates with low-performance ratings.

Low first-year performance ratings are indicative of bad hires. A single bad hire can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars in both direct and indirect costs. To read more about how to assess these costs, check out our article on HR costing.

When combined with the channel through which the candidate was sourced, you can measure sourcing channel quality (see recruiting metric no. 17).

Quality of hire is the input for the Success Ratio. The success ratio divides the number of hires who perform well by the total number of candidates hired. A high success ratio means that most of the hired candidates perform well, however a low ratio means that you need to fine-tune your selection process!

Success Ratio Recruiting Metric

The success ratio is used as input for recruitment utility analysis. This analysis enables you to calculate an ROI for different selection instruments.

6. Hiring Manager satisfaction

In line with quality of hire, hiring manager satisfaction is another recruiting metric that is indicative of a successful recruiting process. When the hiring manager is satisfied with the new candidates in their team, the candidate is likely to perform well and fit well in the team. In other words, the candidate is more likely to be a successful hire!

7. Candidate job satisfaction

Candidate job satisfaction is an excellent way to track whether the expectations set during the recruiting procedure match reality. A low candidate job satisfaction highlights mismanagement of expectations or incomplete job descriptions.

A low score can be better managed by providing a realistic job preview. This helps to present both the positive and negative aspects of the job to potential candidates, thus creating a more realistic view.

8. Applicants per opening

Applicants per job opening or applicants per hire gauges the job’s popularity. A large number of applicants could indicate a high demand for jobs in that particular area or a job description that’s too broad.

The number of applicants per opening is not necessarily an indicator of the number of suitable candidates. By narrowing the job description and including a number of ‘hard’ criteria, the number of applicants can be reduced without reducing the number of suitable candidates.

9. Selection ratio

The selection ratio refers to the number of hired candidates compared to the total number of candidates. This ratio is also called the Submittals to Hire Ratio.

Selection Ratio Recruiting Metric

The selection ratio is very similar to the number of applicants per opening. When there’s a high number of candidates, the ratio approaches 0. The selection ratio provides information such as the value of different assessment and recruitment tools and can be used to estimate the utility of a given selection and recruitment system.

To calculate the utility of these tools, take a look at this article by Sturman (2003) on the ROI of selection tools.

10. Cost per hire

We could write a full article on cost per hire. The cost per hire recruitment metric is the total cost invested in hiring divided by the number of hires.

Cost per hire recruiting metric


Cost per hire consists of multiple cost structures which can be divided by internal and external cost. By quantifying all of them you can calculate the total recruitment cost.

 Total recruiting cost for cost per hire metric

11. Candidate experience

Net Promotor Score in Recruitment

When we talk about recruiting metrics, candidate experience shouldn’t be overlooked. Candidate experience is the way that job seekers perceive an employer’s recruitment and onboarding process, and is often measured using a candidate experience survey. This survey uses Net Promotor Score and helps to identify key components of the experience that can be improved.

12. Offer acceptance rate

The offer acceptance rate compares the number of candidates who successfully accepted a job offer with the number of candidates who received an offer. A low rate is indicative of potential compensation problems. When these problems occur often for certain functions, the pay can be discussed earlier in the recruiting process in an effort to minimize the impact of a refused job offer. An example is by listing pay in the job opening or by asking for the candidate’s salary expectations.

Offer Acceptance Rate Recruitment Metric

13. % of open positions

The % of open positions compared to the total number of positions can be applied to specific departments or to the entire organization even. A high percentage can be indicative of high demand (for example due to fast growth) or low labor market supply.

Open positions recruiting metric

14. Application completion rate

Application completion rate is especially interesting for organizations with elaborate online recruiting systems. Many large corporate firms require candidates to manually input their entire CV in their systems before they can apply for a job. Drop-out in this process is indicative of problems in this procedure, e.g. web browser incompatibility with the application system, or a non-user-friendly interface.
This recruiting metric fits well with our number 15.

15. Recruitment funnel effectiveness

Recruitment is a funnel which begins with sourcing and ends with a signed contract. By measuring the effectiveness of all the different steps in the funnel, you can specify a yield ratio per step. This makes for some excellent recruiting metrics.

Yield Rate recruiting metric


For example,

  • 15:1 (750 applicants apply, 50 CVs are screened)
  • 5:1 (50 screened CVs lead to 10 candidates submitted to the hiring manager)
  • 2:1 (10 candidate submissions lead to 5 hiring manager acceptances)
  • 5:2 (5 first interviews lead to 2 final interviews)
  • 2:1 (2 final interviews lead to 1 offer)
  • 1:1 (1 offer to 1 hire)

The recruiting funnel has changed a lot over the last few years due to advances in HR tech. The first few steps are often atomized: software helps to automatically screen CVs and select the best fits. Some companies opt to go for video interviews to change submittals and even first interviews.
In other words: expect this funnel to change over time.

16. Sourcing channel effectiveness

Sourcing channel effectiveness helps to measure the conversions per channel. By comparing the percentage of applications with the percentage of impressions of the positions, you can quickly judge the effectiveness of different channels.

Sourcing channel effectiveness in Google Analytics

A simple way to do this is by using Google Analytics to track where the people who viewed the job opening on your website actually came from.

By setting ‘goals’, like the successful completion of an application form, this conversion rate can be made much more accurate. Maybe the people coming from LinkedIn and Twitter don’t apply, but the people coming in from Facebook do!

17. Sourcing channel cost

 Sourcing channel cost recruiting metric

You can also calculate the cost efficiency of your different sourcing channels by including ad spend, the amount of money spent on advertisement, on those platforms. By dividing the ad spend with the number of visitors who successfully applied through the job opening you measure the sourcing channel cost per hire.

Sourcing Channel Cost Recruiting Metric formula

18. Cost of getting to Optimum Productivity Level (OPL)

The cost of getting to Optimum Productivity Level (OPL) is the total cost involved in getting someone up to speed. This includes things like onboarding cost, training cost, the cost of supervisors and co-workers involved in on-the-job training, and more. Usually, a percentage of the employee’s salary is also included in this calculation, until they hit 100% OPL.

On top of this metric, there is also the “logistical” cost of replacing an employee. These are also called the cost per hire. Research by Oxford Economics (2014) lists OPL cost in retail at £ 16,240 (approx. $ 20,200), in media £ 21,633 ($ 27,000), and in legal £ 35,307 ($ 44,000).

19. Time to productivity

Time to productivity, or time to Optimum Productivity Level, measures how long it takes to get people up to speed and productive. It is the time between the first day of hiring and the point where the employee fully contributes to the organization.

Time to Productivity as a recruiting metric

According to the same research by Oxford Economics, the average time a new employee takes to reach their OPL is 28 weeks. Employees from within the same industry usually take less, while employees from outside the industry take significant longer (32 weeks). University graduates (40 weeks), school leavers (53 weeks) and unemployed (52 weeks) take the longest time.

Recruitment Metric - Cost

These 19 recruiting metrics form the basis of recruitment analytics.

Most Frequently Used Recruiting Metrics

If you want to read more about different organizational metrics, check out our articles on the 21 employee performance metrics or 14 HR metrics. To learn more about this specific topic, we recommend our Talent Acquisition Certificate Program, which has a full course on Recruitment Metrics & Analytics!

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