Essential Recruitment Metrics for Talent Acquisition Success in 2024

Just like having the right GPS for your journey, let's discover key recruitment metrics that guide your hiring efforts to success in 2024 (+ tips).
Wendy Ng
Wendy Ng
Content Lead for Recruitment & Recruitment Technologies, FlexOS
A Recruitment Tool Content Lead with a devotion to people-centric practices and a passion to help people make hiring better and more enjoyable through insightful, research-driven guides.
June 3, 2024
min read

You're doing the most critical job in the company: finding the best, brightest, most aligned talent to join your company, forming strong team dynamics, and driving the entire organization’s success.

So, how do you measure the impact of your recruitment efforts, keep your team in the right direction, and get better results over time?

Enter: recruitment metrics.

As someone deeply invested in this field in the past years, I’ve rounded up the most important recruitment metrics you should keep a close eye on, along with tips and guides for monitoring them effectively. Here is the shortlist:

But first, let’s understand the basics:

What are recruitment metrics?

Recruitment metrics are quantifiable measurements used to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the hiring process within an organization.

By utilizing recruitment metrics, you can identify strengths and weaknesses in your recruitment process, pinpoint areas where your specialized human resources team can further improve, and refine your recruitment strategies to better align with desired goals.

These metrics also assist in making informed decisions that can lead to cost savings, enhanced candidate experience, and a more streamlined hiring workflow.

Long-standing metrics such as time-to-fill, cost-per-hire, and retention rates have been staples in recruitment analytics and still play a crucial role. However, newer metrics, such as diversity levels and candidate satisfaction scores, have gained prominence due to evolving recruitment practices.

Choosing what metrics to focus on depends on many critical factors, including your organizational priorities, hiring approaches, and common industry standards. For instance, a company looking to improve its candidate experience might focus on metrics related to candidate satisfaction and feedback, while an organization aiming to reduce hiring costs would prioritize financial-related metrics.

14 Crucial Recruitment Metrics You Should Be Tracking in 2024

Core Recruitment Metrics (That Proves Your Efficiency)

When it comes to recruitment, we all share the ultimate goal: finding the right people quickly and cost-effectively.

The metrics in this section tell you exactly how well you're achieving that goal.

Whether you're refining your team's methods or discussing strategic improvements with higher-level executives, these metrics are essential to gaining a holistic view of your recruitment efficiency.

1. Time to Hire

Time to hire tracks the duration from when a candidate first applies or is sourced to when they accept the job offer. 

Time to hire (in days) = Day when candidate accepted the job offer – Day when candidate applied for a job

This metric indicates the responsiveness and effectiveness of your recruitment process. Reducing the time to hire can be beneficial as it helps secure top talent by outpacing competitors, but it should not compromise the candidate's experience or the quality of the recruitment process.

Try to optimize your process at various points with technologies like modern ATS software, automated scheduling tools, and AI-powered recruiting assistants to minimize unnecessary intervals.

Time to fill vs Time to hire.

2. Time to Fill

Time to fill is a critical metric that measures the average number of days it takes to fill a position from the moment the job requisition is approved to the moment the candidate accepts the offer.

Time to fill (in days) = Day when candidate accepted the job offer – Day when job requisition was approved

Broader than time-to-hire, this metric encompasses the entire recruitment cycle, including the inside-out processes of job requisition approval, job posting, sourcing, screening, interviewing, and extending the offer. 

It reflects how quickly your recruitment teams can act on a requisition and their ability to complete the hiring process.

A shorter time to fill indicates a more efficient process and high-performing teams, but it's essential to balance this with the quality of hires and the cost involved.

Industry benchmarks suggest aiming for 30-55 days for non-executive roles, depending on the complexity and seniority of the position.

If you’re having trouble with time-to-fill but not time-to-hire, consider building your own candidate pools with recruitment CRM to have a pre-qualified pool of candidates ready for immediate consideration.

3. Quality of Hire

Essentially, quality of hire means not only that the candidate appeared to be the right fit during the selection process but also that they are actually thriving in the role after being hired. It’s an important metric that needs to be measured in the long run, and sadly, only 27% do it.

High-quality hires are more likely to perform well, stay longer, and contribute positively to the company culture and productivity.

To calculate this metric, besides pre-hire data, you must define post-hire data that's important and relevant to your company.

Pre-hire data might include scores from assessments, interviews, and background checks, which can indicate the candidate's potential fit for the role. 

Post-hire data, on the other hand, reflects how well the new hire is actually performing and contributing to the team. This can be derived from performance reviews, retention rates, and feedback from hiring managers and peers.

Among those measuring the quality of hire, various indicators are being used:

Quality of hire indicators.
(Source: SHRM’s Talent Access Report)
Quality of Hire (%) = (Indicator 1% + Indicator 2% + ... + Indicator N%) / Number of Indicators

Pro Tips: Start with a clear 30-60-90 day plan (try our Free Template + Generator) to ensure a smooth transition and better evaluate a new hire's quality. This plan helps your new hires understand expectations, learn the ropes, and demonstrate their abilities effectively during the crucial initial period.

4. Cost per Hire

Cost per hire is a crucial recruitment metric that measures the average total expenses associated with the hiring process for each new employee. 

Calculating this metric is essential for organizations to manage their recruitment budgets effectively and identify areas for cost optimization. 

Cost per hire = (Total internal recruiting costs + Total external recruiting costs) / Number of hires

Total recruitment costs can be broken down into internal and external costs. Internal costs include factors such as the time and resources dedicated by the HR team, hiring managers, and other team members to the recruitment process. External costs encompass expenses like job advertising, background checks, recruiting technologies, or EOR services for global employment administration.

Cost per hire breakdown.

While a lower cost per hire is generally favorable, it is vital to ensure that cost-cutting does not affect the quality of hires.

Effective cost management involves optimizing recruitment channels and leveraging the most effective methods (relevant to sourcing channel effectiveness metrics below) and initiatives to eliminate redundancies while maintaining the quality of the process.

Essential Recruitment Metrics to Optimize Your Processes

Recruitment metrics are your roadmap to understanding what's working well, what needs improvement, and where to focus your efforts. 

The following metrics will give you a hint on how to fine-tune your approach and optimize your different stages to maximize the efforts of both recruitment and talent acquisition teams and enhance overall hiring outcomes.

5. Applicants per Opening

Applicants per opening measures the number of applications received for each job posting. 

Applicants per Opening = Total number of applicants for a job opening / Total number of job postings

This recruitment metric provides insights into the attractiveness and popularity of an open position among job seekers.

A high number of applicants can indicate strong employer branding and effective job marketing efforts. However, if you have a high number of unqualified candidates, it suggests that the job description is too broad or the criteria are not stringent enough. (See best practices with JDs here.

Regularly monitoring applicants per opening helps in adjusting recruitment efforts to better align with the company's hiring goals and market conditions.

6. Source of Hire

The source of hire metric tracks the origin of your hires, whether from job boards, the company’s career pages, social media, internal talent marketplace, employee referrals, or other channels. 

Tracking the source of hire helps you identify which channels are delivering more quality candidates. This metric is helpful for those who are trying to expand their talent reach. Calculate how much each source returns interested candidates to optimize your sourcing expenditures:

Source of Hire (% per channel) = (Number of hires from a specific source / Total number of hires) x 100

Combine with the sourcing channel effectiveness metric which I’m going to discuss next, to better allocate resources more efficiently and enhance your return on investment (ROI) in recruitment efforts.

7. Sourcing Channel Effectiveness

Sourcing channel effectiveness measures the number of potential candidates each recruitment channel brings in and their conversion rates. The ultimate goal is to identify the most productive channels to invest more in and optimize or cut down on the low-performing ones.

Sourcing Channel Effectiveness (%) = (Number of hires from a specific source / Total number of applicants from that source) x 100

You can also assess the cost efficiency of your different sourcing channels to have a more comprehensive evaluation. Calculate the associated costs of investing in each source to reach the desired number of candidates. This could include the cost of advertising on job boards, production costs for recruitment marketing videos, or the average costs of specialized tools like PeopleGPT for passive candidate sourcing on LinkedIn, Facebook, or GitHub.

Sourcing Channel Cost ($) = Total costs spent per platform / Number of successful applicants per platform

These source efficiency metrics help you understand which sources widen the top of your recruitment funnel and convert the best-quality candidates. Thereby, you can optimize your resource allocation and enhance the return on investment in various sourcing channels.

8. Recruiting Yield Ratios

Recruiting yield ratios measure the efficiency of your hiring process by tracking the percentage of candidates moving from one stage of the hiring process to the next. These ratios help identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies, providing insights into areas that may require improvement to streamline the recruitment process.

The recruiting yield ratio measures the effectiveness of each stage in the recruitment funnel, from sourcing candidates to signing contracts. It quantifies the number of candidates who successfully transition from one stage to the next.

Yield Ratio (%) = (Number of candidates who successfully completed the stage / Total number of candidates who entered this stage) × 100. 

For example, if 500 applicants apply and 50 CVs are screened, the yield ratio for this stage is (50/500) × 100 = 10%. Repeat for the rest of your recruitment process. Here is how the recruiting yield pyramid looks like:

Recruiting yield pyramid.

Recruiting yield ratios help recruiters understand how well their recruitment process is functioning and quickly identify potential bottlenecks and pain points in the process. For example, a low conversion rate from application to interview indicates that the initial candidate pool may not be well-targeted, or a high yield ratio from interview to offer proves your effective interview techniques.

It should be noted that recruitment yield ratios only give you a glimpse of your recruitment funnel's effectiveness. You need to examine them in conjunction with other relevant metrics. For example, a high yield ratio combined with a long time to hire suggests that while candidates are moving through stages efficiently, the overall process is slow, indicating a need to streamline certain steps. If candidates are progressing well through the interview stages but few are accepting offers, it could point to problems with the offer acceptance rate or candidate experience level.

9. Application Completion Rate

The application completion rate measures the percentage of candidates who start and finish a job application. It's vital for identifying issues in the recruitment process, especially in organizations with complex online systems. The formula is:

Application Completion Rate (%) = (Completed applications / Started applications) × 100

A low rate can indicate problems such as a lengthy process, technical difficulties, or inefficient communication. This metric helps recruiters streamline the application process to avoid losing qualified candidates. 

Testing the application process firsthand can identify specific issues. Ensuring the process is mobile-friendly, simplifying questions, and allowing progress saving can improve completion rates.

10. Offer Acceptance Rate

The offer acceptance rate measures the percentage of candidates who accept a job offer out of those who received one. 

Offer Acceptance Rate (%) = (Number of Acceptances / Number of Offers) × 100. 

Low offer acceptance rates can stem from various factors that impact the candidate's decisions, including:

  • Uncompetitive compensation packages: Top talent expects competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and desirable working conditions. If your offers are lower than the industry standards or what competitors are offering, it could be a deal-breaker.
  • Poor candidate experience: A disorganized, lengthy, or overly challenging interview process coupled with a lack of timely communication can deter and undervalue candidates.
  • Delays in decision-making and offers: Swift, transparent decision-making and timely offers demonstrate seriousness, keeping candidates engaged before they accept other opportunities.

11. Candidate Experience Level

When it comes to recruitment in today’s landscape, candidate experience level cannot be overlooked. 

Candidate experience can be assessed at various stages of the recruitment process, including feedback from both successful and unsuccessful candidates for a comprehensive view. You can relatively measure these sentiments with candidate experience surveys that include rating questions and the Candidate Net Promoter Score (cNPS). Here is how:

Asking candidates, "How likely are you to recommend this recruitment experience to a friend or colleague on a scale of 1-10?" Collecting responses for this question and run the formula:

Candidate Net Promoter Score = % Promoters – % Detractors
Candidate NPS
(Source: Trustcruit)

You can ask about other important aspects of the recruitment process, such as responsiveness, clarity of communication, and overall satisfaction.

Monitoring candidate experience is crucial for refining recruitment practices and enhancing the employer brand. Regularly collecting and analyzing feedback helps identify pain points and implement changes to improve the candidate journey, ensuring a more positive experience for future applicants.

Ongoing Recruitment Metrics to Track Post-Hire

The last three metrics are more related to candidate quality. They provide deeper insights into the quality of hire in terms of time, cost, and retention rate. 

These metrics are important measurements you need to track in collaboration with other team members, such as new hires' managers, even after successful onboarding to ensure the effectiveness of your recruitment cycles.

12. Time to Productivity / Ramp-Up Time

Time to productivity measures the period it takes for a new hire to become fully productive in their role. This metric helps HRs understand the effectiveness of their onboarding and training processes, ultimately impacting overall business performance.

Time to productivity starts from the moment a new employee joins the company and continues until they reach the expected performance level for their position. This period can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the role, the quality of training provided, and the individual's abilities.

To calculate time to productivity, organizations can track the start date of the new hire and monitor their performance milestones until they meet the predefined productivity criteria. 

This may include achieving certain sales targets, completing specific projects, or reaching a proficiency level in job-related tasks. 

But first, you might need to help your new hires set clear employee performance goals, a suitable 30-60-90 day plan, or do it with performance management tools

13. Cost of Getting to Optimum Productivity Level (OPL)

The cost of getting to the Optimum Productivity Level (OPL) quantifies the total investment required to bring a new hire to full productivity. 

This metric includes various costs such as training, onboarding, mentorship, and any additional resources needed to support the new employee until they reach the expected performance level.

Calculating the cost to reach OPL involves several components. First, it includes direct costs such as salaries paid during the training period, fees for external training programs, and expenses for onboarding materials. It also encompasses indirect costs like the time spent by existing employees who mentor or train the new hire, as well as the opportunity cost of not having the new hire fully productive.

Add up all related costs over the duration of the time-to-productivity period. For example, if a new hire reaches their contribution goals at the 90-day milestone, and during these three months, part of their salary, training program costs, and mentoring costs amount to $15,000, this figure represents the cost of getting to OPL.

Investing in a company wiki or an internal FAQ system can ultimately save your company money and time, especially when you practice remote work, as Chris Dyer, company culture expert & #1 Forbes Leadership, shares in our interview:

“"A" players tend to get called into these training because they're the ones who know how to do it best. But now you're sucking all of the juice out of them for the wrong thing because they should be doing the work, not all the training. And the managers get bogged down in the situations.” - Chris Dyer

This also allows new hires to easily look up their concerns whenever they need and learn at their own pace.

“Even though employees enjoy asking their fellow employees and having that time to connect and be human, when we send them a video, they watch it an average of 15 times.” - Chris Dyer

14. First-Year Attrition

Last but not least, first-year attrition is one of the most critical recruitment metrics that measure new hires’ retention rate during their first year of employment.

First-Year Attrition Rate (%) = (Number of new hires that leave within their first year / Total number of new hires in that year) x 100

High first-year attrition rates can indicate various underlying issues.

One common cause is a mismatch between the job role and the employee's expectations or skills, which can stem from unclear job descriptions or inadequate screening during the recruitment process. 

Another factor might be insufficient onboarding, where new hires do not receive the necessary training or support to integrate successfully into the company. As Employee Engagement expert Christie Hoffman said in our interview:

"If your onboarding is terrible, your employees start in a disengagement hole because they bonded over your bad onboarding. And now you're trying to pull them out of that and demand performance. People will feel they made a terrible decision by joining this company." - Christie Hoffman

First-year attrition can be influenced by company culture and work environment. If new employees feel unwelcome, unsupported, or disconnected from their colleagues, they are more likely to leave. Regular feedback and engagement surveys can help identify these cultural issues early on.

Tips Measure and Monitor Recruitment Metrics Better

Align on Metric Definitions and Methods

Don’t overlook the importance of aligning metric definitions and methods among your teams! 

To ensure consistency and accuracy, it’s important to establish a clear understanding of what each recruitment metric entails and how it should be captured and measured. For example, metrics like quality of hire, cost per hire, candidate experience level, and retention rate depend much on your predefined impacting factors. Without standard definitions, it’s hard to get useful insights that truly reflect your recruitment results.

Rebecca Skilbeck, Head of Customer Insights and Market Research at PageUp, gave an example that incorrectly captured data can lead to inaccurate final records: 

“One organization I worked with was experiencing phenomenally high offer acceptance rates – or so they thought. When the team explored why this was happening, they quickly realized they were only progressing candidates to a formal offer after receiving a verbal acceptance. By not capturing verbal offer decline rates, their offer acceptance rates were skewed.” - Rebecca Skilbeck

Integrate Data Across Platforms

The modern recruitment process involves various tools and platforms, from ATS software and recruitment CRM to your HRIS software and beyond. 

Integrating data across these platforms is crucial for creating a seamless and comprehensive view of the recruitment cycle. 

Integration facilitates better tracking of candidates through the hiring funnel, enhances reporting capabilities, and enables more sophisticated analytics. 

For example, integrating ATS data with performance management systems allows for tracking the long-term success of hires, providing deeper insights into the effectiveness of recruitment strategies.

Benchmark Against Your Historical Data and Industry Standards

How do you know where you’re at and where you need to be without a standard?

Industry benchmarks provide a glimpse into what the average company is doing, offering a baseline for what is considered good performance. 

To gauge how well you’re doing, compare your recruitment metrics against the industry benchmarks from your industry and your niche. You can find these benchmarks by reviewing reports from reputable sources or talking to experts and peers.

Also, reviewing your current recruitment metrics compared to your past data is important to know your patterns and set realistic goals. 

Act on Your Results

Collecting and analyzing recruitment metrics is only valuable if the insights gained are acted upon. 

Leaders must be prepared to implement changes based on data-driven findings to enhance their recruitment processes continually. 

For instance, if metrics indicate that the candidate experience is lacking, HR teams should take steps to improve communication, streamline application processes, or enhance interview practices. 

Acting on data might also involve investing in new technologies, adjusting recruitment strategies, or providing additional training for recruiters. 

Wrapping it Up: Recruitment Metrics

The saying 'If you can't measure it, you can't improve it' traces back to William Thomson in the 19th century, but it remains just as true nowadays.

The real power of these metrics lies in regularly reviewing your hiring performance, quickly spotting areas for improvement, and adjusting your recruitment strategies on the fly based on real-time data.

But remember, recruitment metrics alone won't carry you to hiring success.

It's an ongoing cycle of measuring, optimizing, and refining that keeps your recruitment results steadily improving.

You'll need to pair these data-driven insights with creative tactics and a solid understanding of what motivates your target talent. When used together, quantitative recruitment metrics and qualitative insights become a powerful force for your recruiting excellence.

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