HR departments are responsible for making performance measurable. In times of tight budgets and access to an increasing amount of data (Big Data), the demand for accountability has never been greater. Understanding the connection between data and business performance should help HR leaders make better decisions.

Compared to other departments, HR professionals started surprisingly late at this issue, although there are some sophisticated data models for all kinds of HR processes and initiatives. In other fields, one can easily adapt familiar concepts for HR purposes.

This article will present a tool to calculate the effectiveness of e-recruiting processes in adapting the conversion concept.

Conversion rate – Conceptual issues

The concept of conversion can be traced back to its roots in Online Marketing and eCommerce. The basic principles also account for online recruitment. The conversion rate has been defined as the proportion between visits to a website and the number of goals achieved (e.g., number of new contracts):

Conversion rate = Number of Goal Achievements / Visits (1)

The principles of the conversion rates can easily be adapted for the purpose of analyzing and understanding the performance of an e-recruiting system: Now, the conversion rate is defined as the proportion of suitable candidates and the number of potential applicants reached by career websites, job search websites or social networks:

Applicant conversion rate = suitable candidates / unique visitors (2)

Looking at conversion rates within a funnel approach helps to understand (1) how efficient different channels are (2) detecting bottlenecks in sequential process stages that need to be optimized.

The Online Recruitment Funnel


The total reach is the sum of all potential applicants that are reached by job openings with different channels. We will take a closer look on the career page, job search websites, and social networks.

Career Page: There are two basic reach indicators for analyzing traffic on career pages: visits and unique users (UUs). The relevant ones are the UUs because each represents one potential applicant. This number can be drawn from every common web analytics system.

Job search websites and other external URLs with job openings: Job search websites often have a greater reach than their own career page and can be very different in regards to the target group. From there, there are two ways the potential applicants can come to the next funnel stage: Either job openings are directly linked to the applicant tracking system (ATS) or the opening is linked to the career page.

Social networks: Career Fanpages like those on Facebook or job openings on Linkedin can also be linked to a company’s ATS. Therefore, we take them into account for the reach calculation.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

A company’s ATS is one of the most important parts in every eRecruitment processes. Many organizations do not even accept any paper applications anymore. In this stage, we distinguish two numbers:

  1. Number of registrations: All users that signed up in the ATS.
  2. Number of submissions: All users that actually submitted a complete application form.

Selection process

Screening stage: Number of candidates after a first screening for further assessments

Number of suitable candidates: Number of candidates that receive a job offer.

Number of Hires: Number of all candidates that actually accept a job offer


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