Ultimate Guide to Recruiting KPIs: Optimizing the Recruitment Process (2023)

CEO, Portable

In today's competitive talent landscape, the recruitment process is more than just filling open positions with candidates. It's about crafting an efficient, data-driven strategy to attract the best candidates and ensuring a seamless candidate experience. Integral to this endeavor are key performance indicators, commonly referred to as recruiting KPIs.

Why are KPIs Important in Efficient Recruiting?

KPIs serve as a benchmark to measure the effectiveness of your recruiting strategy. By understanding and tracking these indicators, hiring managers and the recruiting team can identify bottlenecks, streamline the hiring process, and make informed decisions based on real-time data. Furthermore, KPIs offer insights into the quality of candidates being attracted, the efficiency of different sourcing channels, and the overall health of your recruitment funnel.

Top 15 Recruiting KPIs

  1. Time to Hire
  2. Quality of Hire
  3. Cost per Hire
  4. Offer Acceptance Rate
  5. Candidate Experience
  6. Hiring Manager Satisfaction
  7. Turnover Rate
  8. Source of Hire
  9. Referral Rate
  10. Application Completion Rate
  11. Time to Fill
  12. Number of Candidates
  13. Number of Applicants
  14. Retention Rate
  15. Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Candidates

Time to Hire

Definition: This is the total number of days from when the job is posted to when the candidate accepts the job offer.

Why It Matters: A prolonged time to hire can signify inefficiencies in the recruiting process, potentially leading to the loss of top talent.

How to Collect Data: Monitor the days between job postings and job offers accepted.

3rd Party Tools: LinkedIn's recruiting metrics dashboard, among others, can provide insights into your time to hire.

Quality of Hire

Definition: A metric that assesses the value new hires bring to the company based on their performance, tenure, and contributions.

Why It Matters: High-quality hires contribute positively to company culture and are more likely to stay, reducing turnover costs.

How to Collect Data: Surveys, performance reviews, and assessments during the new employee's first-year.

3rd Party Tools: Various HR software platforms, like BambooHR, offer quality of hire tracking.

Cost per Hire

Definition: The average cost associated with hiring a new employee, including recruiting costs, job ads, and onboarding expenses.

Why It Matters: It's essential for human resources and the recruiting team to stay within the recruitment budget.

How to Collect Data: Divide total hiring costs by the number of hires.

3rd Party Tools: Workable's reporting dashboards can provide a clear overview of hiring costs.

Offer Acceptance Rate

Definition: The ratio of accepted job offers to the total number offered.

Why It Matters: A low acceptance rate might indicate a misalignment between the job descriptions, company culture, or employer brand, and what candidates expect or want.

How to Collect Data: Track the number of job offers made and compare it to those accepted.

3rd Party Tools: Greenhouse's analytics tools can help track and analyze this KPI.

Candidate Experience

Definition: How candidates perceive the effectiveness and fairness of the application process.

Why It Matters: A positive experience attracts high-quality candidates and enhances the employer brand.

How to Collect Data: Surveys and feedback mechanisms post-application or interview.

3rd Party Tools: Qualtrics offers platforms for capturing candidate satisfaction.

Hiring Manager Satisfaction

Definition: How content hiring managers are with the recruiting process and the quality of candidates provided.

Why It Matters: Satisfaction correlates with how well the recruiting team understands and meets the needs of departments or teams.

How to Collect Data: Regular feedback sessions and surveys post-hiring.

3rd Party Tools: SurveyMonkey and similar platforms can assist in data collection.

Turnover Rate

Definition: The percentage of new hires who leave the company within a specified period, often the first year.

Why It Matters: A high turnover rate could indicate issues with the quality of hire, onboarding process, or company culture.

How to Collect Data: Track the number of employees leaving versus total hires over a set period.

3rd Party Tools: Platforms like ADP provide turnover insights and analytics.

Source of Hire

Definition: Identifying which recruitment channels (like job boards, referrals, social media) result in actual hires.

Why It Matters: It helps allocate resources to the most effective channels.

How to Collect Data: Track where each hire came from, whether through LinkedIn, employee referral, job boards, etc.

3rd Party Tools: Google Analytics, for tracking web sources, and ATS platforms like Lever can provide these insights.

Referral Rate

Definition: The percentage of hires that come through employee referrals.

Why It Matters: Referrals often lead to quality hires, as existing employees have a good understanding of the right candidate for the company.

How to Collect Data: Track the number of hires sourced from referrals against the total number of hires.

3rd Party Tools: Platforms like Jobvite can help monitor and incentivize referrals.

Application Completion Rate

Definition: The ratio of completed applications to the total number started.

Why It Matters: A low completion rate might indicate a time-consuming or complex application process.

How to Collect Data: Monitor applications on your company's careers page or platform.

3rd Party Tools: Taleo or other ATS platforms can provide insights into application completion rates.

Time to Fill

Definition: The average number of days it takes to fill an open position from the day of posting.

Why It Matters: Extended times can signify inefficiencies or challenges in sourcing quality candidates.

How to Collect Data: Track days from job posting to acceptance.

3rd Party Tools: Platforms like iCIMS offer detailed time-to-fill metrics.

Number of Candidates

Definition: The total number of qualified candidates for a specific position.

Why It Matters: A higher number indicates a wider choice, but if too high, it may show that job descriptions are too broad or unclear.

How to Collect Data: Monitor the number of applicants who pass initial screening.

3rd Party Tools: Platforms such as SmartRecruiters can assist in managing and categorizing applicants.

Number of Applicants

Definition: Total number of individuals applying for a position.

Why It Matters: Indicates the attractiveness of job ads and the reach of recruitment channels.

How to Collect Data: Count all applications received for a specific job.

3rd Party Tools: Zoho Recruit, among others, provides insights into application numbers.

Retention Rate

Definition: The percentage of new hires who remain employed after a specific period, typically one year.

Why It Matters: Indicates the long-term fit and satisfaction of new hires.

How to Collect Data: Compare the number of employees hired and retained after one year.

3rd Party Tools: Platforms like PeopleSoft provide comprehensive employee tracking, including retention.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Candidates

Definition: A metric measuring the willingness of candidates to recommend your company as a place to work.

Why It Matters: High NPS scores signify a positive candidate experience and strong employer brand.

How to Collect Data: Post-interview surveys asking candidates on a scale if they'd recommend your company to peers.

3rd Party Tools: Delighted and other NPS tools can be used to measure and analyze candidate NPS.


Optimizing your recruiting efforts requires a keen understanding of the most important recruitment KPIs. By implementing a robust, data-driven approach, companies can not only enhance their recruitment process but also ensure they're attracting and retaining the best candidates.

Using tools like Portable further simplifies this process. Portable allows clients to seamlessly pull data from their recruiting systems, ensuring that KPI reporting is organized, streamlined, and effective, facilitating a more efficient talent acquisition strategy.