10 Must-Track Metrics in Talent Acquisition

With research suggesting that HR has the highest impact on a company’s bottom line, it’s HR that ensures companies have the right people in place to build and foster excellence throughout the organisation.

Yet, hiring initiatives tend to fall flat because companies fail to address the revolution that is taking place in job seeking and recruiting.

For example, the disruptive force of technology has permanently changed the way people apply for vacancies and how employers hire, requiring talent acquisition departments to take on a more analytical approach to hiring by tracking key recruiting metrics.

Manual tracking of metrics in spreadsheets or folders is no longer a viable option.

Using technology to track the following set of metrics – from sourcing to recruiting to onboarding – will directly improve your bottom line, budget, and productivity. In this whitepaper, we’ll demonstrate how each metric provides key insights into the recruiting process, provide industry standards for measurement, and offer helpful tips and tactics in order to impress executives and line managers while facilitating positive change.

Best Sourcing Related Metric


How to measure: Applicant tracking systems (ATS) like iCIMS make it easy to track and report source-of-hire. Every candidate that enters iCIMS is tagged with a specific source of entry like job boards, social networks, employee referrals, or other candidate-supplied information.

Tracking source-of-hire over time will help to modify your team’s work allocation based on the effectiveness and cost to ensure the best return-on-investment of recruitment dollars.

For example, in a recent iCIMS survey taken by over 360 recruiting professionals, we asked which source brings in the majority of candidates. Unsurprisingly, job boards ranked the highest, followed by corporate career sites and employee referrals.

Then we asked these same recruiting professionals which source brought in the BEST candidates. Employee referrals ranked as the number one source for the best candidates.

Your company may also have similar success rates with these sources. By tracking your source-of-hire, recruiters have insight into which is the strongest source and which is the weakest. If one source-of-hire is weak, ask why. Are you speaking to the right people? Is now the time to revamp (or even launch) your employee referral program? Could you re-allocate that part of the recruitment advertising budget to another source that’s known to bring in quality candidates? Answering these questions becomes simpler when the data is at your fingertips.

Best Recruiting Related Metrics


How to measure: Industry standard suggests that time-to-fill represents the number of days from when the job requisition was opened until the offer was accepted by the candidate.1

Not only does knowing time-to-fill help HR professionals gain insight into a realistic time to hire new personnel in the future, but it also helps managers redistribute work more effectively while the position is open. Once any high time-to-fill challenges are uncovered, you’ll have the opportunity to make recommendations to the hiring manager that demonstrate how simple changes can improve their time-to-fill.

For example, iCIMS client Cumming Corporation uses iCIMS reporting abilities to identify and mitigate bottlenecks during the recruiting process, thus helping to shorten the company’s time-to-fill overall.

Explained Scott Weaver, director of talent acquisition and development:

Bonus Metric

Time-to-Start: This metric measures the lag time between when a candidate accepts an offer and when they’ll actually start.

If it takes weeks or months before a new hire starts, the company is still losing productivity. What can you do to decrease the length of time between acceptance and Day 1?

Always keep in mind, however, that shortening time-to-fill shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of the hire. Filling a seat for the sake of closing a requisition could end up negatively impacting other metrics like cost-per-hire, turnover, or satisfaction.

Every Vacancy: Total Applied, Interviewed, Offers Extended, Offers Accepted

How to measure: Track important ratios such as the number of candidates applied to interviewed, interviewed to offered, and offered to accepted.

Strategic recruiting requires understanding the intricacies of each search and the ability to anticipate where the bottlenecks might be ahead of time. For example, iCIMS recently took a look at how much time a resume spends in each status of the hiring process.

Our research showed that CVs spend the longest time under hiring manager review during the hiring process. Identifying potential bottlenecks like this makes it easier to build a business case for positive changes in the screening process, hiring manager communications, and much more.

Hiring Manager Satisfaction

How to measure: Hiring manager satisfaction is best tracked through surveys via electronic forms. iCIMS allows users to send and receive electronic forms through the system, and makes all answers searchable and reportable.

Line managers and recruiters are uniquely positioned to notice different problems in the hiring process. According to iCIMS Hiring Insights research, 80% of recruiters think they have a “high” to “very high” understanding of the jobs for which they recruit. But 61% of hiring managers say that recruiters have, at best, a “low” to “moderate understanding” for the jobs for which they recruit.

Receiving feedback on a regular basis allows you to see what worked, what didn’t, and what internal improvements can be made for the next search.

Additionally, talent acquisition technology provides a wide array of tools to support better communication between stakeholders. Even line managers—who don’t typically “live” in the world of talent acquisition systems—benefit from strong talent acquisition technology! When line managers can easily approve vacancies, candidates, and offers from their mobile devices, or interact with recruiters via email with all communications automatically tracked within the system, everything becomes simpler for all parties involved. When line managers are able to sign into the system to easily view all candidates for their vacancies, as well as each candidate’s stage in the hiring process, they begin to have access to the “bigger picture” they need to help resolve hiring bottlenecks.

Best Practice Example

What are the best ways to engage hiring managers? We asked and identified four best practices:

  • 79% meet to talk on the phone to discuss job requirements.
  • 67% prepare screening questions and/or interview questions together.
  • 63% collaborate on ways to find the best candidates (e.g. best keywords to search in resume database, which social media sites to use for searching, which competitors have the best staff to target, etc.).
  • 55% review resumes together and continuously “tweak” the criteria.

Candidate Satisfaction

How to measure: Similar to hiring manager satisfaction, candidate satisfaction is best tracked through surveys via electronic forms. iCIMS allows users to send and receive electronic forms through the system, and makes all answers searchable and reportable.

Create a standardised survey that measures candidates’ experience based on their impression of the selection process. Just a few negative candidate reviews can dissuade top talent from applying to your company.

For example, 46% percent of candidates rate their candidate experience applying for vacancies as poor to very poor. And worse, 64% said that they share information about their candidate experience via social media. With this in mind, you definitely want your company to be perceived as candidate-friendly.2

As technology has expanded, many companies have abandoned the personal aspects of hiring. However, companies like Enterprise Holdings make it a priority to keep the “human” within human resources. Marie Artim, VP of talent acquisition, explains:

Collecting feedback on the current stats of your hiring process will help to improve future candidate experiences, which is key in recruiting for all applicants whether selected or not.


How to measure: Cost-per-hire typically includes advertising fees, agency fees, employee referral payouts, travel expenses, relocation expenses, and internal recruiter costs including time spent screening, and dividing it by the total number of hires.

Cost-per-hire is a metric that should be seen in context with other recruiting metrics, as it can vary greatly from one position to another. For example, cost-per-hire for a senior executive position will be drastically different from a non-exempt position. It is also important to understand what is causing a high cost-per-hire (such as high time-to-fill). 

Although cost-per-hire is valuable, it does not take into account the length of time it takes to fill a position and quality of hire.


How to measure: Applicant tracking systems like iCIMS offer robust tracking, reporting, and audit features that make it easy to collect and store voluntary EEO information.

Dashboard widgets help companies avoid missed filings and submissions that can create further delays, inefficiencies, and risks throughout the recruiting process. HR technology like iCIMS makes it easy to identify next steps, know when a deadline is coming up, and understand your audit risk exposure.

Best Induction Related Metrics


How to measure: Similar to hiring manager satisfaction, quality-of-hire is best tracked through surveys via electronic forms during a specified interval. iCIMS allows users to send and receive electronic forms through the system, and makes all answers searchable and reportable.

It’s essential to keep track of candidate success once they are on board. In order to document and track quality-of-hire, send surveys out to line managers periodically during the first year, or at a preferred interval. Tracking this feedback can help the recruiter get to know the hiring manager’s preferences and ultimately fine tune recruiting and screening processes over time.

New-Hire Turnover Rate

How to measure: The new-hire turnover rate is calculated by dividing the number of personnel that separate from the company (including by firing, voluntarily leaving, retirement, etc.) by the total number of personnel during that time period. This can be calculated in any set interval (i.e. month, year, etc.)

Regardless of their level of performance, a new hire can hardly be considered a success if they voluntarily quit within the first few months.

Fortunately, technology that allows companies to automate many parts of the induction process can be directly linked to decreased turnover and improving retention.

Best Practice Example

If a business with 120 personnel loses 18 personnel in a year due to retirement, changing employers and firing, this business has 15% turnover rate (18/120 = 0.15). 

Carolyn Lewis, recruiting manager at iCIMS client Gables Residential, reported that a key element of their new induction process involves the ability to personalise the new hire induction experience:

Gables Residential utilises iCIMS New Hire Onboarding Portal to fully showcase its employment brand and company culture. Communication of important policies and procedures, benefits information, and tasks to complete is centralised in one location via this portal.

As a result of these best-in-class induction tactics, a new hire feels more welcomed and prepared for his or her new job faster, and is able to contribute to the company’s overall success sooner.

Task Completion

How to measure: iCIMS makes it easy to track a new hire’s induction progress with a convenient status bar.

During the induction process, measure key performance indicators (KPIs) on tasks for internal and external stakeholders to ensure important paperwork doesn’t get missed, and identify areas that may benefit from process improvement.

According to Lewis, Gables Residential’s former paper-based induction processes caused significant loss of productivity for line managers and new hires.

About 73 percent of organizations revamp their onboarding to improve employee retention - ERE Media

Best Practice Example

Additional information to include in an electronic onboarding portal:

  • Welcome message from the CEO

  • Company vision, values and mission statements

  • Meet your co-workers page

  • Videos or pictures that expose the new-hire to the company culture

  • Benefits enrollment, direct deposit, 401K and tax forms

  • Candidate experience surveys

  • Organisational policies, vacation calendar, expense and travel guidelines

  • Internal and external training schedules

Bonus Metric

Time-to-Full-Productivity: This metric measures how long it takes for a new hire to become fully productive in his or her new role. This can also be tracked via surveys sent to the hiring manager.
This metric provides insights into the effectiveness of the recruitment process, training and induction process, and helps identify any bottlenecks or impediments to productivity.

Know Which Metrics Are Most Relevant for You

Deciding which metrics to track differs from company to company and from department to department. For example, the goals or objectives of your department might differ depending on who you report to. Typically, HR departments report into the CFO or the CEO. Depending on exactly who, the metrics you would want to track could be different.

Ultimately, identifying the right recruiting metrics for your business should boil down to two steps:

  • Step 1: Choose right metrics that make sense to your organisational goals and business strategy.
  • Step 2: Ensure alignment and that the team understands the meaning and purpose of each specific metric and how to measure for standardisation.

It’s important to remember that metrics cannot have any power by themselves. As previously mentioned, most metrics should be looked in context of one another in order to tell the most accurate story. Being able to tell a story with metrics is now more critical than ever.

Why? Talent acquisition continues to be one of the most urgent issues for companies, and the pressure to hire the right people has created an intensely competitive recruiting environment.

The reality: job seeking and recruiting have changed forever, and companies must rethink their current processes and technology strategies in order to align with corporate objectives. This “new normal” in talent acquisition requires a fresh outlook on how companies approach and invest in finding the right people.

If you want to improve your metrics and impress your company by delivering tangible results, look to technology that can make your life simpler and your hiring processes faster and more effective. With the right talent acquisition technology, you can easily analyse your own process and identify the specific bottlenecks that most need change.

How iCIMS Can Help

The iCIMS Talent Acquisition Software Suite offers users the most powerful reporting capabilities available on the market. Literally every field within the Platform, whether standard or custom, can be used to collect data for reporting purposes.

iCIMS, a leading provider of innovative Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions, is an Inc. 500 and Software Satisfaction honoree focused on helping businesses win the war for top talent through the implementation of easy-to-use, scalable solutions that are backed by award-winning customer service. iCIMS' Talent Platform, the industry's premier candidate management solution, enables organizations to leverage mobile, social, and video technologies to manage their entire talent acquisition lifecycle from building talent pools, to recruiting, to onboarding all within a single web-based application. With more than 2,700 clients worldwide, iCIMS is one of the largest and fastest-growing talent acquisition system providers with offices in North
America, UK, and China. 

2 The Candidate Experience Playbook
3 Strategic Onboarding: A New Look at New Hires
4 Strategic Onboarding: A New Look at New Hires