The Hiring Metrics That Will Matter More (and Less) This Year

January 6, 2020

It’s January, and your team is probably already thinking about how to optimize your hiring strategy for the New Year. And one way to do that is by adjusting the metrics that you track — ensuring you’re measuring what’s most important to your business. 

Traditionally, most recruiting teams have focused on tactical metrics, like time to hire, that track their immediate actions. Those metrics are still useful, helping you spot inefficiencies and opportunities to improve your processes, but they don’t matter quite as much as they used to. The metrics that are becoming more important are more strategic — tracking the direct business outcome of your efforts. 

  • Screenshot from The Future of Recruiting Report:  Metrics that will matter more: —Quality of hire —Sourcing channel effectiveness —Assessment effectiveness  Metrics that will matter less: —Application-to-hire ratio —Time to hire —Hiring manager satisfaction

By shifting your focus toward metrics that measure business impact, your team can prove that you’re plugged into the company’s strategy and are ready to play a role in shaping it. To help you decide what to track, here are the metrics that will become more — and less — important this year, according to data from LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting Report

More important: Quality of hire

Quality of hire was the most valuable metric identified in the report, with 88% of respondents saying it will be very useful over the next five years. Unfortunately, it’s notoriously difficult to measure, which explains why only 48% of the respondents currently use it.

  • Screenshot from The Future of Recruiting Report of bar graph that indicates 88% of those surveyed think “Quality of hire” is a very useful metric to track over the next 5 years. 48% currently use this metric.

Part of this difficulty comes from the fact that quality of hire is only measurable several months after a new hire joins the team. The definition of “quality” will also vary from one business to the next, so it’s important to pinpoint what it means at your company before you can measure this metric effectively. 

A good place to start is by looking at metrics like employee retention, engagement, and performance ratings. Most businesses find that some combination of these inputs is most effective for calculating quality of hire.

  • Screenshot from The Future of Recruiting Report:  Title: The most effective inputs to calculate quality of hire Subtitle: Precent of recruiting pros who say these metrics would be very effective at measuring quality of hire.  Employee retention: 60% Employee engagement at 6-12 months: 56% Performance ratings: 52%

By cracking the quality of hire code, you’ll be able to show your leaders the value that new hires bring to the organization. This can make it easier for you to get buy-in for your initiatives and prove your team’s strategic prowess, so it’s worth experimenting to see if you can track this metric consistently. 

Less important: Application-to-hire ratio

With technology making it quicker and easier than ever for candidates to apply for jobs, the application-to-hire ratio is becoming less meaningful. It might have raised some eyebrows if 500 people mailed their resume in for a job, but when they now only have to hit a button, it’s less surprising. And as talent professionals dedicate more time and energy toward sourcing candidates for hard-to-fill roles, rather than relying on inbound applications, this metric will continue to drop in importance.

That’s not to say it’s unimportant, though. Depending on the type of roles you’re hiring for and the strategies your team uses to find candidates, this metric may help you determine whether you’re casting a wide enough net, writing compelling job descriptions, or marketing your jobs in the right places. 

More important: Sourcing channel effectiveness

The second most useful metric identified in the report is sourcing channel effectiveness, with 82% of respondents saying it will be very useful in future. Still, just 47% said their companies currently use this metric, so this is an area that’s ripe for opportunity.

  • Screenshot from The Future of Recruiting Report of bar graph that indicates 82% of those surveyed think “Sourcing channel effectiveness” is a very useful metric to track over the next 5 years. 47% currently use this metric.

Another highly strategic metric, sourcing channel effectiveness can tell you which channels are yielding the best results — like employee referrals, internal candidates, or LinkedIn. Combined with quality of hire, this metric allows you to focus your efforts where they’ll be most effective. 

If the highest quality candidates for one hard-to-fill role were coming through your company’s referral program, for example, your team might decide to dedicate more time and resources to nurturing that channel, rather than spreading themselves thin over multiple channels that weren’t paying off. 

Less important: Time to hire

Time to hire is still a very important metric, with 69% of respondents currently using it and 74% agreeing it will continue to be useful in the future. Where it may become less important, however, is for difficult roles that require extensive sourcing efforts to fill. To get the best results, your team may have to take their time, and that’s okay. Faster doesn’t always mean better.

  • Screenshot from The Future of Recruiting Report of bar graph that indicates 74% of those surveyed think “Time to hire” is a very useful metric to track over the next 5 years. 69% currently use this metric.

Still, no matter what type of role you’re hiring for, it’s worth tracking how long it takes to fill. Learning which steps of the process are taking the most time can help you spot bottlenecks and look for ways to improve efficiency.

More important: Assessment effectiveness

Assessment effectiveness is another strategic metric that can help you refine your process over time. 

Once you’ve gathered some data around quality of hire, you can look at which evaluation methods are the most accurate at predicting a candidate’s actual job performance. You might find that candidates who score highly in one type of assessment actually don’t make great hires, indicating that this test needs to be tweaked or even scrapped. Or, a test that’s only given to a small number of candidates might prove to be right on the money, letting you know it’s worth rolling out on a larger scale. 


Related: Why Shell Pushes Hard on Soft Skills — and How It’s Assessing Them


This metric can also make it easier to pilot new assessment techniques, tests, and tools. You can even use it to assess the effectiveness of your interviewers, as LinkedIn’s Product team recently did. This empowered the team to intervene and offer coaching if someone was struggling — and give shoutouts to their best interviewers. 

Less important: Hiring manager satisfaction 

Hiring manager satisfaction will never be unimportant. After all, you want your hiring managers to be happy with the new hire and to have a positive relationship with your team. What you don’t want, though, is for them to view you as an order-taker, rather than a strategic partner. 

To get the most out of this metric, don’t measure your hiring manager’s immediate reaction — measure their satisfaction six months or a year after a person is hired. That way, you signal to them that you’re invested in new hires working out in the long term, instead of just meeting a momentary need. 

About 41% of recruiting professionals surveyed said they currently measure this metric at six to 12 months, and 70% said this will be very useful in the future. So don’t jump to survey your hiring managers right away — let them know that you’ll loop back around once they’ve had time to see their new hire in action.

  • Screenshot from The Future of Recruiting Report of bar graph that indicates 70% of those surveyed think “Hiring manager satisfaction after 6-12 months” is a very useful metric to track over the next 5 years. 41% currently use this metric.

Final thoughts: New year, new decade, new strategy

2020 isn’t just a new year — it’s a whole new decade. And if your team hasn’t switched up its hiring metrics in a while, it’s time for a change. 

If you’re looking for an easy, consistent, and accurate way to track the metrics that matter most, it’s worth investing in an applicant tracking system (ATS) if you haven’t already. With Talent Hub, the only ATS built on the LinkedIn network, you can track and view metrics like sourcing channel effectiveness and time to hire at a glance, along with useful insights about your team’s performance. 

To find out more about what the new year holds for your team, download The Future of Recruiting Report today.

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