Recruiter Performance Evaluation: How Should You Measure It?

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As a Talent Acquisition specialist, you might sometimes find yourself drowning in metrics. From cost-per-hire to candidate NPS, there is no end to the measures that nowadays companies can take to better their performance.

But are those efforts sufficient? Are they efficient? How do you prioritize which metrics should be used for performance evaluations?

Is there no better-organized system to promote positive change for your Talent Acquisition team?

How to evaluate recruiter performance

A good recruiter is one with positive financial metrics, happy candidates, and happy hiring managers. So, these are the areas we will have to investigate when measuring recruiter performance.

Let’s start by trying to answer the first question: is your recruiter performance measuring system sufficient?

Talent Acquisition teams often depend primarily on financial or operational metrics to track recruiter performance. Many companies measure performance by looking at time-to-fill, time-to-hire, cost per hire, offer acceptance rate, and sourcing channel effectiveness/cost. 

These are all useful metrics, and give you a quantitative view of how efficient your recruiters are. But to truly get a representative picture of a recruiter’s performance, there’s more to consider. 

Unfortunately, operational and financial metrics can’t account for how the candidates or hiring managers feel about their experience with the recruiter. What if a recruiter manages to excel in some metrics, but drops the ball when it comes to Candidate Experience? What if they’re efficient at getting candidates through the pipeline, only for them to attrition in a year? 

Taking a well-rounded approach to recruiter performance evaluation requires input from hiring managers and candidates, too. So, what are the consequences of ignoring it?

Evaluating Recruiter Performance through Candidate Experience

Candidate Experience has been on everyone’s lips for a while, but it’s becoming more and more important 

Poor Candidate Experience has first- and second-hand consequences.

The first-hand consequences only impact your unhappy candidates, who, most probably, will ghost you. Talent will withdraw their applications and accept jobs elsewhere. Conversely, a positive Candidate Experience makes candidates 38% less likely to withdraw. 

The second-hand consequences imply that the candidates have spread the word about their poor experience with you through negative reviews or word of mouth to friends and family. 77% of unhappy candidates will share their experience with others, and 50% will not do business with you

25% of unhappy candidates actively tell others not to work for the company that disappointed them.

You might think that it’s just another drop in the ocean, but 75% of candidates consider employer brand and reputation before applying for a job, and 86% check Glassdoor ratings. 69% of candidates would reject an offer from an employer with a bad reputation.

Poor reviews drive away high-quality candidates and lengthen the time needed to successfully fill a position, thus increasing recruiting costs.

The consequences can be that you will get a lower quantity and quality of candidates, more time will be needed to fill your vacancies and, finally, you can suffer financial loss due to their boycotting.

As you can see, it’s quite obvious that recruiter performance can truly impact your company if it’s causing both positive and negative Candidate Experience.. 

Measuring recruiter performance through Candidate Experience helps you understand the quality of their work. A recruiter may have low time-to-fill, but also tends to treat candidates poorly. Better operational metrics aren’t a good tradeoff if it leaves most candidates feeling negative about your company. A recruiter who consistently has excellent Candidate Experience scores can be trusted to provide the company will valuable talent, as well as generate passive PR, improve employer branding, and broaden your talent pool. 

Tying Candidate NPS (cNPS) to recruiter performance is also a good way to make sure that recruiters are incentivized to provide an excellent Candidate Experience and generate these benefits for your business. Have a look below at our Account Executive Colin who shows how our customers tie cNPS to their recruiters with Starred.

Measuring Recruiter Performance Through Hiring Manager Satisfaction

Now that we’ve mentioned the widespread use of financial metrics and added the element of Candidate Experience, it is time to focus on the experience of your hiring managers.

But what about them?


We learned that a happy candidate means a happy advocate, but your hiring manager’s satisfaction is crucial too. As we previously mentioned, a good recruiter is one with good financial metrics, happy candidates that buy your products and speak kind words about their experience with you, and happy hiring managers that keep their collaboration with you alive.

Bad hires cost the company lots of time and money. This is especially true for extremely technical or high-level positions. Job applicants should be well-suited for the company and adequately prepared for the application process.

One way to ensure the recruiter isn’t just pushing as many candidates through the system as possible is to check if the hiring manager is happy with the provided selection of candidates. 

Measuring and looking at hiring manager satisfaction can help you achieve a well rounded performance evaluation for recruiters. If feedback from your hiring manager comes back as generally negative, then you know where the issue lies.

Hiring manager satisfaction surveys primarily focus on how the hiring managers found the recruiting process. We’ve written an exhaustive article on this, titled How to Measure Hiring Manager Satisfaction, which features a list of good questions, a template, and visualization examples. 

View Hiring Manager Satisfaction Survey

Measuring recruiter performance is more than just tracking financial KPIs during the process. The human element is very important to capture, as it is an integral part of the journey. Numbers are not the only thing you should be worrying about. Recruiters remain one of the first points of human contact for a company, and they remain as a crucial point of contact for hiring managers throughout the process. 

Practical Examples of Recruiter Performance Evaluation

So, how can you know if this approach would work? Simply put - because it already does. 

We have multiple major clients who are using Candidate Experience, Hiring Manager Satisfaction, and financial/operational metrics to build an accurate picture of a recruiter’s performance. Most companies use financial and operational metrics, but a few of our customers have a different approach and stand out in particular:

In one case, a major tech company sets recruiter KPIs by setting a baseline for minimum cNPS per recruiter. They also outline minimum expected NPS and ratings for hiring manager satisfaction scores. Candidate Experience is a major topic at both monthly and quarterly reviews, and managers carefully evaluate both qualitative candidate feedback and hiring manager satisfaction when assessing their recruiters. Exceptional recruiters are awarded an internal Candidate Experience Award and recognized within the company as top performers.

Another customer of ours uses Candidate Experience data to influence how large a recruiter’s bonus is at the end of the year, in addition to standard metrics. The happier the candidates, the bigger the bonus.

In a third example, another major company uses Candidate Experience as a TA department KPI, both on individual and team levels. Promotions and evaluations are also tied to this, and getting a promotion with negative Candidate Experience is functionally impossible. 

In all of these cases recruiters report high engagement scores, and are pleased with this approach. Recruitment is a people-centered industry, and being scored off of how you made others feel is seen as entirely valid by many talent acquisition professionals. 

Closing Thoughts: Evaluating Recruiter Performance

At the beginning of this article, we asked ourselves if your recruiter performance measuring method was sufficient, efficient, and organized. One by one, we answered those questions. Your system cannot be sufficient unless you consider the 3 elements needed to make a good recruiter: positive financial metrics, happy candidates, and happy hiring managers.

Candidates generally don’t care about how long it takes to fill a slot in a different department, or how much that costs the company per quarter. Instead, they want respectful interactions with a recruiter and their candidate journey to be handled properly.

Questions asked to candidates about these interactions, paired with hard-line measures about the recruiting process, help you establish realistic benchmarks that can help you optimize your recruitment process.

You also need to listen to your hiring managers’ opinions – if they’re negative, you need to find fast ways to provide them with better candidates that are a more suitable fit for their vacancies.

It’s necessary to keep on measuring financial and operational metrics, too. Combining these metrics with Candidate Experience and Hiring Manager Satisfaction data is a surefire way of taking your recruiter performance evaluations to the next level.


The Starred Recruiter Performance Matrix based on Candidate Experience data

The final piece of the puzzle is data visualization. Consider the matrix above - a manager is able to discern which recruiters are performing the best at a glance, taking into consideration multiple different touchpoints and variables. Combining this approach with an easily digestible form of data visualization means that performance evaluations for recruiters will become easier than ever before.

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