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The Top 5 Metrics for Measuring Recruitment Success

SmartDreamers Team
5 min. read
  • Recruitment marketing success. Sounds great, doesn’t it? How are you measuring your team's effectiveness? If you ran into the COO in the elevator and they asked for a single fact that demonstrated this effectiveness, would you be able to answer? And if so, what would you say?


    There’s no shortage of metrics available in the recruiting world, and they can give you both a high-level view of how things are going, or a fine-grained view of just one single aspect of your overall efficiency. So many choices can be daunting, so today we’re going to look at our top 5 picks for recruitment metrics that can give you a snapshot of your teams success.

    1 - Source of hire


    You’ve diversified your campaigns and are posting jobs and interacting with potential candidates all over the internet. Do you know how effective all of these efforts are, really? By tracking source of hire metrics you can. Then you can funnel funds into the sources that are producing the best quality hires, and shut down the channels that are just not performing.


    Social media, peer referrals, job board postings, internal job listing pages, blog readers who inquire directly—these are just some of the myriad sources you may be dealing with. By sorting the signal from the noise, you can better focus your team’s time, effort, and budget on the sources that are returning the best ROI. This is not the time, or place, to be shy. If a channel is just not sending the applicants you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to shut it down.


    Source of hire is best tracked with a combination of survey questions during the application process (the best way to weed out those who may have seen the opening via multiple channels), and by using the built in tracking in your ATS. Your ATS likely has a fairly robust tracking system built in that will give you great numbers on where candidates made their way there from. However, you’ll need to weed out people who may have visited multiple times before applying, or who may have seen the listing several places before making their way directly to your portal (just two examples). Using a survey to wrap up the application process is the easiest and most efficient way to find out the one source each candidate considers to be the primary source that drove them to you.

    2 - Days to hire


    Sometimes mixed up with time to hire, this is actually a much more fine grained way to look at this metric. While time to hire shows you how much time passes from when a job is first posted until it’s filled, days to hire strips out the waiting and just looks at how long a specific applicant is in the funnel between when they first apply to when they accept an offer.


    This second option gives you a much better handle on specific candidate experience. There’s a place for time to hire, don’t get us wrong, we just value this more specific set of data more highly, so this is the one we put in our top 5.

    The added granularity of days to hire lets you see what the candidates experience in your pipeline looked like by sorting the metrics into:

    The Top 5 Metrics for Measuring Recruitment Success - data-01

This data will allow you to fine tune your internal processes to keep these time intervals as short as possible. Or you can add in automated replies and the like to keep candidates updated in the event you are not able to respond as quickly as you would like.

3 - Hiring manager satisfaction

Hiring manager satisfaction is considered the 3rd most important metric by the Global recruiting trends report, and we think that number is about right. According to that report, 43% of organizations use this metric to help measure overall quality of hire.


The Top 5 Metrics for Measuring Recruitment Success - data-02

We know, this sounds like such a wildly subjective criteria, how on earth do you measure it? With surveys, of course. And since it’s important to remember who you’re advertising these openings for, and who you’re screening these candidates for, so make the survey as inobtrusive as possible to ensure a high return rate. 5 short answer questions seems about right to get you the information you need to make appropriate tweaks to your processes, while not taking up too much of the managers time.

The power of this metric truly shines through when you combine it with other, more quantitative measures like days to hire and acceptance rate (which we’ll get to shortly). This combination of subjective and objective measures is where you’ll find a gold mine of useful information to streamline your processes and increase everyone’s overall satisfaction.

4 - Acceptance rate

Acceptance rate is a long-standing measurement, often used to determine overall effectiveness of a company’s recruitment strategy. With it, you get a snapshot of several interrelated indexes: quality of applicants, quality of offers, applicant satisfaction, along with an idea of how well targeted your EVP is.

Targets for this metric can range pretty widely, depending on a number of factors that include things like department. In the highly competitive tech world, the acceptance rate for software developers is generally in the 80% range for a high demand opening. While in more traditional departments like HR, administration, or operations an acceptance rate of more like 95% is not unusual.

The Top 5 Metrics for Measuring Recruitment Success - data-03

If you find an area where your acceptance rate could be better, one easy tactic is to ask candidates who decline an offer to fill out a brief survey. This gives you the opportunity to collect specifics on why they declined. Was your benefits package lacking something they were expecting? Was the compensation not up to industry standards? This data will then allow you to make adjustments as possible to raise the rate.

5 - Qualified candidates per opening (Applicants per hire)

This is another metric that exists in two similar, yet not equal, forms. It used to be that applicants per hire was the metric of choice to determine how well your job listings were resonating with your candidate pool. The measurement of total number of applicants for each opening your have is useful when you need to know how popular your openings are overall. What it doesn’t tell you is anything about the quality of these applicants.

For that, you need to be measuring qualified candidates per opening. This measurement tells you how many candidates make it past the first stage of your hiring process. In other words, it tells you how many candidates are worth talking to.

This level of detail is necessary when you need to adjust your pipeline flow. For example, if it’s taken 8 qualified candidates to fill each of your last 4 openings in a particular department, now you know you can wait until you collect 8 candidates before you pass them up the line to be interviewed. This cuts unnecessary interviews, keeping hiring managers happy, and it cuts unqualified candidates from the process earlier, allowing them to move on to other more appropriate positions.

Your mileage will, of course, vary. These 5 metrics all allow for either a fine-grained look at specific steps in your recruitment process, or you can take it up to 10,000 feet and see how each one interacts with the others for a more holistic view. Taken together, these metrics will give you the data you need to tweak your processes and make the changes necessary to increase efficiency, and the overall effectiveness of your recruiting team.

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