9 Recruitment KPIs to Measure Success in Your Organization

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9 Recruitment KPIs to Measure Success in Your Organization

Your organization could have the best recruiting strategy that outperforms all of your competitors. However, without measuring and monitoring your recruiting initiatives and regularly identifying and rectifying problems, your strategy becomes irrelevant. The right recruitment KPIs are an invaluable tool during the hiring process and beyond and help you consistently streamline and improve your approach. So, how do you know which key performance indicators should you be tracking in your business? 

In this guide, we’ll be explaining what recruitment KPIs are, the most important recruiting KPIs to measure, and how to select the right KPIs for your organization.

What are recruitment KPIs?
Common recruitment KPIs
1. Cost per hire
2. Source quality
3. Number of qualified candidates
4. Quality of hire
5. Time to hire
6. Offer acceptance rate
7. Candidate net promoter score (NPS)
8. First-year turnover rate
9. Adverse impact
How to set your recruitment KPIs

What are recruitment KPIs?

KPIs (key performance indicators) are strategic metrics tied to an organization’s short and long-term goals. They help employees, managers, and business leaders understand where they currently are, what needs improving, and the exact steps to take to reach those goals. 

Organizations use recruitment KPIs to specifically measure activities and results within the recruitment process. They are often presented as single figures, percentages, or ratios to ensure they are clear and easy to understand within Human Resources and across the business. Recruiting KPIs can reveal valuable insights, including cost per hire, offer acceptance rate, first-year turnover rate, and more.

If you want to learn more about KPIs in HR, check out our in-depth guide!

What’s the difference between recruitment KPIs and metrics?

KPIs are also metrics, but they are the most vital measures for your organization and should be specifically tied to company goals and objectives. While all KPIs are also metrics, not all metrics are KPIs. For example, a recruiting metric would be the number of candidates who apply for a position within your organization. In comparison, a KPI would be the number of qualified candidates who make it past the initial screening.   

Recruitment KPIs such as this ensure that the recruitment process adds value to the organization and that the recruiting team obtains a healthy return on investment. 

Common recruitment KPIs

Let’s have a look at some of the popular recruiting KPIs. They are listed in no particular order.

1. Cost per hire

Cost per hire relates to how much it costs in total to fill a vacant position in the organization. This should include all costs such as:

  • advertising the vacancy on job sites,
  • referral fees,
  • the time the recruitment team spends on it,
  • onboarding and interview time,
  • and any employee training and new equipment cost. 

This KPI is helpful because it offers you a better understanding of your total recruitment budget. It also enables you to reduce costs where possible, and work on employee retention initiatives if needed. You can benchmark this figure (along with all the KPIs in this list) against your competitors or industry averages. That way, you will better understand your current performance and areas for improvement.  

2. Source quality

Is your organization sourcing applicants from a variety of job sites, recruitment agencies, and Linkedin? If so, do you know which source is yielding the best candidates for you? Are there any sources that continually bring you low-quality candidates? 

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Measuring source quality (also known as sourcing channel efficiency) can help you see where you’re spending your money and the quality of candidates brought in via different sources. This enables you to stop wasting money on sources that aren’t working for you and double down on what is. From here, you can build a reliable pipeline that boosts your entire recruitment process.  

3. Number of qualified candidates

The first step with this KPI is to define what a qualified candidate looks like for a specific position. You could do this by asking hiring managers to complete a survey on whether the candidates who come through the screening process are qualified.

Alternatively, you could look at the number of applicants who made it through the initial screening that hiring managers wanted to interview. Other metrics, such as the interview to hire ratio, will give you an idea of how qualified candidates are for specific positions.

This KPI provides valuable insight on how effective your sourcing efforts are at attracting and moving qualified candidates through your recruitment pipeline. A lack of qualified candidates could point to poor source quality, incorrect or misleading job descriptions, or an ineffective screening process.

Recruitment KPIs

4. Quality of hire

Recruitment process is about ensuring you find the most suitable (and highest performing) candidate for the role. Measuring the quality of hire shows you how effective your team is in recruiting the right candidates for vacancies. “Quality” will usually be specific to your organization and the goals you’re working towards. That’s why it’s vital you determine what this means with regards to new employees.

To measure this KPI, you could assess several factors, including how quickly the employee reaches full productivity and satisfying job performance, and how seamlessly they fit within the culture at your organization. You can also evaluate how satisfied line managers are with their new hires through a hiring manager satisfaction survey.

These are all difficult to predict before a candidate begins employment. However, over time, you will be able to identify patterns between high quality and low quality hires. Such insights give you a better understanding of whether someone is likely to be a good fit for your company or not.    

5. Time to hire

The time to hire refers to the number of days starting from when a candidate entered the recruitment funnel up to the days they accept an offer of employment with the organization. 

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This KPI should be measured separately for each department or type of role. It is essential for measuring how efficient your current recruitment process is. The time to hire metric enables you to identify any bottlenecks and shorten the timeline. This is important because the best candidates will often be hired within a few weeks. For this reason, you need to do everything possible to avoid missing out on such candidates. This will help you boost your quality of hire and reduce your overall recruitment costs in the long run. 

Tracking this KPI will also be beneficial for planning or working to a specific timeline. When you know the average time it takes your organization to make a hire, you can build this into the timeline when expanding the team for growth purposes or beginning a new project. 

6. Offer acceptance rate

Once you’ve sourced, screened, and interviewed qualified candidates and offered them the position, you want them to accept this job offer. Candidates who reject an offer may do so because a competitor is offering better compensation or benefits, your interview process was problematic in some way, or there’s a potential issue with your company’s reputation.

Make sure you track compensation negotiations with candidates to gauge whether your rates are competitive and adjust accordingly. Monitor other KPIs like time to hire to improve your offer acceptance rate.

The formula to calculate offer acceptance rate is simple: Number of accepted offers / Total number of offers.

7. Candidate net promoter score (NPS)

The candidate NPS refers to a candidate’s experience of your recruitment process and how likely they are to recommend your organization to others based on this. This is indicative of candidate satisfaction with your hiring process.

To measure this KPI, you can survey all candidates (whether they’re hired or not) and ask how likely they are to recommend your organization on a scale of 1-10. Using this scale, anyone who responds 1-6 counts as a detractor. Anyone who responds 9 or 10 is a promoter (7 and 8 should be ignored). Minus the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters, and you’ll have your NPS. Anything above 50% is considered to be a strong score.

A high NPS will give you an edge over your competitors by boosting your candidate experience and organization’s reputation over time, and reinforce you as the number one choice for employment in your industry.

8. First-year turnover rate

The higher your turnover rate is, the more money your company is spending on recruiting. When you invest money in the recruitment process, it’s important that this doesn’t go to waste. On top of this, a high turnover rate indicates that employees are potentially not happy in their roles, don’t align with the company culture, or have found a better position elsewhere that is more suited to them.  

Calculating your first-year turnover rate is a good KPI to measure since it shows you how many employees left before completing a full year within the organization. If this figure is high, it’s crucial that you take time to review your entire recruitment and onboarding process and your company culture. You’ll need to gain feedback from current and former employees, and make improvements. This will help you reduce your turnover and increase the retention rate, lower your recruitment costs, and boost employee satisfaction and productivity.

9. Adverse impact

The final KPI we’d like to mention is measuring adverse impact. This metric enables you to identify whether there’s a bias in your recruitment process against a protected class. If the protected class in question is hired at a less than 80% rate, this indicates a bias is present. 

To measure this KPI, divide the applicant success rate into two groups. Group A is your protected class, while Group B is your non-protected class. Next, divide the Group A figure by the Group B figure, and this will give you your adverse impact score. This number will let you see whether you need to make your hiring process more inclusive. If so, you can then take the necessary steps towards achieving this. 

How to set your recruitment KPIs

Here are some simple steps you can take to set and track the right recruiting KPIs in your organization today. 

Consider your business goals

Different organizations will need to choose different KPIs to ensure they align with internal business objectives. For example, if one of the business objectives is to lower spending over the next year, monitoring cost per hire and making improvements would be essential. Where possible, select KPIs that demonstrate the HR department’s efforts to contribute to the bottom line by saving the business money, recruit top talent, and a healthy ROI.

Be mindful that KPIs will vary depending on your industry, size, and position in the market. It’s also important to note that these KPIs may change over time as your organization changes and grows. 


A good KPI will be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

For example, let’s say you decide to select first-year turnover rate as your KPI.

The first step would be to specify what you’re trying to achieve. Perhaps you are trying to reduce your overall turnover rate across the organization.

Next, you must determine how you will know when you’ve achieved your goal. You might aim to reduce your first-year turnover rate by 10%.

Once you’ve set your target, it’s important to assess whether it’s achievable and whether you’re likely to achieve it. If not, create a new goal that is more realistic and you are more likely to achieve it.

Finally, once you’re happy with your target and are confident it can be achieved, set a timeline for when you want to achieve it. For example: “We aim to reduce our first-year turnover rate by 10% within the next 12 months.” This is a SMART key performance indicator.   

Track your KPIs and take action

Once you’ve selected your SMART KPIs, the final step is to set up systems and processes to effectively track and report them, and act on the findings. 

Suppose you select source quality as one of your KPIs. You discover that recruitment agencies are consistently bringing you low-quality candidates. In that case, you may consider reducing or ceasing advertising jobs with such agencies. On the other hand, if you discover that social media, for instance, Linkedin, continue to bring in high-quality candidates for you over and over again, it may be time to increase your efforts there.

Recruitment KPIs help you measure success

Selecting the right KPIs for your organization, monitoring them, and making adjustments accordingly are vital steps to ensuring you constantly assess and improve your recruiting efforts. Choose wisely and demonstrate your team’s business acumen by showing how your strategies and efforts directly contribute to the organization’s wider goals.

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