Out With Old Recruitment KPIs, In With the New

Throughout the years I’ve spent working in recruitment, I’ve always been a fan of recruitment KPIs. They provide guidelines, and a way for recruiters to focus their activities in order to fulfil business plans and goals.

Business meeting top view.Personally, I’ve always strived to meet the 3:1 ratio. There’s a job, the recruiter needs 3 CVs to get 1 - 2 interviews, and then a placement. To me this was a perfect model in terms of time spent presenting the best candidates to clients and it let each candidate on my short list know that they had a 1 in 3 chance of getting the job.  

However, I have been doing a lot of research into what makes a successful recruitment agency and it looks like this KPI has changed. The top recruiter companies are making double the number of placements against their competitors. They send out 5 CVs on average for every job, not 3, achieving 3 interviews to secure a placement.

So, the questions are: Are clients demanding more choice from us recruiters these days? Are we unable to match their ideal candidate profile with only 3 CVs? Do we need to provide a wider selection of candidates?

I believe that we have to rethink the traditional recruitment KPI model and develop performance indicators to ensure greater recruitment success that cover:  

  • Reach – How many candidates can your recruiters reach instantly?
  • Engage – Are your recruiters engaging with the right candidates at the right time?
  • Recruit – Do all your recruiters meet the new 5:1 ratio of CVs sent, leading to placements?


recruitment KPIsReach is all about building and growing your agency’s audience. That’s things like online communities on social media, and candidates subscribing to your job alerts. 

73% of candidates are now searching directly on Google for relevant jobs, so your business needs to be set up online in order to get found. Done successfully this ensures that your candidate attraction channels deliver fresh talent and at the same time increase your recruiters' ability to tap into these targeted audiences.

As a knock on benefit, reach also creates tangible assets for your business, increasing your authority, and the incentive for your recruiters to stick with your agency. Why would they want to move on if they keep getting amazing candidates that they can place, delivered on a plate to them every day?

KPIs such as 5% growth in company reach per month is a measurable and realistic strategy. Ask your recruiters to build audiences on social sites, then segment that audience to better reach relevant candidates for your clients. In order to attract this new audience, you should use a variety of formats. At Firefish, we’ve started using podcasts, whitepapers, and blog posts.

Get all your recruiters involved and encourage them to use their networks to grow the company’s online presence as their priority. Make it a shared goal, rather than an individual one. Create content from the main channel and then get your recruiters to share, #tag, and retweet company content.


recruitment KPIsEngagement should be your next KPI. Perhaps use something like 10 new two way conversations per recruiter per month. Target candidates that haven’t been in contact with your agency for the last 6 months. This could be via any communication channel; from using the phone, SMS text, or email, to social channels – just make sure it’s a two-way exchange. Leaving a voicemail or sending a DM on Twitter won’t cut it. Engagement is moving the relationship forwards, or re-engaging with a candidate to keep the relationship warm for when they need you next. 

Think of ways to spark conversation with your followers. Focus on adding value, rather than self-promotion. Indirectly this builds a brand’s credibility, marking it out for coveted titles like thought leadership. You could even run a competition with some kind of relevant prize that ties into your company’s identity.

Encourage your recruiters to be adaptable. Some things will be more effective than others. It all depends on your business and its audience. Monitor what works. Use data to understand your audience better and develop content, competitions, and conversations that encourage your followers to interact with your employees.


recruitment KPIsThe most important thing for your recruiters to focus on is increasing the number of CVs from 3 – 5, bettering their chances of achieving an excellent match for clients.

This number will become easier to meet if your recruiters link their reach and engage targets. This KPI is about determining and measuring which channels you get the 5 CVs from. Was it through regular candidate engagement with your talent pools, or did you reach a new candidate via the company's online communities? 

Sourcing is no longer simply looking at which job board your candidates come from. It’s about what channel of communication, or stage in the relationship, the recruiter has optimised successfully. Learn from this and you'll quickly identify what works for your market sector and your candidate personalities, increasing your success ratio in the process.

The key here is that recruitment KPIs have moved on from monitoring the recruitment ratios achieved by each recruiter to become joint company responsibilities. The goal is to provide amazing online candidate communities for recruiters to reach into, alongside automated triggers to monitor candidate engagement. It’s important to know if a candidate is searching for a new position, or intends to start looking at some point in the future. It’s the recruiter's job to max out these filtered, amazing candidates and increase their placement success ratio.

Recruitment KPIs

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Wendy McDougall

Wendy McDougall is Chief Fish of Firefish Software. In her spare time, you'll find her playing squash or feeding her inner geek with the latest technology!

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