Recruiting metrics 101: Tips from Hired and Greenhouse

Three coworkers reviewing a chart on a laptop screen

5 mins, 48 secs read time

The first rule of meeting your recruiting goals is that you have to have recruiting goals. You’ll never know if you’re meeting or exceeding expectations if those expectations haven’t been clearly defined. But how do you know what to measure and which specific goals to set for yourself and your team? These are questions we tackled in our recent webinar, “How to Strategically Measure & Improve Every Part of Your Hiring.”

Greenhouse’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Jacqui Maguire moderated a digital fireside chat between Greenhouse Senior Recruiter Katie DiCioccio and Hired’s Senior Director of People Operations, Karsten Vagner. Jacqui, Katie and Karsten discussed how to determine which recruiting metrics to track, how you can get closer to achieving your hiring goals and how to empower your team to build a high-powered recruiting engine.

Watch the full webinar here, or keep reading for some of the highlights from their conversation.

Where should teams start when beginning to track metrics and measure success?

If you’re new to tracking your performance through metrics, it can feel a little overwhelming to know where to start. Karsten recommends asking yourself why you’re trying to track metrics in the first place. Perhaps you’d like to make the case for additional budget or resources. Or you might want to keep stakeholders in the loop about your talent pipeline. If you clearly define your goal, knowing what to track will become much easier.

Katie emphasizes the importance of knowing who you’ll be presenting your metrics to. Different audiences care about different metrics. For example, if you’re presenting to executives, they’re likely to care about metrics that clearly impact the business, such as time to hire. On the other hand, if you’re aiming to communicate with hiring managers, they’re more likely to care about pipeline metrics that show how many candidates you currently have in the pipeline and what stages they’re at. And finally, if your goal is to keep your recruiting team informed, it may make sense to look at conversion metrics, such the number of candidates converting from application to phone screen.

Which metrics do your teams track?

After discussing the principles that can guide your approach to metrics, Katie and Karsten started talking specifics. Katie began by introducing Greenhouse’s approach to tracking recruiting performance. At Greenhouse, the Recruiting team focuses on five Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

  • Quality candidates per open role: This helps the recruiting team understand whether there are enough quality candidates in the pipeline. At Greenhouse, “qualified candidates” are defined as anyone who has an initial phone call with a recruiter or hiring manager.
  • Days to offer: Greenhouse tracks the number of days between initial application to when an offer is made to get a sense of how quickly we’re moving people through the process.
  • Candidate experience: We want to ensure that all candidates are having a positive experience, so we measure candidate satisfaction by sending a survey to everyone who comes for an onsite interview.
  • Offer acceptance rate: What percentage of candidates who receive offers accept them? This helps us see how effective we are at “closing” candidates.
  • Hires to goal: How many hires have we actually made, compared to our headcount goals for the year or quarter? This metric helps us see the overall effectiveness of our recruiting team and programs.

At Hired, where high-volume recruiting is the name of the game, Karsten keeps an eye on pass-through rates at each stage. For example, what percentage of people who submit a resume participate in a phone screen? Or what percentage of people who do a take-home assessment are invited in for an onsite interview? Karsten says that the benchmarks for these rates vary depending on the role and data the team has gathered in the past, so there’s no hard and fast rule for what the numbers should be. Speed is another priority in the hiring process at Hired, so the recruiting team keeps track of many time-based metrics such as how quickly they respond to applications and how many days it takes to schedule interviews.

Once you set these goals, should tracked KPIs remain consistent or evolve with business changes?

Karsten laughs at the concept of choosing between remaining consistent or evolving, saying, “Is it always or? Is it never and?” He argues that consistency is important because he believes recruiting teams should have guiding principles that never change, such as your approach to attracting candidates, employer brand, voice and tone. But at the same time, businesses change. And when the needs of your business change, the way you do work may need to change as well.

You want to keep the ‘what' of what you’re doing, but be flexible with the ‘how.’
–Karsten Vagner, Senior Director of People Operations, Hired

At Greenhouse, our five recruiting KPIs have remained consistent for the past several years. They still offer the best overview of how our recruiting team and process is performing overall. But Katie also shares that we’ve made some adjustments as organizational priorities have shifted. For example, in recent years, we’ve begun to focus on Diversity & Inclusion both from a product and company standpoint, so the recruiting team has also introduced the “diversity sourcing percentage.” This metric reflects the percentage of roles where we’re using a diversity sourcing tactic such as investing in a job board, attending an event, or doing any other sourcing activity that targets underrepresented groups. Katie says that our benchmark for this is 100% – our recruiting team makes sure to do this for every role we open.

What are some longer-term projects that can support and improve your recruiting pipeline?

You know why you’re tracking certain metrics. You know what to track. So what do you do in order to improve those numbers over time? Karsten and Katie agree that it’s essential to build relationships and enlist help from your entire organization.

Recruiting is a shared responsibility.
–Karsten Vagner, Senior Director of People Operations, Hired

Karsten recommends relying on your hiring managers and their teams as knowledge experts and sources for their open roles. Katie agrees, recommending connecting with the entire hiring team on LinkedIn as a first step to supercharge your network and facilitate referrals.

Before you dip into your first sourcing search, connect with everyone on the hiring team on LinkedIn.
–Katie DiCioccio, Senior Recruiter, Greenhouse

Karsten also advises tapping in to the power of your most engaged employees – your new hires. He recommends dedicating time during new hire onboarding to discuss your open roles and introduce your employee referral program. You’ll help give new hires a sense of ownership and accomplishment while getting closer to achieving your hiring goals – it’s a win-win!

As you might imagine, we’ve only just scratched the surface of this topic – there’s so much more to discuss about digging in to the right metrics, creating systems for sharing them with the right people and troubleshooting when things aren’t looking the way you expected. For all this and more, be sure to tune in to the full webinar.

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Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.