Best Ways To Measure Recruitment Effectiveness

Best Ways To Measure Recruitment Effectiveness

Recruitment is a critical business function because of the significant impact an organization’s workers will have on business objectives and outcomes. Given the complexity and number of steps in the recruitment process, such as sourcing, attracting, interviewing, and assessing talent, identifying areas that need improvement will make the overall efforts less daunting.

By following best practices, embracing technology, and regularly tracking success, your team can simplify how you measure recruitment effectiveness. If you’re looking to improve the results of your recruitment strategy and process, learn helpful steps and key metrics to track.

Table of contents:

What is recruitment effectiveness?

Recruitment effectiveness is a measure of how well an organization’s recruitment strategy and processes perform, from sourcing and attracting talent through offer acceptance. Some factors that contribute to effective recruitment include leveraging the right sourcing channels, optimizing costs, facilitating an efficient process, and selecting the right individual for an open role or project.

Effective recruitment can help reduce hiring costs, quickly fill skills gaps, and ensure the team has qualified talent in place to achieve strategic business outcomes. On the other hand, ineffective recruitment can lead to drawbacks including increased recruitment spending, lost candidates due to time-consuming steps in the process, and decreased productivity the longer a role goes unfilled.

How to assess recruitment effectiveness

As is the case with any business strategy, measuring recruitment effectiveness requires a proactive, thoughtful approach to determine strengths and areas for improvement. With defined goals and the right tools in place, your team can identify and implement an approach to maximize the results of your recruitment efforts.

Consider the following steps to measure recruitment effectiveness:

  1. Define recruitment goals
  2. Leverage recruitment technology
  3. Solicit feedback on the recruitment process

1. Define recruitment goals

Before your organization can measure recruitment effectiveness, you first need to define goals for your strategy. By outlining concise goals, your team can ensure you have a streamlined recruitment process in place to engage qualified talent while saving time and reducing costs.

Some goals may include:

  • Reducing total hiring time
  • Decreasing recruitment costs
  • Attracting a greater number of qualified applicants
  • Optimizing the applicant-to-hire ratio  
  • Improving the quality of hires
  • Increasing worker retention rates
  • Supporting a more engaging recruitment experience

As your team determines goals, consider using the SMART framework to ensure goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, a SMART recruitment goal may be to reduce time-to-hire by one week over the next six months or increase qualified applicants by 10% in the next quarter.

2. Leverage recruitment technology

Rather than manually measuring recruitment effectiveness or tracking key metrics in spreadsheets, advanced technology is available to centralize recruitment metrics, provide actionable insights, and help your team make data-driven decisions. Options include recruitment platforms, candidate relationship management (CRM) systems, applicant tracking systems (ATS), and talent management software (TMS), among other solutions.

Recruitment technology adoption is on the rise, with research from Employ and Jobvite showing that 59% of HR decision makers surveyed plan to increase spending on applicant tracking systems in 2024 and 50% are seeking to spend more on CRM systems.

The right technology solution can highlight insights such as which steps slow down the recruitment process, ranging from interview scheduling to background checks. If your team invests in multiple recruitment channels—including job boards, recruitment agencies, and paid social media posts, among others—you can more effectively measure which channels are driving the greatest return on investment.

The latest technology also often includes comprehensive features that go beyond measuring the success of your recruitment efforts. Recruitment technology solutions can help automate steps and improve overall recruitment effectiveness.

Steps to consider for streamlining may include:

  • Sourcing prospective workers
  • Centralizing and organizing applications or proposals
  • Distributing skill and talent assessments
  • Communicating with talent  
  • Scheduling interviews
  • Comparing interview feedback using a standardized scorecard
  • Completing background and reference checks, if applicable
  • Administering digital offer and onboarding forms

3. Solicit feedback on the recruitment process

In addition to tracking metrics using recruitment technology, collecting feedback directly from individuals who experience your process can help you improve recruitment effectiveness for prospective team members in the future. Request feedback from new team members once they join your organization, as well as individuals who withdraw from your recruitment process or don’t receive an offer.

Consider creating a survey and asking respondents to rate each question on a scale of one to five (with one being negative and five being positive) or using a similar rating system. Your recruitment team can also include multiple choice or open-ended questions to gain additional insights into individuals’ feedback.

The survey should be brief, requiring only a few minutes to complete, which can improve the overall completion rate. Think about which questions may be most relevant to help improve your recruitment strategy.

Rating questions to consider include:

  • How would you rate the initial job application experience?
  • How would you rate communication throughout the process?
  • How would you describe the recruitment team’s timeliness and preparation for your interviews?
  • How well did the job description align with what was discussed during interviews?
  • If you completed skill or talent assessments, how relevant were they to the role’s requirements?  
  • How would you rate the recruitment experience overall?
  • How likely are you to recommend the company to other job seekers based on your experience?

Open-ended questions may include:

  • How did you find out about the open role?
  • Why did you withdraw from the recruitment process or decline the offer? (if applicable)
  • What other feedback do you have on the overall recruiting and hiring process?

Top metrics to measure recruitment effectiveness

Tracking specific metrics over time offers insights into various aspects of the recruitment process. As a result, your organization can more efficiently identify trends based on the data and optimize your recruitment strategies to attract, hire, and retain top talent.

The most relevant metrics for measuring recruitment effectiveness may vary depending on the specific goals and objectives of an organization's recruitment process. However, many of the same metrics can be beneficial for any recruitment team to track, no matter the business size or industry.

Some common recruitment metrics include:

  1. Time to hire
  2. Cost per hire
  3. Sourcing channel performance
  4. Offer acceptance rate
  5. Recruitment process satisfaction
  6. Worker retention rate
  7. Quality of hire

1. Time to hire

Time to hire is the amount of time it takes to fill a job opening from the date the position is posted until the date an offer is accepted. Optimizing this metric can help your team reduce hiring costs and secure qualified talent before they receive offers from other companies in today’s competitive labor market. Reducing time to hire can also improve productivity and ensure existing team members aren’t overworked while a position on the team remains unfilled.

Your organization can reduce the timeline by identifying specific bottlenecks during the recruitment process, understanding root causes, and improving the process. For example, if your recruitment team takes a week to complete initial applicant reviews, establish and communicate a goal for reviewing all new applicants within a set period of time, such as within 48 hours of submission, and hold team members accountable. If scheduling interviews involves several days of phone tag, consider investing in an interview scheduling tool.    

2. Cost per hire

Total cost per hire is calculated by dividing the overall internal and external recruitment costs by the number of hires. Because many different factors play into cost per hire, the total can add up quickly if steps aren’t taken to manage and optimize costs.

Internal costs include any budget spent within your organization to support the recruitment process, such as:

  • Salaries and benefits for the HR and recruitment team, as well as any other team members involved in the interview process
  • Fixed costs, such as an office lease
  • Hardware and software costs, including computers, company phones, and recruitment software
  • Team member referral incentives (if applicable)

External costs encompass any investments in outside vendors during recruitment, including but not limited to:

  • Job board and social media advertising
  • Career fairs and related recruitment events
  • Background and reference checks
  • Talent assessments

Improving your time to hire is one way to reduce total cost per hire. You can also consider other steps to minimize costs such as encouraging team member referrals, recruiting internal team members for new roles, streamlining recruitment software investments, and embracing alternative staffing solutions.

3. Sourcing channel performance

The most effective recruitment strategies focus on promoting job openings across several channels and leveraging sourcing tools to reach a diverse pool of skilled talent. Common channels include company careers pages, team member referrals, social media networks, traditional job boards, industry-specific job boards, and talent marketplaces.

Measuring sourcing channel performance can help ensure you’re prioritizing the most effective channels and eliminating channels that don’t drive results. For each sourcing channel, track how many total applicants and qualified applicants you receive per role, as well as the total number of hires. The number of total job applicants divided by hires is known as the applicant-to-hire ratio.

Some channels, such as job boards and social media advertisements, charge a fee per applicant or click on your job posts. When individuals who aren’t qualified apply to your open roles, you’ll have wasted some of your budget. Better understand your sourcing channel investments by taking the total ad spend per platform and dividing this figure by either the total number of qualified applicants or eventual hires.

Your team may find that you’re spending a significant amount of budget on a paid channel that drives few qualified applicants or hires. Tracking this metric will help you reallocate budget to more effective sourcing channels or elsewhere in the business—which will also contribute to reducing your total cost per hire.    

4. Offer acceptance rate

The offer acceptance rate is calculated based on the number of job offers accepted divided by the number of job offers made. When offers aren’t accepted, total time-to-hire is extended, as you’ll have to identify another qualified individual, which may require scheduling additional interviews and repeating other recruitment steps.

Prospective team members may decide not to accept an offer for a number of reasons, some of which include:

  • Accepting another offer that better aligns with their career goals, flexible work expectations, or salary and benefit requirements
  • Deciding that the role or team isn’t what they were expecting when they applied
  • Receiving a retention bonus or other incentive to stay with their current company
  • Facing roadblocks or frustrations during the recruitment process

If your organization’s offer acceptance rate is lower than anticipated, leverage insights from recruitment process surveys to identify trends and areas for improvement. For example, if surveys show that your interview questions don’t align with job descriptions, you may need to rethink your interview approach. If candidates tend to turn down offers because they fall short of salary or benefits expectations, your team may want to consider completing market research to ensure your offers are competitive.

5. Recruitment process satisfaction

Whether or not individuals ultimately accept an offer and join your team, understanding of the overall recruitment process satisfaction rate can help improve recruitment effectiveness over time. If your team administers a survey or has a related process in place to collect feedback on the recruitment process, identify common constructive feedback to improve the overall experience.

A trend from the survey may show that initial applications are too long and time-consuming. If this is the case, consider condensing applications and collecting only the most critical information. Other key details can be collected throughout the recruitment process, such as during interviews or talent assessments. Another common piece of feedback may be that your team isn’t always prepared for interviews, meaning you may want to consider conducting interview training.

Boosting the recruitment process satisfaction rate can also contribute to improving other metrics, such as the applicant-to-hire ratio and offer acceptance rate.  

6. Worker retention rate

Tracking worker retention rate, meaning the percentage of team members who remain with the company after a specified period of time, can help your organization identify common causes of turnover and ways to increase workers’ tenure with your team.

Retention rate is often calculated on a quarterly or annual basis, but the period of time may vary based on an organization’s specific recruitment and talent management goals. In addition to calculating at an organizational level, some companies measure retention across teams or departments.

Driving higher employee retention is important because each time an individual leaves your organization, productivity is lost, morale and engagement may decline among remaining workers, and teams need to invest additional resources into recruiting and training a new team member.

To help understand the worker retention rate at your organization, consider conducting exit interviews with departing team members. During exit interviews, your HR or talent management team can ask individuals why they’re leaving (if turnover is voluntary), and request feedback on the positive and negative aspects of their experience on the team.

7. Quality of hire

Quality of hire is an assessment of a new team member’s performance and contributions to the organization. Bringing on new workers who aren’t the right fit can lead to lower than expected productivity and additional time and resources spent on training. Costs can add up even more if the team has to go back to the drawing board and recruit a replacement.

Depending on your business goals or the specific role, the way you calculate quality of hire may vary. One way to do so is by sending standardized surveys to managers within a new team member’s first 90 days to gauge manager satisfaction with their performance.

Another way to measure quality of hires is by setting quantifiable goals during onboarding and checking in at the worker’s 30-, 60-, and 90-day mark. For example, a sales team member may have a goal to schedule a specific number of demos or a customer support worker may need to respond to a set number of support tickets within their first 90 days. Using this approach, team members who achieve their goals are considered quality hires.

Improve your recruitment effectiveness with skilled talent from Upwork

An effective recruitment strategy and process is essential to attracting and engaging the qualified talent you need to support long-term business success and growth. Rather than managing recruitment on your own, consider partnering with a skilled recruiting specialist.

Experienced independent recruiting specialists are available on Upwork to help your team maximize the effectiveness of your recruitment strategy. A recruiting specialist’s expertise in the latest talent trends can help identify what’s working and highlight key areas for improvement to more efficiently engage top talent. Find the best independent recruiting specialists on Upwork.

Simplify the process of engaging a skilled independent recruiting professional by using Project Catalog™. Search for fixed-price projects or one-on-one consultations and select the option that works best for your recruiting needs. Get started—browse available talent acquisition and recruiting projects today.


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Author Spotlight

Best Ways To Measure Recruitment Effectiveness
Beth Kempton
Content Writer

Beth Kempton is a B2B writer with a passion for storytelling and more than a decade of content marketing experience. She specializes in writing engaging long-form content, including blog posts, thought leadership pieces, SEO articles, case studies, ebooks and guides, for HR technology and B2B SaaS companies. In her free time, you can find Beth reading or running.

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