5 recruiting metrics that don't matter — and why they mean less than you think

5 recruiting metrics that don't matter — and why they mean less than you think

It can be tough to launch a program to track new recruiting metrics, especially when you're not sure how to set realistic benchmarks that can drive real results. Unfortunately, too many organizations and HR departments look at hiring metrics that don't matter to the health of the business. In this guide, we'll explore metrics that might look good on paper but don't say much about your company's recruiting success (or lack thereof).

To create real insight, skip these metrics

If you're not sure whether a particular metric makes sense for your business, ask yourself whether it answers a critical question about performance, operation, budget, or another key area. Although you may want to keep an eye on these five areas, they don't warrant a spot among your most critical recruiting benchmarks.

Time to fill a position

Although the time to fill a position is one of the most common recruiting metrics, it doesn't say much about the health of your hiring practices — although it does give you a glimpse of marketplace supply and demand. In addition, your company likely values the quality of new hires over onboarding speed. 

Instead of relying on time to fill, dig deeper by tying this benchmark to more meaningful metrics such as:

  • Cost savings for reduced days to hire
  • Increased profit associated with faster hiring
  • Number of additional recruiters required to meet hiring demand

For example, taking a long time to hire often translates to higher recruiting costs, so it's beneficial to look at this metric in relation to your hiring budget.

Quality of hire

You need to wait at least several months to truly judge the quality of a new hire, which makes this a less-than-useful metric for candidate recruiting. After all, you need to give your new team members time to get up to speed before you can gauge their full productivity. 

Instead, consider looking at the quality of the hiring process. If you need to let a new employee go during the probationary period, try to figure out where things went wrong during recruitment. Perhaps you weren't looking for the appropriate skills for the role or didn't conduct extensive enough pre-hire assessments. Targeting the issue allows you to refine the process and get it right next time.

Level of hiring manager satisfaction

Hiring manager satisfaction with the recruitment process is important, of course, but it has flaws as a standalone metric. For one thing, it doesn't reflect the length of time it might take managers to review resumes, which can contribute to the loss of qualified candidates. It's also too subjective to effectively influence objectives for improvement.

Recruiter calls per day

The number of daily recruitment calls rarely translates to results when it comes to the quality or the number of new employees. Instead, measuring this metric typically encourages recruiters to spend less time with high-quality candidates to meet their call quotas. For a better approach, try tracking the ratio of calls to successful applications, interviews, and hires.

Offer acceptance rate

Like most of the metrics on this list, the rate of accepted offers doesn't give you much to go on without context. A high acceptance rate (generally regarded as 70% or above depending on your industry and the size of your business) could reflect a strong recruitment brand or a solid process. 

Conversely, a low or declining rate indicates the need to strengthen your process or your brand. You'll need to go further with this metric to understand what it means for your recruitment strategy by reviewing exactly why candidates decide not to move forward with your company after an offer. 

"The sooner your business sets realistic recruiting benchmarks, the sooner you'll be able to work toward meeting those goals, so don't worry about waiting until the beginning of the fiscal quarter or the first day of the month."

Focus on the metrics that matter

The expansive availability of data can make it difficult to drill down and reach relevant metrics. So, if these aren't the metrics that matter for business, a natural next question follows:  What recruiting metrics should you be using? We recommend focusing on three key categories:

  • Funnel metrics: Numbers on recruiting activities, such as total applicants, qualified applicants, screened applicants, interviewed applicants, and offers for each position posted
  • Source metrics: Data on the recruiting resources that drive the most hires and the cost per hire for each of your recruitment marketing channels
  • Retention metrics: Information about the average length of new hire retention, including retention by department and hiring manager

We've given you a few suggestions here, but there are endless ways to measure the success of your company's recruiting efforts depending on its industry, size, business objectives, and other characteristics. Keep up with your reading on CareerBuilder to learn more about the benchmarks that make sense, starting with these recommended articles.

More on recruiting metrics and hiring data:

If you're running a lean business, you need these recruitment metrics.

Find the best sources for a diverse candidate pool.

Recruiting recruiters? Follow these rules.

Track employee turnover to stay ahead of high rates.

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