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Recruitment KPIs
Recruitment is a never-ending task for many of us. Do you ever wonder how effective your efforts are and if you could improve them? Recruitment KPIs can help. Read on to learn how and why.

What Are Recruitment KPIs?

Recruitment key performance indicators, or KPIs, are a way to measure the efficacy of the recruitment process as well as the efficacy of each individual recruiter. KPIs fit into the larger topic of people analytics, which simply means using data to increase success in all areas of HR; KPIs bring recruiting to the table as a value-contributing partner.

Why Are Recruitment KPIs Important?

Recruitment KPIs empower recruiting teams to become proven value-adding business partners to their executive leaders. By utilizing data analytics you will be able to prove your value, which will help you move your role from a transactional relationship with the business to a trusted advisory role. Measuring recruitment KPIs lowers costs by optimizing the process itself and increases the chances of bringing outstanding talent to the organization. Optimization of processes and targeting KPIs also improves work satisfaction for recruiters, who have clear work goals and more success. Let’s take a look at some specific benefits of measuring KPIs.
  • Increase efficiency. The more data your recruiting team collects, the more clearly you will be able to understand your areas of strength, as well as areas for improvement. Tracking those areas for improvement paves the way to becoming more efficient.
  • Keep track of hiring progress. When a hiring manager asks, “what progress are we seeing on filling this role?” well-tracked KPIs eliminate the immediate panic and provide the answer. Your KPIs will help you track the progress of your open positions.
  • Improve data integrity. Recruitment KPIs improve your data integrity. Data integrity is the overall accuracy of the data that you are storing and tracking. Data is only useful if it is accurate, complete, and fair.
  • Gain insight into the business. Recruitment metrics give insight into the business. Providing relevant information to your business partners helps them make data-informed decisions that will save the organization money and accurately build out your total capacity.
  • Prove the recruiter’s value. You know how important the work of recruiting is, and you know how hard you are working and how sophisticated the work you do is. Your well-planned KPIs demonstrate your value to the rest of the business.
  • Make data-informed decisions. One of the essential functions of recruitment KPIs is to help you make data-informed decisions. Leading with data will make you more effective and help reduce your time-to-fill and time-to-hire.
  • Plan ahead. As you fill roles and collect data, you will be able to effectively forecast the amount of time it will take to fill a role the next time you need to fill it.

How to Collect Clear Data for Recruitment KPIs

Before you can benefit from any HR KPIs (or any other metrics), you need to collect data, and the data needs to be of good quality. Many HR departments use an HRIS, or human resources information system. These programs allow you to collect and extract data. Whether you have an HRIS or collect data by hand, the key to success with analytics is to think about what information you want to be able to extract at the end of the process. That leads to configuring the system so it can produce reports, including what fields are needed. Everyone entering data needs to know what exactly is required in each field. Here are a few tips for collecting the right data for your recruiting team:

Tip 1: Create One Source of Truth

One of the first problems that recruiting teams run into is that it’s difficult to effectively track the metrics that you need insight into. This often results in recruiters duplicating or triplicating their work and getting burned out or skipping steps. Building one source of truth—where all of the steps and data live—improves your data integrity. It also gives recruiters more time to spend on the tasks that matter most.

Tip 2: Automate

Automating data gathering frees up time for recruiters to do what they do best: finding, engaging, vetting, and hiring top talent. When your recruiters spend a large portion of their time on time-intensive, low-brain activities, they are not working up to their full potential. Investing in tools that will track data for your team will increase efficiency.

Tip 3: Track What Matters

Building out recruitment metrics can feel daunting at first. You don’t have to start out measuring everything. Start by measuring what matters most to your organization. You can always build as you go.

Tip 4: Make It Effective

There needs to be a balance between the data that needs to be measured and the ability to measure or track it. If the business has an interest in tracking a certain metric, don’t blindly jump in and agree. First, make sure that it is feasible for your team to track that metric and that they will have the support they need to work on a new task.

Typical Recruitment KPIs

There are a few standard metrics that show the overall effectiveness of your recruiting efforts. In bigger organizations, those metrics can be split into departments, legal entities, countries or regions. KPIs for a person (e.g. a recruiter) can be measured as an element of a recruiter’s personal goals. Below are some basic metrics that can be used as the starting point of the analysis. After the overall situation in the company is known, usually those KPIs are changed.There’s often a need to deepen analysis that requires additional metrics or data splits.

Number of Current Open Positions

This KPI shows how many open positions there are in your organization. It’s useful to break this down into different organizational units. Combined with other KPIs, it gives an overview of the recruitment process. To measure open positions, the database needs these fields:
  • Requisition status (e.g. opened/closed)
  • Any fields that are needed in order to split the data, such as departments names, legal entities, recruiter, etc.

Number of Applicants per Opened Position

This KPI shows how many candidates applied for the position. It’s good to compare this against the amount of time the position is posted. For instance, 10 applicants for a position that is posted for half a year should not be treated the same as 10 applicants for a position published for a week. There are also differences between positions. The number of applicants applying to be a programmer who uses a very rare programming language will be much lower than for an entry-level administration employee. For multinational organizations, differences might also occur between countries or regions. To measure number of applicants per open position, the following fields are needed in the database:
  • Requisition status (e.g. opened/closed)
  • Start date of the recruitment process.
  • Any fields that are needed in order to split the data, such as departments names, legal entities, recruiter, etc.

Number of Requisitions Closed in a Period

This shows how many requisitions have been closed during a certain time period—month, quarter, year, etc. Compared with the number of open positions, this KPI indicates the efficiency of the recruitment team. Month-over-month changes tell us if there is balance between opened requisitions and closed ones. An imbalance—for instance, if there are usually many more open positions than closed ones—suggests your processes can be improved. Measuring closed positions requires the following fields:
  • Requisition status (e.g. opened/closed)
  • End date of the recruitment process.
  • Any fields that are needed in order to split the data, such as departments names, legal entities, recruiter, etc.)

Time to Fill the Position

This shows how long it takes to recruit an employee in the organization. As with recording the number of applicants, values for this KPI can vary depending on multiple criteria. Time to fill can be different depending on the country; for instance, some countries have different regulations for the notice period. In this case, it’s good to determine the process end date as the date when the offer is accepted by the candidate rather than when they sign the contract (in this case, though, there’s a risk that the candidate will withdraw, and the position should not be treated as filled). It will also vary depending on the position’s function and experience, as high-level or niche positions always take longer to fill. This KPI is used to determine if there are issues in the whole recruitment process. If there are big differences between organizational units, it’s good to look closer at processes in those units. This KPI requires the following fields in the database:
  • Requisition status (e.g. opened/closed)
  • Start and end date of the recruitment process.
  • Any fields that are needed in order to split the data, such as departments names, legal entities, recruiter, etc.)

Distribution of Candidates/New Hire Sources

This KPI shows where candidates or new hires come from. The organization compares how many candidates from each source are hired, indicating the efficiency of each source and helping you decide where to spend your recruiting money. The following fields are needed to measure effectiveness of recruiting sources:
  • Requisition status (e.g. opened/closed)
  • Application status (whether a candidate was hired, rejected or withdrew)
  • Source of application (where the candidate learned about the job).
  • Any fields that are needed in order to split the data, such as departments names, legal entities, recruiter, etc.)

Budget per Hired Employee

This KPI shows the costs of hiring new employees. Costs differ depending on position, function, experience, countries, etc. The following fields are required to measure this KPI:
  • Total cost of the recruitment process. This includes salaries of those involved, advertising, perhaps external headhunters or agencies, etc. This article has an example of how to calculate hiring costs.
  • Application status (whether a candidate was hired, rejected or withdrew).

Best Methods for Utilizing KPIs for Recruitment

How you analyze and utilize the data you gather is even more important than the actual gathering of the data. The data is only as valuable as the insight you gain from it. Here are a few best practices for utilizing your KPIs.

Method 1: Understand the Bigger Picture

Each data point you gather only tells a very specific thing. For example, perhaps you want to track how many initial interviews each recruiter is holding per week. In this example, say a recruiter falls short of their goal one week. What else was happening? Does that data point tell the whole story, or is there a bigger picture? Let’s take a closer look at an example of a data point that might look off and could point to poor recruiter performance, but is being influenced by other variables at play. Say you have a recruiter who has been scheduling an average of ten interviews per week for the last two quarters, and suddenly that number has dropped to an average of three interviews per week. The first and easiest assumption is that the recruiter is not engaged (quiet quitting), or is not working as hard. This could be the case, but the exact opposite could be true instead. That same recruiter may actually be working twice as hard to set those three interviews per week, and outside market conditions may be causing the level of difficulty to schedule an interview to greatly increase. If you were to assume that the recruiter was simply disengaged and put them on a performance improvement plan, you would surely lead that recruiter to burnout. On the other hand, if you looked at the larger picture and discovered that outside market conditions were the cause of the poor performance, then you could make a more informed decision to provide additional resources for that recruiter. In order to know the right course of action to take, you need to understand the larger picture of what the data is saying, as well as what factors are influencing the data.

Method 2: Humanize the Data

Understand that data is telling stories about people, and that each individual has a unique story and voice in addition to their tracked data points. The way you use KPIs will drastically affect your team’s perception of the reason data is being gathered. One of the top reasons people leave organizations is they felt that a manager was micromanaging them. There is a fine line between micromanaging and accountability. Recruiters can feel micromanaged when they are increasingly asked to record more data points. They can feel this way when they don’t understand the “why” behind the ask, or if they feel that they have become second in priority to numbers. Recruiting can also require a lot of administrative work, especially when the business is interested in the data behind recruiting but has not invested in the technology to automate that data. Helping recruiters understand that these data points can be used for them to take ownership of their own success—as opposed to being micromanaged—can help with change management.

Method 3: Provide Resources

If it feels like KPIs are being used to track someone’s every move or set them up for failure, there can naturally be pushback. Instead, use data points and KPIs as feedback loops to better understand where your team can use additional support and additional resources. For example, if the business knows that to fill a Customer Success Manager role it takes an average of twelve initial interviews to yield a hire, but the recruiting team is struggling to fill even half of that, then the business can look at creative ways to provide additional resources to empower the recruiting team to be successful. Those resources could come in the form of budget increases for job board ad spending, the form of increased communication to bolster referrals, or it could even be additional help from people on other teams chipping in to send messages to passive candidates. When KPIs are used as a resource, your people will be more likely to get on board with them.
Topics
Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler empowers Talent Acquisition professionals, HR business leaders, and key stake holders to develop and execute talent management strategies. He is igniting the talent acquisition process through: team building, accurate time to fill forecasting, driving creative talent sourcing, and fine-tuning recruiting team effectiveness.
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Ewa Stelmach

Ewa Stelmach

Ewa is an HR Analyst with over 7 years experience in work with HR data. She's got an experience with implementing and maintaining HRIS. She also takes care about providing meaningful insight to the HR data for the company by designing and providing KPIs and other metrics. Her passion is HR data, collecting it, managing in the database and visualizing them. She is also interested in process improvement and automation.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Aging Survey Data
Bell Curve Performance Management
Cost of Labor
Cost per Hire
Employee Experience Metrics
Employee Lifecycle
Employment Cost Index (ECI)
Hiring Quota
Human Capital Metrics
Labor Cost
Midpoint Progression
Offer Acceptance Rate (OAR)
People Analytics
Revenue per Employee
Satisfaction Rate
Source of Hire
Standard Deviation
Time to Fill
Time to Productivity
Training Efficiency
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