How to Measure Your Recruiting Performance (Part 1 of 2)

by Allison Reilly

measuring your recruitingYou can't improve what you can't measure, and your recruiting performance isn't any different. Without the right recruiting metrics, your organization won't have the information it needs to assess its recruiting process and make the necessary improvements. In the first of this two-part series, we're going to show you how to measure your recruiting performance, starting with defining your goals, metrics and infrastructure.

Defining Your Goals

Everyone wants their recruiting performance to be better, faster, and/or cheaper than before. Those goals are possible to achieve, but they aren't very good goals. What does "better," "faster" or "cheaper" actually mean? How will you know that your recruiting performance is faster or better than last month or last year?

To define your goals more specifically, your organization needs to pick two or three issues that are the most important or urgent. Take the time to talk to your team, managers and departments heads to determine those top two or three issues. Even if you're able to come up with a list of issues on your own, speaking with your team will help to crystallize the company's priorities. Once the top issues are chosen, then your organization's goals can be defined around those issues and around your organization's biggest recruiting needs.

Defining Your Metrics

Defining your metrics is much more than deciding what you're going to measure. Defining your metrics also means setting a baseline of where your organization is currently and where you were previously. Once those two things are in place, your organization can decide on where it wants those metrics to be within the next six months, 12 months, or within any other specified time period.

There are four basic types of metrics: averages, totals, medians and targets. Your company can use these basic metrics to come up with metrics specific to your company's needs and goals, such as a target for the number of hires coming from referrals, or the average time it takes from interviewing a candidate to making an offer. There are also the common recruiting metrics, such as recruiting cost, signal to noise ratio and cycle time.

To define your metrics and to connect them to your core issues and goals, ask yourself and your organization the following questions:

  • Do you have historical data that will allow you to go back in time and set trends and baselines?
  • Do you have mechanisms in place to track the metric, and if not, what will it take to implement them? A survey is a mechanism that is easy to implement, but some metrics may require technology. We’ll look into this more in a minute.
  • Do you have a sense of the goal of the metric? It helps to have an idea of where you think the metric needs to be.
  • Most importantly, if the metric improves, does it really mean that you have solved the issue at hand?

Keep in mind that your metrics aren't set in stone. If, after a few weeks or months, you find that the metrics you chose or created don't tell you what you need to know about your specific issues (and how to improve them), then feel free to change them and choose or create a better metric.

Defining Your Infrastructure

By infrastructure, we mean the system or technology you will use to keep track of the data for each of your metrics. The default system may be an applicant tracking system, but depending on your organization's metrics and needs, an ATS might not be the best option. After all, an ATS isn't going to fix bad data. An ATS also isn't going to bring consistency and discipline, two qualities that are needed to ensure that your data is cumulative, accurate, and able to provide a historical snapshot of what's happening within your company's recruiting performance.

Your organization's reporting infrastructure should be able to provide data in three ways:

  • Snapshot: Where are you now? Examples of snapshot metrics would be percentage of jobs at or ahead of plan, the current recruiting cost ratio, or the average days open of active job searches.
  • Cumulative: What’s the total over a time period? Examples include hiring manager satisfaction quarter to date, average days to accept for hires made this month, or the average cost per hire over the last 30 days.
  • Trend: Are you headed up or down? If your average hiring managers satisfaction over the last 30 days is 7 out of 10, what was it one, two, four, or eight weeks ago? By capturing historical snapshots or cumulative data, you can create a historical trend to project how things are improving.

Once your organization has defined its goals, metrics and infrastructure, the next steps are to define the solution and to execute the plan. We're going to go over the last two steps in the second and final part of this series.

download recruiting metrics paper

photo credit: flazingo_photos via photopin cc

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