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Understanding Recruitment Metrics for Effective Hiring Strategies

The recruitment process is a complex interplay of relationship building and management, decision-making and analysis. With businesses becoming increasingly data-driven, understanding recruitment metrics is crucial. This guide aims to simplify and shed light on the key metrics that can help recruiters optimise their hiring process – or at the very least introduce some of the terminology you might encounter when you start your career in recruitment.

1. Source of Hire

What it is: This metric helps identify which recruitment channels or sources (e.g., job boards, company website, employee referrals, etc.) are most effective in bringing in hires.

How it’s monitored: By tracking where each candidate first learned about the job opening and comparing this to where successful hires originated.

Why it’s important: Understanding which sources yield the most successful hires allows recruiters to allocate resources and budget more efficiently. For instance, if employee referrals consistently lead to successful hires, an organisation might invest more in referral programs.

2. Applicants per Opening (APO)

What it is: A metric that shows the number of applicants for each job opening.

How it’s monitored: By calculating the number of applicants for each individual job – simple and straightforward.

Why it’s important: High APO suggests your job postings are attractive or widely visible, but it can also indicate that you’re casting too wide a net.  Conversely, a low APO might mean the job description isn’t appealing or isn’t reaching the right audience.

3. Time to Fill

What it is: This metric measures the duration (usually number of days) between the moment a job is acquired and subsequently posted online, and the moment a candidate accepts the job offer.

How it’s monitored: By tracking the date the job is acquired by the agency and the date the candidate accepts the offer, recruiters can calculate the total days it takes to fill a position.

Why it’s important: Factors such as, supply and demand ratios for specific jobs and in certain industries, as well as the speed at which the recruitment department operates can have an affect on time to fill.  Therefore, it’s a great metric for business planning, setting expectations with the client and offers a realistic view for the manager to assess the time it will take to attract and hire a replacement for departing employees.

4. Time to Hire

What it is: This metric measures the duration (usually number of days) between the moment a candidate applies, or is approached for a particular job and the moment the candidate accepts the job offer.  In some companies this metric is called ‘Time to Accept’.

How it’s monitored: By tracking the date the candidate expresses interest in the role and the date the candidate accepts the offer.

Why it’s important: A prolonged hiring process can lead to lost productivity for businesses and the potential of losing top candidates to competitors. A shorter time-to-hire often means a more efficient recruitment process and attracting the best candidates as it impacts your candidate experience – no one likes a convoluted recruiting process.  With knowing these metrics you’ll be able to see where the bottlenecks are (i.e. what’s slowing you down) and you can plan to remove them.

5. Cost Per Hire

What it is: The total expenses incurred during the hiring process divided by the number of hires in a specific period.Metrics

How it’s monitored: This metric is derived by adding up all internal and external recruitment costs (e.g., advertising fees, recruiter salaries, training costs, and candidate expenses) and then dividing by the number of successful hires.

Why it’s important: Understanding cost per hire helps organisations budget effectively and allocate resources where they’re most needed, and can help with negotiating fees with clients.

6. Offer Acceptance Rate (OAR)

What it is: This metric reflects the percentage of candidates who accept a formal job offer out of all those who received an offer.

How it’s monitored: It’s calculated by dividing the number of accepted offers by the total number of offers made.

Why it’s important: A high OAR indicates that your employer brand is strong, and the terms of employment are competitive. A low rate might suggest that there’s room for improvement in your offer or that you’re not aligning well with candidate expectations.

7. Selection Ratio

What it is: It represents the proportion of applicants that are hired in comparison to the total number of candidates.  This is sometimes called the ‘Submittals to Hire Ratio’.

How it’s monitored: You calculate this by dividing the number of hired candidates by the total number of candidates.  This can also be done for each stage of the recruitment process.

Why it’s important: The selection ratio gives an idea about the strictness or leniency of each recruitment stage. It’s useful for ensuring you’re not prematurely disqualifying potential talent or being too lax in your evaluations.

8. Candidate Satisfaction

What it is: A metric assessing how pleased candidates are with your recruitment process, regardless of the hiring outcome.

How it’s monitored: Typically, organisations gather this feedback via post-interview surveys or feedback forms or via review platforms such as Google Review, Sourcr and Linkedin Recommendations.  Questions might revolve around communication clarity, interviewer demeanour, or overall experience.

Why it’s important: A positive candidate experience can bolster an organisation’s reputation, making it more attractive to top talent. Conversely, a poor experience can deter potential candidates and even clients.

9. Candidate Experience

What it is: A holistic view of how candidates perceive the entire recruitment process, from initial contact to the final interview—or even the onboarding phase.

How it’s monitored: This is typically gauged through candidate surveys, feedback forms, and sometimes, online reviews on platforms like Glassdoor.

Why it’s important: Positive candidate experiences can lead to stronger employer branding, better-quality applicants, and more accepted job offers. Conversely, a negative experience can deter potential candidates and may even discourage customers if word spreads.

10. Recruitment Funnel Effectiveness

What it is: An analysis of how efficiently candidates move through the recruitment process, from initial application to hire.

How it’s monitored: By examining drop-off rates at each stage of the recruitment funnel. For example, if many candidates make it to the interview stage but few receive offers, there might be an issue with the interview process.

Why it’s important: Pinpointing where candidates drop out or get stuck helps recruiters refine their process. For instance, if the time between initial screening and interview is too long, candidates might lose interest or accept other offers.


In Conclusion Recruitment metrics are more than just numbers on a dashboard; they provide insights, guide strategies, and ensure that organisations are always on the right hiring track. This is just a snapshot of some of the metrics available to hiring teams and recruitment consultants.  And of course, there are some great software solutions out there (e.g. Vincere (The Access Group), PeopleHR and Datapeople) to help gather and consolidate this information to assist you in offering the best recruitment process you can.