How to set recruiting targets (With strategies and metrics)

Updated 21 August 2023

Recruitment is a constant process in any fast-paced and goal-driven sector, so it's important for organisations to devise plans to secure the most outstanding recruits. If you're a recruitment manager, setting actionable recruitment targets, monitoring your efforts and implementing new techniques can give you a competitive edge with potential employees. Understanding how to set recruiting targets, develop strategies to help you achieve them and determine recruitment metrics can help you find and employ suitable candidates. In this article, we define recruiting targets, discuss how to set them, provide strategies and explore the recruitment metrics to track.

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What are recruiting targets?

Recruiting targets are measures that can help recruiters perform better and increase the number and quality of employees they employ for businesses. To achieve these targets, you may want to adopt current recruitment practices that help you attract applications for open positions in the company from more qualified candidates.

Related: What is recruitment marketing? (With benefits and stages)

How to set recruiting targets

Read the following to learn how to set recruiting targets:

1. Establish your vision

Defining your recruitment vision is the first step in setting your targets. Establishing your vision around business objectives can ensure your recruitment approach is consistent with the company's strategy. Your vision can describe the brand messaging, your preferred recruitment sources and the applicants you plan to target to make your recruitment programme successful. If you're a recruitment manager, talk to your team and help them understand your vision.

2. Discuss the company's recruitment needs with others

Choosing the right candidate for a role during the recruitment process can save the company money and improve its productivity. To ensure that you're making the right choice at each recruitment stage, you can discuss your recruitment needs with colleagues who are knowledgeable about the company's requirements. You can discuss the company's recruitment needs with your employer, other recruitment managers and department heads. Talking about the currently open job postings, the expectations these managers have of new employees and their vision for their departments can guide you as you set your targets.

3. Define your recruitment targets

After your discussion with other teams, you can develop a list of targets you plan to accomplish. Setting these targets can guide you as you develop a strategy to find quality candidates. For example, if your primary objective is to recruit the best applicants, understanding how you plan to achieve this can help you gain a long-term perspective. This list of targets can also help you focus and better manage your time and resources. Ensure that your recruitment targets align with company objectives.

4. Monitor and report on your targets

Frequent monitoring and reporting on your recruitment targets can determine your likelihood of achieving your objectives. Setting specific benchmarks and recurrent self-evaluation to gauge your progress can also help you decide what you can do better. Monitoring your targets can also help you determine what strategies are working and which ones you can improve on.

One way you can effectively monitor and report on your recruitment targets is by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for each objective. For example, if your target is to increase the number of candidates applying for positions in the company through your website by 50%, one of the performance indicators you can use to measure your success is the number of applications through the website. Try to evaluate your KPIs on a quarterly or monthly basis.

5. Assess your targets

After you monitor your performance, you can use your findings to assess your recruitment targets. Depending on how you've performed, you may decide to remove targets you've achieved from your list and add new ones. Because the skill set available in the workplace may keep changing, you may have different targets for each recruitment period. Assessing your targets can help you adapt to the new work environment and keep you accountable.

Related: The benefits and challenges of working in recruitment

Strategies to achieve your recruitment goals

Below are strategies that can help you achieve your recruitment targets:

Create a strong employer brand

Your employer's brand determines how potential employees perceive the company's image and reputation. Using a variety of tactics, such as creating engaging and in-depth materials that appeal to your target audience and display your expertise, can help you develop a powerful employer brand that positively affects perceptions of the company's reputation. A strong employer brand may attract more candidates, which can widen the talent pool and make it possible to recruit the best candidates.

Related: 8 best tools for recruiting: examples and benefits

Update your business website

Frequently examining your business website and updating your recruitment page can be a good strategy for achieving your objectives. If your website is professional and straightforward, it can increase the number of applications, contact details or referrals you receive online. Updating the recruitment page can provide prospective candidates with the most recent information on open positions, enabling them to conduct their research and contact you directly instead of you actively searching for applicants.

Related: 13 tips to improve recruitment strategies

Set SMART goals

SMART goals are a structure for establishing broad objectives that can help you perform better and produce higher-quality work. By setting SMART goals you can improve your chances of reaching your targets by streamlining your thoughts, concentrating your efforts and efficiently using your time and resources. Setting SMART goals means setting targets that are the following:

  • specific: define the objectives you wish to achieve

  • measurable: be able to measure progress

  • achievable: ascertain your capacity to do the task

  • reasonable: assess the value of the endeavour

  • time-based: set a deadline for completing the task

Request feedback from candidates

Gathering feedback regarding your interview process is important because it can give you a neutral perspective on what it's like to apply for a job with your organisation. Asking new recruits and those who decided against applying for a position with the company about the recruitment process can help you learn how they discovered the jobs they applied for, what impressed them and whether any areas need improvement. Taking advantage of these individuals' experiences on the opposing side of your recruitment process may benefit your future strategies.

Measure the offer acceptance rate

The offer acceptance rate is the proportion of applicants that accept a formal job offer. You can calculate the acceptance rate by dividing the number of requests from the company by the number of accepted submissions. A high offer-to-acceptance ratio demonstrates the success of a company's talent acquisition strategy and suggests that the requirements and expectations of the chosen candidates match. Determining whether some positions, divisions or levels of seniority have higher acceptance rates than others can help you set achievable targets.

Write detailed job descriptions

You're likely to attract better candidates when you write job descriptions that are concise and compelling. A detailed job description can give potential candidates a better understanding of the role by clearly stating the job title, the primary responsibilities and the qualifications sought. You can also provide a detailed summary of the company. The more accurate and informative the job description is, the higher the number of applications you're likely to receive.

Related: The cost of hiring employees (Plus tips to save money)

Streamline the recruitment process

A streamlined recruitment procedure can make it easier for you to maintain internal order and make a good first impression on potential employees. If a candidate has a pleasant experience during the process, they may choose to accept the offer. You can streamline your recruitment process by using applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Related: 6 stages of an effective recruitment process

Recruitment metrics to track for creating actionable recruitment targets

Here are some recruitment metrics you can track to measure the success of your recruitment targets:

  • Time to fill: This is the time it takes to find and recruit a new candidate and is the difference between the day of posting an open position and selecting the ideal candidate. It can give you a clearer idea of how long your team usually takes to fill positions.

  • Time to recruit: The time it takes to recruit someone can vary depending on the type of role and the company's recruitment procedure. A straightforward recruitment procedure can speed up the process, while positions requiring numerous rounds of interviews, panel discussions and test projects may take longer to fill.

  • Review cost-per-recruit: The cost-per-recruit metric displays how much an employer spends on each recruit. You can keep track of your overall recruitment costs by calculating your cost-per-recruit.

  • Calculate the vacancy cost: Many positions have an opportunity cost, meaning that the business loses on potential earnings while the position is open. You can prioritise allocating time and resources to finding candidates for specific roles first by being aware of the cost of having an open position.

  • Applicants per position: The number of applications you get per job opening is the applicants-per-opening ratio. By looking at your ATS, you can use this indicator to assess the demand for and interest in an available post.

  • Turnover rate: Knowing the turnover rate enables you to develop your talent pipeline before a position opens. For instance, if you know two out of every ten employees you recruit leave the company within a year, you can better plan your recruitment cycles and devote more effort to finding individuals to fill such positions.

Related: Director of recruiting skills: definition and examples

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