Calculating Cost Per Hire & Applicant

Ivan VegaBy Ivan Vega
March 1st, 2022 • 3 Minutes

When recruitment marketing analytics first hit the market, the ability to see click volume, applications, and cost data for individual jobs, or for a group of jobs, was considered a breakthrough.

For the first time, businesses had visibility into the real performance of their online job advertisements, as well as the cost associated with them. And these insights weren’t just nice to have. Rather, they quickly became the lifeblood for any successful recruitment marketing strategy – allowing HR and talent acquisition professionals to make smarter, data-driven decisions based on insights that were previously unavailable.

Recruitment marketing analytics are integral to success in talent acquisition today, for years, studies have been pointing to tougher hiring climates, and today it’s harder to find, attract and hire candidates than ever before. Recruitment marketing analytics provide insights into the performance and effectiveness of your current talent acquisition strategies, allowing your organization to better understand how and where you can improve processes for greater efficiency and ROI.

Nevertheless, while basic analytics like these are helpful, and still critical, to talent acquisition, the holy grail of recruitment analytics has been missing. That is, until recently, as more robust analytics platforms were introduced to the space.


It’s important to bridge the gap between the top-of-funnel recruitment metrics provided by vendors (like clicks and applications) with the bottom-funnel metrics (like submittals, interviews and hires) obtainable through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

If you’re unfamiliar with these “holy grail” recruitment marketing KPIs, here’s a quick refresher:

  • Cost-Per-Quality-Applicant (CPQA): CPQA is an important metric because it allows you to understand how much you’ve spent on a job, campaign or source to produce an applicant that you’ve deemed “qualified” for a given role. To calculate your CPQA, take your total spend on a particular job or set of jobs and divide it by the total number of quality applicants received on the same job(s).
  • 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.

These specific metrics are extremely important in showcasing the actual monetary cost of talent acquisition activities. Organizations can use CPQA and CPH to understand the impact of their efforts, easily pivot on current strategies, and anticipate future costs.


The reason we went from the “Big Data Trend” to the “Age of Big Data” is because companies quickly learned that the more data they have around their recruitment processes, the closer they could get to predicting outcomes. So, while some data is better than no data, the more recruitment marketing analytics you can pull, the more likely you’ll be able to create forecasts accurate enough to base a solid strategy off of.

That’s because CPQA and CPH go beyond just showing the true costs of recruitment. With Cost-Per-Quality-Applicant and Cost-Per-Hire, HR and talent acquisition professionals can:

  • Improve time-to-fill by using these deep recruitment marketing analytics to identify and then eliminate deficiencies in your strategy
  • Estimate how much adding a new role to a department would cost and therefore help inform the strategy around adding this talent to the team
  • Determine which media channels and vendors produce the highest quality candidates for certain positions or skill sets
  • Understand where their recruitment budget may be being wasted based on cost data that surpasses estimates
  • Identify a more accurate cost of employee churn
  • Reveal recruitment costs based on job type, location, and/or industry

As trends in the recruitment space continue to point towards recruitment marketing as the future (and present) of talent acquisition, analytics like CPQA and CPH are no longer nice to have, but a must in an increasingly competitive space.

Recruiters are recognizing that they must think more like marketers to prepare for future hiring needs and avoid talent shortages, and that means having a data-driven approach to their efforts. By utilizing analytics like CPQA and CPH to develop targeted, more effective strategies based on tangible evidence, recruiters can showcase the ROI of their efforts to elevate their role within the business.

Are you using CPQA and CPH to analyze the success of your recruitment marketing efforts? Tell us how in the comments.

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