We break down the key HR metrics every company needs to track for an effective recruiting and hiring strategy.

“Without data we are blind”. This phrase is quoted by many HR executives because making informed HR decisions is a must today. If you want your hiring strategy to be effective and data-driven, you need to track the right numbers and look at the data holistically. Here is what HR metrics are for.

What are HR metrics?

HR metrics are measurements used to determine the effectiveness of HR processes. They provide answers to questions like how many employees are hired and onboarded, how many employees leave the company, or how long it takes to fill a vacancy. With the right HR metrics, you can calculate turnover rates, absenteeism rates, or average salaries in a given department.

HR metrics are usually collected and processed by data engineers or HR analysts. Later, they are organized into HR dashboards where the data is visualized and standardized so that anyone can access and actually read it.

Click on the image to learn more about the Overwiew section of Human Panel.

Human Panel HR metrics dashboard
Human Panel Overview Dashboard


The science that helps collect, process, and analyze data is called people analytics. With the right data, people analytics can help identify trends and threats in all areas of HR and eliminate the pain points.

While every company is different and there is no “one size fits all” solution, there are some basic HR metrics you can use to measure the effectiveness of your hiring strategy. To track these, you can use Human Panel – ann easy-to-use people analytics platform that collects all your HR data in one place and helps you manage all your HR processes. To see how it works, sign up for our free demo and watch people analytics in action.

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The most important recruiting HR metrcis:

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1. Time to hire

Definition

The number of days between the time you contact a candidate and the time a candidate accepts your offer.

In other words, it counts the days from the time a candidate enters your recruiting pipeline. It answers the question: how many days does it take to hire someone after a candidate applies for the job or after you reach out to a candidate?

How do you calculate time to hire?

Measure the number of days from the day a candidate applies for the job or you approach the candidate to the day the offer is accepted.

HR metrics: Time to hire formula

Why is time to hire important?

This HR metric shows you how much time you spend recruiting and how quickly you can select the right candidate once you have multiple candidates in your pipeline. It can also show you how efficient your recruitment process is.

2. Time to fill

Definition

The number of days between the time you post (or receive approval for) a job posting and the time a candidate accepts your offer.

In other words, it counts the days from the moment you create a job posting to the day you hire a candidate. It answers the question: How many days does the whole recruitment process take?

How do you calculate the time to fill?

Measure the number of days from the day a job offer is posted (or you agree the job posting with your supervisor) to the day the offer is accepted by candidate.

HR metrics: How to calculate time to fill?

Why is time to fill important?

This metric is mainly used for business planning and shows what the supply/demand ratio is for certain jobs. It also shows how long your overall hiring process takes.

Read more about time to hire and time to fill HR metrics.

HR metrics: time to hire vs time to fill

3. Time to onboard

Definition

The number of days between the candidate’s acceptance of your offer and the time a new employee begins to make a meaningful contribution.

How do you calculate time to onboard?

HR metrics: time to onboard

Why is time to onboard important?

In today’s market, attracting and retaining talent has never been more difficult. The onboarding process can make the difference between a new employee’s success or failure. A study by Gallup  shows that companies with a good onboarding process increase new employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Effective onboarding also reduces mistakes and increases employee retention.

On the other hand, new employees are twice as likely to look for other opportunities after a negative onboarding experience. For this reason, you should have a well-designed onboarding process.

To structure your onboarding, break it down into four phases:

Onboarding phases

You can read more about them here.

4. Cost per hire

Definition

Cost per hire is the average amount of money you spend to hire an employee. In other words, it is used to measure how much it costs you to fill a job opening.

How do you calculate the cost per hire?

To calculate the cost per hire, you should add up all your expenses – both internal and external. Then divide that total by the number of hires in a given period.

HR metrics: How do you calculate the cost per hire?

If your cost per hire is above the market average, you can work with people analytics to lower it. The right data will help you identify leaks and unnecessary expenses – you can visualize all the data in clear charts and graphs.

Human Panel Compensation Dashboard
Compensation dashboard in Human Panel

5. Source of hire

Definition

Hiring source indicates the percentage of your new hires that came from a particular source or channel – e.g., job boards, referrals, direct approach, internal promotion, etc.

What are source of hire examples?

The examples of source of hire include:

  • Job boards
  • Employee referral programs
  • Social media
  • Company careers page
  • External agencies
  • Job fairs

Why is source of hire important?

Knowing your best hiring sources will help you allocate your budget more effectively. For example, if you hired 10 people last month and half of them came through referrals, two through job boards, three through direct hire and none through the outside agency, you know which channel is efficient and which is not. This way you can direct more resources to the most valuable channels and drop those that do not bring candidates.

Here’s how source of hire chart pie looks in the Human Panel dashboard. Click on the image to read more about the recruitment dashboard.

Human Panel recruitment sources Dashboard

6. Quality of hire

Definition

Quality of hire is defined as the value a new employee brings to your organization. In other words, it shows how much a new employee contributes to the long-term success of your company.

How to measure the quality of hire?

Different companies use different indicators to determine the quality of hire. These can include factors such as retention, cultural fit, management skills, etc. Here are other common indicators:

Quality of Hire Measures
Source: Harver.com

Others – for example Spendesk – have their own method or use an Employee Lifetime Value (ELV) indicator, which is measured over the employee’s lifetime with the company.

Employee Lifetime Value
Source: Hire by Google

Why is quality of hire important?

Hiring quality directly impacts the long-term success of the company and is also useful for evaluating the performance of the talent acquisition team within the organization. Improving the quality of hiring means less turnover, more productivity, a better company culture, and greater overall business success.

7. Open positions

Definition

The number of job openings in your company. This metric can be expressed as a percentage of job openings compared to the total number of jobs in a particular department or in the company as a whole.

How to calculate the % of open positions?

HR metrics: The number of open positions Human Panel

Human Panel HR software allows you to track more recruiting HR metrics such as job openings by department, team, and seniority, and view the profiles of all candidates. To learn more about the features, click here to sign up for our free demo.

HR metrics: Human Panel open positions dashboard

Why is this metric important?

A high percentage of open positions may indicate high demand or low market supply. With adjustable filters, you can also see which department is the most understaffed or growing the fastest. Seeing how many junior and senior positions you are looking to fill can also help you better plan your hiring process.

8. Application completion rate

Definition

The ratio of applications submitted to the total number of applications started.

How to calculate the application completion rate?

HR metrics: Application completion rate

Why is this metric important?

The application completion rate measures the success of the recruitment system. It may be of particular interest if your company uses a dedicated online recruiting platform that requires candidates to enter their information and CV. If your application completion rate is low, it may mean that candidates are not getting on with the system and are dropping out. The reasons could be a non-user-friendly interface, poorly organized questions, inappropriate questions, technical issues, etc.

9. Applications per opening

Definition

The number of applications per job vacancy.

Why is this metric important?

The number of applicants per job opening gives an indication of the popularity of the job. A very large number of applicants can indicate two things: either a high demand for jobs or a job description that is too broad.

The number of applications per job opening is not an indicator of the number of suitable candidates. This is measured by another metric – candidates per hire, which we explain below.

10. Candidates per hire

Definition

The number of candidates interviewed before one is hired.

Why is this metric important?

Candidates per hire measures the effectiveness of your recruiting methods. Some companies set a goal of 3-5 interviews per open position to save the hiring manager’s time and resources.

With Human Panel, you can filter how many candidates are in your pipeline for a given position by department and stage of the funnel. You also have access to all candidate profiles.

Human Panel Dashboard - candidates by department and status

11.  Offer acceptance rate

Definition

The percentage of candidates who accepted a formal job offer.

How do you calculate offer acceptance rate?

HR metrics: Offer acceptance rate

Why is this metric important?

The offer acceptance rate tells you how attractive your final offer is to a candidate. A low acceptance rate may indicate compensation problems or a poor interview.

The goal of most companies is to have a high acceptance rate of offers. A rate of over 90% shows that there is a good match between the company’s requirements and the expectations of the selected candidates.

12. Resignation vs rejection by stage

With Human Panel, you can also track how many candidates are rejected at each stage of the recruitment process and how many resign on their own.

If you want to explore more functionalities and solutions delivered by Human Panel, sign up for a free demo.

Resignation vs rejection rate in Human Panel Dashboard

13. Candidate experience

Definition

Candidate experience is a qualitative and quantitative metric that reflects the applicant’s overall impression of the hiring and onboarding process.

It is typically measured by combining various data points, such as:

  • Candidate experience survey
  • Feedback from the hiring manager
  • Referrals
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Candidate satisfaction

Why is this metric important?

From the moment candidates see your job posting to the moment they actually start a job, they form an opinion about you as an employer. They often share their opinion on various websites or among their friends, which can affect your reputation as an employer. Even if they decline your offer, they may recommend your company to others or rate you on Glassdoor or another website.

14. New hire turnover rate

Definition

The percentage that indicates how many employees leave the company in their first year on the job.

How to calculate new hire turnover?

HR metrics: Formula to calculate early turnover

Why is this metric important?

New hire turnover is nothing out of the ordinary – about 20% of employees leave within the first 45 days of employment. The reasons may be a poor relationship with their supervisor, inadequate training, or disappointment with their job. There are ways to reduce high employee turnover – and people analytics can help you identify the reasons for first-year turnover. Learn more about turnover or sign up for our free demo:

Reduce guesswork. Prove HR impact on revenue.

15. Recruitment status funnel

Recruiting is a process that resembles a sales funnel – it starts with sourcing candidates and ends with signing a contract. Many companies measure the effectiveness of the various steps in the funnel, which allows them to identify roadblocks and money wasters and optimize the entire process.

With people analytics, you can analyze each stage of the funnel and measure recruiting HR metrics and parameters such as:

  • Candidates by department

This metric allows you to see how many candidates you have in your funnel, based on department.

  • Candidates by status

Track where your candidates are in the funnel.

  • Candidates by recruiter

See how efficient your recruiting team is and the workload of your staff.

Human Panel Recruitment Dashboard

16. Time to productivity

Definition

Time to productivity measures how long it takes for employees to become operational and productive. It is the time between the first day of hire and when the employee is contributing fully to the organization and reaching full productivity.

This time period varies for different roles and positions, depending on the complexity of the task.

Recruiting metric cheat sheet

To download a high-resolution Recruiting Metrics cheat sheet, click here.

Key recruiting HR metrics