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4 talent acquisition KPIs to influence your strategy

Anna Ruby
December 2, 2021

If you work in HR or talent, you can probably recite recruiting KPIs by heart. Candidate source, time to hire, offer acceptance rate, and so on.

These common KPIs allow recruiting teams to measure the general efficiency of their function. Still, they may lack the nuance and insight required to help TA leaders make strategic decisions across the entire talent lifecycle.  

Ultimately, key performance indicators are more than just a number. They should help you evaluate a strategy’s efficacy and make decisions that lead to better business outcomes.  

Below, you’ll find four “dig deeper KPIs” to measure each stage of the talent lifecycle.  

To get four more KPIs and their formulas, download the infographic 8 KPIs to influence your strategic talent decisions. 


In the attract stage, common KPIs help you determine which channels most efficiently lead job seekers to your job postings. This can benefit your TA strategy by narrowing your focus to the channels where potential candidates spend the most time. For example, do you reach more job seekers through third-party sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor or owned channels, like career sites and text campaigns?  

Once you understand the channels that are most likely to attract candidates, you can further analyze your strategy by measuring the cost-effectiveness of each channel.  

Dig deeper KPI: Cost per quality applicant 

CPQA determines the total spend required to attract one quality applicant.  

To measure, you’ll need to define what makes a “quality applicant.” Is it all candidates that make it past the phone screen or only those that receive a particular score in your ATS?  

Once you’ve created that definition, you’ll need to do some math. Let’s say you spent $1,000 on LinkedIn to promote a Sr. Software Engineer position. You received 200 applicants, of which 20 met your definition for quality. To find CPQA, use this formula:  

$1,000 spend / 20 quality applicants = $50 cost per quality applicant 

To use this as a key performance indicator, determine the average CPQA for specific roles. For example, if the average CPQA for a Sr. Software Engineer is $50, but last quarter’s average was $200, that can be a great indicator that your message or delivery is not working to attract candidates for that role.  

Additionally, cost per quality applicant may vary based on the channel. So, while a third-party job site may bring in the greatest number of candidates, it may be the most expensive CPQA. This insight helps you to adjust your strategy and focus on the channels that may not attract as many candidates but attract the best quality candidates at the lowest average cost.  


Common KPIs in the engage stage can reveal insight into candidate experience and response rates. This helps measure how well new candidates engage with your recruiters. But how do you measure engagement from your existing talent network? 

Dig deeper KPI: Monthly CRM searches 

To determine whether recruiters take advantage of existing candidates in your talent acquisition software, measure the number of CRM searches conducted by your active recruiters. Here’s an example:  

300 CRM searches in the last 30 days / 15 active recruiters in the last 30 days = 20 average monthly CRM searches per active recruiter 

This key performance indicator helps you make strategic decisions by shifting the focus from candidate response to recruiter engagement. You can’t control how often a candidate engages with your company, but you can set strategic goals for how often recruiters search for and engage with your existing talent network.  

If benchmarks aren’t met, ask your teams what challenges they experience when searching through the database. Is the user experience tough to navigate? Are the leads low-quality? Answers to these questions can highlight specific areas of improvement that you can incorporate into your TA strategy.  


Many common KPIs measure activity in the hiring stage of the talent lifecycle. Time to hire, cost per hire, quality of hire — the list goes on. These metrics often center on the candidate but may lack insight into the resources required from other important stakeholders. 

Dig deeper KPI: Interviews per hiring decision 

This metric can help talent leaders identify the average number of interviews required to make a hiring decision for a specific role. Let’s say you have an opening for a Front Desk Administrator and three quality candidates. Each one requires three interviews, for a total of nine interviews, but you only hire one person to fill the role.  

9 interviews / 1 hire = 9 interviews per hiring decision 

The benchmark may vary based on the type of role. While you only need to interview a Front Desk administrator nine times on average to make a decision, a highly specialized role, like a Cyber Security Specialist, may require a much larger time investment.  

When you can forecast the number of interviews required to fill a role, you can also identify tools that support a more efficient process for hiring managers.  

Talent assessments can integrate seamlessly with your talent acquisition software to qualify candidates without additional face-time required from the hiring manager. This can lead to increased efficiency without compromising on candidate quality.  


Internal mobility metrics often focus on employee attrition, like turnover. These metrics have their place, but they do not indicate how well your company retains employees, just how well you lose them. Dig deeper with a career path ratio to gain a more holistic view of your internal mobility activity. 

Dig deeper KPI: Career path ratio  

A career path ratio highlights the ratio of vertical promotions compared to lateral moves.  

10 promotions / (40 transfers + 10 promotions) = 0.2 career path ratio 

Numbers above or below your benchmark can help inform strategic decisions about career path planning. If your ratio is too high, that could indicate that your company is handing out too many promotions.  

If your ratio is low, and the only internal mobility is due to transfers, that could indicate “talent hoarding”. This happens when managers discourage promotions because they want to keep top talent on their teams.  

Dig deeper with 8 more talent acquisition KPIs 

Talent acquisition KPIs go beyond recruiter performance to influence strategic decisions that attract, engage, hire, and advance the right talent.  

Download the infographic 8 KPIs to influence your strategic talent decisions, to get four more KPIs and their formulas. 

Get infographic: 8 KPIs to influence your strategic talent decisions

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