The Recruiting Metrics Everyone Should Be Looking at in Q3

By Q3, the pressure is on. You've made it through half the year, you have a pretty good sense of how well you’re tracking toward your goals and it’s still early enough to make changes if you feel there’s a danger of not meeting your objectives. As a recruiter, this is the ideal moment to check in on your recruiting processes and pipeline.

Which metrics should you absolutely be checking in on at this stage? And what can you do if you notice some numbers aren't where you'd like them to be? We recently sat down with Greenhouse’s Senior Recruiter Dan Tran to get the scoop on the two metrics that will help you gain the most insights into your recruiting process and outlook for the rest of the year.

The Metric: Offer Acceptance Rate

Your offer acceptance rate (OAR) compares the number of offers you make to candidates to the number of offers that are ultimately accepted. You can slice and dice this info in a number of ways, including by department or role. If you already have an Applicant Tracking System or you’ve been tracking this information in a spreadsheet, it should be relatively easy to pull this data.

What Should You Aim For?

Your OAR can vary depending on your company, your industry and the nature of the specific role you’re hiring for, but here at Greenhouse, we aim for an OAR of 85%. You want this number to be high, but the Greenhouse Talent team’s perspective is that an OAR of 100% means that you’re probably not taking enough risks. Yes, you always want to look for talented people who can take your company to the next level, but it’s highly likely that those candidates are being pursued by other companies, so it’s only natural that some of them will turn down your offer.

How Do You Course Correct?

One key step is to ask your candidates about their decision, whether they’re accepting offers or not. If you understand why people are accepting offers, great! Continue doing those things.

“I think there’s a lot of merit in understanding why people are accepting your offers because you can then reinforce those positive behaviors and trends.” — Dan Tran, Senior Recruiter, Greenhouse

If you see that your OAR is not where you want it to be, though, Dan recommends focusing your attention on three key areas: compensation, alignment on candidate motivation and leadership engagement. Let’s look at each in a bit more detail.

  • Compensation

You may find that candidates are rejecting offers because the compensation is not in line with their expectations or offers they’re receiving from other companies. If this is the case, Dan suggests collecting candidates’ compensation expectations earlier in the interview process. If compensation consistently comes up as a reason why candidates are rejecting offers, it may be an indication that it’s also time to revisit your salary bands with your HR/People team (or whoever approves this budget in your organization).

Want to make the case for increasing salary bands? In addition to discussing compensation expectations earlier in the process and aggregating those numbers, try asking around. See if candidates will share the details of the offers they received, or talk to your peers or recruiter counterparts in other companies. What do they generally pay for a similar role? You can then use that data to make a case about the discrepancy between what the market is showing and what your company is currently offering.

  • Alignment on Candidate Motivation

Another reason candidates are likely to turn down your offer is that they don’t feel aligned with your company’s mission, culture or vision. Dan says, “A lot of companies think of interviews as a one-way street, but it’s really important to find out what matters to candidates and give them opportunities to articulate that.” Kick off your conversations with candidates by asking them about their motivations for their job search or what’s missing in their current role. Adding these types of questions into the initial conversation will help you integrate more selling opportunities throughout the rest of the process.

Find out whether the candidate’s motivation to change is based on compensation, mission, benefits, work-life balance or something else. Once you know what matters most to them, you can inform the rest of the hiring team and keep it in mind when formulating your closing pitch.

  • Leadership Engagement

You can also boost your OAR by getting an executive or department head engaged when you extend the offer. This person can provide additional perspective that wasn’t offered in the interview process. And if you’ve been learning about candidate motivations early in the process (see above!), they can reiterate some of the selling points you discovered in earlier conversations with the candidate.

Regardless of the seniority of their role, an executive or leader at the company can (and should!) be involved in at least some of the offers in their department. If it’s a senior position on the team, the executive may have a sense of what motivates the candidate you’re trying to close. If it’s a junior position on the team, be sure to meet with an executive or department head so you can outline the context and selling points you think will be most effective with the candidate in question.

The Metric: Candidate Experience

The second metric Dan recommends examining is candidate experience. Here at Greenhouse, we measure this through anonymized surveys that give candidates the opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences. Greenhouse customers can customize when these surveys are sent out, but we find we get the most value out of them when they are completed after a candidate has participated in an onsite interview. If you don’t currently have a candidate survey or you’d like to gather more information, Dan also recommends regularly reviewing the feedback candidates leave on employer branding platforms like Glassdoor.

What Should You Aim For?

That depends on whether you’re looking at qualitative or quantitative data. The Greenhouse candidate survey asks candidates to rate their experience on a five-point scale (with 1 being “strongly disagree” and 5 being “strongly agree”). It uses prompts like “Overall, my interviewing experience was a positive one” and “The interviewer(s) got an accurate sense of my strengths and weaknesses.” There’s also an open-ended question that invites candidates to share qualitative feedback.

On average, 60% of candidates surveyed by Greenhouse customers strongly agree and 30% agree that overall their interview experience was positive. When asked whether their impression of the company is more positive after going through the interview process, 58% of candidates surveyed by Greenhouse customers strongly agree and 25% agree.

How Do You Course Correct?

When you’re looking at candidate experience feedback, Dan recommends focusing on what you’re already doing well and considering areas for improvement. This is pretty straightforward when you’re looking at quantitative data, but it can be a little tricky when combing through Glassdoor reviews or other types of qualitative feedback. In these cases, Dan recommends trying to break the feedback into categories – the overall interview process, onsite experience, questions, etc. – so you can more easily identify trends.

“Candidate surveys ultimately reinforce what we’re doing that’s great and provide opportunities for us to improve.” — Dan Tran, Senior Recruiter, Greenhouse

For example, most onsite interviews at Greenhouse include a casual “coffee” chat, giving candidates a break from back-to-back interviews and the chance to talk with a Greenhouse employee in a more laid-back setting (with the welcome addition of a beverage or snack to help fuel another few hours of interviews). We were happy to see how positively candidates responded to this portion of the interview, so we’ll definitely be keeping it.

On the other hand, after ramping up the number of technical interviews we’ve been doing onsite over the past few quarters, our Technical Recruiters observed some trends in feedback about inefficient room setup, the virtual interview experience, etc. Since this category came up repeatedly, we made sure to create dedicated spaces for technical interviews, and created a one-pager outlining “Tips for Virtual Interviews” to ensure that we’re setting candidates up for comfort and success.

Whether you’re already a metrics maven or you’re just dipping your toes into data, right now is the perfect time to stop and take stock. See where you stand today, make some of the adjustments we’ve recommended and you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the coming quarters.


Want to do a deeper dive into recruiting metrics? Download your copy of 5 Recruiting Key Performance Indicators to learn which metrics we measure here at Greenhouse and discover industry benchmarks so you can see how you measure up.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Recruiting Metrics