Key recruitment metrics: Applicants per Hire

Key recruitment metrics: Applicants per Hire

Recruiters’ main preoccupations include finding and attracting the best candidates. In an ideal scenario – these talents will soon be hired. However, reality can hit differently. So, to find out just how efficient a recruitment process is, we have all sorts of metrics. One of the key ones is applicants per hire

These figures represent the precise ratio between the number of applicants interested in a certain open position VS. the number of those who actually received and accepted a job offer. These numbers can vary a lot. Not just from one company to another, but from role to role. And there are multiple factors that influence them. So, now is the time to find out how to measure this ratio, what impacts it, and why does it matter. Get ready! 

The basic recruitment metric: What is “Applicants per Hire”? 

We did cover the simplest definition in the first paragraph. But now is the time to elaborate it in some more detail while keeping it simple. First of all, know that applicants per hire, or candidates per hire, is a valuable recruitment metric. It helps recruiters out when planning their hiring process because it shows them how many applications they’ll need to go through to hire a new employee. With that information, they can get a sense of how much time they will need to go through all the applications, how many people should get to round two, and be interviewed. Mastering these insights can help companies and their hiring managers come up with an interview process that candidates don’t actually hate, too. 

But, most importantly, this KPI (key performance indicator) helps HR and recruiters write realistic and accurate job descriptions. It allows them to understand what the requirements should be and to entice a certain number of (qualified) people. 

Key questions & industry discrepancies: What is the average number of applicants per job?

As we mentioned, the number of applicants will likely vary from one job posting to another. And these figures tend to be particularly uneven from one industry to another. Introducing: the search for available tech talents

So, here’s an official statistic: According to Forbes, on average, around 118 people apply for a job. And some recent researchers have shown that even more people apply for new roles, raising this number to 250 candidates per role. Nevertheless, if you just posted a DevOps job ad, these stats will trigger a rant so huge that each recruiter will get inexplicable chills down their spines. The mission to fill any Senior position in the IT industry takes more than waiting for applications to land into your inbox. In fact, tech recruiters will need to try a lot harder. First, it’s inevitable to rely on the technologies that are changing the staffing landscape for good. That includes all the gizmos at your disposal, like AI and automation, video interviewing tools, an ATS, and more.

Also, since employee referrals (and similar programs in general) seem to bring the best results, you should definitely try this approach out! And for some more remarkable outcomes – take recruitment affiliate software into consideration. 

Applicants per hire formula: How to track this metric?

Applicants per hire is measured simply by dividing the number of applicants you get by the number of employees you hire. For example, your company is understaffed and in desperate need of hiring two software engineers. So, you post a pretty standard job ad, and you get 160 applicants in no time (like that’s gonna happen, but, you know, metaphorically + summoning good karma). 

When you add that into the equation, in this case, your applicants per hire is 160/2=80. The number of overall applications you will need to receive in order to hire a new engineer is 80. Your average candidates per hire ratio is 160 to 2, or 80 to 1.

There is also a “qualified candidates per hire” ratio, which tells us how many candidates need to be in the running to make a successful hire. Qualified candidates are the ones that pass the screening process and make it to the interview part. They are the ones that recruiters have deemed as competent enough to meet the basic requirements and pass the first stage of the hiring process.

So, your applicants per hire ratio depends on how many applications you get. In other words – it’s about how many people you attract with your job ads. It’s all about the marketing. The tricky part of it is finding the sweet spot between receiving too many applications and not enough. 

First interactions & the steps that follow: What is a good applicant to hire ratio?

The studies show that 51% of job seekers receive an offer after three interviews. So, recruiters should get their hands on the resumes ASAP and get to scheduling interviews instantly. That way, the whole process will be more smooth, quick, painless, and grant an awesome candidate experience

So, you’d like to know what a good ratio is. In this case, it’s likely 3:1 or (but it could be better, too). Here’s the stat to rely on: a study shows that, when considering all industries across the world, the standard applicants to hire ratio is 25:1. That means that for every 100 interviews, four people get hired. If your company’s applicants per hire ratio is drastically higher or lower than the average, take a few steps back and start tracking this vital recruitment metric!

And finally, this precise metric is helpful because it also shows the average amount of time spent on interviews. It also reveals how much time senior team members spend on tech screenings and how long do hiring managers need to make a hire.

Problems of Low Applicants per Hire

Not getting enough candidates automatically means you have a smaller talent pool to choose from. And that will probably result in a worse hire quality. Sure, quality does not equal quantity. Of course, in some rare cases, you can find the right fit after only interviewing a couple of people. But unfortunately, having fewer options usually means you will have to settle for the second-best and not hire according to your candidate persona. An even bigger problem arises if you have a high dropoff rate. That means an increased number of people drop out of your hiring process at some stage, leaving you with even fewer people to pick from. Some might even reach the final round and then just turn down the job offer, leaving you baffled and questioning the whole process. 

So, here’s when the truly beneficial influence of recruitment metrics kicks in. By tracking applicants per hire over a longer period, you will be ready for any surprises that come your way. You will know in advance how many candidates, on average, you will need to screen and interview to hire the right person, even after many have backed down. 

A simple tip to boost the ratio

How can you make your applicants per hire ratio a bit higher? Essentially, you need to hook more people on applying and expand your talent pool. You can do that by analyzing what drives candidates away from your job ads or what stage causes them to drop out of the hiring process. Is it the job description? Or should you revisit your hiring needs as a whole? Start by taking a second look at your requirements. Are they too demanding? Or, perhaps the application process is too long and tiring? Lastly, maybe your marketing is not reaching out to your target audience. 

Anyhow, you should most certainly direct your focus toward finding the issue. Candidate surveys can do the trick, but it’s even better to seek feedback directly from each applicant and passive talent you recruit. 

Problems of High Applicants per Hire 

Having too many applicants is also an issue. Surprise, surprise. It’s just one of those cases where the rule “the more, the merrier” doesn’t apply. In today’s labor market, there are more unemployed people than you can count. Maybe the tech talent market doesn’t leave you under that impression, but the great quit is very real. And Covid-19 didn’t help with that either. People will apply for everything and anything, even if they don’t match the basic job requirements, hoping to get lucky. Don’t get this wrong – that is a pretty smart strategy for them! And hopefully it will be effective. But it also makes the recruiters’ job a lot more complicated. And a recruiter getting tangled in these tasks can have a bad impact on their performance, which will also affect the overall company’s results (and even reputation)! 

Track down the number of applicants per hire & measure your results

When tracking down all the key recruitment metrics like cost per hire, time to fill, and all other significant figures, your entire hiking process will enhance. And if you utilize other proven methods to reach the best talent – you’ll succeed for sure! Revisit your old tactics, retouch them, and find new, effective ways to entice passive talents and encourage active seekers to hit the apply button. Ultimately, make the most of it by setting up an employee referral program & using recruitment affiliate software to engage with tech sourcers and fill those vacancies in a snap!