The Real Numbers in Recruitment

We replaced our recruitment ATS a few years ago, and this month we hit the 4,000th placement in the system. Out of curiosity, I had a look at the other numbers – the number of candidates and the number of applications (candidates often apply for more than one position). Here’s the approximate numbers it shows:


4,000 placements

400,000 candidates

1,000,000 applications


Stats don’t lie, 1% of candidates get the job. 0.4% of applications are successful.


If you are a company that uses our recruitment services you are probably happy to see these stats. The numbers justify all the hard work we do – reading resumes, phone interviewing, face to face meeting, cultural matching and skills assessment… screening, working and filtering our way through 99 unsuccessful candidates to find the 1 that is successful and hired.


If you are a candidate though these numbers can be demotivating, especially when looked at it in isolation. This is why it is so important for candidates to do all the small things well – tailor applications, research and prepare for the interview and always ask for feedback. As hard as it sounds, try not to be too disheartened. A few years ago I wrote an article outlining why many good candidates don't even get an interview to help shed some light on it.


If you are a recruiter or are thinking about getting into recruitment, you need to be aware that you must have the ability to say no…. and say no 99 times to every 1 yes. All candidates must be treated with respect and dignity. As recruiters, we sit in positions of judgment and should never take this position on lightly.


Recruitment isn’t an easy job. 99% of candidates we deal with are going to be disappointed. It’s important that recruiters, employers and candidates keep this in mind and treat each other with respect.


James Witcombe

The Candidate Coach

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