The 5 KPIs We Use to Measure Recruiting Success at Greenhouse: Intro

What’s the best way to use data in recruiting? This question comes up again and again, but we haven’t yet reached consensus as an industry on the key metrics to track and why we should feel comfortable telling our senior leadership to care about these metrics, too.

At Greenhouse, we’ve been thinking about these metrics—these Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)—a lot. We’ve been talking to our customers about what they use, thinking through their measurability and reliability, and implementing them internally with our recruiting team to learn what works, what doesn’t, and which measures feel most impactful and actionable.

So, what exactly is a KPI? And which ones should you care about? Read on to find out the Greenhouse approach to recruiting KPIs.

First—what is a KPI?

A Key Performance Indicator is not intended to paint a detailed picture on its own. Instead, your KPIs should collectively paint a picture of the general successes or challenges of your recruiting organization. They act as a signal on where to sing praises, dive in deeper to understand the root cause of a change or anomaly, or make changes to further optimize.

Quite simply, KPIs are:

  • Key – focused on the most important metrics
  • Performance-related – tied to business objectives
  • Indicators – headlines, not the whole story

So, which KPIs should we care about?

Cost of Hire and Quality of Hire are both widely discussed, and are certainly valuable to measure if you have consistent, quantifiable inputs. However, to define our KPIs, we looked to our colleagues in sales and marketing who also talk about their processes as a funnel and whose metrics are well understood by executives.

recruitment kpi

The recruiting funnel closely mirrors a marketing or sales funnel. You start with someone who doesn’t really know that they’re a fit for an opportunity, be it a product or a job. You nurture their interest, gauge their fit, and ultimately create a partnership. Sales and marketing have successfully defined industry-wide measures of their success and opportunities that they set goals against. This is critical because it allows them to 1) set goals across an organization and 2) benchmark themselves to their peers.

Let’s take a look at the sales and marketing funnel and the metrics they track to measure success:We used the approach of sales and marketing to identify KPIs that address each stage of the recruiting funnel. We looked for metrics that would act as a signal of behind-the-scenes changes, successes, or areas of weakness. Additionally, these metrics should be uniformly meaningful, regardless of how your recruiting team is set up.

As we defined KPIs, we required a few important characteristics:

  • A metric that could be modeled against time, to give a sense of trend
  • A metric that could be boiled down into a single figure for simple communication
  • A metric where there is a sense of “good” or “bad,” or against which goals can be determined and tracked

recruiting funnel kpi

Now you have a little background information about why KPIs are important within recruiting and how we set out to define them.

Move on to our 1st recruiting KPI


Alternatively, get descriptions of all five KPIs in one handy eBook by downloading “The 5 Recruiting Key Performance Indicators.” Enjoy!

5 Recruiting KPIs Ebook 

Lauren Ryan

Lauren Ryan is the Director of Talent Acquisition at Greenhouse. She leads recruiting strategy, tracks the company’s recruiting KPIs, and oversees process improvements. She’s thrilled that she’s found a company that’s as passionate about the intersection of people and data as she is!

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Recruiting Metrics