The right recruiting metrics and analytics will help you optimize your talent acquisition workflow, drive budgeting, and inform hiring decisions. And if you’re an agency recruiter reading this article, speaking the same language as your hiring authority and knowing how they’re measured can give you a massive advantage over less prepared competitors.
In this comprehensive list of recruiting metrics, we’re going to share the metrics that top talent acquisition departments track, and use to drive success.
We’ve also gone through and highlighted suggested ⭐ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with a star icon. These are the metrics that are most critical for your firm to track, although they will certainly vary for many reasons between companies.
What this article is not: in order to keep this resource as useful and succinct as possible, this piece will not get into the potential downsides of over-emphasizing metrics.
List of Recruiting Metrics
(Click on a section or scroll down)
Cost Justification Metrics
What’s the value of a professional recruiting organization? It’s in reducing the cost that a bad employee — or no employee — has on the business. These recruiting metrics help demonstrate to decision-makers why investments in recruiting are worth the cost in salaries or fees.
⭐Cost of Getting to Optimum Productivity Level
Cost of Getting to Optimum Productivity Level comprises everything that goes into leveling up a new employee. The hours that a manager spends training them? There’s a cost to that. The employee’s own self-directed time in learning a new software program or corporate guidelines has a time cost as well. The value of a more expensive, but better-qualified candidate, can sometimes be shown through a reduced Cost of Getting to Optimum Productivity Level.
New Hire Training Cost
New Hire Training Cost comprises the time cost and financial outlay for any training required of new hires. Human resources departments can make the case for better employee retention efforts by comparing those costs with the cost of new hire training.
Time to Productivity
Time to Productivity is an estimate of the number of days that must pass before a newly-hired employee reaches the productivity level expected for the position.
Current Status Metrics
These recruiting tracking metrics are snapshots — they may indicate the need for immediate course correction.
⭐ Placements to Goal
(Number of Placements Required) – (Number of Placements Achieved)
(Total Placement Revenue Required – Total Placement Revenue Achieved) / (Expected Average Revenue per Placement)
The number of hires required to meet your hiring/staffing goals as a recruiting division.
Placements to Goal or Hires to Goal can be expressed as a raw number, or adjusted based on the expected dollar value of additional hires. Goals can be set monthly, quarterly, annually — whatever makes the most sense for the volume you’re handling. The metric serves as a basic but effective measurement of how well an organization, or a specific recruiting team, is performing. This metric ought to be prominently displayed on your recruiting metrics dashboard.
Open Job Requisitions Per Recruiter
Open Job Requisitions Per Recruiter measures the number of positions a recruiter is tasked with filling.
New Positions / Backfill Positions Ratio
Openings That Are For New Positions / Openings That Are For Existing Positions
New Positions / Backfill Positions is a simple way of gauging organizational growth, as well as the health of an organization’s retention programs.
Vacancy Rate or Percentage of Open Positions
Current Openings / Total Positions
Vacancy Rate or Percentage of Open Positions measures the share of positions across an organization that need to be filled by recruiters. While this is a snapshot measurement, it can be tracked over time to identify seasonal trends in employment vacancies.
Change in Client Engagement
((Vacancies Received Q2) – (Vacancies Received Q1)) / (Vacancies Received Q1)
You should have a good sense of the state of a client relationship from periodic check-ins and candidate or job requisition discussion. But this big picture snapshot can give you hints about when to reach out to clients to offer help.
Diversity and Inclusion
There’s no one-size-fits-all for diversity hiring goals — even within single organizations. A global service provider might be looking to get more women into executive positions, while also seeking a greater diversity of national origins for their sales force, Another might be seeking broader outreach to people with disabilities.
But no matter what the goal is, organizations seeking to attract a more diverse workforce must find a way to measure how well they are doing — at all stages of the hiring process.
⭐ Candidate Demographics
You can’t know whether you are attracting people of a certain demographic unless you record what that demographic is. In many cases, these questions must be marked as optional — companies can’t require people to divulge their racial, ethnic, or other private information. Still, as long as the data is protected (or, in some cases, collected and anonymized), it’s very valuable for assessing sourcing strategies and uncovering potential bias.
Some demographic data you might collect:
Percentage of Applicants by (Diversity Goal, e.g., National Origin, Race/Ethnicity, Gender)
Percentage of Candidates by (Diversity Goal, e.g., National Origin, Race/Ethnicity, Gender)
Percentage of Hires by (Diversity Goal, e.g., National Origin, Race/Ethnicity, Gender)
Hiring Process / Hiring Process Efficiency Metrics
Hiring process metrics reveal the opportunities for improvement through your funnel, from job requisitions to final candidate placements.
⭐ Time to Fill (a.k.a. Time to Hire, Time to Start)
Date Job Filled – Date Requisition Received
Your organization needs one metric that measures the length of time between these two points: When you start to work on filling a position and when the work is complete.
For different organizations that completion step might be different — an agency might measure “Time to Acceptance” for instance, or “Time to Refer to Interview Pool.”
Regardless of the specific measure you choose, Time to Fill is a critical gauge of your efficiency as an agency. Track this metric across clients, across recruiters, and across job types to see where your velocity is good, and where you have opportunities to improve. Modern recruiting software will automatically record the dates of process step changes, making it very easy to generate Time to Fill reports across multiple variables.
⭐ ⭐ Ratio Reports / Recruitment Funnel Effectiveness
Ratio reports shed light on how effective your organization is at each step of the process. Examples include:
Applications / Interviews
Interviews / Qualifications to Submittal
Submittals / Hires
Applicant Satisfaction / Candidate Experience (NPS)
Percentage of Applicants Who Say They Would Recommend Your Hiring Process To A Colleague
Applicant satisfaction measures a candidate’s level of satisfaction with the hiring process. Low applicant satisfaction is a red flag that could indicate why you’re not able to get interviews with the caliber of candidate you need. One easy way to measure satisfaction is to gauge Net Promoter Score. Simply ask candidates whether they would recommend going through this process to a colleague, or not.
Application Completion Rate / Careers Site Conversion
Applications Completed / Applications Started
Application completion rate measures how many people who start an application actually submit it. A low application completion rate may mean that your application has too many questions or that the online process is glitchy.
You can also develop conversion metrics for other areas of your career site. For example, you could measure how many people who visit the site end up viewing an open position. Or how many people who visit an open position advance to filling out an application.
If you can get 10% more people to finish an application, how many more qualified candidates might you find? Or, put another way, could you be losing potentially valuable candidates because of easily fixable application issues?
Application Completion Time
Total Time Spent On Applications / Applications Completed
Application completion time is the average time that a candidate needs to complete a job application. The average time will depend on the complexity of your application. A low application completion rate combined with an excessive application completion time indicates that your application needs to be shorter.
Candidate Call Back Rate
Candidates Who Call Back / Total Candidates Contacted
Candidate call back rate measures how many potential applicants respond to a call from an individual recruiter. Your best recruiters will have a higher callback rate, because they do a better job of explaining the benefits of the job opportunity to potential candidates.
Recruiters with low callback rates may need extra training on how to communicate the value of opportunities that they are sharing with candidates.
Recruiting Days To Client Consideration Days
Recruiting Days / Client Consideration Days
Recruiting Days vs. Client Consideration Days is a metric that divides the two main stages of the agency recruiting process: Sourcing candidates, and client consideration of those candidates.
A client will look to you to expedite the hiring process, and if it isn’t going as quickly as they’d like, it’s important to be able to show where the holdup is.
Overall Organizational Efficiency
Are you spending money on the right things? This basic question is at the heart of organizational efficiency metrics.
⭐ Cost Per Hire (a.k.a. Total Recruitment Cost)
Expenses / Hires Made
Cost per hire measures the amount of money your organization spends to complete a hire. This is a hugely important metric because it’s essentially the “cost of goods sold” of the recruiting industry.
On a broad level, you can simply divide all of your expenses by the total number of hires you make/place.
This is valuable, but not as valuable establishing cost-per-hire benchmarks across industries or job types. For this, you need advanced modeling and data analysis that only modern recruiting software can do for you.
For example, a hire that comes from an employee referral will have a much lower cost than a hire that required thousands of dollars in job board advertising. And how do you assign “cost” when a candidate who you met at a convention five years ago applies through an email marketing campaign?
With an advanced database you can assign costs properly, understand the true “cost per hire” for your organization, and adjust accordingly.
Margin per Placement or Average Placement Fee
Formula for Staffing Agencies:
(Total Bill Rate – Total Burden Rate) / (Total Placements)
Formula for Recruiting / Executive Search Agencies:
(Total Placement Fees) / (Total Placements)
This key metric is the profit margin of your agency. Understanding which clients, industries, or job types drive the most revenue is critical for long-term strategy and success.
Revenue per Employee
Revenue “Assigned” To Employee / Total Team Revenue
Revenue per employee is a simple way to assess how much value your employees are contributing to the bottom line. The broad metric would be to divide your total revenue by the number of employees you have.
A more advanced way to calculate revenue per employee would be on a case-by-case basis — assigning revenue to employees based on the value of the positions that they fill.
A recruiter who makes five high value placements in a year may be more valuable to your bottom line than a recruiter who does 20 low-value placements. Your data analysis software can generate these reports for you.
Revenue per employee can be a key performance indicator across your organization, within specific groups, or even a performance target for employees.
Sales Team Salaries Paid / Staffing Team Salaries Paid
Your sales to staffing ratio is a simple measurement that compares your investment in sales to your investment in operations. This ratio may change during the life-cycle of your agency. As you try to get a foothold in your market, you might have a higher sales to staffing ratio. But as your firm becomes more mature, and you generate more of your business from repeat clients, you might seek to focus on operations over sales.
For agencies who employ full-desk recruiters, it may be valuable to assign a ratio of “sales/staffing” for each recruiter, to help you assess the overall split within the organization.
Time Spent by Recruiter
Hours Spent on Job Category / Total Hours Worked
Time spent by recruiter can tell you how efficient your recruiters are compared to each other, and identify specific job roles or industries where certain recruiters excel.
You can calculate this simply by hours, or, to make it a little bit more illustrative, multiply the hours worked by the recruiter’s hourly wage.
With modern recruiting agency software, you can break down time spent by recruiter across job types, industries, clients, or anything else that could help you identify opportunities to be more efficient and more profitable.
Time Spent by Manager
Hours Spent on Task/Job Category / Total Hours Worked
Time spent by manager helps you monitor whether the firm’s leaders are operating in a way that matches the priorities of the business.
How much do you expect your managers to be involved with direct client work, compared to internal tasks like process improvement and professional development? You can identify what those ratios are, then track, assess, and discuss when it comes time for performance reviews.
Employee Referrals as a Percentage of Hires
Employee-Referred Hires / Total Hires
Employee referrals are some of the most valuable referrals an organization can get, because they don’t require additional outreach costs. They may also lead to better hires — HR Magazine has reported that new hires originating from employee referrals have higher acceptance rates, retention rates, and productivity rates.
You should be getting some percentage of your hires from employee referrals. Any organization’s target percentage will depend on their industry and job types, but all organizations should have a goal for employee referrals.
Once you establish a baseline, you can decide whether you should improve the incentives that you’re giving to employees for referring or simply do a better job of communicating new job openings to employees.
Jobs Filled / Total Openings
The business-changing aspect of tracking this key metric comes when you look at fill rates for different channels, different recruiters, different clients, and different industries. For internal HR departments, you may want to be tracking your own fill rate compared to those of any recruiting firms or staffing agencies you’re using.
Requisition Cancellation Rate
Requisitions Cancelled / Total Requisitions
Requisition cancellation is a powerful negative outcome that recruiting agency leaders must minimize. A requisition cancellation means that you’ve invested effort and time and not got any revenue in return. You should be able to monitor requisition cancellation rate by recruiter, client, and industry — if the rate edges uncomfortably higher, that’s a major problem that you don’t want to let get worse.
What happens after the candidate accepts the job offer? Metrics collected after a new employee’s first year can offer significant insights into the success of the recruitment process. These metrics are critically important for in-house recruiters. But smart agencies realize that success after the hire is an important part of how their efforts are judged.
⭐ Quality of Hire
Manager Satisfaction Score * Candidate Job Satisfaction Score * New-Hire Onboarding Time
Modern organizations are bringing the data-driven decision-making revolution to human resources. One example is the “quality of hire” metric, a composite measure that can include job performance, cultural fit, ramp-up time, and other factors.
A metric like quality of hire is made up of dozens — maybe hundreds — of inputs and data points. But in the end, it’s measuring how well a recruiter did their primary task of matching the right candidate with the right opportunity.
In the example formula, a series of composite metrics are multiplied together to reach a final score.
Modern recruiting agencies embrace metrics like quality of hire, which help them demonstrate the value of top-notch sourcing and screening.
12-Month New-Hire Retention
Hires From Past 12 Months Still Employed / Total Hires In Past 12 Months
12-Month New-Hire Turnover measures how many new hires leave the company within a year. An outcome like this usually represents a failure at some point in the hiring process — although there are exceptions, like unexpected family illness or major business disruptions. But more often than not, there are things most organizations can improve to increase candidate retention.
Percentage of managers reporting “good” or “very good” satisfaction with new hire after 12 months.
Manager satisfaction measures the success of a new hire’s performance from the perspective of their supervisor. Human resources organizations can measure manager satisfaction with something as simple as a “yes/no”, or develop a broader set of metrics that reveal why a manager is satisfied, or why they aren’t.
High manager satisfaction indicates a strong match between how the candidate requirements were communicated and how well a recruiting organization delivered on those candidates.
Candidate Job Satisfaction
Percentage of employees reporting “good” or “very good” satisfaction after 12 months on the job.
Candidate job satisfaction measures how happy a new hiree is in their position. Candidates with low job satisfaction are clear turnover risks. Persistently low candidate job satisfaction may indicate a disconnect between how recruiters are positioning the job to candidates, and what they actually experience upon being hired.
New-Hire Onboarding Time
Total days to full onboarding, averaged across all new starts.
New hire onboarding time is how long a new hire takes to reach a benchmark productivity level. For a lower-skill job, the level could just be completing basic paperwork and scheduling. For a higher skill job, it could account for training and skills ramp-up. If you’re doing a good job of identifying top candidates, lowering the new-hire onboarding time is part of the value you’re bringing to an organization.
Effectiveness / Return on Investment
How do you know if you’re spending money on the right things? Advanced ROI metrics, based on data captured by modern recruiting software, will make your sourcing dollars do more.
⭐ Sourcing Channel Effectiveness
Cost (Time and Money) of Sourcing Channel / Qualified Leads Generated Through Sourcing Channel
What makes a sourcing channel valuable to you? Is it in delivering a large volume of candidates? Or do you care much more about which channel eventually leads to the hire? There’s no single right answer here, which is why every firm should develop their own sourcing benchmarks based on their unique competitive situation.
A sourcing channel effectiveness metric will account for both the success of a channel, and the time/monetary cost associated with using it. The data points below are the building blocks of your sourcing channel effectiveness metrics.
Applications by Source
Source of Applications / Total Applications
The raw number of applications associated with a particular sourcing channel.
Hires by Source
Source of Hires / Total Hires
The raw number of hires associated with a particular sourcing channel.
Applicants Per Opening
Applicants / Openings
Applicants Per Opening is a simple metric that can be used as a target to hit in the initial stages of sourcing, and as a data point in a post-mortem analysis of a hire. By tracking this metric for every hire, you’ll start to develop benchmarks that track efficiency.
Applicants Per Hire
Applicants / Hires
Applicants Per Hire will likely be a key data point in your overall sourcing effectiveness measurements. You want your sourcing channels to deliver candidates — but you don’t want to overpay and end up with more candidates than you need, or more than you can reasonably screen.
Qualified Candidates Per Opening
Qualified Candidates / Openings
Qualified Candidates Per Opening can be both a target you are trying to hit, and an important measurement of your overall sourcing efforts. Modern recruiting software can show you this rate across job types, industries, clients, and more to help benchmark your sourcing efforts.
Offer Acceptance Rate
Offers Accepted / Offers Made
If you’ve properly screened, assessed, and interviewed a candidate, offer acceptance should be close to a formality. Low offer acceptance rates may indicate a flaw in the candidate validation process, or some major defect in the company’s benefits/salary package.
Superior Data Collection Makes Effective Metrics Tracking Possible
Some of these metrics may be key to your team’s success right now. Others might come into play in a few years, as your agency grows — or tomorrow, when a potential client asks for them or wants to confide in you about a challenge they face. \
Regardless, you can set yourself up for success by collecting all of the key data points in the recruiting process. Then, when you’re ready to tackle a new descriptive or prescriptive KPI to improve your business it’s at the ready. Building the right recruiting analytics program takes time and effort, but with the right foundation it’s attainable for any size of team or company.