Recruiting Metrics FAQ: How to define, calculate and benchmark KPIs | Workable

Recruiting metrics FAQ: A comprehensive guide

Recruitment metrics help you gauge the effectiveness of your recruitment process. Here are frequently asked questions and answers about recruiting metrics to help you understand recruiting data and use it to boost your hiring:

Intro to Recruiting Metrics

  • What are recruiting metrics?
  • What can you learn from recruitment metrics?
  • What are the most important metrics to track?
  • How can I have better visibility into recruiting metrics?
  • Who should be tracking recruiting metrics?
  • How do I calculate recruiting metrics?
  • What metrics should matter most to a Talent Acquisition team?
  • What metrics should matter most to an external recruiter?
  • What metrics should matter most to HR?
  • What recruiting metrics matter most to the CEO?
  • What metrics should I track when working with an external recruiter?
  • How do I increase the number of job applicants?
  • How do I increase the number of qualified applicants?

Cost and Budget Metrics

  • What is cost per hire?
  • How do you calculate cost per hire?
  • What should be included in recruiting costs?
  • What’s a good benchmark for cost per hire?
  • What’s a good benchmark for recruiting costs?
  • What should be included in a recruiting budget?
  • How do I calculate my recruiting budget?
  • What’s a good benchmark for a recruiting budget?

Time Metrics

  • What is time to fill?
  • How do you calculate time to fill?
  • How do you calculate average time to fill?
  • What’s a good benchmark for time to fill?
  • How can we reduce time to fill?
  • What is time to hire?
  • What’s a good benchmark for time to hire?
  • How can we improve time to hire?
  • What is “time to fill” vs. “time to hire”?

Process Metrics

  • What is qualified candidates per hire?
  • How do you calculate qualified candidates per hire?
  • What’s a good benchmark for qualified candidates per hire?
  • How can we improve qualified candidates per hire?
  • What is “interviews per hire”?
  • How can we reduce interviews per hire?
  • What is “hiring velocity”?
  • How do you improve hiring velocity?
  • What is the “Screened Candidates to Face-to-Face Interviews” metric?
  • How do you measure “Screened Candidates to Face-to-Face Interviews”?
  • What is the “Face-to-Face Candidates Interviewed to Offers Extended” metric?
  • How do you measure “Face-to-Face Candidates Interviewed to Offers Extended”?
  • What is source of hire?

Candidate Experience Metrics

  • What is candidate experience?
  • How do you measure the candidate experience?
  • What is applicant experience?
  • How do you measure the applicant experience?
  • What is candidate feedback?
  • What is a career page conversion rate?
  • How do you improve career page conversion rates?
  • What is application time?
  • How do you measure application time?

Email Metrics

  • What are recruiter email metrics?
  • How do you measure recruiter email metrics?

Job Offer Metrics

  • What is the offer acceptance rate metric?
  • How do you measure an offer acceptance rate?
  • What’s a good benchmark for offer acceptance rate?
  • How do you improve your offer acceptance rate?
  • What is the “Reasons Offers are Being Accepted” metric?
  • Why should we measure “Reasons Offers are Being Accepted”?
  • What is the “Reasons Offers are Being Rejected” metric?

Intro to Recruiting Metrics

1. What are recruiting KPIs?

Recruiting KPIs (or metrics) measure how effective and efficient your recruitment process is. Some metrics are expressed as percentages or ratios (e.g. yield ratios), while others are absolute values that you can compare to industry or company standards (e.g. time to hire.) Use them to discover how well your recruitment process works and identify where you could improve.

2. What can you learn from recruitment metrics?

Recruitment metrics can answer any question you want them to. At a high level, you probably want to know the quality, cost and productivity of your hiring process. More specifically, you could ask the following questions:

  • How good are we at spotting the right candidate and how long does it take us to hire them?
  • How many qualified candidates do we need to make a hire and how quickly do we move them from one stage to the other?
  • Do we effectively engage the best candidates and getting them to accept our job offers?
  • How much money do we spend per hire and how does our spending change depending on the role we’re hiring for?
  • How efficient is our hiring process and which steps or stages are most productive?

3. What are the most important metrics to track?

There are many available metrics. Usually, companies choose to track the following metrics:

If you want to dig deeper, add metrics like application completion rate, hiring manager satisfaction or new hire turnover. Choose metrics based on your company’s individual needs.

4. How can I have better visibility into recruiting metrics?

Most recruiting metrics are easy to calculate, but hard to keep track of. The first step is to determine what kind of data you need to monitor. Then, you could invest in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to track your preferred metrics automatically and generate reports. Alternatively, business intelligence tools (e.g. Tableau) can collect the recruiting analytics you need.

Looking for better reporting analytics? Workable’s reports will refine your recruiting process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial.

5. Who should be tracking recruiting metrics?

Recruiters or HR are usually in charge of tracking recruitment metrics. If your company doesn’t have a dedicated recruiting team, executives could monitor metrics for their respective departments and functions. Hiring software, like a HRIS or ATS, can help you collect relevant data.

6. How do I calculate recruiting metrics?

To calculate various recruiting metrics, use the following process:

  • Determine what to measure. Some metrics may be important to your company, while tracking others may be counterproductive.
  • Decide how to collect recruiting data. The simplest way is to use spreadsheets and enter data manually. But, this method is not efficient if you’re working with large datasets. To make things easier, it’s best to use analytics software or your ATS to store and report on data automatically. You could also import data from these systems to spreadsheets when needed.
  • Identify which calculations to do on your own. For example, your ATS can report on your time to fill or recruiting yield ratios, but it can’t calculate your average cost per hire.
  • Collect the formulas. Find the formulas and decide the time frame within which to calculate different metrics. For example, you may choose to calculate new hire retention rates annually, but decide to track your source of hire on a quarterly basis.

7. What metrics should matter most to a Talent Acquisition team?

Corporate recruiters can use almost every metric to help them improve the recruiting process. Here are a few examples of important, actionable metrics:

  • New hire turnover rate or new hire length of stay. New hire turnover rate measures the percentage of new hires who leave your company before their onboarding period ends (usually three to six months.) If you compare turnover rates over time, you can pinpoint when there’s an issue and look into your onboarding or candidate screening processes. Also, many recruiters measure their success according to the length of time a new hire stays with the company.
  • Candidate experience scores. Candidate experience is an essential part of building a good employer brand. Companies can benefit from setting up candidate surveys to discover what candidates liked or disliked about their recruiting process. As a complementary metric, track hiring manager satisfaction with the hiring process, too.
  • Qualified candidates per hire. This metric measures the number of candidates who made it past the first stage of your hiring process. This metric shows how effective your sourcing and advertising techniques are in attracting the right candidates.
  • Offer acceptance rate. This metric expresses the percentage of candidates who accepted a job offer. If this percentage is low, Talent Acquisition teams may need to rethink what candidates want or how competitive their job offers are.

Recruiting teams can track many more metrics. Ultimately, what you choose to measure depends on your company’s unique goals and needs.

8. What metrics should matter most to an external recruiter?

External recruiters are usually evaluated on two fronts:

  • How quickly they provide candidates.
  • And the quality of the candidates they bring in.

Tracking quality of hire and time to fill over time can help recruiters determine whether they are delivering value to their clients. For example, if their time to fill starts increasing, then they may need to revisit expectations with hiring managers or try new sourcing techniques.

9. What metrics should matter most to HR?

The HR department has a common strategy and budgets for every function, including recruiting. A VP of HR needn’t delve into the mechanics of the recruiting process, but they are likely interested in metrics that indicate recruiting success. Those include:

Source of hire measures how many qualified candidates or hires each recruiting source brings in. HR needs to know which sources are most effective in a given period (e.g. a year), so as to rethink its partnerships and external spend.

10. What recruiting metrics matter most to the CEO?

CEOs are interested in the strategic impact of recruiting. Metrics that are concerned with business value and promote action are the most useful. For example:

  • Quality of hire. This metric encompasses performance and retention rates of new hires. Retention and high performance increase revenue and are important on a strategic level.
  • Actual hires to hiring goals. This metric shows what percentage of hiring goals hiring teams met. It indicates how well the entire recruiting function works.
  • Diversity goals. This metric measures what percentage of diversity goals were met or the percentage of diverse hires. If increasing diversity is an important company objective, then this metric can say a lot about your company’s success.

11. What metrics should I track when working with an external recruiter?

When working with external recruiters, you want to ensure that they provide quality candidates as quickly as possible. You could measure:

  • Candidates to interview (e.g. percentage of recruiters’ candidates who were invited to a first or second interview.) If you’re working with several recruiters, compare their scores. Those who deliver consistently low numbers of qualified candidates may not be the best match for your company.
  • Time to fill. If your recruiters manage more phases of your hiring process, instead of just providing you with resumes, then time to fill is important to track.

12. How do I increase the number of job applicants?

If you need to bring more candidates into your talent pipelines, aim to attract more people to your job openings and encourage them to apply. To achieve both of these goals, you could:

  • Advertise in both niche and mainstream job boards.
  • Enhance your sourcing by using various techniques (e.g. social media recruiting and Boolean search.)
  • Hire a recruiting agency that will provide you with qualified resumes.
  • Create a short, straight-forward and mobile-optimized application process.
  • Ensure your careers page has useful information for candidates (e.g. benefits, culture, perks.)

13. How do I increase the number of qualified applicants?

Here are ways to attract more qualified applicants:

  • Advertise in niche job boards or websites to target a specific audience.
  • Write detailed and complete job descriptions to clarify your requirements.
  • Add qualifying questions in your job application forms. Your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can automatically disqualify candidates who don’t answer important questions.
  • Conduct screening calls to ensure that only qualified candidates will advance to your assignment and in-person interview stages.
  • Enhance your sourcing. When sourcing passive candidates, only contact those who are fully qualified for the job.

Cost and Budget Metrics

14. What is cost per hire?

Cost per hire is the average amount of money you spent on making a hire. This metric is useful when you are creating or tracking your recruiting budget. For example, if you plan to hire 100 people in a year, and your cost per hire is $4,000, you can estimate a total spend of $400,000 for recruiting. You can compare annual cost per hire over several years to spot any significant changes.

15. How do you calculate cost per hire?

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) collaborated with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to create a standard formula for calculating cost per hire (CPH):

Calculating cost per hire formula
Formula to calculate cost per hire

(Note: all of these variables should refer to the same time period.)

16. What should be included in recruiting costs?

Internal recruiting costs are organizational costs and internal expenses, like recruiters’ salaries and money you spend on your referral program.

External recruiting costs refer to every expense you pay outside of your company, like job board fees, agency fees and costs associated with a background check service.

17. What’s a good benchmark for cost per hire?

A recent survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that the average cost per hire is just over $4,000. This number is the average across all the companies SHRM surveyed.

However, several factors may affect each company’s individual average. For example, cost per hire depends on hiring volume. The more people you hire, the lower your cost per hire will be. This is because some fixed costs can be spread out over a larger number of hires. Also, some roles and industries (e.g. engineering) have longer time to fill and the accumulated costs of a longer hiring process result in higher costs per hire.

Depending on the size of company and industry, a good benchmark is a value between $3,000 and $5,000.

18. What’s a good benchmark for recruiting costs?

Recruiting costs depend on each company’s needs. A good way to approach recruiting costs is to begin by creating a detailed budget while keeping your average cost per hire in mind. Afterwards, measure recruiting costs using a spreadsheet or an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that tracks expenses and ensures they don’t exceed budgeted amounts.

It’s best not to obsess over recruiting costs. If higher costs translate into better people for your team, your investment is worthwhile.

19. What should be included in a recruiting budget?

Think about what you usually spend on recruiting. Creating a detailed list of possible recruiting costs will help you create an accurate spending plan. Here’s a list with common elements to include in a recruiting budget:

  • Job boards fees. What you pay job boards to display your job openings.
  • Candidate assessment costs. Fees for companies that offer pre-employment tests or coding challenges.
  • External recruiter expenses. Money spent to pay individual recruiters, recruiting agencies or staffing firms.
  • Employer branding efforts. Funds spent on events related to recruiting, like campus recruiting days and careers fairs.
  • Careers page costs. Expenses that include the setup, maintenance and redesigning of your careers page.
  • Internal recruiters’ costs. Often the highest recruiting line item, this includes recruiters’ salaries, benefits and travel expenses.

Also add any other expenses related to recruiting, like referral program bonuses, travel reimbursements for candidates and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) costs.

20. How do I calculate my recruiting budget?

You can calculate your recruiting budget in two ways:

  • Use your average cost per hire. Calculate it by adding the actual recruiting expenses from last year and divide by the number of hires you made. Then, multiply your average cost per hire by the number of hires you plan to make this year.
  • Add all projected internal and external costs. For example, imagine you plan to hire 50 people next year. If you decide that you need 50 job listings on three different job boards, you can multiply each job board’s fee by 50 and then add all three numbers to get the total projected cost of job boards.

21. What’s a good benchmark for a recruiting budget?

Use your cost per hire as a benchmark for your recruiting budget. If your industry’s average cost per hire is $3,000, try to keep your own around this value. Don’t let a higher cost per hire scare you though. It might mean you’re investing more in effective recruiting techniques. If your quality of hire and other metrics are consistently strong, your investment is worth it.

Time Metrics

22. What is time to fill?

Time to fill is the amount of time you need to fill a position. This metric helps you plan your hiring better and also serves as a warning when your hiring process takes too long.

23. How do you calculate time to fill?

Time to fill represents the calendar days until your company fills a position. To count those days, first define the time period you will be measuring. For example, your starting point could be the moment:

  • A hiring manager submits a job opening for approval.
  • HR or Finance approves a job opening.
  • A recruiter advertises a job opening.

The end of your time to fill is usually the day a candidate accepts your job offer. Choose what makes the most sense for your company, but make sure that you count time to fill consistently for all positions and teams.

24. How do you calculate average time to fill?

Calculate your company’s average time to fill by adding all time to fill measurements for each position you filled in a given period (e.g. a year) and then divide by the number of roles. For example, if you hired for three roles, with 20, 30 and 40 days time to fill respectively, then your average time to fill is 20+30+40/3 = 30 days. This calculation should refer to the same time period.

If you have positions that are always open (e.g. for junior salespeople), don’t include them in your time to fill calculations. This is because these positions would greatly inflate your average time to fill without reflecting the efficiency of your hiring process.

25. What’s a good benchmark for time to fill?

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports an average time to fill of 42 days. Workable’s Benchmark tool, which gathers data from thousands of customers, presents time to fill categorized by industry and location. For example, the average global time to fill in Engineering is 59 days.

Keep in mind that other companies may not calculate time to fill the same way as yours. Also, having a higher time to fill than other companies doesn’t necessarily mean that their recruiting process is more effective than yours. Track this metric internally and compare it over time.

26. How can we reduce time to fill?

If you want to reduce time to fill, think of using more efficient recruiting strategies. Here are a few ideas:

  • Build a candidate database. You don’t have to look for candidates from scratch every time a position opens. Your ATS already has many qualified candidates who may have made it to the final stages of a hiring process, or applied after a position was filled.
  • Source actively. Reach out to passive candidates and connect with them. Even if you don’t have an immediate opening, lay the foundation for a strong relationship so you can contact them in the future.
  • Scrutinize your time to fill. Your time to fill has many layers: time to interview, time from application to phone screen and more. Find which stage takes too long and think about how you can improve it.
  • Create an effective referral program. Offer incentives for referring candidates and send reminders of job openings to your colleagues. Send them an email with a job description and ask them to recommend qualified candidates. This process reduces the time spent on job advertising and resume screening.

27. What is time to hire?

Time to hire is often synonymous with time to fill. But, you can also treat them as separate metrics and gain different insights. Time to hire measures the time between the moment your eventual hire entered your pipeline (through sourcing or application) and the moment they accepted your job offer. This metric indicates how fast you spotted your best candidate and moved them across the job’s pipeline.

To calculate time to hire, imagine that the day you opened a specific position is Day 1. Then, if your best candidate accepted your job offer on Day 25, and they applied on Day 10, your time to hire is 25-10 = 15.

28. What’s a good benchmark for time to hire?

The moment the best candidate applies, your hiring team should be ready to identify them. Considering that the most talented people are off the market in 10 days, it’s best to aim for the shortest time to hire possible.

29. How can we improve time to hire?

The more efficient your hiring process is, the shorter your time to hire will be. To reduce your time to hire, start by identifying what caused it to be higher than you’d expect.

  • Break down your hiring process. Measure how much time it took to move candidates from one stage to another. That way, you can discover whether your hiring team spends too much time on a particular phase.
  • Calculate time to hire per team. If there’s one particular team that inflated your average time to hire, talk to the hiring manager to discover the cause.
  • Train hiring teams. Both recruiters and hiring managers benefit from interview training, which can help them spot the best candidates for a role more quickly.
  • Use templates. Communicate with candidates by crafting effective emails through customizing templates. This can shorten the time you spend on scheduling and answering questions and will also reduce your time to fill.

30. What is “time to fill” vs. “time to hire”?

Time to fill and time to hire are often used interchangeably. But, it’s useful to separate the two metrics, as they can give you different insights. The difference between time to fill and time to hire is the point you start counting. You may start counting time to fill before a job is published. But your time to hire timeline starts when your best candidate applies or gets sourced.

So, time to fill tells you how fast your hiring process moves. Time to hire tells you how quickly you were able to identify the best candidate,  and is an indication of how effective your hiring team is.

Process Metrics

31. What is qualified candidates per hire?

“Qualified candidates per hire” is the number of candidates who make it past the first stage of your hiring process for every person you hire. This metric indicates whether the candidates who enter your hiring process (through an application or sourcing) are actually a match for the role. Track this metric to:

  • Evaluate how effective your recruiting methods are in attracting suitable candidates. For example, imagine your industry’s standard of qualified candidates to hire for an engineering role is 20 candidates. If your number of qualified candidates is consistently fewer than 20, then you might need to revisit your sourcing or job advertising methods.
  • Set a minimum number of qualified candidates for each role. For example, by tracking this metric, you could conclude that you need around 20 qualified candidates to make one engineering hire. If you only have 12 qualified candidates so far, you might need to source more deeply or advertise on premium job boards. Look at your recruiting budget and hiring goals to determine your best course of action.

32. How do you calculate qualified candidates per hire?

First, define what “qualified” means to you. Are qualified candidates those who advance from the resume screening phase to an initial call? Or, are they qualified once they have cleared the screening call and moved on to the next phase? Whatever your definition, make sure you track this metric consistently.

Once you decide which hiring stage turns applicants into qualified candidates, consult your Applicant Tracking System. Most can automatically produce a report on the number of candidates who advance to that particular stage.

33. What’s a good benchmark for qualified candidates per hire?

Using recruitment benchmarks helps you determine if your recruiting processes are up to industry standards. Here’s a sample report from Workable’s data:

Qualified candidates per hire benchmark data
Recruitment benchmark data on qualified candidates per hire from Workable

34. How can we improve qualified candidates per hire?

Your sourcing or advertising methods affect the number of qualified candidates you get for each role. Here are a few things you could do to increase the number:

  • Ensure recruiters understand the roles they’re hiring for. Recruiters and hiring managers may have different takes on job requirements. Communicate clearly by asking hiring managers to clarify or expand on parts of the job description.
  • Review your sourcing methods. Expand your search for passive candidates to different social networks or refine your sourcing techniques by using Boolean search.
  • Write effective job descriptions. Job descriptions that are vague or unattractive will not attract the best candidates. Aim for simple and concrete job ads with lists of realistic requirements and job duties.
  • Reallocate your budget. If you track your qualified candidates per source, you can see which sources bring in good candidates. When you need to enhance your pipeline, invest more in the most effective sources.

35. What is interviews per hire?

The “interviews per hire” metric indicates the number of interviews (e.g. first, second and final round interviews) you need to conduct before making a hire. It’s the answer to a hiring manager’s question “how many interviews should I conduct before making a hire?” This metric is important because it helps you benchmark how much time and resources you need to spend on the interview phase. For example, if you usually need three executive interviews to hire an engineer, conducting five could mean lost productivity and higher costs. While organizing many interviews might sometimes be worthwhile (e.g. if there are a lot of great candidates in your pipeline), you usually want to ensure that whoever reaches the interview phase is a potential new hire.

To calculate interviews per hire, you could use a spreadsheet to track the number of interviews each team conducts per role. This approach is time-consuming, so consider using hiring software for faster and more accurate tracking.

36. How can we reduce interviews per hire?

If you find your overall “interview per hire” numbers climbing, explore which teams (or types of positions) are interviewing more than usual, and why. It might be that a role attracted more qualified candidates than expected. But, if a hiring team struggled with candidate selection, you may need to host interview training or ensure that teams discuss the role thoroughly before hiring.

37. What is hiring velocity?

Hiring velocity is the average amount of time it takes to move a candidate from one hiring stage to another. To calculate hiring velocity manually, you could use a spreadsheet. Here’s an example:

CandidatesApplied/Sourced to first interview (in days)Applied/Sourced to executive interview (in days)
Candidate A1618
Candidate B2527
Candidate C1921
Average hiring velocity2022

This approach becomes difficult when you have to manage multiple hiring stages and roles. Consider using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that generates automatic reports instead.

38. How do you improve hiring velocity?

To improve your hiring velocity, first break down your candidate data by hiring stage (e.g. applied, sourced, screened, interviewed.) That way, you can see which stages of the hiring process are fast and which are slow. Then, decide on your course of action. Here are examples of things you could do:

  • Begin screening early. Begin your resume screening and initial call phases as soon as you get your first candidates.
  • Eliminate stages that aren’t necessary. For example, if you’re using multiple pre-employment tests, evaluate which of them is most effective.
  • Ensure hiring teams use your Applicant Tracking System (ATS.) An effective ATS is user-friendly and saves teams time by automating time-consuming actions (like emailing candidates) and facilitating others (like scheduling interviews.)

39. What is the “Screened Candidates to Face-to-Face Interviews” metric?

This metric represents the ratio of candidates who were qualified in the initial screening phase to candidates who advanced to a face-to-face interview. For example, a ratio of 5:1 means that for every five candidates screened, one is invited to an interview. This metric measures the efficiency of your screening process. Face-to-face interviews are time-consuming and costly. A well-functioning screening process (screening call, work sample assessment, testing) ensures that only the very best candidates advance to the interview phase.

40. How do you measure “Screened Candidates to Face-to-Face Interviews”?

To measure this ratio, decide what counts as a “screened candidate” and a “face-to-face” interview:

  • A “screened candidate” is someone who goes through the phase that precedes the interview phase. This phase could include both a pre-employment test and a work assessment. You could also define the screened candidate from the moment they are qualified through a recruiter’s call.
  • A “face-to-face” interview is usually an interview with a hiring manager. These interviews are physical or digital and may involve a panel of interviewers.

Your Applicant Tracking System may provide numbers on screened candidates and face-to-face interviews to express them as a ratio.

41. What is the “Face-to-Face Candidates Interviewed to Offers Extended” metric?

The ratio of candidate interviews to offers extended shows how many interviews you need to make a hiring decision. For example, a 6:1 ratio means that a hiring manager interviews six candidates before selecting one to extend an offer to. Ideally, hiring teams will find their best candidate with the minimum number of interviews. But, finding a balance is important. Conducting too few interviews might mean that hiring teams could be missing out on skilled candidates. Conversely, conducting too many interviews will equate to higher costs and longer time to fill.

42. How do you measure “Face-to-Face Candidates Interviewed to Offers Extended”?

Using a spreadsheet to track interviews and offers may be effective, but it could get more and more difficult if you’re tracking multiple roles and teams. Your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can automatically keep track of your interviews and offers extended.

43. What is source of hire?

Source of hire reflects the source from which your hires (or qualified candidates) enter your hiring process. Sources may reflect:

This metric helps you decide on the most appropriate mix of recruiting sources and will help you budget effectively.

Candidate Experience Metrics

44. What is candidate experience?

The term “candidate experience” refers to candidates’ overall impression of your recruitment processes. From the moment candidates browse your careers page, until they receive a job offer or rejection email (or not hear back at all), they are forming an opinion about your company and how you treat candidates. Many share their opinions on sites like Glassdoor or with friends and colleagues, which can impact your reputation as an employer.

45. How do you measure candidate experience?

To get insight into your candidate experience, turn to candidates directly. If possible, hire a third-party research company that can create objective measurements and surveys. Alternatively, create a candidate experience survey yourself, using an online survey tool (e.g. SurveyMonkey, Typeform) and send it to candidates and new hires. Here are some sample questions:

  • Did the job description help you understand the role?
  • What did you like/dislike about your interview process?
  • How would you characterize your communication with recruiters/hiring managers through email or phone?
  • Would you apply for a future opening at our company?
  • Would you encourage a friend to apply to work at our company?

Keep in mind that new hires may be eager to impress, so their results may be skewed positive. Also, frustrated candidates may refuse to fill out your survey, but they may share their experience on social media and Glassdoor. Track those reviews to get a rounded view of your candidates’ impressions.

46. What is “applicant experience”?

Applicant experience is candidates’ overall impression of your job application process. This impression is influenced by:

  • Your job description. Applicants should understand the role they are applying for. Your job description should be clear, concise and provide all important information for applicants (e.g. job duties, requirements, job location.)
  • Your job application form. Effective application forms are short, clear and ask relevant questions. Applicants quit lengthy forms with unnecessary or complicated fields.
  • Your jobs page. Your potential candidates should be able to find your job openings and application forms easily. Make sure links to your careers page are visible and job listings are easy to navigate.
  • Your response to applications. At the very least, applicants expect to get an email confirming that you received their application. If you’re using an Applicant Tracking System, you can send a bulk reply to applicants you didn’t invite to interviews to thank them for applying.

47. How do you measure the applicant experience?

One way to measure the effectiveness of your job application forms is to track your application abandonment rate. This metric shows you the percentage of candidates who started filling out your forms but never actually applied:

If this metric is higher than you’d expect, consider shortening your application process. Add fewer or more relevant questions and measure how those changes affect your application abandonment rate. To gain insight into other aspects of the applicant experience, add relevant questions to your candidate experience survey.

48. What is candidate feedback?

Candidate feedback refers to your communication with candidates who you chose not to hire. Candidates expect companies to inform them about whether they are rejected, and possibly offer feedback on how they did during the hiring stages they participated in (e.g. how they performed on a pre-employment test.) But employers often neglect to contact rejected candidates and they don’t offer interview feedback for fear of upsetting them or inviting lawsuits.

Giving feedback is worthwhile when employers construct their responses carefully. That way, companies show candidates that they value candidates’ time and take their applications seriously.

49. What is a career page conversion rate?

A career page’s conversion rate is the percentage of your career page’s visitors who applied to your job openings. To measure your career page conversion rate, divide the number of unique visitors on your career page within a specific time frame by the number of applications you received within the same period. For example, if 1,500 job seekers visit your careers page in a month and 200 of them applied to your jobs, your monthly conversion rate is 200/1,500 = 13.3%.

Google Analytics is a good way to track unique users. Google’s User Explorer feature gives you even more detailed information about how people interact with your careers site.

50. How do you improve career page conversion rates?

To improve your career page conversion rate, take actions to make your page more attractive and functional. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Display your jobs prominently. Help candidates navigate through your job listings within a minimum number of clicks.
  • Aim for a hassle-free application form. Use a short, straightforward application with a few relevant and concise qualifying questions.
  • Showcase your culture. Demonstrate what makes your workplace a good option for job seekers.
  • Talk about your benefits. Mention both standard and unique benefits that are important to candidates.
  • Offer job seekers inside information. Include testimonials from employees to add a human touch to your page.
  • Build a mobile version of your careers page. Being able to look through jobs and apply through mobile devices is convenient for candidates and helps you attract job-seekers on the go.

Measure your careers page conversion rate consistently over time and especially after a specific change (e.g. page redesign.)

51. What is application time?

In recruiting terms, “application time” is the time it takes for a job seeker to complete their application for a job. Some employers require candidates to upload their resumes and cover letters, while others have application forms with multiple fields for candidates to fill out. Application forms take longer to complete, but they help companies better screen candidates through qualifying questions.

Lengthy applications risk driving away good candidates whose time is limited. Avoid asking candidates to answer irrelevant questions or fill out dozens of fields with information available in their resumes. Aim for a couple of qualifying questions and the absolute minimum number of required fields in your forms.

52. How do you measure application time?

Data analysis tools (e.g. Google Analytics) can tell you how much time candidates spend on your application form page. But trusting this data may not be a good idea, since some candidates abandon their application without completing it or complete it with interruptions.

A good way to know your application forms’ “time to fill” is to time yourself filling it out. Get into the mindset of the candidate and fill out all fields from beginning to end. If it takes you longer than you’d expect, shorten the application form by asking these questions:

  • Are all the fields necessary?
  • Are we asking for information that we don’t need at this stage?
  • Are we asking for information we can find on resumes and social profiles?
  • Does the format make sense (e.g. multiple-choice vs. open-ended questions)?
  • Are we asking for information that isn’t pertinent (e.g. college grades)?

Recruiting Email Metrics

53. What are recruiter email metrics?

Recruiter email metrics measure the impact that recruiters’ emails have on candidates. If your emails are attractive, informative and aimed at the appropriate candidates, then candidates are more likely to open, click though and reply to them. Here are four recruiter email metrics:

  • Recruitment email open rate: Percentage of (delivered) emails that candidates opened.
Email open rate formula
Email open rate formula
  • Recruitment email response rate: Percentage of emails that candidates replied to.
Email response rate formula
Email response rate formula
  • Recruitment email click-through rate: Percentage of recipients who click at least one of your links in an email.

  • Recruitment email conversion rates: Percentage of emails that translate into a desired action (e.g. recruitment emails that result in interviews.)
Recruitment email conversion rate formula
Recruitment email conversion rate formula

54. How do you measure recruiter email metrics?

Email response rateYou could collect the data manually. For example, if you sent 20 cold emails and interviewed five candidates as a result of those emails, your email-to-interview conversion rate is 5/20 = 25%.
Email conversion rate
Email open rateYou could use dedicated email tracking tools (e.g. Hubspot Sales, Newton.) These tools notify you when a candidate interacted with your email (e.g. opened your email, clicked on a link or viewed an image.)
Click-through rate

Just count emails that were delivered, since candidates can’t respond to emails they didn’t receive.

Job Offer Metrics

55. What is the offer acceptance rate metric?

Offer acceptance rate (OAR) shows what percentage of candidates accepted your job offer. This metric indicates how attractive and competitive your job offers are. If your OAR starts declining, then your team won’t hire the candidates they want. A low OAR could lead you to rethink your jobs salary ranges or try new ways of communicating with candidates.

56. How do you measure an offer acceptance rate?

Here’s the formula to measure your offer acceptance rate (OAR):

Offer acceptance rate formula
Offer acceptance rate formula

57. What’s a good benchmark for offer acceptance rate?

Aim high when it comes to offer acceptance rate (OAR.) An offer acceptance rate above 90 percent indicates that there’s a good match between a company’s requirements and candidates’ expectations.

To get valuable insight, calculate your OAR correctly. For example, imagine you want to include formal offers in your calculations. Yet, hiring managers usually extend verbal, informal offers first. Candidates who reject these verbal offers (which should still be counted against your OAR) don’t reach the point of receiving formal offers at all, thus skewing your results. Be consistent in how you measure your OAR and communicate your methodology to hiring teams.

58. How do you improve your offer acceptance rate?

To improve your offer acceptance rate, ask candidates why they rejected your job offers through a candidate experience survey. Their feedback will help you reshape your job offers and improve your OAR. Here are a few ways to address common issues:

  • Ensure your job offers are competitive. Research benefits and salaries through sites like Glassdoor and to ensure your offers are on par with industry standards.
  • Communicate with candidates effectively. Your OAR could be low because you aren’t attracting the most relevant candidates. Ask candidates about their salary expectations and motivation in applying for the job early on over a screening call.
  • Discuss any issues during the interview. Candidates may face various issues that prevent them from accepting a job (e.g. long commute, inflexible hours.) Address those issues during the interview, by communicating any policies on flexible hours, remote work or relocation opportunities.
  • Be clear and consistent about the job. For example, if you mention the job is at the company’s headquarters in the job ad, the final offer shouldn’t be for a position at a company branch.
  • Mind your candidate experience. Positive candidate experience is the first step towards persuading the best candidates to accept your job offer. It shows you are a respectful employer that values employees.
  • Introduce your team to candidates. Potential coworkers matter when considering a job offer, as everyone wants to work with people who will make them feel challenged and comfortable. Talk about your team or take your finalist to meet your team members in person.

59. What is the “Reasons Offers are Being Accepted” metric?

This metric tracks the primary reasons candidates give for accepting your job offers. To measure the “Reasons Offers are Being Accepted” metric, ask your new hires why they accepted your job through your candidate experience survey. It’s best to use an open-ended question to gain more personalized insight. When you have enough data, group answers under a few useful categories (e.g. competitive salary, challenging job.)

60. Why should we measure “Reasons Offers are Being Accepted”?

The “Reasons Offers are Being Accepted” metric indicates what areas your candidates find most important when they consider accepting a job offer at your company. Here are two examples of ways to use this knowledge:

  • Prioritize elements that matter. For example, if your new hires’ top reason for accepting your job offer is your benefits package, you can use that to enhance your employer brand (e.g. by displaying your benefits prominently on your careers page) or attract more qualified candidates (e.g. by mentioning benefits in your job ads.)
  • Inform your team’s strategy for closing candidates. Your hiring team sells job openings to the best candidates. Knowing what most candidates value can help them deliver a more effective pitch.

61. What is the “Reasons Offers are Being Rejected” metric?

The “Reasons Offers are Being Accepted” metric tracks the primary reasons candidates give for rejecting your job offers. This metric offers insight into what you can do to ensure your best candidates accept your offers.

You could measure the reasons offers are being rejected in various ways:

  • Check your candidates’ communication with your hiring team. Some candidates may state a reason for rejecting your job offer in their rejection email or mention a concern during offer negotiations.
  • Ask candidates to complete an anonymous candidate experience survey. Use open-ended questions to get the most descriptive responses (e.g. What are the two most important reasons for you rejecting our job offer?)
  • Track feedback on social media. Candidates may indicate why they rejected your job offer online. Compile comments to gain actionable insight.

How to improve candidate experience


Talent Acquisition vs. Talent Management vs. HR: A primer

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