Blog Recruitment Performance Recruitment Metrics: Everything you need to know
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A consistently popular topic in the recruitment and HR space is analysing your recruitment metrics to figure out what is and isn’t working, and what you can improve within your business.


This guide has everything you need to know about recruitment metrics, so you can be sure you’re measuring the right ones, analysing them accurately, and making meaningful changes that will improve your recruitment performance.

What are recruitment metrics?

So, let’s get started with an important question – what are recruitment metrics? Recruitment metrics are measurements made throughout your recruitment process that evaluate its effectiveness.


They can be used to pinpoint what areas of the process could be improved. This leads to many benefits, from more efficiency, workload reduction, less stress, and wellbeing in the department, to save your business a lot of money.


Improving your recruitment metrics also helps you hire the right candidates – this is of course important for your business’ performance and productivity, so there really is no downside!


Key recruitment metrics

There are numerous recruitment metrics that your business could measure – this can be overwhelming, and time-consuming to measure and analyse.


To make things easier, we’re going to cover the top metrics you should focus on if you want to

accurately measure and see an improvement in your recruitment performance:

  • Time-to-offer
  • Cost-per-hire
  • Quality-of-hire
  • Candidate experience
  • Source of applications


So, what are these recruitment metrics, and how can you measure and improve them?



Time-to-offer means what it says on the tin – the amount of time from initial application to a job offer. You may have heard of ‘time-to-hire’ or ‘time-to-fill’, but we highly recommend you use the time-to-offer metric, as you usually don’t have any control over candidate notice periods.


Time-to-offer is a good indicator of how efficient your recruiting process is, and you’ll want to aim for at most an average time-to-offer of 30 days. A job that takes much longer to fill dramatically increases cost and implies poor performance, possibly due to poor systems, tools, and processes in place. However, a time-to-offer of less than 30 days is not unusual, especially if there is urgency or the role is relatively mainstream. Targeting a time-to-offer of under 16 days is very realistic and achievable.


The benefit of improving this metric isn’t just getting roles filled quicker – it also creates a better candidate experience, with fewer likely to drop out of the process or decline offers, increasing the probability of bringing top talent into your business.


How to calculate time-to-offer

Calculating time-to-offer is quite simple. Just take the number of days from when you started advertising your role to the day you made an offer of employment.


Remember an applicants perception of your time-to-offer will be calculated from the day that they applied for the role.


How to improve time-to-offer

Improving your time-to-offer comes down to making your overall recruitment process as efficient and positive as possible. This means spending your time wisely and avoiding drop-offs from top talent.



1. Post jobs to a wide network of channels

Around 75% of job applications are submitted during the first week. Posting on a wide range of job advertising channels naturally increases opportunities to attract a high number of suitable applicants quickly.


This doesn’t need to be expensive, with job multi-poster tools and aggregator services now widely available to post to 1000’s of free and premium job boards at a much lower price than if you were to post on each platform individually.


2. Use automated screening tools

When you’ve attracted enough suitable applicants, the issue may be whittling down your shortlist. Automated candidate screening tools are available to do this for you. For example, CV parsing software automatically scans and categorises CVs while AI grading software ranks applicants for relevance, so you can identify top talent quickly and discount any unsuitable candidates.


Other useful tools at this stage are automated workflows that send candidates personalised pre-screening questionnaires required after they submit their application. This saves you time and will help you reach the most suitable candidates much quicker.


3. Keep the application process efficient and simple

60% of candidates quit job applications because they’re too long or complex. This can be avoided in the initial screening stage (no candidate wants to spend hours filling in forms and completing lengthy tasks!). Again, automated screening technology is useful here, as it removes the need for additional questionnaires and allows candidates to apply to your job with a single click.


You also want to avoid any job application redirects. When you redirect applicants away from their chosen job advertising channel to a careers or pre-screening page, it interrupts the flow of their experience. Research by The Recruiting Unblog found that 45% of applicants searching on Facebook will drop out if this happens, so avoiding this is essential.


4. Start shortlisting immediately

Issue any technical assessment requests to the best applicants as soon as they enter your pipeline (made easier to identify by CV screening technology). This will help you assess applicants against important criteria like skills, behavioural alignment, and cultural fit more quickly.


On harder-to-fill roles with fewer potentially suitable applicants, it’s a good idea to contact applicants by phone as early on in the process as possible. These calls don’t need to last long, but are very appreciated by the applicant and show a human, caring side of the company and culture.


5. Keep track of your pipeline

Losing track of where candidates are in your recruitment process is a sure-fire way to harm your time-to-offer metric. This is where a good recruitment management software can help – this software gives your whole team access to information on each and every candidate in one place, helping you move them through your pipeline quickly and effectively.


6. Use interview scheduling tools

When a lot of hard work has gone into shortlisting the best applicants, screening, and getting ready for an interview, attempting to coordinate interview times and dates last minute can be a huge time sink. Using an interview scheduling tool removes this blocker, lets candidates pick their own interview slot and automatically blocks out your own digital calendar.


7. Use video interview tools

Initial interviews are better done via video interview technology such as Microsoft Teams; this is far easier to organise and more convenient for candidates. Additionally, if key team members are unable to attend the interview, it can be screen recorded and watched back later.



Cost-per-hire is a very popular and important recruitment metric to measure. It is essentially how much you spend on recruiting employees into your organisation.


Calculating cost-per-hire accurately is hugely important for managing your recruiting strategy and allocating budgets. It’s also useful for understanding where you may be able to reduce recruitment costs, by highlighting areas where you have the most spend (for example, if you’re spending a significant amount of your budget on recruitment agencies, could there be ways to improve your direct hire process?).


How to calculate cost-per-hire

Infographic on how to calculate cost-per-hire


How to improve cost-per-hire

1. Take your recruitment in-house

Making more direct hires is one of the easiest ways to improve your cost-per-hire. While using recruitment agencies is sometimes necessary if you don’t have the team capacity or are struggling to fill a role, standard fees range from 15-20% of the candidate’s first annual salary, sometimes going up to 30% for harder-to-fill positions.


It may feel daunting opting for in-house recruitment, but there are now plenty of tools and processes available that can help.


2. Select your job advertising channels carefully

Save on the cost of advertising your roles on the wrong channels by selecting your channels carefully. A good way to do this is simply searching on Google for roles in your sector and location, identify what job sites are ranking highest on the results page, and advertise on these sites.


You should also check these job boards for the level of competition – high levels of competition suggest you may be in the right place, and whether you need to apply more advanced job advert optimisation techniques.


3. Use job multi-posters

Job multi-poster technology allows you to post your job adverts across multiple job boards simultaneously. This gives you far more exposure and can often be done for the same or lower cost than directly posting on each platform individually. Our own multi-poster has access to 1000’s of free and premium job boards at the click of a button.


4. Use fixed price recruitment services

Use recruitment tools and services that have no risk of an increased fee – this may include things like multi-posters, candidate screening software, interview management tools, job advert writing and optimisation services and more.


5. Build a talent pool

You can reduce any up-front recruitment costs by building a database of candidates that have previously applied for roles in your business, or a ‘talent pool’. You can then contact these candidates when a relevant role becomes available without incurring any cost.


6. Be aware of seasonal trends

It’s good to be aware of seasonal trends that can drive up the cost of your job advertising. For example, although job search activity significantly increases in January, competition for the best candidates drives up costs. You can typically pay £5k less for the same hire in December than in January.


7. Use automation technology

Time is money, and automating typically manual administrative tasks will significantly impact your cost-per-hire. There are plenty of recruitment solutions that can help with this, such as:



  • CV parsing software: Used in the initial screening stages to automatically scan CVs for suitability and reduce time spent sifting through applications.
  • Automated messaging: Communicating with candidates via automated messaging technology like emails or text messages at key points in the recruitment process can save time and contribute to a better candidate experience.
  • Reporting tools: Using tools that automatically track and report on job advert and recruitment performance will help pinpoint areas for improvement and avoid the costs of poor performance in future campaigns.


8. Avoid applicant drop off

When applicants drop out of your recruitment process, the cost of time and resources is high. The primary way to avoid this is to have a good candidate experience – we cover this in more detail in the candidate experience section of this article, but at a glance this can include:

  • Keeping your application process simple and efficient.
  • Strategically nurturing and communicating with candidates throughout the process to keep them interested.
  • Providing adequate access to information on your company and the recruitment process
  • Making the process about the applicant.


Quality of hire

Quality of hire is a recruitment metric that measures the value a new employee adds to your business, looking at their long-term impact through skills & experience, cultural fit, and behavioural alignment.


Quality of hire is important to measure because it pinpoints whether there are any issues with the kind of candidates you end up hiring. Poor quality hires can have a significant financial and company-wide impact, with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh estimating they had cost the company “well over a million”.


How to calculate quality of hire

Quality of hire is best calculated through employee reviews at the end of the new hire’s first month, and then every 3 months. These should be around the 3 quality of hire criteria:


Some useful types of reviews are:

  • Skills & experience: Managers/MDs rate the new hire’s performance, competency, independence, and where they are compared to where the business would expect them to be.
  • Cultural fit: Managers/peers/team members rate the new hire’s cultural fit.
  • Behavioural alignment: The new hire rates their satisfaction and productivity.


Any reviews should be scored on the same scale (e.g. out of 10 or 100) and then you can calculate quality of hire using the following formulas:




How to improve quality-of-hire

1. Advertise in the right place

Attracting talented applicants in the first place is one of the most effective ways to improve your quality of hire metric. Selecting the right media channels improves the chance of this happening, so you want to find those that your ideal candidate is searching on. You can easily do this by simply searching on Google for the job title and location you’re advertising for, and review the top 3 results as a starting point.


2. Write job ads that covert

Once those high-quality candidates have seen your advert, you want them to convert and apply for the role. Here is where you need to sell the role and opportunity to them – a simple job specification isn’t going to cut it!


Some key tips for doing this are:

  • Avoid too many ‘essential’ bullet points
  • Appeal to them on an engaging and emotional level
  • Describe the opportunity and benefits of working with you
  • Avoid dictatorial language e.g. you MUST have
  • Avoid unconscious bias
  • Showcase your company values in the ad e.g. if you are a ‘fun’ company, write your ad in a fun way


Download our eBook for more details on writing job adverts that covert.


eBook Download Banner on how to write a job advert


3. Assess for skills and experience

Ensure candidates will be able to perform well in your role by assessing them for skills and experience. Advanced AI recruitment software will pull out important information on this, completely avoiding human error and bias, and ranking applicants for relevance in a fraction of the time.


4. Assess for cultural fit

Cultural mismatch is one of the biggest causes for leaving employment, so you should establish a set of 5 or 6 common, but authentic values to match candidates against. These can be assessed at the interview stage, with questions like:

  • “If I walk by your desk at 5:30 pm, what will I see?”
  • “What are you most passionate about?”
  • “Describe your ideal working environment”
  • “If we were stuck somewhere, what would you do?”
  • “Walk me through your perfect workday”


5. Assess for behavioural alignment

Assess candidate motivation and engagement for the role using behavioural profiling tools. You can simply build a benchmark, and have candidates answer multiple-choice questions to see if they’re a match.


Video profiling or phone calls are also a good option here. You can ask candidates to submit a short, pre-recorded video of themselves answering questions, giving you an insight into their communication skills, personality and so on.


6. Communicate throughout the process

Unfortunately, high-quality candidates are much more likely to drop out of your recruitment process. This is because they are often already employed, only passively searching for a new role with little commitment. Poor communication is one of the biggest causes of candidate drop-off, so you want to make sure you’re engaging with them at each stage.


This means:

  • Acknowledging you’ve received their application
  • Giving expected timeframes
  • Providing clear information on any set tasks
  • Notifying them if they’ve been rejected or you’re progressing their application


Candidate experience

Candidate experience is basically how those applying for your roles experience your brand. Measuring and improving this has many benefits, from creating a positive employer brand, to attracting and retaining talented candidates. This will ultimately contribute to you bringing quality employees into your business.


View of three colleagues discussing


Alternatively, a poor candidate experience comes with a slew of disadvantages, including a high candidate drop-off rate, and more time and resources spent recruiting.


How to calculate candidate experience

The candidate experience is best measured by creating a candidate experience survey to send to applicants to fill in anonymously. This can include questions like ‘how satisfied were you with the communication from the recruiter?’ and ‘would you apply for a role with this company again?’. Simple Net Promoter score type surveys seem to work best here.


Looking at key metrics within the recruitment process is also a good indicator of candidate experience. Some you may want to consider are:

  • Drop off rate
  • Time to accept offer
  • Conversion rate on job ads


How to improve candidate experience

1. Make your job description accurate

Candidates won’t want to go through the trials of getting to the interview stage with you, only to find the role has not been accurately described. Make sure you use the most accurate job title in your advert – for example, describe a marketing manager role in events as an ‘Events & Marketing Manager’ rather than simply ‘Marketing Manager’.


Also try and outline the responsibilities of the role accurately. This will also help avoid applications from those who don’t match the skills or cultural values necessary to work with your business.


2. Avoid unconscious bias

Many businesses unknowingly use language in their job adverts that are subtly gendered or discriminatory. This can lead to a negative experience and discourage talented people from applying to your roles.


There are plenty of ways to ensure you avoid using this kind of language, including:

  • Limiting the number of gender-coded words
  • Limiting the use of obligatory language e.g. ‘you must have’
  • Limiting the number of ‘requirements’
  • Using inclusive and diverse imagery
  • Avoiding racial specifications for foreign language roles
  • Avoiding age requirements


3. Avoid time consuming processes

The candidate experience can be negatively affected by recruitment processes that are too long or complex to complete. Again, this includes things like lengthy pre-screening tasks and forms, which can be minimised by using automated CV parsing software that easily pinpoints the best candidates.


Other tools such an interview scheduling software and a good recruitment management platform also work to speed up any time-consuming processes, and quickly move candidates through your process.


4. Communicate with candidates early

53% of candidates don’t receive a response from employers until 3 months after applying, according to research by The Talent Board, leading to a negative perception of your business.


Recruitment metrics statistic that 53% of candidates don't get a reply until 3 months later


Retain the interest of the best candidates, and communicate at this vital stage by using automated communication technology. This technology lets you set up workflows that automatically acknowledge any applications, and give candidates extra information to build their interest in your opportunity without consuming too much of your valuable time.


5. Communicate with candidates quickly

One of the best ways to show candidates you value their time and experience is through quick communication. This can really set you apart from the competition. Make sure stages like acknowledging applications, screening requests, rejections, and interview requests are all sent as soon as possible. Again, much of this can be at least semi-automated.


6. Be courteous

It goes without saying that being polite to every applicant is very important for their experience. This means consistently thanking them for their time, application, and completion of any tasks. This includes candidates who don’t get the role, as word spreads, and you still want to leave a positive impression.


7. Provide access to key information

Eliminate any doubts or questions candidates have by providing access to information on key areas of the business and recruitment process.

  • The company: Simple things like a website link, company brochure, and social media links are invaluable. Make sure these assets are high quality and easy to navigate too.
  • The opportunity: Send candidates both the job advert and job specification ahead of their interview. Even outline what key competencies you want to explore with them on the day.
  • The team: Send a link to relevant LinkedIn profiles or a short video from the hiring manager explaining what they’re looking for, why they’re recruiting, and why they should work for you.
  • The interview: Outline the interview process, including how long it will take, who they will meet with, anything they need to bring or prepare, where they need to go, how to get there, and any other relevant information on entering the building, parking, and so on.
  • The process: Give a step-by-step breakdown of what to expect from your whole recruitment timeline and update candidates at each stage.
  • Use video: To provide windows into the company, meet people, and experience the company culture. Video can humanise what is often a highly automated process.


8. Humanise the experience

Automation technology is great, but this naturally makes the recruitment process less personalised for the candidate, who wants to feel valued and appreciated. There are a few key ways you can humanise the experience more:

  • Personalised automation: Make sure any automated responses you send mention the candidates’ name, the role they’ve applied for, and additional information about the role and company.
  • The two-minute call: Call candidates on your shortlist to introduce yourself, answer any questions, explain what happens next and wish them luck.
  • Human email addresses: Connect with candidates from a real, human email address rather than an info@ or careers@. Rejections from these kinds of email addresses feel detached and robotic.


9. Cover travel costs

Offer to cover any travel costs to the interview. This shows you value a candidate and their time, and the meeting is important to you. It will also set you apart from the competition, who are likely not doing this.


10. Interview etiquette

77% of candidates base their final decision on their interview experience. You can create a more positive candidate experience at this stage using a few tactics:

View of four colleagues laughing at a desk

  • Interviewer training: Give any interviewers proper training on best practices and keep the process as effective as you can.
  • Avoid interviewer fatigue: Only interview the strongest candidates using a combination of talent attraction and screening tools. Avoid booking too many back-to-back interviews using an interview scheduling tool.
  • On-site interviews: Make a good impression during on-site interviews by offering a tour, a short company presentation to ease them in, staff introductions and an informal chat to start with.


Source of applications

A final recruitment metric to consider is source of applications. This is the source of your applications that make it to shortlist, interview and offer. It could include sources like:

  • Job advertising channels
  • Referrals
  • Internal hires
  • Careers page
  • Recruitment agency


It’s worth taking note of this metric as you can easily see what sources are working best, and reduce recruiting budget allocated to least performing sources.


How can we help?

Getting started with measuring and improving your recruitment metrics can be challenging. The Smart Recruit Online talent acquisition platform comes with all the tools you need to make this easier – from advanced reporting on campaign performance, to a suite of talent attraction, candidate screening, job board advertising, recruitment management tools and more.


Interested? Book a demo with one of our Talent Acquisition Experts and find out how we can help you make meaningful changes to your direct hiring recruitment process.


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Smart Recruit Online

August 27, 2021

We offer an award-winning talent acquisition platform, that combines an ATS with a powerful job board multi-poster. Our platform helps you quickly find and hire the best talent online for less with a range of tools designed to help you run a successful recruitment campaign. We use extensive research and an understanding of human behaviour to keep our business and technology at the cutting edge.

We can show you how to improve your recruitment performance

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