How to Set Recruitment Goals and Be Successful in the New Year

Learn the recruitment metrics to track and the strategies that will set you up for success
Product Marketing Manager
January 19, 2021
Updated: June 29, 2022
Product Marketing Manager
January 19, 2021
Updated: June 29, 2022

As the year comes to a close, your team is probably reviewing your past successes and brainstorming ways to make 2020 even better. Recruiting is a never-ending battle for talent that becomes increasingly difficult as competition grows and talent pools decline. In order to improve your outcomes, set actionable recruitment goals, track your efforts and implement new strategies that will give you a competitive advantage with job seekers. 

Read on to learn which metrics to track, how to properly set recruitment goals and the steps you can take to make next year your best yet.


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Table of Contents


Before You Begin

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Before you can set reasonable, worthwhile recruitment goals, you need to understand how you’re doing. In most startups and young businesses, HR professionals double as tech recruiters, so evaluate your current team and efforts — do you have enough people on your team to tackle recruiting needs in the new year? 

Calculate your current cost-per-hire, time-to-fill and turnover rate. These metrics are extremely important to know and track as they directly indicate the success and efficiency of your recruitment process.

Knowing your turnover rate — as unpleasant as it might be — is important to proactively building your talent pipeline before roles become vacant. If you know that for every five salespeople you hire one leaves within the year, you can better plan your subsequent recruitment cycles and spend more time sourcing the quality candidates you will need to backfill roles.


Recruitment Metrics to Track

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Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is crucial to creating actionable recruitment goals that will drive your business forward. Let’s review the most important recruitment KPIs to track. These should be top of mind among your team members throughout the entire year, but especially when planning your 2020 recruitment strategy and goals.

If you’re not regularly measuring your recruitment efforts, add a plan for tracking the following eight recruitment metrics to your strategy. 


1. Applicants-per-opening

Applicants-per-opening is the number of applications you receive per job opening. It’s a simple metric to measure and track — just take a look at your applicant tracking system (ATS) — but it speaks volumes about how compelling your job descriptions are and how strong your employer brand is. 


2. Application Completion Rate

An application completion rate is the number of people who complete a job application after starting it. Tracking this KPI provides insight into how cumbersome your application process is.


3. Cost-of-vacancy

Cost-of-vacancy (COV) is the amount of money lost due to an unfilled position. This metric is easy to calculate for revenue-generating roles like sales positions, but tricky for non-revenue-generating roles since it’s difficult to tie a dollar sign to productivity loss, low employee engagement and missed project deadlines. However, knowing the cost-of-vacancy of each position can help prioritize your open roles.


4. Time-to-fill

Time-to-fill measure the time elapsed from when the job post is made public to when the open role is filled. This is a strong indicator of the efficiency of your recruitment process


5. Offer Acceptance Rate

How often do candidates accept your job offers? Your offer acceptance rate will tell you that, as well as reveal how compelling your offers are and how successful your employer branding strategy is. 


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6. Cost-per-hire

Cost-per-hire is the total sum of costs associated with recruiting for a particular role. Understanding and evaluating your cost-per-hire will help you identify and focus on your most effective recruitment strategies


7. Quality-of-hire

Obviously, you want to hire the best and brightest. Quality-of-hire measures the number of employees you hire who add value to your company culture and business. This is a more difficult recruitment metric to measure as it’s highly subjective. 

However, knowing the percentage of hires who positively contribute to your company and are well received by their peers will indicate how successful your sourcing strategies are and how strong your talent pool is. 


8. Turnover Rate

Your rate of turnover measure how many people leave your company over a set period of time. Turnover is a natural part of any business, but a high rate of turnover is cause for concern. Rates vary by industry, but the average turnover rate is 3.5 percent


How to Set Recruitment Goals

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The most successful recruitment goals — and business goals in general — are SMART goals. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based goals that provide a clear objective and action plan. Using the data you collected during your assessment of current recruitment efforts and KPIs of interest, set goals that are: 


  • Specific — Simple and clear

  • Measurable — Quantifiable and able to be tracked over time 

  • Achievable — Reasonable and attainable 

  • Relevant — Significant and worthwhile 

  • Time-based — Set with a target date in mind


Prioritize goals based on your business objectives and work with the leadership team to ensure your approach aligns with the company’s broader strategy. Check out this article for tips on how to earn a seat at the strategy table.

Get in the habit of regularly evaluating your performance and tracking your KPIs, whether on a quarterly or monthly basis. If you’re continuously reaching your benchmarks, adjust your goals to be more aggressive. 


Strategies to Achieve Your Recruitment Goals

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It’s no secret that recruiters are up against a major talent shortage. As roles become more in-demand, competition becomes even more cut-throat, especially in the tech industry where the unemployment rate rests at a shockingly low 1.3%.

This poses a serious obstacle to your recruitment success, but not one that’s altogether insurmountable. Hone in on your KPIs and carefully evaluate your efforts in order to make improvements that will give your company a leg up on the competition. Let’s look at six proven recruitment strategies to implement in 2020.


1. Build out your employer brand

If you want to improve your recruitment outcomes in 2020, start by focusing your efforts on employer branding. Your employer brand is your reputation among job seekers, and 84% of candidates say the company’s reputation is an important part of their decision to apply to a job. While you can’t forcibly control how people perceive you as a potential employer, you can influence their opinion by simply telling your company story.

Create engaging, long-form content that speaks to your target audience and shows off your industry know-how to prospects. Share social media posts about the exciting things happening in your office — work-related or otherwise — to let job seekers get a sense of what it’s like to work at your company. Additionally, create employee spotlights to show off your people and their passions, and to promote testimonials about how great it is to work at your company. 

A strong employer brand will improve your applicants-per-opening rate, increasing the quality of your talent pool. The candidates you don’t hire can then become part of your talent community which you can tap into when other roles become open. Check out this article for more information about the ROI of employer branding.


2. Enhance your career page 

Your career page is a major attraction for job seekers: 77% report using company websites to collect information about employers of interest. If your career page offers a poor user experience, prospective employees will struggle to uncover information about your company. This can make your company appear disingenuous for withholding information, or obsolete for having a clunky and outdated website. 

Invest in improving your career page to create a solid candidate experience from the get-go. If you can’t dedicate the developer resources to overhaul UX/UI, ensure that every piece of information a job seeker might be interested in is included and visible on your career page. The ultimate goal is to answer your prospective employee’s questions. Improving your career page will strengthen your employer brand and enhance your candidate experience. 


3. Improve the quality of your job descriptions

Writing stronger job descriptions — more clear, compelling and concise — will get you better candidates. Lean on hiring managers and team members to create accurate candidate personas that will help you attract the right people for the job and more carefully vet candidates during the interview process. 

Additionally, eliminate any nonessential responsibilities and qualifications from your job descriptions to avoid excluding qualified candidates. Women are less likely to apply to a job if they don’t meet 100% of the criteria. Using engendered language such as “salesman” instead of “salesperson” in your job descriptions will also deter individuals from applying to your open roles and may hurt your employer brand

Higher quality job descriptions lead to higher quality applicants, which in turn increases your quality-of-hire. Furthermore, if applicants have a solid understanding of the role, responsibilities and your company culture, you’ll be able to expedite the interview process and evaluate candidates on secondary qualifications like work ethic and dependability.


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4. Build a talent community

Creating and regularly adding to your talent community can greatly improve your time-to-fill and quality-of-hire. When every open role receives several standout candidates, those you don’t extend an offer to can be leveraged to build your talent pipeline

This means that as similar roles become available, you already have a pool of previously vetted candidates to choose from, which reduces the amount of time you need to source and screen applicants. 

Of course, being able to rely on these individuals assumes they’re still interested in the opportunity. Keep members of your talent community engaged by nurturing them with additional branded content, and keep them interested by continuously evolving your employer branding strategy to stand out from the competition. 


5. Invest in Candidate Matching Tools

Candidate matching tools rely on smart-matching technologies and artificial intelligence to simplify the sourcing process for recruiters. These tools generate candidate suggestions based on manually set criteria, such as skill set, experience level and geographical location. 

Candidate matching improves your applicant pool by creating smart recommendations that addresses the role’s — and your team’s — specific needs. Additionally, expediting the sourcing process improves the efficiency of your recruitment process as a whole, and increases your quality-of-hire by giving your team more time to evaluate candidates during interviews. 


6. Up your recruitment marketing efforts

Recruitment marketing is the process of promoting your employer brand to job seekers and utilizing marketing best practices to attract top talent. To reach and exceed your goals, you need to get serious about your recruitment marketing strategy. 

Text recruiting is a relatively new addition to recruitment marketing, but it has a significant impact on the success of the application process. It helps automate the process and ensures quality candidates don’t slip through the cracks due to a lack of communication. This tactic improves the candidate experience, helping to grow your talent community; 95% of candidates will apply to an organization again if they had a positive experience with the interview process. 

To further improve the quality of your talent pool and time-to-fill, host or attend recruitment events. Connecting with prospects face-to-face, as opposed to via their resume, makes it easier to identify the truly great candidates and fast-track the process from there. Not only that, but 95% of job seekers believe how employers treat candidates is a reflection of how they would be treated as an employee of the company. Giving them the chance to evaluate your organization upfront and in person will help sell them on your open roles


Start the new year off right by setting clear, actionable recruitment goals to ensure your team is tracking toward success. Utilize these tactics to get started, but be flexible with your strategy — every company is different and what works for some may not be suited for you. Tracking your KPIs will help you spot weaknesses before they become problems, so be prepared to pivot and keep moving forward.


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