Source of Hire: What Is It and How to Measure It?

As a recruiter, you know that sourcing new talent is essential to your success. You also know that it can be challenging to find the best candidates for your organisation.To achieve this, it is crucial to understand where successful candidates come from. It is also equally important to identify which recruitment sources are yielding the best results.

This is where the concept of “source of hire” comes into play.

The source of hire is a recruiting metric that helps you understand from which sources the hired candidates come. It helps to improve your recruiting strategy by identifying the most effective ones.

This blog will discuss what the source of hire is and how to measure it. It will also highlight the advantages and limitations of this metric.

What is the Source of Hire?

Source of hire refers to the specific channel or method through which a candidate discovers a job opening and applies for it. It is used to track and analyze the effectiveness of various recruitment sources in attracting qualified candidates.

What are the Common Recruiting Sources?

The source of hire includes both internal and external channels. Some common sources of hire include:

  • Job boards: Online platforms where employers post job openings, such as Indeed, LinkedIn, or specialised industry-specific job boards.
  • Company career websites: The organisation’s own website, where they list available positions and accept applications directly.
  • Employee referrals: Candidates who are referred to a job by current employees of the company.
  • Social media: Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where employers promote job openings and engage with potential candidates.
  • Recruitment agencies: External agencies or firms that specialize in finding and screening candidates on behalf of employers.
  • Networking events: Industry conferences, job fairs, or other professional events where recruiters and job seekers can connect.
  • Direct sourcing: Proactive sourcing methods, such as reaching out to potential candidates on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Internal transfers or promotions: Existing employees who move or are promoted to different positions within the same organization.

Why Is It Important for Organizations to Track Source of Hire?

The source of hire is significant in the field of recruitment and talent acquisition. Here are some key reasons why it is important:

1. Recruitment Strategy Evaluation

Understanding the source of hire helps organisations optimise their recruitment strategies. By analysing which sources yield the most successful hires, companies can focus their resources and efforts on the most effective channels. This allows for efficient allocation of time, budget, and energy to attract top talent.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

Tracking the source of hire provides insights into the cost-effectiveness of different recruitment channels. It helps organisations identify the sources that provide the best return on investment (ROI) in terms of quality hires. This knowledge allows for informed decision-making on where to invest resources and where to reduce spending. It ultimately maximises the efficiency of recruitment budgets.

3. Targeted Candidate Sourcing

Understanding the sources of hire provides valuable information on where to find and engage with the desired candidate pool. Different positions may attract candidates from specific sources or channels. By identifying the most effective sources for specific roles, recruiters can tailor their sourcing strategies. Accordingly, they can ensure that they reach and attract candidates with the right skills and qualifications.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making

By tracking and analysing the source of hires, organisations can make data-driven decisions in their recruitment efforts. They can evaluate the effectiveness of different recruitment channels, compare performance over time, and identify trends in candidate sourcing. This data allows for informed decision-making, enabling continuous improvement of recruitment strategies and practises.

How to Calculate Source of Hire?

To calculate the source of hire, you can use the following formula:

Percentage of Hires from a Source = (Number of Hires from the Source / Total Number of Hires) x 100

Here is how you can apply this formula:

  • Create a table with two columns: “Source” and “Number of Hires.”
  • List the different recruitment sources in the “Source” column.
  • Count the number of hires attributed to each source and record it in the “Number of Hires” column.
  • Calculate the total number of hires by summing up the values in the “Number of Hires” column.
  • Add a third column titled “Percentage of Hires.”
  • For each source, apply the formula mentioned earlier to calculate the percentage of hires from that source.
  • Interpret the data in the table to understand the contribution of each source in the overall hiring process.
SourceNumber of HiresPercentage of Hires
Job Board25(25 / 50) x 100 = 50%
Employee Referral15(15 / 50) x 100 = 30%
Social Media10(10 / 50) x 100 = 20%

By using this formula, you can quantitatively analyse the distribution of hires across different sources. It also helps gain insights into the effectiveness of each source in the hiring process.

How to Track Source of Hire?

There are several methods you can use to track the source of hire. It is often beneficial to use a combination of these methods to ensure comprehensive tracking of the source of hire.

1. Application Forms:

Include a field in your application form where candidates can select or specify how they heard about the job. This allows you to directly capture the source of hire information from the candidates themselves.

2. Referral Programs:

Implement an employee referral program where employees can refer candidates for open positions. Have a mechanism in place to track the source of these referrals, typically through an internal referral portal or system.

3. Analytics Tools:

Utilise website analytics tools such as Google Analytics or similar platforms to track the source of website traffic. These tools can provide insights into how candidates are reaching your website or job postings. It also includes the specific sources that drive traffic.

4. Source Code Tagging:

Implement source code tagging on your career website or job postings. Assign a unique source code to each recruitment source and embed it in the URLs or links. This allows you to track the specific source when candidates access your website or apply for a job.

5. Candidate Surveys:

Conduct surveys with candidates to gather information about the source from which they learned about your job openings or organisation. This method can provide additional insights and validation of the source of the hire data.

6. Applicant Tracking System (ATS):

Utilise an ATS that allows you to capture and track the source of hire information for each candidate. Many modern ATS platforms provide built-in features to facilitate source tracking and reporting.

Limitations of Source of Hire

While tracking the source of hire provides valuable insights, it is important to acknowledge its limitations. Here are some limitations of the source of hire metric:

1. Attribution Challenges

Determining the exact source of hire can be challenging, especially in cases where candidates come across multiple channels before applying. It can be difficult to accurately attribute the hire to a single source. For example, a candidate may initially find a job opening on a job board. But later, they may apply through the company’s career website. In such cases, the source of hire may be ambiguous or require subjective judgement.

2. Incomplete Data

Tracking the source of hire relies on accurate and complete data collection. However, organizations may face challenges in obtaining complete data due to various reasons. These reasons may include candidates not providing accurate source information or inconsistencies in recording the source of hire. Incomplete or inaccurate data can lead to biased or unreliable conclusions.

3. External Influences

The source of hire metric does not consider external factors that may influence a candidate’s decision to apply. Factors such as word-of-mouth, reputation, or prior interactions with the company may play a significant role in a candidate’s decision to apply. But these factors are not captured by the source of the hire metric alone.

4. Contextual Factors

The effectiveness of different sources of hire can vary depending on industry, location, job level, or specific organisational needs. What works for one organisation may not necessarily work for another. Therefore, the source of the hire metric may not provide a universal benchmark or comparison across organisations.


Knowing your source of hire metrics can help analyse the recruiting channels that are giving you the most qualified candidates. It helps to boost your resources for maximum results and drop or tweak ineffective hiring channels. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts