How to Use Candidate Tracking to Make Your Recruitment Process More Effective

A manager checks on job applicants as part of his company's applicant tracking process.

You could have hundreds of applicants for one job opening. To complicate matters, it’s likely that candidates will apply from multiple job boards and email your team directly. It’s essential to stay organized so you don’t miss out on top candidates. That’s why candidate tracking—collecting and organizing applicants throughout each stage of the hiring process—is so important.

Fortunately, you can use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automate this process. In addition to filling the role faster, it allows you to gather recruitment metrics that you can use to improve your overall recruitment process. For example, you may identify ways you can increase efficiency, decrease costs, and optimize your ability to attract and retain candidates.

Now that you know the benefits of tracking, you probably want to get started. Use this guide to make the most of your ATS and the data it provides.

What is an ATS?

An ATS is software that you can use to collect, compare, evaluate, and track applicants throughout the hiring process. It makes candidate tracking easy. Most of the software options make it easier for candidates to apply by automatically filling in content from their resume and easier for you to discover how they found your job posting by using automated tracking links.

The ATS software is able to track data by automatically creating a unique tag at the end of every link. The tag facilitates source tracking, meaning you can see how each candidate discovered your job posting and track their journey.

One of the main benefits of the software is that it makes the normally time-consuming resume screening process more efficient. You can select keywords and phrases that are relevant to the job, such as specific skills, credentials, and job titles. The software will scan all the resumes for the keywords and phrases, so you only need to review candidates that are likely to be qualified.

Some of the software options rank applicants based on the number of keywords and phrases in their resume so you can quickly identify candidates to interview. Most ATS software options make it easy to send automated rejection emails, schedule interviews, and share interview notes with the various decision-makers. You can sort candidates to see who has made it to each stage of the recruitment process and collect valuable demographic data and recruitment metrics.

Best Recruitment Metrics for Candidate Tracking

There are dozens of recruitment metrics you can use to improve your hiring process. It’s beneficial to collect the metrics for each individual job posting as well as your overall hiring actions for a set timeframe such as a month, quarter, or year. Here are some of the most insightful metrics:

1. Application Completion Rate

It’s likely that some people will start your application but not submit it. This metric is the percentage of people who complete the application. A low application completion rate may signal that your application is hard to fill out or takes too long to complete. Consider whether it is mobile-friendly and the time it takes to apply. Your rate may increase if you eliminate cover letters, questions to answer, and assessments.

2. Time to Hire

This is the amount of time it takes from posting to hiring. Look at the average amount of time it takes to get through each stage of the recruitment funnel and how you can improve efficiency. For example, you could create an employee referral program to attract qualified candidates faster and have fewer interview rounds per candidate.

3. Time to Fill

This metric shows the value of using candidate tracking throughout the entire hiring process. How long did it take from the time your new hire sent their application to the day they received their offer letter? If the process takes a long time, top candidates may accept another offer.

4. Sourcing Channel

This is where the tracking links come in handy. You can see how many candidates come from each job board, your company website, employee referrals, and individual social media platforms. Next, look at how most new hires found the opening. You may want to spend more of your time and money on what is drawing in the most-and best-candidates.

5. Offer Acceptance Rate

What percentage of people accept your job offer? Candidates may decline your offer if the salary was too low, they signed another offer, or some other reason.

Think of ways you can improve your acceptance rate, such as offering a competitive salary, sharing the salary range earlier in the hiring process, and strengthening your company culture. (If you can’t offer the high-end of the salary range, consider offering equity and other attractive perks and benefits.)

6. Interviews Per Hire

This metric shows the value of using candidate tracking beyond the resume screening stage. How many interviews did your team conduct to make one hire?

If it’s a high number, think about whether you can improve your resume and phone screening process to eliminate candidates before they go through the formal interview process and whether you can decrease the number of interview rounds. For example, you could have one interview with the hiring manager and then two short back-to-back interviews with any other decision-makers or a panel interview.

7. Cost Per Hire

This is the average amount of money you need to spend per hire. Consider external costs like job board fees, staffing agency fees, and ads and internal costs related to your ATS, candidate travel, recruitment events, and employee referral bonuses. Divide the total costs by the number of hires for a set time frame. Consider ways you can decrease costs like hiring in-house and offering virtual interviews for people who are out of state.

8. Candidate Experience

If candidates have a poor candidate experience, it can harm your employer brand. Understanding what works and what doesn’t work is crucial.

Send a short survey to candidates (either all or just those you hire) or include a link to the survey on your career page. You could ask candidates to rate different aspects of the hiring process, such as the initial application or the interview, or simply ask for feedback on the overall experience. Use what you learn to make changes, whether it’s training hiring managers on interview best practices, reducing interview rounds, or eliminating lengthy assessments.

9. New Hire Turnover Rate

If you stop the candidate tracking process after the person signs an offer letter, you’ll miss this crucial metric. The new hire turnover rate is the percentage of new hires that quit or are let go during a set time frame compared to the total number of hires during the same time.

It’s beneficial to calculate the monthly, quarterly, and annual turnover rate for a given year. The hiring and onboarding process can be time-consuming and expensive, so it’s helpful to conduct exit interviews with new hires who quit and ensure all new hires have the support and training necessary to be successful.

Learn More Best Practices for Recruiting Top Talent

Now you know how to use candidate tracking to fill roles faster and collect recruitment metrics that will improve your overall recruitment process. Continue to strengthen your team by implementing expert hiring and management advice from Monster.