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Having a strong TA team is a crucial element of being a successful business. Making sure that your recruitment team is performing as well as it can directly benefits the company and raises the caliber of talent that can be brought into the organization, directly impacting company performance and improving all other results. 

One of the most popular and important ways that companies can measure performance is through the tracking and measurement of Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. KPIs provide valuable, objective insights into the recruitment process, allowing recruiters and HR professionals to measure their performance and outcomes over time. This article explores the importance of KPIs in recruitment, breaks down how they are measured, and highlights some of the best recruitment KPIs to track to ensure success.

What is a KPI in recruitment?

The origins of KPIs can be found in the early 20th century field of scientific performance management, pioneered by Frederick Winslow Taylor, an American mechanical engineer who was one of the first to view the idea of work as something that could be quantifiably measured and assessed. 

Just like in many other fields, a KPI in recruitment is a quantifiable metric that helps organizations understand the performance and effectiveness of individual employees, teams, or departments. It is, as the name suggests, an important and objective indicator of recruiter performance.

KPIs can also give specific insights into different levels of performance in various stages of the recruitment process. For example, a manager may set different KPIs for sourcing and interviewing, each of which gives different insights into each stage of the hiring process. These metrics enable recruiters and HR professionals to measure their progress, identify areas of improvement, and make informed decisions about what they should address to comprehensively optimize their recruitment strategy.

Why are KPIs important?

Setting the right KPIs is crucial to attracting and retaining the best talent, and is an important part of assessing both individual and team performance. Without recruitment KPIs, company leadership won’t know what recruiters are doing right as well as what could still be improved. They also won’t be aware of what bottlenecks exist in their process and how effectively recruiters are using their resources. 

KPIs in recruitment are particularly important because they allow for a standardized and objective performance evaluation process, which may otherwise be difficult in such a people-focused industry as recruitment. 

Their objective nature also gives recruiters the ability to benchmark their performance, comparing their KPIs against industry benchmarks, competitor data, or your own historical data. They can also be used in novel ways, such as A/B testing new parts of your tech stack.

KPIs are also useful to promote internal alignment between the recruitment department and the rest of the organization. Making sure that you’re promoting metrics that are most relevant to the long-term success of the business is a great way for the recruitment department to contribute to the core success of your overall business. 

How do you measure recruitment KPIs?

Measuring recruitment KPIs involves collecting relevant data throughout the hiring process and analyzing it to gain insights. Naturally, your main priorities will depend on your specific situation as a company, but every firm should aim to follow current best practices:

Collecting Data on Recruitment KPIs 

Recruiters need to gather accurate and relevant data at various stages of the recruitment process. Much of this data, such as time spent in each stage, amount of applicants, amount of rejections, sourcing channel effectiveness, etc. should be immediately available in your ATS. Many metrics can also be measured with dedicated tools, which often have the benefit of providing you with more in-depth data. For example, we here at Starred offer dedicated products for automatically measuring and analyzing Candidate Experience, Hiring Manager Satisfaction, Quality of Hire, and other Recruitment KPI-related metrics.

Analyzing Data from Recruitment KPIs

Once the data is collected, you have to analyze and process it. Your methods of analysis will probably look quite different depending on whether you’re collecting your data by hand or through the use of a dedicated solution. Managing the analysis yourself by hand through Google Sheets or Excel is certainly doable with smaller teams or datasets, but can rapidly become burdensome once you begin to expand the scope of your recruitment KPIs. 

For a good starting point on what outcomes to prioritize, check out our article on Recruiter Performance Evaluation.

Reporting on Recruitment KPIs

It is essential to create regular reports to track and communicate recruitment KPIs. These reports can be shared with key stakeholders, such as hiring managers and senior leaders to keep them informed about the progress and effectiveness of your recruitment efforts. Automated solutions will often do this for you, making sure that all involved parties are aware of the current state of your recruitment KPIs. 

If you’re reporting your recruitment KPis manually, consider setting up a Google Sheets or Excel template to make sure you keep track of everything if your KPIs are relatively predictable and don’t change too often. Setting up a recurring task or reminder to make sure that you remember to update these templates and send them out in regular intervals is a great idea. 

10 Most Crucial Recruitment KPIs

Next, we’ll dive into the most relevant recruitment KPIs and break down why they’re important, as well as how you can go about measuring them. While there are a large amount of additional KPIs that you could track, these are the ones that should be standard for just about any recruitment team.


Cost-per-Hire is a critical recruitment KPI that measures the total cost incurred by an organization to hire a new employee. This includes any expenses related to the hiring process, such as job advertising costs, recruitment agency fees, recruitment marketing spend, employee referral bonuses, applicant tracking system fees, background checks fees, and any other costs associated with attracting, assessing, and hiring candidates.

In many ways, cost-per-hire is one of the simplest recruitment KPIs. Understanding your cost-per-hire is essential for organizations to optimize their recruitment budget and ensure efficient spending. By tracking this KPI, talent acquisition teams can identify areas where costs can be reduced or eliminated. Additionally, it helps compare the costs of various recruitment strategies and evaluate the ROI for each method. However, it’s important to keep in mind that cost-per-hire often doesn’t tell the full story, and should be used in combination with the other KPIs that we list down below. 


Time-to-Hire is the duration, usually measured in days, taken to fill a job vacancy. It’s often calculated from the moment that a vacancy is posted to the moment a candidate accepts a job offer and signs the contract. A shorter time-to-hire indicates that the organization can quickly identify and secure qualified candidates, reducing the risk of losing top talent to competitors. 

On the other hand, a lengthy time-to-hire can have several negative consequences, such as increased recruitment costs, higher employee workload due to unfilled positions, decreased employee satisfaction, and potential delays in business operations. By monitoring time-to-hire, organizations can identify efficiency bottlenecks in the hiring process, implement improvements, and streamline their recruitment efforts to attract and retain the best talent more effectively.

Naturally, cost-per-hire and time-to-hire are closely related, and should likewise be considered in context of all the other recruitment KPIs.


A subset of time-to-hire, time-to-interview is the duration between receiving a candidate application and scheduling and conducting interviews with qualified candidates. This recruitment KPI is essential for evaluating the efficiency of the initial stages of the recruitment process and the coordination between recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates.

The data is clear: a lengthy time-to-interview increases candidate dissatisfaction and raises withdrawal rates, with happier candidates being 38% more likely to accept a job offer. Candidates apply to multiple roles at once, and beating out your competition by offering an interview first can often make the difference, especially if you have a short time-to-hire. 

By tracking this metric, organizations can identify areas for improvement in their interview scheduling and communication processes. Implementing streamlined interview processes can improve the overall candidate experience and increase the chances of securing the best talent.

Application Experience

This is a relatively new recruitment KPI, which has been made particularly relevant in the post-Covid labor market, which is marked by low unemployment and high vacancy rates. Simply put, candidates have a lot of options, and they just won’t bother going through a drawn-out application process. 60% say that they’ve stopped an application halfway because the process was repetitive or overly complicated.

Making sure that applying to your vacancies is simple and hassle-free is a great way to ensure that more qualified candidates make their way to your recruitment funnel. Candidates who value their time will immediately sour on your company if the application process is sub-par. Using post-application Candidate Experience surveys specifically tailored to the application process is a great way to identify pain points in your application process and rapidly move to remedy them.  

Sourcing Channel Effectiveness

Sourcing Channel Effectiveness measures the performance of different recruitment channels used to attract candidates, usually expressed as the ratio of applications to hires. These channels may include job boards like Indeed, social media platforms like LinkedIn, employee referral programs, external recruitment agencies, career fairs, and, of course, your company website.

By analyzing this recruitment KPI, organizations can identify which channels yield the highest quality candidates and which ones may need improvement or elimination. Combining this with an analysis of your spend per sourcing channel is a great idea. This data-driven approach enables better allocation of resources and budget towards the most successful channels, resulting in improved candidate quality and a more targeted recruitment strategy.

If you’re curious about benchmarks for sourcing channel effectiveness, check out our 2022 Candidate Experience Benchmark Report, which goes over what the most and least effective sourcing channels are.

Candidate Experience

Candidate Experience is a crucial recruitment KPI that measures the satisfaction and overall experience of candidates throughout the recruitment process. Positive Candidate Experience is one of the most impactful KPIs in your entire recruitment process. It provides you with multiple benefits, such as increased acceptance rates, quicker time-to-hire, lower cost-per-hire, increased efficiency, and improved Employer Brand. Plus, happy candidates are much more likely to reapply later down the line, increasing your pool of qualified candidates.

The best way to measure Candidate Experience is through a Candidate Experience survey. These surveys can provide you with a large amount of data, such as Candidate Net Promoter Score, actionable data for optimizing RecOps, D&I data, and much much more. All of this data provides valuable insights into how candidates perceive the company's recruitment process and where improvements can be made.

By focusing on enhancing the candidate experience, organizations can build positive relationships with candidates, even those who may not receive an offer. Moreover, satisfied candidates are more likely to recommend the company to others and become brand advocates, further improving your company's reputation in the job market. This is especially important when you consider that referrals are the #1 source of qualified job candidates.

If you want to avoid the serious business impacts of negative Candidate Experience, check out our article on Ways to Improve Candidate Experience.

We've released our annual Candidate Experience Benchmark Report, which breaks down all our data on Candidate Experience by company size, region, department, candidate stage, NPS quartile, and more! It also features the debut of our machine learning based analysis of qualitative candidate comments, analyzing both the topics and sentiments that candidates are discussing the most. You can read it here, or through the image below.

Hiring Manager Satisfaction

This recruitment KPI assesses all aspects of the hiring process from the point of view of the hiring managers. It includes their satisfaction with the recruitment process, the quality of candidates, the scheduling, and many other facets of the process. This KPI is incredibly important, and a study by Deloitte has gone as far as ranking effective hiring manager and recruiter collaboration as the #1 predictor of a successful recruitment department. Regular feedback from hiring managers is indispensable in identifying areas for improvement and ensuring alignment and smooth internal collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers.

For a more detailed breakdown of best practices for measuring this recruitment KPI, check out our article on measuring hiring manager satisfaction. 

Survey Response Rate

An important part of having lots of relevant Candidate Experience data is ensuring that your response rates remain high. A high response rate indicates an engaged candidate pool, which can offer a more comprehensive understanding of how candidates felt during the hiring process. Higher response rates also indicate that candidates are more involved in the process, even if they’re rejected.

We’ve also analyzed all our data around response rates for both Candidate Experience and Hiring Manager Satisfaction in our Response Rate Benchmark Report, breaking it down by region, company size, department, touchpoint, stage, and more. You can find the full report here.

Rejection Rate

Rejection rate measures the percentage of candidates rejected during the recruitment process. While this figure is often very high for most companies, regularly rising above 90%, breaking this down by source, listing, department, and touchpoint helps give you a top-level overview of how effective your operations are. For example, a high rejection rate may indicate issues with the job description, sourcing strategy, or selection criteria, prompting a reevaluation of different parts of your recruitment process.

Quality of Hire

Quality of hire measures the performance and impact of new hires in their roles. It’s important to note that measuring Quality of Hire is not as straightforward as other recruitment KPIs, and many different companies will use different individual metrics to define what Quality of Hire means to them. We’ve written an article on how to measure quality of hire that goes over all the main things you should keep in mind when analyzing this KPI in recruitment. Overall, this is a crucial recruitment KPI when it’s contextualized with other metrics. It gives you a good insight on whether the candidate fits the team, the culture, and your organization at large, and informs other conclusions on whether their hire was time and cost effective. 


To recap, KPIs are an important part of any business strategy. In recruitment, as in many other departments, setting and closely measuring important KPIs is a recipe for success. Focusing your efforts on the right KPIs allows you to consistently measure and optimize your hiring processes. By tracking the 10 crucial recruitment KPIs that we’ve described above, recruitment professionals can make data-driven decisions, enhance efficiency, continuously assess their performance, and continue to attract talent and maintain competitiveness.  

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