Doug Taylor
Doug Taylor

Key Recruitment Media Metrics to Track When Assessing ROI

July 29, 2016 at 06:48 PM — Post

Recruiters are masters of all trades. If only it was as simple as posting job ads and watching candidate’s flow in. In the past, there were few sources to manage—those were the days of help wanted signs in shop windows. There’s a lot more to keep track of in today’s recruitment ecosystem, with differing types of ad buying, traffic across a variety of devices, and a plethora of application systems.

Knowing key recruitment media metrics can help you prove the ROI of your campaigns. Recruitment media is all about looking at the numbers. With a lot of metrics and benchmark features to keep track of, monitoring them all is a full-time job.

It can be difficult to figure out just what matters and what doesn’t in recruitment media. Never fear—here are some of the most important metrics for tracking the success of your recruitment media.


CPA (Cost Per Applicant)

Cost per applicant is how much it costs to get an applicant through your pipeline. Only completed applications are considered against the cost of advertising spend. You can make use of the CPA metric whether or not you’re actually using that pay model—simply divide your total spend by the number of applicants you receive.

More than any other, this metric tells you how much you’re really spending on your recruitment advertising efforts. Since this metric is concerned with the valuable resource of applicants, you can use it to determine the ROI of your recruitment spend.

CPA is the way forward in recruitment media. A burgeoning number of sites and software offer CPA models of ad buying, allowing their users to spend only on completed applications. In this case, you’ll have the metric tracked for you as soon as you post your ad.

CPA is expressed in dollars.

CPC (Cost Per Click)

You’ll likely be familiar with cost per click. It’s the amount paid out when a job seeker clicks on an advertisement to view it. This is similar to a lot of other programmatic advertising systems, such as Google’s Doubleclick platform.

Many recruitment media publishers make use of cost per click models. The reasoning behind this option is that interest in the ad is what drives the value of each one. Keeping track of this metric is essential to navigating the majority of job sites.

If you’re not tracking your cost-per-click bids already, you can determine it by taking the amount of money invested in your recruitment media and dividing that figure by overall clicks.

CPC is expressed in dollars.

CPQA (Cost Per Quality Applicant)

While getting applicants through your pipeline is all well and good, not all of those applicants may be the ones you’re looking for. Cost per quality applicant takes the CPA and figures out who among those applicants are worth following up with.

Determining what “quality” means is a question with a different answer for every organization. Some may use reaching an interview as a determinant of quality. Others may use passing the interview stage as measure of quality. It’s up to you.

CPQA allows you to determine the overall effectiveness of your recruiting media from both a qualitative and quantitative standpoint. With the former, you can determine whether or not you need to adjust your messaging. There’s a chance that the job seekers you want aren’t responding to your descriptions or titles in the way you intended. In the latter case, you can use the CPQA metric to figure out the effectiveness of your recruitment media placement. Perhaps you need to tap into a new publisher, improve your network, or invest in technology.

CPQA is expressed in dollars.

CPH (Cost Per Hire)

Some studies have shown that time-to-hire is a falsified, inaccurate metric. It fails to capture all the factors of a position long unfilled. In reality, it’s only part of the overall cost of having an open position. Time-to-hire forgets the various levers available to recruiters – the days of posting an ad in the newspaper are long gone, and now recruitment is a far more interactive process.

Instead, consider the impact on your overall spend. According to Glassdoor, organizations sink an average of $4000 into one unfilled position. How much money have you spent on your openings?

CPH allows you to measure job openings by their direct impact on the organization and the hiring plan, rather than simply the hiring plan. A lot goes into cost per hire, such as the cost of recruitment media and the cost of covering the opening until it’s filled, thus providing a more accurate benchmark.

CPH is expressed in dollars.

Click to Apply Rates

Click to apply rates reflect how many job seekers who view your ad go on to complete the advertisement.

Click to apply rates help measure how resonant your messaging is with job seekers. A well-written advertisement will help boost your apply rates. Additionally, you can use CTA rates to determine the effectiveness of job ad placements across your publishers.

Another useful function of the click to apply rate metric is understanding how your messaging affects your bottom line. A poor click to apply rate can provide an early warning for a climbing spend.

Click to Apply is expressed as a percentage.

Apply Time

Not to be confused with time-to-hire, apply time is how long, on average, it takes a job seeker to complete your application. Every aspect of the apply process factors into the typical apply time. This includes the number of pages, complexity of the application itself, and any assessments or supplementary forms on top of that.

Apply time is important because shorter applications are more likely to be completed. If you know that your apply process is 15 minutes or more, you may be able to increase the apply rates by cutting down on the paperwork. Applications with fewer questions to fill out cuts apply time and boosts apply rates.

Mobile vs. Desktop Conversion Rates

Perhaps one of the most important metrics in today’s recruitment ecosystem is that of the mobile conversion rate. It’s important to segment your analysis of your data by platform. Compared to desktop, mobile applies are problematic. Only a tiny percentage of mobile job seekers successfully completing their application.

Apply time issues are magnified on mobile devices, which vary in their ability to display web pages, upload resumes, and complete other tasks of the apply process. A high apply time will have adverse effects on your mobile/desktop conversion rates.

Short of testing your apply process, analyzing the differences between mobile and desktop conversions can allow you to modify your apply process to be more friendly. Paying attention to the difference in conversion rates will allow you to improve your mobile application process, and prevent job seekers from abandoning their applications.