New to recruitment – Setting Targets | recruitment consultancy tips

“Setting achievable recruitment targets does more than make a rod for your own back. Your choice of goals will help you to understand your own business more thoroughly.”


Data analytics is big business. Today, organisations as disparate as sports clubs, global retail giants, and social networks are storing and analysing oceans of Big Data to improve their performance.

There is little doubt that data-driven choices mean greater performance because of smarter resource allocaiton and workflow efficiency. But implementing a data-driven workplace requires setting up if you want to collect, read, and understand the information that you are harvesting.

The good news? Today, a good recruitment software system will retain a whole bunch of your business data automatically. It means that your CRM and ATS are collecting your business data as by-products of other tasks. All you have to do is access that information, and understand what it is trying to tell you about your recruitment enterprise.

Recruitment Targets: Why are they useful?

Simply put, setting targets helps you to set the pace for your own enterprise.

A well-placed business goal will motivate you, focus your attention and resources, and help you to see where your weak areas may lie.

In our digital world, it is easy to collect data, set goals and measure our attainment of them. The big secret is to only focus on the numbers that are actually telling us something useful. These are known as Key Performance Indicators – or KPIs for short.

The most valuable Recruitment KPIs

Below, we have put together a non-exhaustive list of some of the most useful KPIs to track as a recruiter. Over time, you will learn which KPIs are the most informative within your own agency.

• Applicants per vacancy

How many active candidates do you receive per new job posting?

This is an invaluable metric for providing immediate feedback on your marketing. It is also very easy to calculate. Simply open your Applicant Tracking System and check the available data in your currently-active job.

If your applicants-per-vacancy numbers are low and your people are not making it to the final interview stages then you might not have the standard of candidate that your clients are hoping for. The solution? You can invest more time and resources in your talent pipeline.

• Offer Acceptance Rate

This is perhaps the single most crucial KPI for in-house hires. A low offer acceptance rate perhaps indicates that an employer has workplace culture issues which need addressing.

But what does it mean to a recruiter? Simply put, you should always aim for a very high OAR. After all, if there is any risk that one of your candidates could decline an offer, you should think very hard about whether to put them forward in the first place. Every declined job offer reflects negatively on you as a recruiter.

And the main causes of declined job offers? Poor cultural match, the role not being similar to the advertised terms, or a difficult interviewing process.

The way to improve a low OAR is to spend more time on the homework. Research your clients, read Glassdoor reviews about them. Address any issues with your client prior to interview – and always ensure the final role is reflected accurately in the listing.

• Time to hired

From initially posting a job listing to your marketing channels to making the final placement – how much time has elapsed?

Times-to-hired are some of the most important KPIs for clocking your efficiency. Sometimes, time factors will be entirely out of your hands. But which factors are within your influence? Any reduction in times to hired will also cut your costs per hired…

• Cost per hire

the longer your consultants spend seeking talent to fill a certain role, the larger the corresponding costs for that role. But you should also factor in additional, material costs, too.

Did candidates require additional coaching for a challenging interview process? Was an unpopular job listing boosted with a social media paid campaign? Each of these additional costs will need to be added to your costs of an individual placement to determine its true value to your business.

• Candidate Experience Satisfaction levels

A positive candidate experience is one of the fundamentals of running a good recruitment agencies. With a strong candidate experience you gain social proof of providing a valuable service. This helps you to attract more new applicants. You are more likely to make successful placements – and make them faster – with a larger database to search through.

Candidate experience is just an industry-specific type of User Experience (UX). All of the core fundamentals apply here.

The main thing to remember about candidate experience is that it is wholly subjective. It is not easy to gauge user satisfaction in terms of scores or ratings. The best solution if you’re wishing to track your progress in UX improvements is to run Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. these are very simple, single-click polls which invite your users to review your service. They offer high engagement levels as they are so simple. But remember that scores are arbitrary, and every user has their own, personal scale of what constitutes a great recruitment service.

eBoss uses Satismeter for our NPS surveying needs.

…But don’t over-think it

Once you have started to set KPIs, there can be a temptation to over-analyse every last digit concerning your business performance. But getting drowned in data is as bad as ignoring it completely.

Don’t assume that all data is equal, or indeed that it is even valuable at all.

For example, attempting to beat KPI effectiveness on social media job post engagement may mean you look at which moments of the week garner the highest number of clicks. You may learn that adverts without images gain the most applications, and your best platform in terms of engagement is Instagram. Perhaps you get the most clicks on a Tuesday, and fewest on Sundays.

Does that mean that you should only post job listings on Instagram, and without any images, and only on Tuesdays?

No, it does not.

This is a false correlation. And it illustrates perhaps the most important lesson to learn when setting KPIs: make them meaningful. And understand which of your business decisions is actually likely to impact and affect the results of your KPIs in the future. Ask yourself: if there is no real way of managing or affecting KPI outcomes, is it truly a valuable metric to be tracking in the first place?

(We’re just about done here so if you’d like some more examples of false correlations, check out this hilarious post on the subject. It has graphs.)