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Recruiting Metrics Your Business Should Care About in 2021

Recruiting teams have made incredible achievements in the past year in the face of sudden upheaval and tremendous adversity. Difficulties, as the Japanese proverb says, make you a jewel. If your current hiring process looks different from its pre-pandemic version, shouldn’t your recruiting metrics reflect that change?

3 factors that can change recruiting metrics

The reason for measuring your recruiting process hasn’t changed: You need to know what’s working and what isn’t so you can improve hiring performance. But your pre-2020 recruiting metrics may not be accurate measures now if:

  1. You’ve transitioned to 100% virtual hiring. That move can skew time-to-hire by accelerating certain steps in your process and masking slow response times in others, which could lead to top talent dropout.
  2. You’re taking a talent agility approach. Rather than tie candidates to a single requisition, many organizations now take a more agile approach, matching candidates to jobs that best suit them. Evaluation for fit across many jobs, even when done concurrently, can change time-to-fill and other recruiting metrics. That’s an improvement if it means finding a better fit for your candidates and your company.
  3. Improvement in diversity is a 2021 hiring goal. There are some recruiting metrics you can add to support improvement. 

Recruiting metrics that are most relevant

Here are some of the most critical metrics for measuring hiring in the new normal:


With the urgency to fast-track hiring for critical roles, retention sometimes takes a backseat to fill rate. The consequences are usually felt down the road in turnover and higher cost-per-hire. TA practitioners now use predictive analytics to set clear targets for new-hire retention, and conversely, for filtering out candidates with higher turnover risk. See how retention criteria can be aligned to the applicant pool’s size in our Business Impact Report: Turnover.

Percent of candidates to hire

This top-of-funnel recruiting metric has become more indicative of hiring performance since unemployment rose dramatically and recruiting teams suddenly saw a massive influx of applicants. A 10% result here means one candidate out of every ten is hired. Lower percentages show you are advancing more candidates through your process to get to the job offer, which can be costly and negatively affect your talent brand.

Candidate completion rate

Your candidate completion rate may be an indicator of your candidate experience. Is your hiring process optimized for mobile? Is it appropriate for the position? Modern Hire research into pre-assessment completion rates provides some insight into what to look for:

  • Contrary to popular belief, the length of pre-hire assessments is not a predictor of completion rates 
  • About 33% of mobile applicants drop out if the pre-employment assessment is not available for their device type
  • PC and tablet users have higher completion rates than mobile applicants

The takeaway here is that your candidate completion rate warrants a closer look before you adjust your candidate experience.

Candidate opt-in rate

Candidate consent to the use of AI in hiring is essential. Some companies that use AI-enabled pre-hire assessments ask candidates for their consent in the use of AI in evaluating their responses. The candidate opt-in recruiting metric is likely to become more widely utilized as companies adopt standards for AI’s ethical use in hiring. A high opt-in rate is the aim. Modern Hire research suggests that adding education on the use of AI in candidate selection at the front of your hiring process could positively influence your candidate opt-in rate.

Source quality metrics

If you’re reaching broader to change your talent pool’s makeup as part of your diversity hiring strategy, you’ll want to add source quality metrics to your dashboard. By examining the number of candidates who come to you from a particular source to the percentage of those candidates who receive a job offer and complete onboarding, you can gain insight into how well that source helps bring qualified candidates into your workforce.

Keep in mind that while more comprehensive sourcing is vital, it can’t contribute to your goals if there’s bias in your hiring process. For insights into reducing and eliminating bias with modern hiring technologies, download The Future is Fair: How AI is Eliminating Bias.