sourcing metrics


Sourcing Metrics for Hiring Developers: What They Are, When To Use Them & How

When sourcing developers, be it to expand your tech team or build one from scratch, it is crucial that you have efficient recruitment processes in place. The key to achieving this is to utilize sourcing metrics, which refer to various criteria through which the effectiveness of a company’s recruitment strategies is measured. Applying these metrics and reviewing them in a timely manner optimizes a company’s employment procedure, and ensures that only the most qualified and best-suited candidates are acquired.

Most companies utilize a variety of sourcing strategies, ranging from social media outreach and job listings to more hands-on techniques such as recruitment emails and cold-calls.

Implementing sourcing metrics to assess the effectiveness of all such techniques and platforms will allow businesses to spot which channels yield the best results so as to allocate more resources towards them, or make improvements where needed. 


How Do Sourcing Metrics Work?


Sourcing metrics assess a recruitment strategy using three primary measurements: sourcing productivity, sourcing quality, and sourcing cost. Each of these measures the efficacy of a sourcing strategy in both a quantitative and qualitative manner. And when evaluated together, reveal the true ROI of any given one.

  • Sourcing Quality refers to the adequacy of a hiring strategy reflected throughout the steps of its implementation. It takes into consideration various factors denoting the hireability of applicants generated by a sourcing channel.
  • Sourcing Costs are all the relevant resources, be it time, funds, or efforts, expended in the pursuit of a sourcing strategy. For instance, ad spend per platform, the amount of emails sent or calls made, and so on.
  • Sourcing Productivity refers to the results of a hiring strategy in relation to its costs, i.e the resources spent to achieve a certain outcome, and the quality of that thereof. 

In other words, these metrics determine whether a particular strategy is more trouble than it is worth or whether the opposite is true. As such, it can be said that:

Sourcing Quality/ Sourcing Cost = Sourcing Productivity

These metrics are found within two further subcategories.


Conversion Rate


This measures the percentage of candidates who progress from one stage of the hiring pipeline to the next. It is a direct reflection of the quality generated by different sourcing efforts, and thus their productivity. The hiring pipeline consists of all the stages from the initial implementation of a sourcing strategy to finalizing a hire. Two of those most crucial measurements are as follows.


Response Rate 



Response Rate



This metric measures the effectiveness of hiring tactics in terms of the engagement they elicit from candidates. The higher the response rate, the more productive that particular technique is for reaching out to prospective hires. 

For example, if contacting 20 candidates via LinkedIn generates 10 responses, a company’s (or recruiter’s) LinkedIn profile has a response rate of 50%. This would be noted as 30% more effective than, say, cold-calling if 30 calls are followed by only 6 applications, demonstrating a response rate of 20%. 

Aside from streamlining the recruitment process in the way of timeliness, by determining and utilizing channels that deliver a higher response, this metric also increases the chances of hiring those most suitable for remote and/or teamwork-oriented roles; as more responsive candidates will be more collaborative team members. 


Acceptance Rate


Acceptance Rate


This metric determines the quality of a sourcing strategy based on the likeliness of the candidates it sources to accept a job offer. The higher the acceptance rate, the more productive a channel is for finding compatible candidates. 

Calculating the percentage of candidates that move from the response stage to the interview stage is a similar indicator of a recruitment channel’s level of efficiency. The equation for such would replace the number of offers as the denominator with the number of interviews conducted.

These metrics provide insight into each stage of the recruitment process; revealing any cogs and establishing which channels are better at sourcing viable candidates. To accurately gauge the sourcing productivity of a strategy, it is equally important to establish the speed at which a candidate moves through these stages.


Pipeline Speed


This measurement calculates how much time it takes for candidates from a certain recruitment channel to progress through each stage of the hiring process. Determining this will reveal how productive a single channel is by estimating how long it takes to deliver a final product – aka, secure a hire.

For instance, if a candidate was first contacted on the 1st of January 2023 and they accepted an offer on the 1st of June 2023, the pipeline speed would be 6 months, which is relatively slow and thus not productive. A company must then take a look at what sourcing strategy was employed to achieve this timeline and compare it to another that yielded a faster one. Upon establishing this, tweaks can be made to optimize the former or it can be scrapped entirely in favor of allocating more resources to channels that can result in more timely hiring. 


How to Use Sourcing Metrics to Optimize Sourcing Strategies


Once the Conversion Rate and Pipeline Speed pertaining to each of a company’s sourcing strategies have been calculated, optimization can begin. 

For instance, if a recruitment tactic’s response rate is low, but its acceptance rate is high, it is an indication that while said channel is sourcing compatible candidates, the company needs to work on their approach and/or first impression when contacting potential hires. This can involve updating a company’s or recruiter’s profile through which they contact candidates, improving their messaging format, or even filtering the number of candidates contacted as reaching out to a high number of candidates regardless of their qualifications can have a diluting effect on the accuracy of response rates. 

Conversely, if the response rates generated by a strategy are high while the amount of candidates hired is low, this indicates that said sourcing channel is not producing the right kind of talent. This tells us that it is important to identify the areas in which a sourcing strategy is lacking so as to avoid losing out on high-quality recruits.

It is also possible for a high amount of hires to be met with high turnover later. This is an indication of problems not only within a recruitment channel but also in the review and interview stages of the hiring process. Ensuring that a company has the right vetting procedures in place that complement its nature and that of the positions they are screening for is thus imperative. For instance, recruiters for a software development company must be equipped with relevant questions to ask before hiring developers, rather than conducting a generic candidate interview.  


Employee Referral Rate


Employee referrals are an additional and preferred method of recruitment among most companies as they have been proven to generate the highest quality employees whilst saving time and cost, making it the most productive sourcing strategy. It is thus important for companies to have a good referral program in place, the efficiency of which can be determined by calculating the percentage of referral talent in the candidate pool. 

Referral Candidates/ Total Number of Candidates = Employee Referral Rate

If a company’s employee referral rate is high, it is likely that all other stages of the recruitment process will be smoother and faster. Creating an effective employee referral program is thus a highly effective strategy for maintaining consistent access to top-quality candidates.


How Should Sourcing Metrics Be Prioritized?


On account of the numerous productivity metrics a company can evaluate, it is important to determine when and to what extent these metrics should be prioritized based on the type of role a company is looking to fill. 

For example, certain metrics will be more important than others when hiring junior employees versus senior ones. A fast pipeline speed for instance is less important when recruiting for senior-level positions as in this case, a company should prioritize quality over speed. Thus, a channel through which acceptance rates and the amount of candidates recruited are higher is preferable to one with a higher response rate or shorter pipeline speed. When it comes to lower-level positions, on the other hand, quality is less of a concern than affordability and accessibility of talent, making higher response rates and lower sourcing costs more attractive.

Similarly, remote companies should have different hiring strategies and thus prioritize different sourcing metrics to that of on-site ones. Hiring strategies for remote work should give more importance to channels that garner a higher response rate for instance, as such positions require personnel that are receptive. For on-site or hybrid companies however, responsive candidates would not be as big of a concern as higher-quality ones given that they have a smaller talent pool to choose from.

As such, when utilizing sourcing metrics, it is important to keep in mind the specific requirements of both a position as well as that of a company as a whole. 




In summary, utilizing sourcing metrics, and prioritizing them in a relevant manner, keep a business’s recruitment processes efficient and on track. They ensure that company resources are not being wasted or incorrectly directed whilst promoting a steady flow of suitable recruits.

It is clear that sourcing strategies can have a make-or-break effect on the efficiency of a company’s hiring processes, and sourcing metrics must be used to ensure the former. While there is now recruitment software such as Workable available to do the heavy lifting, sourcing metrics are no less vital for ensuring that you’ve chosen the right one for your business. 

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