20 recruiting metrics (and how to calculate them)

In order to measure the effectiveness of your hiring strategy, you need accurate recruiting metrics. Sometimes called key performance indicators (KPIs), this data is invaluable when assessing budgets and workflows, too. Armed with the insight your data provides, you can improve the hiring experience for your team and candidates, save your department money, and prove your value to your organization.

But with so many recruiting metrics available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Below are the 20 KPIs that we consider most important for recruiters to track and measure. We'll show you what they mean, why they matter, and how to calculate them.

1. Application completion rate

This recruiting metric tells you how many people complete your application form. Low application completion rates mean that people are leaving their applications unfinished — perhaps the application is too long, is frustratingly repetitive, or demands more personal information than applicants are comfortable giving. It could also indicate some sort of technical glitch. Investigate low application completion rates immediately: Your entire hiring process is stymied until you do.

How to calculate application completion rate

Application completion rate = # of submitted applications / total # of applications started

2. Vacancy rate

This is a calculation of the percentage of open positions versus the total number of existing positions. The vacancy rate for your company or a specific department reveals trends in the job market or your company's growth trajectory. For example, a high vacancy rate can indicate rapid growth, an unusually high job churn, or possible deficiencies in the hiring market.

How to calculate vacancy rate

Vacancy rate = # of open positions / total # of positions in the organization or department X 100

3. Fill rate

Your fill rate is the percentage of jobs you fill out of the total number of openings you have. This metric is useful in determining whether your team (or an external agency) can effectively fill job positions. Ideally, you want a high fill rate, as that is a sign that the process is running smoothly. A low fill rate could point to an issue inside your team.

How to calculate fill rate

Fill rate = total positions filled / total job openings X 100

4. Applicants per hire

Applicants per hire is a ratio of how many applications are considered for each hire. This can vary widely from job to job, so calculate it for each position you fill. It shows whether you are effectively sourcing applicants, and it tells you how wide of a net you need to cast in order to find a good hire.

How to calculate applicants per hire

Applicants per hire = # of applicants for a position / # of hires for that same position

5. Qualified candidates per hire

While similar to the applicants per hire metric, qualified candidates per hire is slightly different in that it is a measure of how many applicants make it past the first milestone of your review process (usually how many made it to the additional screening phase). Over time, you learn how many qualified candidates are required per hire and can use it to set goals with your team.

How to calculate qualified candidates per hire

Qualified candidates = # of candidates for a position who make it past the first round of review / # of hires for that same position

6. Time to hire

This is the average number of days it takes for a candidate to proceed from applying for an open position to accepting a position with your company. Time to hire is a very important metric for identifying pain points in the hiring process and targeting areas for improvement. For example, you might discover that a particular department takes an exceptionally long time to hire. Dig in to find out why. Is it a lack of good candidates? A bottleneck with skill testing?

The length of the hiring process is directly tied to candidate satisfaction. Ideally, you want your time-to-hire average to stay as low as possible while still maintaining the integrity of the process.

Time to hire

How to calculate time to hire

Time to hire = average # of days from the start of recruiting process to the signing of employment contract

7. Time in workflow step

Related to time to hire is time in workflow step, a measure of the number of business days a candidate spends in each stage of the hiring process. This information is useful for identifying bottlenecks in your process. For example, if the resume-screening stage takes several weeks, you may want to look into methods to reduce that window. If time in any one workflow step is too long, you risk good candidates moving on.

Time in workflow step

How to calculate time in workflow step

Time in step = average # of days from the moment a candidate enters that step of the process until they leave that step

Calculate for each step of the process.

8. Pass-through rate

Pass-through rate, sometimes called conversion rate, is the percentage of candidates who move forward in each step of the hiring process. You should be filtering out candidates at each stage, so the number of candidates will decrease the later you get in the hiring process. Recalculate after each stage to discover certain trends and identify issues in your process.

Track your pass-through rates to help you identify bottlenecks

How to calculate pass-through rate

Pass-through rate = # of applicants who are able to move forward / total # of applicants x 100

Calculate for each step of the process.

9. Reach for hire

This is a calculation of the total number of people you are able to reach when posting job openings or launching other campaigns. It's calculated by adding up all of your followers and subscribers across all of your social media and messaging platforms. Use this number to track the effectiveness of your campaigns; however, keep in mind that it's a rough number, as there may be overlap between followers across platforms.

How to calculate reach for hire

Reach for hire = # of contacts in your internal database + # of company LinkedIn followers + # of Facebook followers + # of Twitter followers + # of newsletter subscribers + any other followers or subscribers on any other platforms

10. Yield ratio

The percentage of candidates from a specific recruiting source that made it to the interview stage is called a yield ratio. Sources that send you a large number of candidates are not as helpful as sources that send you worthwhile candidates. Calculating yield ratio can help determine how efficient a selected recruiting method is.

How to calculate yield ratio

Yield ratio = # of applicants from a specific source that were interviewed / number of applications generated by a source

11. Source quality

Source quality is similar to yield ratio, but it takes things one step further by calculating how many applications from a source resulted in successful hires. The most valuable sources send you the most hires.

Track your applicant to hire ratio, not just your number of applications

How to calculate source quality

Source quality = # of hires generated by a source / number of applications generated by a source

12. Source of hire

This is another metric for determining the usefulness of different source channels. Compare various sources of hires in a pie chart to see where most of your hires come from. Tracking where your hires originated from helps you determine which sources are the most effective.

How to calculate source of hire

Source of hire = the source that generated each hire

13. Sourcing-channel cost

You can also measure the value of a sourcing channel by calculating how much money you are spending per applicant on each channel. If you're spending a lot of money with minimal returns, it may be time to allocate that budget elsewhere.

How to calculate sourcing-channel cost

Sourcing-channel cost = amount spent per platform / number of applicants per platform

14. Cost per hire

Cost per hire is also sometimes referred to as cost to fill. The formula calculates the ROI of your recruiting efforts by determining exactly how much of your budget was spent on each new hire. Keeping this number low can help you work out your future budgeting and recruitment strategies.

When calculating your cost per hire, take into account internal costs, such as hours billed, and external costs, such as ad campaigns, recruiter fees, or ATS software.

Track your applicant to hire ratio, not just your number of applications

How to calculate cost per hire

Cost per hire = (total internal costs + total external costs) / total # of hires

15. Offer acceptance rate

This is a measure of how many candidates accept the jobs they are offered. If your offer acceptance rate is low, then you need to make sure your compensation packages are competitive.

How to calculate offer acceptance rate

Offer acceptance rate = # of offers accepted / # of offers

16. First-year churn

Not everyone who accepts a job offer stays with your company for the long term. First-year churn is a calculation of the attrition rate of new hires within their first year. It includes both employees who are let go and those who leave of their own accord. Reasons for first-year churn include unrealistic expectations, poor onboarding, or poor cultural fit. Evaluating why employees churn can help you refine the hiring and onboarding process.

How to calculate first-year churn

First-year churn = number of hires who leave within a year / total number of hires

17. Success ratio

Success ratio is a method of calculating the quality of hire, as determined by your company’s performance ratings during an employee's first year on the job. A good success ratio (closer to 100) means a successful hire.

Track your applicant to hire ratio, not just your number of applications

How to calculate success ratio

Success ratio = # of satisfactory vnew hires / # of total new hires X 100

18. Hired to goal

When your team internally sets a hiring goal, use this KPI to determine whether you are meeting expectations. Is the department living up to its potential? Set future goals using this KPI, too.

How to calculate hired to goal

Hired to goal = # of positions filled / goal # of positions to fill

19. Candidate Net Promoter Score

Candidate Net Promoter Score is a measure of how likely a candidate is to recommend your company to another contact. Promoter scores are usually calculated by polling candidates or estimating their satisfaction externally on a scale from 1-10.

When calculating your net promoter score, anything over 0 is considered good, and anything over 50 is great. To boost your NP score, work on improving the candidate experience in order to increase candidate satisfaction.

How to calculate candidate Net Promoter Score

Candidate Net Promoter Score = % of “promoters” (candidates ranked 9-10) - % of detractors (candidates ranked 1-6)

20. Hiring diversity

All hiring managers should strive to hire candidates with a range of backgrounds to increase the diversity of their workforce. Inclusion in the workplace has been shown to have major benefits in everything from creativity to retention rates. Track diversity numbers over time to ensure that the company is attracting and pulling in a varied group of new hires.

How to calculate diversity

There's no straightforward formula for measuring diversity, but there are a few different metrics you can use to get a better idea of what areas might need work. Focus on tracking the changing levels of representation over time (and across different levels of the company), as well as the sources that generate candidates with diverse backgrounds.

Using metrics strategically

Recruiting metrics are great tools, but they can also become a distraction. If you dig into your data, there is an almost unlimited amount of KPIs you could invent. Calculating every conceivable metric is not a great use of your time or effort.

Instead, choose a handful of metrics that are important to the goals of your department. Identify problem areas you want to optimize or efforts you want to highlight, and then use your data to strengthen your arguments. Some of the outcomes are subjective, but there are some established benchmarks you can look to for help evaluating your results. With the right metrics, you can continuously improve and refine your hiring process as you work toward the ultimate goal of hiring great candidates as efficiently as possible.

About Hire by Google

Hire is a recruiting app by Google that uses AI to make the hiring process faster and simpler. Because it is designed specifically for G Suite users, with Gmail, Google Calendar and other G Suite integrations, Hire streamlines administrative tasks so that your team can hire the best people, faster.