9 HR Metrics Worth Measuring

Jami Oetting
Jami Oetting



Google, Apple, and Microsoft are recruiting from advertising schools. Startups are giving creatives the chance to use their skills in a high-growth environment. New media companies -- such as Buzzfeed and Thrillist -- are launching in-house creative shops.

All these opportunities mean that agencies are facing increasing competition for the talent that once flocked to their swanky offices for the ping-pong tables and free beer.

This isn't a small concern. Talent is one of the most -- if not the most -- important things in an agency, as its work or "product" is dependent on skillful, strategic, and creative individuals. 

To lure talent to your firm and keep producing high-quality work, you need a strong recruitment program and a keen understanding of how well it is performing. This means you need to focus on the numbers that will alert you to problems in your interview process and highlight the best way to retain and recruit talented, loyal employees. 

9 Talent & Recruitment Metrics to Watch

Cost Per Hire

This number will tell you how much beyond salary and benefits it costs your firm to bring on a new employee. A study from the U.C. Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment estimates this number at $4,000, while hiring a manager or highly skilled individual can cost closer to $7,000.

Recruitment costs should include the cost to post on job boards, contracts with recruiters, reviewing applications, screening candidates, and interviewing.

Recruitment Costs / (Compensation + Benefits) = Cost Per Hire

Time to Hire

The average time to fill a position in the U.S. in 2014 was 24.9 days, which is a 13-year high according to Dice-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure. This number, however, doesn’t point to a thriving economy, rather the Wall Street Journal article points to the fact that employers have implemented strict hiring criteria, there is a lack of skilled candidates unemployed, and people are recruiting from social media avenues, among a variety of other new realities in the job landscape.  

# of Days Open Position X # of Candidates Hired = Time to Hire 

Sourcing Channel

You should track where you find candidates and what channels lead you to the best employees -- the ones who accept your offer and go on to become great contributors to the company. By including this identifier, you can cross check the cost to hire, the turnover rate, and tenure by source. Then, you can reallocate budget to recruiting from the most productive channel. 

Recruitment Yield Ratio

This number will show how efficient your recruitment process is. It can be used to track each step in the interview and hiring process, or you could use the below calculation to understand which sources of candidates is producing a high yield ratio.

(# of Candidates Who Advance to Next Round X Total # of Candidates Interviewing in the Round) X 100 = Recruitment Yield

Offer/Acceptance Ratio

You can confirm the effectiveness of your recruiting process by learning your offer/acceptance ratio. This could help you to hone your idea of the type of individual you should look for --someone your agency wants and who also wants to work for your firm. It could also point to changes in the recruiting process you need to make. How do you show your culture? Why did these individuals accept other offers? What is holding people back from working at your agency? Is salary or location a factor in attracting talent?


Turnover will help you identify troubling retention issues and should be calculated on a quarterly and yearly basis. In 2013, the turnover rate for all industries combined was 15%, but this number does vary greatly by industry. It is better to track the number and benchmark against your yearly or quarterly rate. 

# of Employees Who Exit Per Year X Average # of Employees That Year = Turnover

Turnover Costs

The Center for American Progress found that for jobs where people earn less than $50,000, the cost of replacing the employee is 20% of the person’s salary. Other reports have found that the cost is anywhere from 25% to 250% of the person’s annual salary.

Your agency loses knowledge and productivity when an employee leaves, but there is also the disruption to others in the organization and the recruiting and hiring cost to replace this employee. It's not cheap to have an employee walk out the door, even if the person was a low performer. 

Cost of Separation + Cost of Vacancy + Replacement Cost + Training = Turnover Costs 

Retention Rates

Tracking your retention rate and comparing this number to turnover rate will provide you with a broader picture of your staff stability. 

(# of Employees Who Stayed / # of Employees at Beginning of Period) X 100 = Retention Rate

It may be beneficial to divide workers into high and low performers to better understand who is leaving and why.


This number reveals how long employees typically stay with your organization. 

Add up the number of months each employee has been with the organization and divide this by the number of current employees.

You could use this number to identify how long employees typically stay before leaving the company, which would provide insight into when coveted staffers are “at risk," or you could select only employees who perform at a certain level or are in a specific department to track tenure issues. 

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Topics: Recruiting Tips

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