By Strategic Human Resources, Inc. 

Since there isn’t a universal formula for calculating recruitment performance and costs, you will need to determine what costs you want to track and attribute to your hiring efforts. There are many direct and indirect costs that you should consider when calculating the total costs. These include the following:


These are costs incurred to source for candidates using print ads, online job posting boards, and/or resume banks. Be sure you divide the cost of these sources by the number of positions you are filling that use the source in order to have a true cost for a specific hire.


These are costs associated with the time and expense for your staff to handle and review resumes and applicants for a particular position, including:

  • administrative staff time to open, respond to, and route resumes to the hiring team. To calculate this time, figure out an average cost per resume and track how many resumes are received for each job to calculate the administrative cost per job.

  • hiring team/recruiter time spent screening resumes and followinging up as needed. Similar to administrative costs, this can be calculated per resume/applicant to determine an average cost.

  • time spent on preliminary phone interviews or pre-screens. Look at how many were conducted and the time spent by the recruiter to prepare, conduct, summarize, and communicate the results of those interviews.

  • automated applicant tracking program. If you have one, this is an indirect cost that you may choose to prorate across your hires for a specific period of time, somewhat like depreciating a new computer on your taxes.


These are costs associated with the interview, including time spent scheduling interviews and reimbursed travel expenses and accommodations for the hiring team and/or the interviewee.

  • Remember to include the number of staff members involved in the interviews, their time spent per interview, and the number of interviews they attended to determine the average cost of the interviewers’ time.


Hiring expenses include:

  • time and expense associated with the follow-up of candidates, both during negotiations and to notify those who were not hired.

  • the cost of referral fees from a recruiting agency or from an employee referral.

  • the cost for the new hire to relocate. Some costs may include moving companies, airline tickets, hotel accommodations, temporary housing, house-hunting visits, assistance with selling/buying, or spouse/dependent assistance.

  • the cost for background investigations and/or reference checks and drug screens.

  • the cost of incentives or sign-on bonus for the new employee.

Do not forget to include all the costs to bring someone on board, such as orientation, mentoring, benefits enrollment, computers, cell phones, uniforms, etc. Additionally, your organization may choose not to track some of these costs, but this list is a starting point to help you identify your recruitment costs per hire. The key is to identify what recruitment costs you are going to track and then to consistently track them for all your hires to have an internal comparison from one hire to the next.

Other Considerations

There are other measures you need to consider as you evaluate the overall success of your recruitment performance and what you can do better next time. Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:

  • How long did it take to fill the position from start to hire?

  • What could you have done to reduce the time to hire that would not impact the quality of the hire?

  • What was the impact on productivity while the position was left vacant? This is a very difficult calculation to conduct, especially depending on the position. However, it does have an impact on the hiring manager and the organization as a whole. If it can’t be quantified, at least keep it in mind.

  • How satisfied was the hiring manager/organization with the hire? This assessment can be done following the hiring but should be repeated again 3-6 months after the employee has been on the job to get a real sense of how successful the hire was.

Be sure you review your cost analysis and each of these other measures to identify what you can do differently and capitalize on next time. For example, what was the success of your recruitment sources? Which ones provided the most candidates and more importantly the quality candidates? Which ones did not? You will be glad you took the time to conduct this research.

Strategic Human Resources, Inc. is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached at

About The Protocall Group

Established in 1965, The Protocall Group is a full service recruitment and staffing firm. As a full-service, family-owned and operated business, it has led regional industry in the Greater Philadelphia area and southern New Jersey to much acclaim. Recognized by NJ Biz, South Jersey Biz, and the Best Companies Groups as among the Best Places to Work, Protocall’s expert professionals connect exceptional associates with their client companies across Light Industrial, Healthcare and Professional industries.