The Difference Between Recruitment KPIs Versus Recruitment Metrics – And Why It Matters


As in many industries, one of the most critical parts of successful recruitment involves a robust understanding of performance by the numbers. Businesses want to make the recruitment process as cost-effective as possible while ensuring that their roles are seen and applied to by the best possible candidates.

Virtually everything involved in successful hiring can be broken down into numbers, and most recruitment operations can benefit from both recruitment KPIs and recruitment metrics for the best possible overview. However, it’s vital to understand the differences and where each is best deployed to give you the best possible overview of your performance in critical areas.

Recruitment KPIs

Recruitment KPIs, or key performance indicators, measure progress towards specific, defined goals. They’re essentially numbers that may have targets in mind, enabling recruiters to measure themselves against those specific targets and broader benchmarks. Furthermore, it’s possible to find areas of the recruitment process in which they’re underperforming, along with those they can consider an unqualified success!


Typical recruitment KPIs may include the volume of messages sent connected to a specific role, the number of applications received, how many interviews were conducted before a successful hire, and statistics surrounding qualification calls.

Recruitment Metrics

A recruitment team’s metrics also work with facts and figures, but they involve the more tactical side of the process. While KPIs are all about showcasing results, metrics indicate how well the team achieves them across various areas.

As a result, these metrics can delve deeper into the performance itself and the reasons for it. They help recruiters understand specific obstacles in the recruitment process and whether some elements of finding new hires are causing performance issues.

These metrics might include:

Candidate Acquisition Costs

Generally speaking, the less you spend on acquiring new hires, the better. Therefore, it’s always worth having a solid understanding of those costs, specifically the expenditure associated with each new hire.

Done correctly, this value will consider everything spent on a hire, from time spent on paperwork, interviews, and onboarding to the price paid for posting to job boards.

Application Success Rates

Some roles require nothing more than submitting a resume. However, senior and technical positions often involve a lengthier application process, usually starting with the initial online communication. Some candidates embark on the application process but never make it through to completion.

It’s vital to understand this metric, as it may suggest that the application process is too involved or time-consuming, especially for a speculative application. If this results in great candidates never getting as far as expressing official interest in the role, it may be worth revisiting and refining the process.

Online Conversion Rates

As recruiters are well aware, the number of prospects in the “any job will do” category is relatively small. Therefore, to attract suitable candidates, a job specification must stand out, and that’s where recruiting metrics come in.

The conversion rate metric can be used throughout the process, such as comparing the number of job post views against the number of qualified applications received. If the number fluctuates or disappoints, it may be worth revising the post itself to attract more qualified candidates.

The Importance of KPIs and Metrics

Not all recruiters love dealing with numbers, but they represent the best way to understand performance factually. Recruiting KPIs differ from metrics in that the former are primarily goal-orientated, while the latter provide insight into how those numbers were reached.

Both are essential to optimized recruitment, as they are a great way to understand how recruiters perform at various stages of the hiring process. They also provide unparalleled insight into areas for improvement while highlighting what’s going well.

Used correctly, they can provide anything from incremental benefits to a complete overhaul of processes and procedures. Ultimately, they’re the best way to get better, and while data can be daunting, it’s a cornerstone of any successful recruitment strategy.