HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Source of Hire

Would you like to know how to focus on the hiring channels that give the best results? Learn more about source of hire in this article.

What Is Source of Hire (SoH)?

Source of hire is a metric that shows the percentage of candidates hired through a particular channel, method or source. Channels and sources of attracting candidates include job boards, job fairs, job postings, employee referrals, headhunting, employment agencies and executive search firms. All these avenues are ways of hiring candidates. Source of hire helps allocate hiring resources to the most productive recruiting channels. It helps identify the return on investment in recruiting efforts.

Why Is Source of Hire Important?

Source of hire is beneficial to companies in many ways, such as:
  • Focusing on appropriate channels. It helps to identify and focus on productive sources or channels that produce candidates. For example, if employee referrals yield high results in your company, you should focus on employee referrals and accompany them with bonuses to encourage employees to refer candidates.
  • Budgeting. Source of hire helps you fix a budget for recruiting and determine what resources to allocate to various channels. For example, based on the job platforms that work for your company, you can know how much is required and allocate the appropriate resources to those channels.
  • Measuring effectiveness and efficiency of recruiting efforts. It determines how efficient and effective each hiring channel is. This can help you know where to focus your hiring efforts based on the roles you are filling. Some roles are better off-sourced based on the geographic location or the work involved.
  • Reducing costs. By efficiently and effectively allocating resources, waste is reduced.
  • Gaining insight. Source of hire gives insights into hiring sources in several ways. Breaking down the job platforms based on your needs shows what platform works and what does not. This allows switching things up and making necessary changes to suit your needs.
In summary, knowing what works for your company is essential, and the source of hire helps determine that.

Methods to Measure Source of Hire

Source of hire can be measured in different ways. As every institution is unique, it is crucial to choose a method based on the company’s needs. These measurement methods include:

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

ATS do a good job tracking candidates who entered through the pipeline from different sources. To view the source of hire through the ATS, extract and view a report of candidates from the different sources.


You can also collect data using a candidate survey system or a drop-down menu during the application process. Companies can administer a short questionnaire to determine how the candidate heard about the job opening. It is best to standardize questions in the questionnaire so they are the same across all job platforms to allow for uniformity in response. This gives credibility and reliability to the results, since they are based on the same questions.

Web Analytics

You can also use cookies on career sites and technology to track the hiring source. Recruiting market platforms such as Smashfly can help track candidates' engagement across various channels. You can also use Google Analytics to check the traffic of postings.

Data From Recruitment Team

Keeping tabs on all recruiters is another way to gather and measure the source of hire. The different mediums recruiters use to reach candidates should be documented and collated.

What Are the Limitations of Source of Hire?

There are shortcomings and limitations to navigating source of hire and the various channels of hiring and it is imperative to be aware of them when choosing a source of hire. The limitations of source of hire include:

Conflicting Sources of Hire

Candidates can see job openings through many sources of information, which can influence their decision to apply for a position. For example, a candidate might see a job from Indeed but not apply, then hear about the same job from a friend or referral, become interested, visit the company's career page, and apply. The entry channel through which a candidate applies might differ from the channel where they saw the job opening. To address this, create a quick set of questions for applicants to answer when applying for positions. These questions can drill down the source where the applicant heard about the opening and the decision to apply.

Source of Hire Could Impede Diversity

Allocating resources to the same set of sources could limit diversity, since you're sourcing from the same applicant pools which will attract the same candidates. To address this, connect your recruiting metrics, such as diversity, and frequently determine how resources are allocated.

SoH May Not Always Guarantee Reallocation of Resources

Focusing efforts on a particular channel might not yield many candidates but could generate high-quality candidates. To address this, it is better to segment data to determine what type of candidates enter the pipeline. That way the quality and source of hire are both measured. For example, you might realize that the best communications candidates come from job boards, while the best IT candidates come from referrals.

SoH Encourages Bias, Which Influences SoH

Recruiters might have hired candidates from a particular source and because that was successful, they prefer hiring candidates through that channel. However, previous experience does not mean future candidates will be the best fit. For example, if a company uses a particular recruiter, their successes might encourage hiring managers to keep turning to that recruiter. However, the company might miss out on good candidates from other sources. To address this, hiring managers should be trained to overcome biases and try to attract a mix of candidates.
Ify Ologwa

Ify Ologwa

Ify is a forward thinking HR professional with the zeal to create excellent employee experience. She is a change agent and is passionate about helping people thrive in the workplace. Ify works for a multi lateral initiative providing a full spectrum of HR services. As a generalist my work has encompassed recruitment and selection, workplace dispute resolution, payroll, talent management, organizational design and management, Administration, Learning and development. Ify is passionate about giving back and lends her time as a volunteer to some not for profit initiatives.
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