Legacy Reports: Understanding candidates per hire

Available for Roles Super Admin, Admin
Permissions Cannot be accessed by users assigned to custom roles
Packages Lever Basic, LeverTRM, LeverTRM for Enterprise


Following the successful launch of Visual Insights a year ago, we are announcing the deprecation of Legacy Reporting. As of October 2023, new users to Lever will not have access to Legacy Reporting. Legacy Reporting will be removed from Lever for current users with next year's Fall Release, targeted for November 2024

Visual Insights will become the default (and only) reporting experience within the Lever platform. If you’re unfamiliar, Visual Insights is a series of ready-to–use dashboards, built from customer feedback and industry best practices. 

Check out this article regarding the transition from Legacy Reporting to Visual Insights. Metrics related to candidates per hire can be found on the Pipeline dashboard in Visual Insights. To learn more, refer to our Pipeline dashboard help article.

If you have any questions or concerns about this upcoming change, please feel free to reach out to your Customer Success Manager or submit a request for assistance.

Whether you are an experienced, data-driven recruiter or just looking into hiring metrics for the first time, Candidates per hire is one of your most important KPIs. Knowing your organization's candidates per hire ratio helps you forecast your hiring process, hit your headcount goals on time, and identify whether you are running an efficient pipeline.

Calculating candidates per hire

Only Super Admins and Admins have access to company-wide data. Recruiters and hiring managers have access to Lever's job posting dashboards, which offer the same data, broken down for a specific role. No matter your level of access, we will show you how to use candidates per hire to hit your goals.

We recommend that you begin by calculating your overall candidates per hire ratio, then calculate that ratio by origin, team and role. Each version of your candidates per hire ratio can be used to evaluate the efficiency of your pipeline in different ways.

Calculating overall candidates per hire for your organization (Admins only)

Candidate stats report with hired candidate tile and date range filter outlined.

Begin in your Candidate stats report under the 'Explore' tab. On the right side of the screen, adjust the date range to your preferred range. To find your overall candidates per hire ratio, simply divide the total number of candidates in your pipeline by the number of hires made during this time. "All candidates" includes everyone who was active in your pipeline during this date range, including candidates who have been moved to the archive. In the example above:

2667 candidates ÷ 38 hires = 70.2 candidates per hire

Calculating overall candidates per hire by origin (Admins only)

Candidate stats by origin report with hired tallies and date range filter outlined

Begin in your Candidate stats report under the 'by origin' tab. On the left side of the screen, make sure you have selected 'All in Stage'. On the right side of the screen, adjust the date range to your preferred range. To find your candidates per hire ratio for each origin, simply divide the "ALL" number of candidates for each origin by the corresponding number of hires made for that origin. In the example above:

43 internal candidates ÷ 4 hires = 10.75 candidates per hire

Calculating overall candidates per hire by team (Admins only)

Candidate stats by team name report with hired tallies and date range filter outlined

Begin in your Candidate stats report under the 'by team' tab. On the right side of the screen, adjust the date range to your preferred range. To find your candidates per hire ratio for each origin, simply divide the "ALL" number of candidates for each origin by the corresponding number of hires made for that origin. In the example above:

378 Customer Success candidates ÷ 12 hires = 31.5 candidates per hire

Calculating overall candidates per hire by job posting (Admins and hiring managers)

Pipeline predictions charts; Candidates per hire chart outlined

Begin in the job posting dashboard for any job posting to which you have access. Scroll down to the 'Pipeline predictions' category to find your candidate per hire ratio for that specific roll.

Calculating candidates per hire by origin by job posting (Admins and hiring managers)

Hired candidates by origin chart

Live image of candidate demographics chart revealing breakdown of candidates by source.

Begin in the job posting dashboard for any job posting to which you have access. At the top of the screen, you will see a summary of the origin of the applicants for that role. Scroll to the 'Candidate demographics' category. Toggle back and forth between between 'All' candidates and 'Hired' candidates. In the example above, you can see that sourced candidates made up slightly less than 50% of the applicants - but all of the hires.

Comparing your numbers to the industry average

Knowing your own numbers is half the battle. Now it is time to see how you compare to other companies of your size, or other companies in your industry. Lever's 2019 Benchmarks Report breaks down recruiting metrics by company size, department/team, and role, so you can always understand how you are faring against your competitors.

For example, if you are a company with 214 employees, you would find the following statistics relevant:

For companies sized 101-500 employees:

  • Overall candidates per hire: 74 candidates (p. 34)
  • Sourced candidates per hire: 34 candidates (p. 34)
  • Applied candidates per hire: 119 candidates (p. 34)
  • Candidates per hire for engineering roles: 113 candidates (p. 36)
  • Candidates per hire for customer service roles: 34 candidates (p. 36)

Using your metrics to drive business outcomes

Once you have identified your own organization's candidates per hire ratio > by origin,compare those metrics to those in Lever's Benchmarks report (page 34). Are your ratios higher or lower than those of other companies your size? Based on your results, use the suggestions below to drive your desired business outcomes.


We recommend you look at your 'origin' metrics first, in order to identify any larger patterns affecting your entire organization's recruiting process. Then dig deeper by team, role, etc. to identify any unique areas of opportunity.

Which business outcome are you trying to solve for?

Too many candidates per hire

Custom application question as it appears to a candidate

Custom questions help under-qualified candidates self-select out of the application process.

Time spent reviewing low-quality candidates who go straight to your archive is time that could be spent attracting qualified candidates or working on other important tasks.

Identify which origin has your highest candidate to hire ratio. Depending on which origin is overwhelming your team, we have a few suggestions to consider:


  • Update your job descriptions to make them more specific - and dissuade under-qualified prospects from applying. To learn how, refer to our help article on creating attractive job descriptions.
  • Add custom application questions to make your dealbreakers clear. To learn how, refer to our help article on custom application questions.
  • Stop relying on "spray and pray"! Use custom URLs to track exactly which job boards, email campaigns and websites are driving the most candidates into your pipeline (check out our help article on sharing postings to custom job boards to learn more). Next, dig further into your candidates per hire by source to see whether there's a specific job board or campaign flooding your account with low-quality applications.


  • Start holding kickoff meetings between your sourcing team and your hiring managers, so sourcers are 100% clear which kind of candidates will be a good fit for a new role.
  • By default, the user who sources a candidate will be the candidate owner. You can view candidates per hire by owner to see whether one of your sourcers is adding too many underperforming candidates. If your organization changes ownership throughout the recruiting process, add a tag like "Sourced by Anna Smith" before changing ownership. Later, you can filter by tag on the Explore page to track sourcer performance.
  • Are your sourcing emails effective? Check out some of our sourcing email templates, or use Lever Nurture to measure the effectiveness of each of your campaigns (to learn more, refer to our Nurture reports help article). For more, see pages 44-45 of our 2019 Benchmarks Report.
  • Focus on re-engaging with unresponsive candidates vs. a "spray and pray" sourcing method. Candidates who do not respond to your first touchpoint frequently respond to follow-up messages - so add multiple touchpoints to your campaign (to learn how, refer to our Nurture campaigns help article). For more, see page 25 of our 2019 Benchmarks Report.


  • Are you over-incentivizing your company's referrals program with bonuses? Consider updating your referral program and limiting your rewards - especially for referrals who were not hired.


  • Revisit your agency partnerships. Are you paying agencies per hire - or per candidate? Make sure you have configured your agency portal to ensure each candidate is attributed to the correct agency. This allows you to identify agencies which continually put forward too many low-quality candidate. To learn more, refer to our agencies help article.

Not enough candidates per hire

Sourcing integration toggles

Use our built-in integrations to source candidates from 20+ platforms.

If you have a low candidate to hire ratio, it might mean that you are hyper-efficient at hiring - or it could mean that you are settling for subpar talent because your pipeline is not offering you a lot of choices.

Identify which origin has your lowest candidate to hire ratio. Depending on which origin is seeing below-average candidate yields, we have a few suggestions to consider:



  • Turn on Lever's built-in integrations with 20+ top sourcing platforms.
  • Install Lever's Chrome extension to keep track of potential leads. Check out our Chrome extension help article to learn more.
  • Use our 2019 Benchmarks Report to set a minimum quota of candidates for an open role. Source a certain percentage of those candidates into your account each week to ensure a steady stream of talent to evaluate.


  • If you have not done so already, consider implementing a referrals program. For guidance on how to get started, check out our tips to get more employee referrals.
  • Are you giving your referrals the attention they need? Our 2019 data revealed that referrals were moving through customers' pipelines slower than average. Learn how to set a service level agreement on response time for an internal referral, to make sure your team feels their referrals are valued. Use our Pipeline speed > by origin report to make sure your referrals are prioritized.


  • Have you launched an internal jobs site yet? While it is exciting to search for outside talent, do not neglect the incredible in-house talent around you. Your colleagues have already proven themselves worthy of hiring, and opportunities for advancement will drive greater retention. To learn more, check out our help article on publishing postings to your internal job site.
  • Consider giving internal candidates a 'head start' before opening new roles to external candidates. Publish a new job posting as 'internal only' and then edit the job posting status to 'External & Internal' once your initial window has closed. To learn how, refer to our help article on job posting statuses.
  • Do not forget to publicize your internal job postings early and often. Flag internal opportunities in Slack, company newsletters, all-hands meetings and more.

Hitting your headcount goals on time

Live image of new candidaets chart being filtered by origin

Use job posting dashboards to track weekly pipeline progress.

Understanding the nuances of each department or team's pipeline will help you develop more accurate forecasting for your headcount plan - and signal when it might be time to adjusts your sails.

For example, say you work at a company with 214 employees, and you need to hire an engineer and a customer service representative within the next 12 weeks. Based on our 2019 Benchmarks, companies your size usually need 113 engineering candidates to make a hire, and 34 customer service candidates to make a hire. Based on this information, you know you will need to:

  • Open the engineering role first, to allow more time for more candidates to apply 
  • Commit to driving 12 engineering candidates and 3 customer service candidates into your pipeline each week
  • Block off more time on your technical recruiters' calendars to screen the engineering candidates, as they will be reading more resumes and scheduling more interviews

Setting the right expectations

Setting realistic timeframes

When recruiters and hiring managers hold a kickoff meeting before opening a role, it provides an opportunity to review the role's historic metrics or those of similar roles in the industry. Set realistic expectations around how many candidates will be needed to fill the role, and how long it will take your team to drive that amount of candidates into your pipeline.

Setting realistic requirements

When candidates per hire ratios are extremely high or low for a particular role, it may indicate your hiring team has unrealistic expectations.

Are you screening out candidates based on true dealbreakers - or is there any room for flexibility? Are you making those dealbreakers clear in your job description, or expecting your candidates to be mind readers? For example, if your team is rejecting hundreds of candidates based on their university background, ask yourself whether that university background is truly a dealbreaker. If so, make sure that your expectations are clearly spelled out in the job description.

Are you searching for a "purple squirrel" - a.k.a. a unique combination of skillsets which does not occur in the wild? Roles with a very low candidates per hire ratio may be searching for a talent pool that does not exist. For example, if you want your candidates to have 5-6 years of experience in a field which is only 4-5 years old, it may be time for your team to revisit whether the years of experience are a must-have, or a nice-to-have.

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