New Research Shows Only One in 100 Candidates is Hired; Referred Candidates Nearly 10 Times as Likely to be Hired as Applicants

New study from Lever examines hiring trends across millions of candidates; details hiring ratio, average time to hire and the importance of referrals and proactive sourcing

SAN FRANCISCO and CHICAGO, Oct. 05, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On average only one in every 100 candidates is hired, but the odds vary dramatically between candidates who are referred to the company (one in 16), submitted by an agency (one in 22), proactively sourced (one in 72) or apply via a company’s careers site or job postings (one in 152). 

These are just some of the findings revealed in a new recruiting study from Lever, the recruiting software for more than 1,000 fast-growing companies around the world including Netflix, Lyft, Eventbrite and Shopify. Lever’s report examines sourcing and hiring data over a 12-month period encompassing more than four million candidate considerations, and explores key recruiting metrics such as candidate to hire ratio, average number of interviews, average time to hire, and candidate archive reasons.

The full report, entitled “The Little Grey Book of Recruiting Benchmarks”, is available for download now at  

Key findings include:

  • Company size impacts candidate to hire ratio. Companies with less than 100 employees have a candidate to hire ratio of one in every 94 candidates – showing greater hiring efficiency. Companies with more than 1000 employees typically have to evaluate 129 candidates before they make a hire.
  • The average candidate goes through four interviews (and spends three hours and 44 minutes interviewing). Companies spend the longest amount of time interviewing technical candidates (e.g., product manager hires spend five hours and 29 minutes interviewing, compared to sales hires who average three hours and one minute in interviews).
  • The median time from when a successful candidate enters the pipeline to when they are hired is 34 days. For companies with over 1,000 employees, the median time to hire is 41 days, or 21 percent longer.
  • Almost half – 45 percent of all candidates – are categorized as “under qualified” by recruiters. Proactively sourced candidates are the least likely to be under qualified (only 22 percent are), while applicants are the most likely to be under qualified (52 percent).

“For some time now, talent acquisition teams have been increasing their focus on proactively sourcing candidates and encouraging employee referrals,” said Sarah Nahm, CEO and co-founder of Lever. “Today’s findings prove that those efforts are worthwhile, and paying off. Our goal in publishing this data is to help talent leaders understand how they stack up compared to their peers, and consider how their recruiting process unfolds from the candidate perspective. In an era of data-driven recruiting, those who take the time to measure and benchmark their efforts are likely to reap dividends.”

The report also found:

  • Proactive candidate sourcing has become mainstream. Sourced candidates make up the second most common origin of hire across every company size (average of 31 percent) behind inbound candidate applications (average of 50 percent).
  • Different roles are hired at different rates across candidate origins
    • Engineers are the likeliest to come in via agency (5 percent), second likeliest to be sourced (37 percent) and least likely to be applicants (just 38 percent of hires apply)
    • Recruiters are the most commonly sourced of any role (39 percent) and the least likely to be referred (just 13 percent of hires).
    • Account Managers are the most likely to be referred (26 percent of hires) and are among the least likely to be sourced (17 percent).

This report aggregates data from more than four million candidate considerations from August 2015 to July 2016. All data is used in aggregate and anonymously; no specific company or candidate data was exposed during the analysis.

About Lever, Inc.
Built from the conviction that recruiting is the responsibility of everyone at the company, Lever’s applicant tracking and sourcing technology draws the entire team together to source, engage, interview, and hire top talent through effortless collaboration. Lever was founded in 2012 in San Francisco. The company has raised more than $32 million in funding from Scale Venture Partners, Matrix Partners, Y Combinator, Redpoint Ventures, and Correlation Ventures among others. Lever supports the hiring needs of over 1,000 companies around the globe including the teams at Netflix, Yelp, Lyft, and Quora. The company was recently named a Forbes “Rising Star” as part of the first-ever Forbes 2016 Cloud 100, and received the InfluenceHR Brand Velocity Award as the fastest-growing, most disruptive brand in Talent Acquisition. For more information, visit  


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