Recruitment process effectiveness metrics FAQ

Metrics help you identify strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process. Here are frequently asked questions and answers on recruitment process effectiveness:

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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:

Candidates Applied/Sourced to first interview (in days) Applied/Sourced to executive interview (in days)
Candidate A 16 18
Candidate B 25 27
Candidate C 19 21
Average hiring velocity 20 22

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What are talent pipeline metrics?

Your talent pipeline is a group of passive candidates you’ve engaged who can fill future roles in your company. Talent pipeline metrics measure the effectiveness of your sourcing strategies. They include metrics like source of hire, time to fill and candidate experience measurements. For example, you could measure source of hire to discover which candidate sources bring you the most hires in your pipeline.

What talent or recruiting pipeline metrics should we be tracking?

Talent pipelines (often called recruiting pipelines) might start with candidate sourcing and end when candidates accept your job offers. Here are some recruiting metrics you could track to assess and improve the quality of your talent pipeline and hiring process:

  • Source of hire. This shows what percentage of your overall hires entered your pipeline from each recruiting channel or source (e.g. job boards, referrals, direct sourcing.) This metric helps you invest in the most effective recruiting sources. For more detailed insight, track candidate sources too – what percentage of your most qualified candidates come from each source.
  • Time to fill. This metric shows how many days elapsed from opening a role to making a hire. Having a talent pipeline in place should reduce time to fill, since you will have already screened and qualified potential candidates before a role opens. Track time to fill and compare it with your industry average and across roles in your company.
  • Hiring velocity. Hiring velocity is the average amount of time it takes to move a candidate from one hiring stage to another. This shows you which stages are fast and which are slow, so you can optimize them if needed. Use a spreadsheet to track how much time each candidate spends at each hiring stage and calculate the average of all numbers. Alternatively, use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that will automatically create reports to help you analyze your hiring.

More Recruiting Metrics FAQs:

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Nikoletta Bika

Nikoletta Bika is a senior writer at Workable and holds an MSc in HR. She writes about all things HR and recruiting, with a particular interest in bias, data, technology and the future of work. She hates meaningless jargon and dreams about space travel. She tweets @Nikoletta_Bika.

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