2024 Recruiting Metrics Report: Benchmark Data & by Industry

In CareerPlug’s fifth annual Recruiting Metrics Report, we continue to analyze our hiring data to shed light on hiring metrics and trends for small businesses across various industries. Our team analyzed hiring activity in 2023 from more than 60,000 small business owners — covering more than 10 million job applications.

In this report, you will find analysis of data covering the hiring funnel from initial job posting through hire, organized by industry.

This report will establish industry-level benchmarks for key hiring metrics, including:

  • Average click and application rates
  • Conversion rates from click to application, from application to interview, and from interview to hire
  • The number of applicants typically needed to make one hire
  • The average time it takes to contact applicants — and how long it typically takes to contact a hire
  • The top sources for applicants and hires
  • The times of the year that are most likely to produce the highest application rates

Take an in-depth look at the results of our study by downloading the free 2024 Recruiting Metrics Report.

2024 Recruiting Metrics Report: Benchmark Data by Industry

See how your company’s hiring and recruiting stats compare to others in your industry and learn tips for what you can do to make the right hires.


The Labor Market of 2023

Economists have witnessed an interesting dichotomy in recent years. Even though some signs have pointed to an impending recession, the labor market has held strong, and unemployment (typically a leading indicator of recession conditions) has remained at an all time low. 

2023 was a great year for the labor market, with a total of 2.7 million jobs added and an average unemployment rate of 3.7%. It’s predicted that things will slow down a bit in 2024, and that the unemployment rate will reach closer to 4%. 

labor market report

Graph source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job seekers have more options these days than ever before, and many employees are relishing in wage increases across the board. The increasing demands of job seekers and employees have pushed employers to make positive changes to their hiring processes and work environments to hire and retain their teams. 

We hope that the hiring data in our latest Recruiting Metrics Report empowers small businesses with insights and advice on how they can better shape their hiring practices to make the right hires – even in a very competitive labor market.

Key hiring metrics 

In analyzing the data, we found that the following hiring process metrics revealed the most significant takeaways. 

Clicks-to-apply ratio

With the influx of new jobs created, applicants had plenty of options to choose from. In 2023, the click-to-apply conversion rate averaged 5% across all industries. This is up slightly from last year’s average of 3%, which means that employers are converting more job seekers to applicants.  

average click-to-apply rates for job postings

Applicant-to-interview ratio

The applicant-to-interview ratio in 2023 was 2%. This means that for every 100 applicants a job posting received, 2 of those applicants were invited to interview for the role. This is a lower number than employers would like to see, and oftentimes can be a sign of unqualified candidates or interview ghosting plaguing the hiring process.

Interview-to-hire ratio

The interview-to-hire ratio in 2023 was 36%. This is down slightly from last year, but when you consider that just 2% of applicants were invited to interview in the first place, having an interview-to-hire conversion rate of 36% means that employers are far more efficient later in the hiring process.

applicant-to-interview and interview-to-hire conversion rates

What are the best times of year to post jobs?

We saw a fairly steady rate of applicants month over month. As usual, the first half of the year was a little slower with applicant counts averaging in the 50s and 60s. June to November saw the most applicants, with a sizable dip in December. 

best time of month to hire

Where are the best places to post jobs?

Job boards are the most common source for applicants, producing an average of 60% of applications across all industries in our analysis. If absolute volume is your goal, posting your job to job boards is your best bet. But despite being the source of most applicants, job boards do not produce hires at nearly the same rate as other sources.

best places to post jobs

Job boards produce quantity, but not always quality

The reasons for these stark differences in applicant-to-hire ratios based on source may vary, but our experience shows us that applicants who apply from job boards are more likely to be sending out dozens applications in short order, with less consideration for their qualifications for the role or their interest in the specific job. 

An applicant who takes the time to research a role and apply directly through a company careers page is more likely to have spent time considering their own fit for the role and the company, and an applicant who is referred to a job by an employee is much more likely to be familiar and engaged with your employer brand. And while custom sources vary among industries, employers that use them consistently find high-quality candidates they may not have found on the major job boards.

How to Improve Your Hiring in 2024

1. Build your employer brand and showcase it on your careers page.

Company careers pages are a hugely successful source of hires, but an underutilized source of applicants overall. Candidates who take the time to research a company tend to be high-quality candidates who are more selective about where they choose to apply. Invest in creating an engaging and attractive careers page that showcases employee testimonials, aspects of your company culture, and your core values

careers page example

2. Create a job marketing strategy that doesn’t rely on job boards.

Compile a list of custom sources like industry-specific job boards, community message boards, local and university job boards, and email campaigns to customers. Compile another list of employees, friends, and colleagues in your personal network to reach out for referrals. Our data shows these sources produce the highest-quality candidates, yet the lowest percentage of applicants. Plan on targeting them before your next round of hiring. 

3. Develop a passive recruiting strategy so you don’t miss out on great candidates. 

In 2023, many industries missed out on the highest applicant volume. At CareerPlug, we have a saying, “Always be hiring.” This refers to creating a passive recruiting strategy, where you have a pipeline of ideal candidates waiting in the wings. This can look like storing the contact information of candidates you were impressed by but didn’t hire and posting a job to your careers page or website that’s labeled as a “future opening” so you can accept applications all year long. 

4. Communicate with candidates faster.  

Our data shows that over the last 3 years, small businesses have been speeding up their hiring processes as competition in the labor market increases. In 2023, you’ll want to move fast before your competition scoops up quality candidates. Try text recruiting to communicate with candidates faster. Text messages receive an 8 times higher response rate than email, along with a much faster response time. An applicant tracking system like CareerPlug can also help you quickly evaluate candidates using a proven hiring process, allowing you to accelerate your hiring decisions without sacrificing quality.

5. Use hiring software with automations to reduce candidate ghosting.

One major pain point that employers report year after year is an increase in candidate ghosting – when candidates stop responding to businesses after submitting an application and drop out of the hiring process without explanation. Candidate ghosting can lead to low applicant-to-interview conversion rates. Consider using automated interview scheduling software to instantly engage high-quality candidates early in the hiring process, while also identifying unengaged applicants you shouldn’t waste your time on.

Simplify Hiring with CareerPlug

Need to improve your own recruiting metrics? CareerPlug makes it easy. Our applicant tracking system comes with the tools you need to attract applicants, communicate, evaluate, and automate your hiring. Take a tour of our software to learn more!


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Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



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Use our templates to create an attractive careers page and job posting. Then promote it through our job board partners, as well as directly with your employees, customers, and social network.


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Tulay Solak

HR Manager

Tyler Berndsen

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Ashley Johnson

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Originally from small town in central Texas, Ashley Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a degree in Business Administration. She was hired by CareerPlug as a Talent Specialist in 2014, and moved up to ultimately lead the Recruitment Services team. From there, she pivoted to Implementation, and is now the Implementation Manager.

As the Implementation Manager, Ashley and 3 direct reports function as a transition between Sales and Partner Success in helping our clients get set up and established in our software. She spends her free time raising her 2 dogs, playing cornhole, and perfecting the art of charcuterie.

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Andrew Robinson III

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Chris Igou

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Chris accidentally started a 20-year career in franchising when he was 18 years old and took a job painting houses for College Pro Painters. That job turned into the ownership of his first franchise (a house painting franchise). While at Monmouth College in IL, he operated his business, played on the varsity football team, and studied to become a teacher.

The taste of entrepreneurship and desire to coach others led Chris deeper into franchising, working with a few franchise brands helping them grow their businesses. He lived in the Chicagoland area his entire life until recently moving his family to Austin, TX.

In his free time Chris coaches youth sports, especially youth football, and spends as much time as he can with his wife and 2 children.

Jenny Leman


Native to Texas, Jenny graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and joined CareerPlug in 2017. She retired her first career path as a Registered Dietitian after 10 years, and has found her true belonging in business operations.

As CareerPlug’s President, Jenny leads all teams to an aligned effort toward achieving our vision. She works to build healthy and scalable internal systems to equip and empower the CareerPlug teams to bring their best for our clients. She loves contributing new ideas and rethinking the status quo. Jenny really connects with the company’s core values, but especially with our intent to “Keep Growing.”

In her non-work life, Jenny enjoys time with her family, playing drums and performing with the Austin Samba School, and finding excuses to be on the lake.

Clint Smith

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Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

Clint is passionate about helping others succeed and is involved in numerous mentoring programs. He and his wife, Sarah, are also foster parents. Clint enjoys family time, beach volleyball, and outdoor adventures.