First in HR: Know Your Numbers in Hiring

With any job, it's important to know where you stand and then set goals for yourself, and often times this is a numbers game. As the hiring manager, your goals need to be something tangible and quantitative. It's not enough to show the metrics of your busywork (humber of job ads posted, hours logged or resumes read).

To prove your recruiting and hiring methods work, you need an idea of the averages out there and use them to gaugeyour own personal success and create room for improvement.


From the time the day the position becomes open, to the day your new hire accepts the position is your time-to-fill. We want this number to be low. According to an article from SHRM, “Oftentimes, the longer it takes to fill a position, the higher the cost-per-hire.” The article also mentions thatthe average time-to-fill within the same industry is 37 days. However, there can be a lot of difference between career fields. For instance, filling a retail position takes an average 26 days, whereas a government position takes an average 51 days.

Cost of Hire

The cost of hire provides hiring manager with a consistent tool for measuring the cost of resources used to hire talent. What we need to keep in mind here, is how much are we spending on finding the right person and how can we make the process simpler in the name of the bottom line. The Huffington Post has a very insightful infographic on cost of hire, and the different avenues you can take.

  • Posting on Job Boards: The average time for a posting is about 1.5 hours and the cost can vary from $37.50-$457.50 based on your methods.

  • Reviewing Applicants: Total time spent is up to 23.5 hours, making the average cost up to $587.50+.

  • Prescreening Candidates: Up to 4 hours of time, and over $100.

  • Interview Prep: An average of 1.5 hours and $31.50.

  • Wrapping up and Hiring (including final interviews, testing, calling other applicants, and reference checks): Can take 7.5 hours with an average cost of $187.50

Every day that goes by that this position isn't filled, your time-to-fill rate goes up, as do costs across the board. These are handy numbers to have when approaching hiring managers that are being overly picky.

Costs Associated with a “Bad Hire”

With costs mounting for unfilled positions, it's tempting to race to get someone ANYONE in that seat...but it's important to keep in mind that a bad hire will almost always cost a company more than sourcing out and hiring the right candidate.

According to a CareerBuilder post, 41% of companies say that a bad hire in the last year has cost them at least $25,000, and 25% of companies say that a bad hire in the last year has cost them at least $50,000. These are some heavy numbers to keep on the scale when considering rushing to fill a position. These are also some great numbers to present to those who might be rushing you. 38% of these bad hires were a result of the company's need to fill the position quickly.

This infographic by MindFlash gives with some innovative tips from small business owner/blogger Jay Goltz on how to improve your chances at the right hire.

Accurate Source Tracking

While you maybe paying close attention to the overall time a hire takes, and the individual costs of each broadcast channel, it is extremely important to have a simple way of tracking the difference sources of applicants.

For instance, your applicant tracking system should be able to tell you that you had 7 candidates from LinkedIn that made it to the final round, and only 2 candidates from Monster qualified past the screening stage. Not only should you know the source of your successful hires, you should also be able to roughly assess the quality of candidates coming from different channels. A simple tracking system should give you this information without any rocket science.

Know Your Own Numbers

Now that you have established some of the major metrics in the hiring process, you should be familiar with where you stand. Create some “important hiring numbers” of your own. Obviously every recruiting position is different and your cycle and desk may be different from some of the numbers listed above. However, creating a simple tracking method of typical time-to-fill, job board expenditures, employee referrals and other "numbers to know" can help when it comes time to assess spend for recruiting next year.

Here is some great insight on how to set you your own “dialing plan”. This quick and easy method is a great way to track personal progress.

photo credit: nataliej via photopin cc

Check out some other great articles here.

Views: 330

Comment by Mia Hirschel on March 27, 2013 at 5:39pm

The article from SHRM was written in 2006, using data from 2004. It seems like average time to fill has increased since 2004! I would love some feedback, please!

Comment by Raj Sheth on March 28, 2013 at 12:51pm

Hello Mia,

Thanks for the comment! I did some extra research, and it seems to be about the same based on a couple different articles and surveys that I found. If you find anything different, I would love the information! Thank you again.

Comment by Mia Hirschel on March 28, 2013 at 1:08pm

Raj, if you could please share that extra data, I would really appreciate it! :)

Comment by Raj Sheth on March 28, 2013 at 1:27pm

the above are some of the most recent research. While the SHRM research is old, the foundational principle remains the same particularly when it comes to filling positions in a smaller company. Here are some correlations between time to hire and cost per hire, in addition to some that support bad hire costs skyrocketing:
Additional resources can be found at and careerbuilder.
Comment by Maren Hogan on March 28, 2013 at 3:12pm

If anything, most recruiters and HR pros that I speak to say time to hire (for bigger companies) is getting out past 45 days. The SHRM study from 2006 may be more optimistic!


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