7 ways to create more actionable recruiting reports

Be honest — do you only check your recruiting metrics when leadership asks for an updated report? Recruitment reporting should be a critical and ongoing part of your hiring process. You can’t improve what you don’t measure, after all. Strong, thorough actionable reports can allow your team to make meaningful changes to the hiring process, giving you the power to hire faster, find better candidates, and even save money.

To make real, sustainable improvements, you have to start with in-depth, actionable reports. With the help of a few smart changes, you can create reports that not only provide the data you need to make informed decisions about your recruiting processes, but also have a real impact on the quality of the candidates you bring in.

Let's take a look at seven ways you can use your recruiting reports to make a bigger impact on the speed and success of your hiring.

1. Establish a deliberate reporting cadence

As a dedicated HR professional, you may assume that it's best to pull data for your reports on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. But if you work at a smaller organization, or your business isn't actively hiring for many roles at the moment, this high frequency may not provide you and senior leadership with actionable information.

Before changing anything else about your recruitment reporting, take a close look at how frequently you’re pulling data. You may need to increase or decrease this cadence — even temporarily — based on how many roles you're trying to fill, how many candidates are in the hiring process, and how many other individuals (like hiring managers and senior leadership) are currently involved with interviews. For example, if you’re only hiring five to ten candidates a month, your data won’t change that much each week. As your volume grows, you’ll be able to see more fluctuations and can begin to pull your data more frequently.

By getting this cadence right, you can be sure that when you’re pulling your data, it’s both accurate and actionable.

2. Track pass-through rates at each stage of the hiring process

Tracking pass-through rates allows you to measure the candidate drop-off between each stage of the hiring process. This helps identify and resolve inefficiencies at specific stages in your process, and can allow you to make changes that will reduce internal costs.

Let’s say you take a look at your data and notice that your sales team is conducting the highest number of on-site interviews out of any department at your company. When you dig in a little more, you realize that the sales team’s pass-through rate from on-site to offer accept is only 10%. This means that members of your sales team, who are direct revenue generators, are spending a lot of time interviewing candidates that never get hired.

By digging into this data, you can see that too many unqualified applicants are making it past the screening stages and wasting valuable time. You can take action to improve your screening process in order to reduce the number of candidates who make it to the on-site stage and give time back to your valuable team members.

To make this data actionable, it's crucial to track pass-through rates at every stage — not just between the initial application and hire. Your applicant tracking system (ATS) may have a built-in pipeline report, like the example below, that can give HR teams and recruiters a head start on monitoring these stages and finding new ways to improve.

Hire pipeline

3. Find additional bottlenecks by monitoring your hiring velocity

Another potential source for hiring bottlenecks is the amount of time between the steps in your own internal workflow, often called “hiring velocity.”

While pass-through rates specifically address how many candidates advance past each stage, hiring velocity tracks how fast you are able to move candidates through your process. Hiring velocity reports typically illuminate inefficiencies like hiring team members taking too long to submit feedback, delays in approvals from leadership, or too much time spent screening applicants.

Reporting on the length of time between steps in the recruiting workflow allows HR professionals to identify issues that are slowing down the organization's overall time-to-hire. For example, if it takes 10 days to review all of the applications for an entry-level marketing role, this may signal that there are too many unqualified applicants.

Hire pipeline

To resolve this issue, review the job boards and applicant sources being utilized and begin relying more heavily on the ones that provide the highest-quality candidates. With stronger applicants in the pipeline from the start, recruiters will spend less time reviewing resumes and more time determining which candidates should move forward to a phone screen.

By monitoring your hiring velocity at each stage, you can find these bottlenecks, eliminate them, and ultimately speed up the hiring process overall.

4. Track rejection reasons — both from candidates and your company

If your HR team is only tracking why your company rejects candidates, you’re missing out on valuable data. You should also be tracking why candidates reject your job offers, or even drop out of the interviewing process.

Asking candidates for their rejection reasons, and then tracking these reasons over time, provides critical insight into what potential hires feel is lacking at your organization. Candidates may cite low salaries, a lack of specific benefits, a perceived lack of culture fit, or other factors within your control to improve, or at least address, during the phone screen or interview stages.

Additionally, tracking your own rejection reasons, and the stages at which you’re most commonly rejecting candidates, can provide insight into internal procedures that might be driving away potential hires. For example, if a majority of your sales candidates are being rejected at the phone screen stage due to a lack of qualifications, you may need to revisit your job descriptions to ensure they’re up-to-date and accurate. But if more of these rejections are happening at the final interview stage, you may want to take a closer look at the criteria you’re using to select candidates who move past the phone screen.

Hire by Google includes a detailed report that shows rejection reasons by each stage of the hiring process, which allows recruiters to understand at a glance which reasons are coming up most frequently. Recruiters can also see the specific applicants or roles that matched with rejection reasons, which can provide even more in-depth insight into improvement opportunities. For example, if engineering candidates regularly reject offers due to a low salary, this indicates that your leadership team may need to revisit the benefits package for these roles.

Hire rejections

5. Report on applicant source quality, not just quantity

How many applicants each job board or source sends you is important — but the quality of those applicants ultimately matters more than the quantity. By reporting on which sources send you the strongest candidates, you can focus your time, money, and energy on the most impactful ones.

Source quality reports can make a big difference in how you hire. For example, a report may show that your organization's strongest applicants and hires come from internal referrals. If your HR team then creates a standardized referral program that rewards employees for referring new hires to HR, this would both increase employee engagment and improve the amount of high-quality applicants entering the hiring pipeline.

Another example: Your team may receive a large number of applicants from a popular job board, but a source quality report might reveal that none of these applicants has ever made it past the phone screen. This allows your recruiting team to spend their time on sources that yield higher-quality applicants and may also save you money on subscriptions or job-posting fees.

Some applicant tracking systems, including Hire by Google, have source quality reports built-in, which saves even more time and effort by eliminating the need to compile this data manually:

Hire sources

6. Add both internal and external costs to your cost-per-hire calculation

When creating a cost-per-hire report, it's common to include the costs of external resources used during the recruiting and hiring process — for example, an outsourced recruiter. However, this doesn't always provide a completely accurate picture of your total cost per hire, and — more importantly — may cause you to miss out on opportunities to save your organization money.

When you calculate your cost per hire, it should look like the diagram below, including both internal and external costs:

Time to hire process

Internal costs include: - Your own time, as a member of HR

  • The time of others involved with the interviewing process, like hiring managers and leadership

  • Any referral incentives or similar rewards paid to current employees

External costs include: - Agency or outsourced recruiter fees

  • Job board subscriptions or one-time fees

  • Background checks, external tests, or other assessments

  • Subscriptions to hiring software, including applicant tracking systems

By breaking down your cost-per-hire calculation in this way, you'll be able to identify patterns and opportunities for cost savings. For example, a report may reveal that there are unusually high internal costs for a specific role due to the amount of interviews (and hiring managers) involved. This presents an opportunity to streamline the interview process and reduce internal costs by implementing a stricter phone screen or potentially pre-interview skill testing.

7. Ask senior leadership what data they need to make informed decisions

As Staffing Manager Jeff Moore says, “It's easy to conflate what we as recruiters think is important with what our leadership thinks is important.” Asking senior leadership what data they need on their report helps you create the most meaningful, actionable reports possible.

As an example: If senior leadership needs to know how long it will take to fill a new role, you can adjust your reporting to present them with the corresponding data, which in this case would be your current time-to-hire. Once they have this data, leadership can make an informed decision about filling vacancies or approving future hires.

Asking leadership for their input on your reporting ultimately benefits both you and your company's leadership: It helps them make data-driven decisions for the company, and it helps you, as an HR professional, present the most relevant reports possible. Ultimately, this reinforces leadership's view of you as a strategic member of their team.

Make your hiring reports more actionable with these tips

Truly useful recruiting reports don't just show leadership what happened: They use data to explain why it happened and how to improve your hiring process and candidate experience in the future. These tips will help you infuse data into your reports, so they're ultimately more actionable, both for you and the leadership you're presenting them to.

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.