The Most Important Recruiting Metrics You Need to Measure

by Mike Tannian on May 10, 2022

Ready to dive into the data and improve your recruitment process? Identify which recruitment metrics your organization should be tracking.

Article Highlights

It’s time for your organization to put together its annual strategic plan updates and, unlike in years past, you have time to wholeheartedly dive into the process this time around. 

But it’s been a while since you last thought about recruitment metrics and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process. How are you supposed to know which metrics are the most important to track? 

Whether your organization is new to analyzing its performance or a seasoned champion of performance management, tracking the right data takes careful foresight and planning. If you don’t strategize early on about what information you need, you’re going to spin your wheels collecting data that doesn’t tell you much of anything at all.  

In this post, we’ll discuss how measuring key recruiting metrics can help improve your organization’s recruiting processes. Then, find out exactly what recruitment metrics you should be tracking to maximize your efforts and improve your recruiting strategy.

Why Are Recruiting Metrics Important?

As a busy human resources professional, it can be tempting to push data tracking and analysis to the back of your to-do list. But while it may be hard to dedicate your valuable time to analyzing recruitment metrics, doing so is vital if you want to improve your existing processes. 

That’s because defining and analyzing recruitment reporting metrics allows you to: 

  • Understand the current strengths (and weaknesses) of your processes 
  • Acknowledge and address bottlenecks in your recruitment funnels 
  • Make changes to processes that aren’t adding value
  • Track progress over a defined period of time 
  • Benchmark with other positions, departments, and organizations  

Let’s consider an example. Perhaps you had a recent recruitment cycle with several strong candidates. But while you were deciding who to hire, your top candidate bowed out of the hiring process and accepted a different job. And then the same thing happened again. And again. 

Unfortunately, if you haven’t been tracking time-to-hire, you can’t compare your organization’s hiring time period to other organizations (or even previous recruitment cycles within your organization). As such, it’s impossible to know whether your recruitment cycle is slower than average, and that’s why you’re losing qualified candidates – or if it’s something else entirely. 

Before you can identify a solution, you need to understand the problem. Tracking recruitment metrics enables you to understand baseline data about your recruitment cycles, analyze growth opportunities, and make informed decisions about your recruitment process. Over time, this helps reduce costs, saves time, and results in a better recruitment strategy overall.  

So, now you know why data monitoring is so important. But what recruiting metrics should you be tracking? Let’s find out.

10 Recruiting Metrics You Should Be Tracking

There is no shortage of recruitment metrics that can help your organization better understand its hiring processes. Below, we discuss 10 recruiting funnel metrics that provide valuable insight into your recruitment funnel effectiveness, from application to hire. 

1. Application Completion Rate

Let’s say you’re hiring for a more technical position, so you tried to make your job application as comprehensive as possible. In addition to a basic application your organization asks everyone to fill out, you added quite a few supplemental questions.  

The problem? Your job application completion rate is abysmal. Candidates get halfway through the application and then never finish it. 

If your application process is too long, qualified candidates will drop out of your hiring process before they even get to the interview stage. In fact, up to 60% of potential candidates will stop completing an application once they realize how long or complex it is.  

As such, this is one of the recruitment funnel metrics you absolutely need to track. Doing so can help you determine whether you need to reduce the length or complexity of your application process so you can boost the number of completed applications you receive. 

2. Applications Per Job Posting

The more applications you receive (and the larger your talent pool of potential candidates), the better. Tracking the number of applications you receive per job posting helps your organization determine when your applicant pool is large enough to start scheduling interviews. For the public sector, this is about 25 job applications on average

Additionally, this recruitment metric can help you determine how a recruitment ad is performing overall. That is, if you receive far fewer applicants than average to some job postings, it may be time to consider posting the ad on other job boards or even revisiting the position itself to determine whether its salary and benefits are competitive enough for today’s market. 

3. Time to Hire

Measuring time to hire in the public sector is an important recruitment turnaround time benchmark, especially if you care about candidate satisfaction in your hiring process (hint: you should!). Time to hire measures the time period between when an applicant first applies to work for your organization and the day he or she accepts your job offer. 

You want your time to hire KPI to be as short as possible. A long time-to-hire can result in a poor candidate experience, with individuals going through too many rounds of interviews or waiting weeks before hearing back from recruiters. 

A poor time to hire also increases the likelihood that a candidate will accept another job offer before your recruiting process is complete. As such, reducing your average time to hire in today’s competitive job market is vital to securing a quality hire for your organization.

4. Time to Fill

Time to fill also makes our list of important recruiting funnel metrics. While this key performance indicator is often confused with time to hire, it involves a few additional processes that take place before any candidates get involved. This includes actions like: 

  1. Creating an open requisition for a position 
  2. Getting the requisition approved 
  3. Writing a recruitment ad for the position and posting to relevant job boards 
  4. Consulting with the hiring manager and assembling your hiring team 

Assessing your organization’s time to fill can help you identify and make proactive changes to the administrative activities that are slowing down your recruitment process before candidates even get involved. This is especially important when it comes to being competitive in today’s job market, since time to fill is 119 days on average for the public sector (three times that of the private sector!). 

5. Cost Per Hire

The hiring process isn’t cheap. But do you know how your organization’s recruiting process cost stacks up against the average cost per hire, which is $4,000

To measure cost of hire, you must factor in both external and internal recruiting costs that make up your recruiting process. It’s important to capture as much information as possible when it comes to calculating your cost per hire. This includes:  

  • The amount of time your recruiting team spends sourcing active and passive candidates
  • Staff time spent writing job descriptions, reviewing applications, and holding interviews
  • Money spent on advertising an open position on popular job boards
  • Cost to conduct background checks and other onboarding activities 

You can translate staff time into a dollar amount by calculating an employee’s hourly rate and then multiplying it by the amount of time spent on each task. The less money you spend on each hire, the better — so long as you’re making a quality hire (more about this soon). 

6. Source of Hire

Monitoring your source of hire is vital to cultivating a strong talent pipeline. Knowing which sourcing channels work best for your organization speeds up your recruiting timeline while making the best use of your recruiting efforts. 

If you regularly find high-quality candidates from certain job boards, you know that it makes sense to continue posting ads on these sites. For example, public organizations that use GovernmentJobs.com are 177% more likely to find a qualified hire than Indeed

In short, taking stock of your candidate sourcing allows your organization to identify where your organization is getting the most “bang for its buck.” This also opens up time (and your recruiting budget!) to experiment with other sourcing channels, such as career fairs or employee referrals. 

7. Candidate Experience 

Candidate experience matters, both for the candidates you ultimately hire and those you don’t. That’s because disgruntled job applicants may address their grievances with others in their professional network, potentially harming your employer brand over time. 

A bad interview experience can also decrease the likelihood someone accepts a job with your organization. Similarly, individuals who have a bad experience throughout the recruiting process may also be less likely to consider a future career at your organization. 

You can measure candidate experience by connecting with each unsuccessful and successful candidate at different stages of the hiring process and asking for feedback. Individuals will appreciate the opportunity to share their insights and improve the experience of other job seekers, and you’ll have the opportunity to directly address any grievances. 

8. Offer Acceptance Rate

In today’s job market, job seekers can often anticipate choosing between several job offers. Tracking the offer acceptance rate at your organization can help you assess how competitive your organization is compared to others in your area. 

In other words, if you have a lower offer acceptance rate, it may be time to evaluate how you can make your offers more attractive to qualified candidates. This includes assessing things like: 

  • Your total compensation package, including benefits 
  • Your employer branding and organizational reputation 
  • Your organization's job perks, such as remote or flexible work opportunities 

Undertaking a class and comp study can help you determine if your compensation package aligns with industry trends. Similarly, identifying ways you can make competitive job offers, such as promoting flex work opportunities, can help boost your candidate-to-new-hire conversation rate. 

9. Quality of Hire

That said, having a great offer acceptance rate doesn’t mean much if you regularly make bad hires. Likewise, the best recruitment turnaround time benchmark, whether that’s time to hire or time to fill, means nothing if your recruitment team is consistently dissatisfied with its new employees. 

Your quality of hire can be measured in both subjective and objective ways. For example, you can conduct informal interviews with hiring managers to assess their overall satisfaction with the new employee. Or you might ask your hiring manager to reflect upon the candidate’s time to productivity (how long it takes the new hire to “learn the ropes,” so to speak). 

Performance evaluations and tracking certain employee KPIs can provide a more formal way to assess the quality of hire and manager satisfaction. This might look like assessing an employee’s customer service satisfaction rating if they work with the public or, in the private industry, monitoring an employee’s sales performance. 

10. First Year Attrition

After monitoring recruiting funnel metrics like application completion rate, cost per hire, and source of hire, you’ve finally found the perfect candidate… or so you thought. Clearly, there was a misalignment somewhere because your new hire quit already and you just hired him a few months ago. 

Unfortunately, this is more common than you might think, with as many as 20% of new hires quitting their jobs within the first 45 days of being hired. As such, it’s vital you measure your organization’s first-year attrition rate. 

If your retention rates are suffering, it may be time to revisit things like your job descriptions (Does it align with the actual day-to-day of the job?), onboarding processes (Do new hires feel properly equipped to do their jobs?), and company culture (Does it align with your employer branding?).

Final Thoughts

It’s never too late to start identifying the recruitment reporting metrics you’d like to track. Whether you choose to start with just one or two key recruitment metrics or attack the entire list, identifying opportunities for improvement is bound to make your recruitment process more efficient and effective. 

If you’d like to learn about other ways to improve your hiring practices, learn how to automate your recruitment process on our blog.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Director of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value to public sector HR professionals at every stage in the buying journey.