How to Quickly Measure Conversion Rates

Everyone needs to receive feedback about their job. Am I doing well? Am I fulfilling my team and leader’s expectations? Feedback can take many forms, although I tend to think that for us sourcers and recruiters, the best feedback is a hired candidate. There is nothing more valuable than that.

But what if you currently have fewer hires than you wish (we have all been there!)? How do you check to see if you’re doing your job well?

What comes in handy are metrics, especially conversion rates. I’m pretty sure that everybody has heard of them, and some of us track them, but how do we track them effortlessly and efficiently?

In essence, a conversion rate is a proportion of candidates that went from one stage of the recruitment process to another. For example, the response rate is the number of people who replied to your message compared to a number of messages sent. You can measure the conversion rate on each step:

  1. Messages to phone screens,
  2. Phone screens to candidates recommended,
  3. Recommendations to interviews,
  4. Interviews to offers,
  5. Offers to hires

This is where having a good ATS system pays its dividends. If only you remember to track every candidate and every step correctly and in a timely fashion, you can generate a report in a few seconds. Below is an example from Lever:

What if you do not have access to specialized (and sometimes expensive) tools? It is a common situation with many freelancers, after all. For those, I want to show you a simple method of calculating response rate, using Excel (or Google Sheets in my case):

Calculating Response Rate, Using Excel

First things first, you need to have a sheet, where you’ll keep all the vital information. I invite you to craft your tables according to your preferences, but most likely, you will need at least those:

  • Name
  • Information about the type of message you sent
  • Information about reply – (for example: empty= no response, y = yes, I want to talk, n = no, I don’t want to talk).

Take a look at an example below:

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As you can see on the right side of the sheet, there is a color-coded table that will automatically show me two metrics: response rate and the percent of positive replies. Once you prepare your sheet correctly, the only thing you need to do is to put data in there regularly, as soon as you get a reply. Your formula will do the rest.

You can add almost everything to this sheet, by making an “additional info” column and putting more data there. One of the better ideas could be to routinely keep track of how many candidates decide to stop the process while there were already engaged and for what reasons.

Having data is all hunky-dory, but numbers on their own never tell us well, anything without their context. This is why you need to have a benchmark. Only then you will be able to gauge your performance against a set standard.

Where to get it? Ask your colleagues, ask other recruiters on the internet, source on the internet to get the answer, and remember that it will differ depending on the industry you work in. You also should always be your benchmark and analyze past performance.

If you ever doubted if measuring conversion rates is essential, please, do not. It is one of the most vital pieces of aggregate information about my job I am watching daily. Perhaps you’ll need to introduce some changes to cozy up to excel sheets for your calculations, but believe me, hiring managers (all managers) love numbers. They are always super happy to see data, and once you have such report, you can give it to them within few minutes (remember – always refer to the benchmark when you give them your reports! Your leader needs context to read data just as much as you do).

Karolina is a Tech Recruiter (Full-stack) at Bee Talents, Trainer at RocketHive. Her field of expertise is IT Recruitment so she also spends hours reading about computer science, programming languages, and infrastructure, trying to translate difficult terms to non-tech analogies.

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