KPIs for Recruitment Marketing

John CottonBy John Cotton
March 1st, 2022 • 6 Minutes

There are so many recruitment marketing analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be measured through your employer branding strategy, that understanding them all can be overwhelming. Understanding exactly which metrics and KPIs are most important to the success or failure of your strategy is critical. 
With an in-depth understanding of recruitment marketing analytics, you will be able to optimize for further efficiency and increase your return on investment.

We tapped into our team of in-house recruitment marketing experts to compile a list of which questions you need metrics to answer, and which data, exactly, you’ll be able to find the answers in:

  • Are top candidates interested in your jobs?
  • How much are you spending on your jobs?
  • Where are your applicants coming from?
  • What should you consider when it comes to quality applicants?
  • How much is it costing you to make great hires?

Are top candidates interested in your jobs?

Click Volume

When tracking job seeker interest, click volume can be a telltale sign. This metric shows how many job seekers click into your job description. More clicks often means more interest, reflecting a well-written job title, engaging marketing content, or a very high-demand opportunity. 

Pro tip: Since pay-per-click (PPC) media is billed based on click volume, this metric is also very important in knowing cost when it comes to programmatic buying on PPC sites like Indeed.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The click through rate helps you measure job seeker engagement, rather than interest, in your online job postings. However, this important metric isn’t provided by all vendors and does require a bit of calculation. 

To determine CTR, you need to know your click volume and the number of impressions (how many times your job ad appeared in job seekers’ search results pages) your posting has received. Dividing the former by the later, and multiplying by 100, will produce your CTR percentage. 

To understand this metric is simple; the higher the CTR the more intrigued job seekers are by your job posting, and vice versa. 

Pro tip: Low CTR indicates something in your recruitment marketing needs to improve. For example, it can provide insight into which job titles may need to be improved upon or where your sponsored content isn’t resonating. It could also just show which jobs may are hard-to-fill (HTF).

How much are you spending on your jobs?


As an important metric and KPI, you must understand spend on the source and job level. By understanding the advertising costs on these micro levels, you’ll be able to quickly identify which sources produce higher quality and more cost-effective applicants. 

It also allows you to understand which jobs are consuming a large portion of your current budget, and ensure they are performing or allow you to make tweaks to optimize or eliminate them. Similarly, it will allow you to identify where you may need to focus more of your budget if HTF and high priority jobs aren’t receiving enough traffic to hit the goals you’ve set for them. Combined with other metrics like Cost Per Application, Cost Per Quality Candidate, and Cost per Hire which rely on spend to calculate, spend becomes an important metric to allow you to gauge the effectiveness of your recruitment marketing efforts against jobs.

Pro tip: Without access to source- and job-level spend data, it’s almost a guarantee that there’s wasted spend in your strategy. Evaluate your spend on a monthly or quarterly basis. If you notice you’re spending inefficiently, you can repurpose your budget into more successful media. 

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

Recruitment marketing efficiency today is synonymous with performance-based ad models today like PPC. Therefore, knowing your CPC is key to understanding exactly what you’re paying each vendor for the results they’re producing for you. 

When it comes to programmatic buying, your CPC bid (the maximum cost you’re willing to pay a vendor, per click) can determine how often and where your job ads show in search results, which is what makes CPC such an important data point to track.

Pro tip: Different types of ads will have varying benchmarks for CPC. If you notice you’re finding more success with one type than another, shift your budget to the higher performer to gain more traffic to your job postings.

Where are your applicants coming from?

Applications by Source

You might pay for clicks, but what you’re looking for is a conversion, or when a job seeker submits an application to your open position. Therefore, tracking applications by source will help tell you exactly where your conversions are coming from, how many you’re receiving, and ultimately, will allow you to rank the effectiveness of your sources. 

Pro tip: If you can track the volume of quality applicants per source, you can identify exactly where your highest quality applicants come from and take action based on that information. For example, you might drop your lowest quality sources from your strategy.

Conversion Rate (CR%)

As noted above, a conversion occurs when a job seeker submits an application to a job posting on your career site. By taking a deeper dive into your CR%, you can learn if your application process is working (and how well). 

Once you determine how your team measures quality applicants, such as if they pass a recruiter phone screen or meet basic qualifications, your CR% shows what sort of quality you are getting within the applicant pool.

Pro tip: If a source is giving you a decent volume of applicants, and the conversion rate seems OK, it is still valuable to understand the quality of applicants from that source. A great CR% with low-quality applicants is probably not as cost-effective for you.

What should you consider when it comes to quality applicants?

Defining “Quality”

The first step in measuring quality applicants is determining what is a “quality applicant” for you. Usually, this is where a candidate is determined to have met the basic qualifications for the job, has passed a phone screen, or maybe is passed to a hiring manager. The point at which you measure this up to your talent acquisition team, but it creates an important KPI for you to follow. 

App to Quality Candidate Ratio 

Consider how many candidates meet your “quality” definition compared to how many total candidates applied to your jobs. At the very minimum, it’s important to compare the changes in your application to quality candidate ratio over time. Note whether you’re improving compared to last month or last quarter. 

However, you can tell a lot more about your success for this KPI when considering the context. You can’t get a good picture of what is happening without taking into consideration:

  • Job Volume
  • Number of Sources
  • Spend

Pro tip: Look at what was happening within the business, as well as what is happening within your recruitment marketing efforts at that same time period. For example, if your volume of quality candidates seems to decrease by 10% quarter over quarter, this metric alone does not mean your strategy isn’t working. When you consider the business context that your job volume decreased 20% that quarter, then your ratio of quality candidates actually improved!

Alternatively, if you spent more during that same time period while your quality candidates decreased by 10%, this might indicate you need to adjust your budget. If you’re spending more but earning the same number of quality candidates, your strategy may not be optimized.

How much is it costing you to make great hires?

Cost-Per-Application (CPA)

Quite possibly the most important recruitment marketing metrics to know are going to be your cost metrics. Understanding your CPAs (or better yet, your Cost-Per-Quality-Applications, or CPQAs) can help you pick and choose which sources are most cost-effective in sending you the best quality applicants (and therefore, hires) for less!

Pro tip: You can determine the total of quality applicants based on the number that make it to an interview. This means recruiters deemed them qualified enough from their application or their resume to want to learn more. Higher application quality means you’re targeting the right audience, not just a wide audience. 

Cost-Per-Hire (CPH) 

If you have end-to-end analytics, you can see what happens from the time someone clicks on your job to the time you make a hire, and all of the data points in between. One of the most essential metrics in that funnel is your CPH. How much does it cost you to make a hire? This will be key in forecasting what recruitment budgets are needed based on the number of hires that you will need to make.

For example, if you place a job ad on Facebook and someone clicked on that ad, applied, and you hired them, you know your CPH is what you spent on that Facebook ad. Alternatively, if your hire can be traced back to your employee referral program, your cost would be that of the referral reward.
Be sure to compare your CPH to benchmarks within your industry or from the media you purchase. This analysis can inform your future strategies.

Pro tip: When reporting CPH in this context, remember that this cost is tied to your recruitment marketing. It does not factor in other internal costs such as recruiter and sourcer salaries. 

Cost Per Quality App (CPQA)

Arguably, the most effective KPI for measuring your recruitment marketing strategy effectiveness is CPQA. Where CPA is too early to determine if you are attracting the right people and CPH is too late (and influenced by factors outside marketing’s control such hiring manager bias), CPQA directly measure your marketing efforts. CPQA shows not just that you reached applicants from your marketing, but that you reached the right candidates.

When it comes to recruitment marketing analytics and KPIs, the list above truly only scratches the surface. However, for sophisticated recruitment marketers, these are the critical data points they rely on to optimize their strategies and drive higher ROI.

We also suggest the following articles and good reads:
How to Measure the Success of Your Career Site
How to Build the Ultimate Recruitment Marketing Analytics Dashboard
Cost Per Quality Applicant and Cost Per Hire: The Holy Grail of Recruitment Marketing Analytics

We will be updating this page often and welcome your suggestions. Do you have other remote recruiting ideas or tips? Is there anything else you’d like to know regarding this subject? Just drop us a note at and we’ll try to include it here.

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