Talent Acquisition

What’s the Most Important Recruitment Metric?

If you’ve ever wondered how good your recruitment process is, well luckily for you there are some metrics which can help you measure it. It’s handy to know how you compare to your biggest rival or maybe you just want to improve things. So do you rely on measuring the time to hire, the retention of employees, the cost of hire or maybe all of these.

There are a number of recruitment metrics out there but our expert panel are here to tell you which is the only one that matters.

Leela Srinivasan

Quality of hire remains the Holy Grail of the recruiting industry, but it’s a metric that’s difficult for most companies to effectively measure. Beyond that obvious answer, this is a trick question. The most important recruitment metric is the one that helps you improve whichever area of your recruiting process is the weakest or most vital in achieving your business goals. Therefore, your top recruiting metric will change over the life of your organization, not to mention based on external factors. Our recruiting team highlights a different metric roughly every quarter to drive continuous improvement.

Leela Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer at Lever.

Erin Wilson

I’ve always valued the number of hires you make based on referrals from people you do not hire. If your talent acquisition strategy is delivering a great candidate experience then you’re above the curve. If you are delivering a great experience and hiring, you are in a unique time and place — stay there and keep building! The true testament of a great process is one that compels your customer to refer their friends to use your product. If you can get someone to refer your product after you told them they can’t have it, even though they wanted it, then you are doing something right.

Erin Wilson is Founder and Talent Engineer at

Amy Volas

The most important recruitment metric is quality of candidate versus quantity.  The effects of hiring the wrong people are dramatic and lasting.


Amy Volas is Chieftain of Avenue Talent Partners.

Lars Schmidt

Quality of hire. It’s a bit harder to measure, but it’s the most important thing a recruiter can do. Hiring manager satisfaction is another important measure, but it can be subjective as hiring managers can be fickle and have differing expectations of what “satisfied” looks like.


Lars Schmidt is the Founder of Amplify.

Chad MacRae

While time to fill gives you the big picture, tracking how long each stage of the recruitment process takes will help you figure out where the bottlenecks are. I.e., what you need to fix.

Chad MacRae is the Founder of Recruiting Social.

Stacy Zapar

Quality of hire supersedes all other metrics, in my opinion. You want great hires who are engaged, performing well and sticking around. Without this key metric, it doesn’t matter how fast, cheap or how many positions we fill. It’s all about that quality. I’d much rather take two months to find a great employee who’s a top performer and stays at the company than fill a req in three weeks with a poor quality hire who leaves in six months.

Stacy Zapar is the Founder of Tenfold & The Talent Agency.

John Feldmann

The most important recruiting metric is how many candidates are still happily employed six months after hire. Unfortunately, this isn’t something an ATS can track, and certainly not something on which to base a commission payment. However, those recruiters with the foresight to spot a candidate who will remain a committed and valuable employee long after their hire date can look forward to a long and successful recruiting career.

John Feldmann is a writer for Insperity Recruiting Services.

Maren Hogan

How many people you’ve hired and how many people you’ve kept. It probably sounds weird for a marketing professional to say this but branding, engagement and the like are fantastic, but they are vanity metrics designed to trick you into thinking there is success when there is none. You have to measure by the employees that come to work and stay there (and hopefully like it).

Maren Hogan is CEO and Founder of Red Branch Media.

Craig Fisher

The most important recruitment metric is quality applicants.  And that is measured not by hires, but by interviews.  We cannot completely control what happens after an interview.  But if a candidate is good enough to get to that stage, then they are a quality applicant. If they aren’t hired, they may be a silver medalist.  At the very least, they will know others who may be interested in the organization – if they were treated well during the interview process.

Craig Fisher is Head of Employer Brand, CA Technologies, and Allegis Global Solutions.

Will Staney

This is a trick question because it all depends on who you’re asking. If you’re asking the head honcho or finance people, they’re going to tell you cost-per-hire is the most important, but if you’re asking actual recruiters most likely they’re going to say source of hire. One wants to know the bottom line whereas the other wants to know the most effective way to use their time and budget.

Will Staney is the Founder & Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies.

By Ushma Mistry

Editor & Content Strategist at Link Humans, download our new eBook now: Measuring Employer Brand: The Ultimate Guide and check out our latest product The Employer Brand Index.