How Many Candidates Does it Take to Find Your Next Employee?

Date: March 29, 2017

If it seems like it takes your small business a long time to find the best candidates, you’re in good company.

A new report from employee recruitment software company Lever finds that on average, small businesses need to go through 86 applications before hiring the right person. That might seem like a lot, but the Washington Post reports that larger companies need to interview at least 100 candidates.


Those 86 candidates can come from numerous places, including applicants on your website, job posting boards, recruitment agencies and referrals. However you find your candidates, the survey from Lever found that some applicants are more likely to get an interview than others. Only 13 percent of applicants, those who just submitted a resume, were selected to talk further; 57 percent of referrals and 59 percent of agency candidates were selected for initial interviews.

The survey also found that, even once you’ve found the most successful candidate for the job, you aren’t done. 31 percent of candidates that were offered a job turned that job down. Candidates in customer success, design, and sales had the highest job acceptance rates, while candidates in engineering, product management, and business development had the lowest acceptance rates.

“This research shows businesses must simultaneously nurture their networks for referrals, source passive candidates, improve the quality of their incoming applications, and have backup offers at the ready,” said CEO and co-founder of Lever Sarah Nahm in a press release. “‘The smaller the team, the higher the stakes’ and the SMBs that apply this mentality to their hiring process will be the ones who succeed.”

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