4 Manager Guidelines for Measuring the Effectiveness of Recruiters

How do managers measure the success of recruiters’ efforts? In a quick survey of the companies I work with, I discovered the shocking fact that most of you don’t measure whether your recruiters are doing their job or not. Some measure the number of people hired, or the time it took. Others focus more on cost. And a few measure retention over some time period. While tracking the number of people hired is a nice administrative activity, it adds no value. Time to hire is a useful measure of efficiency and satisfaction, but only if those hired turn out to be good employees after some time. There is only one real measure of the success of recruiting efforts: how well the people recruited perform. The problem with this measure is that it takes time to see if the people you hired are good performers or not. Both recruiters and managers want to get some idea of success as quickly as possible. Measuring performance also means that a company has to have a process for defining performance and a way to assess each employee. Only a handful of companies that I have worked with have a robust system. So, given this, how should managers measure the success of recruiters? Here are a few ways: 1. How much time does the recruiter spend with you defining and understanding your needs? A good recruiter will take as much time as needed to clearly define the job the employee will have to perform. However, you as the manager have to be a major participant in this process and ensure that you are focusing on the few critical skills you need and not the many “nice” ones you’d like to have. They will push back on any vague answers and demand objective proof that a particular competency is really vital for success. Most managers treat recruiting sort of like Christmas. They make a wish list of impossible or unlikely things they would like and assume they will have to settle for much less. It is far better to rigorously analyze what skills and traits your best performers have and then try to find others with the same skills and traits. Help your recruiters by identifying employees who are extraordinarily good and a few that are average so that a comparison can be made. 2. Is your recruiter responsive, and does he or she have prospective candidates to you within a day or two? Really effective recruiters will have candidates in the pipeline, prescreened and interested in your company as a possible employer. This requires that your recruiters develop good sourcing techniques and know all the really good people in a profession or job at a variety of companies. The recruiter should have anticipated your needs, proactively pre-recruited a number of candidates, and be able to put them in front of you quickly. To do this, they need your help. When you go to meetings or conventions, you can start to identify people who might be good candidates at your company. You can keep your eyes open and recommend people to the recruiters. Your can let the recruiter know who among those that work for you are the best employees and try to define why. If you do this as an ongoing activity, even when you aren’t hiring anyone, you will help your recruiter to always have a pool to draw from. 3. Do you agree to interview candidates in a timely way? If not, you are hurting your own ability to recruit good people. Even in this slower time, most quality candidates have accepted an offer within a few weeks of starting their hunt. Every day you delay an interview you send two messages: one is to the candidate, saying that she isn’t all that important or necessary; and the other is to the recruiter, saying that his efforts and expertise are not that important either. Time is the key to successful recruiting today. 4. Are you empowering your recruiters with the tools and budgets they need to be successful? Candidates today require customized and personalized offers. While most good candidates are motivated by the work they will be doing, it is still very important to craft an offer that meets their needs as exactly as possible. With many offers to choose from, the days of standard offers are almost gone. When an empowered recruiter can work with a candidate to put together an offer that combines the right pay and benefits, you are all winners. Use you influence and power to ensure that your recruiters have what they need from human resources and from your department to make the best offer possible. While there are many other things you can do as a manager to make sure you have only the very best candidates and employees, these four will get you started on the right road. Your recruiters will appreciate your cooperation and understanding, and your candidates will find the recruiting process inviting and quick.

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.


3 Comments on “4 Manager Guidelines for Measuring the Effectiveness of Recruiters

  1. Kevin,

    Thanks! I opened the article expecting yet another homily on measuring how many passive candidates a recruiter hires, how many calls they make, and what sources they use. I was happily surprised to read an article identifying the responsibilities on the part of the organization in enabling a recruiters effectiveness. What a refreshing change. This is great stuff to use on hiring managers as the market tightens.


  2. I want to thank Kevin for addressing hiring managers in what they can do to facilitate the recruiting process but it is apparent that Kevin has not been heads down recruiting in a while. The notion that ‘an effective recruiter will have a pipeline of qualified, interested people’ is a misnomer. In recruiting timing is everything and while we ‘effective’ recruiters have personal networks that we can fire up when we are aware of an opening, to establish the belief in hiring managers that we should have people lined up at the door within a couple days hurts our relationships more than it helps. The market has come back almost 180 degrees from the down years of 2001-2004 and candidates are falling more and more into 3 categories; 1. not interested in moving, 2. may be interested but need to be actively recruited (this takes more than a day or two) or 3. actively looking. The latter group, even if they are not on the web or posting resumes, are actively interviewing so lining them up at the door is 100% a matter of timing.
    I’d rather see Kevin’s #2 tip for managers be that they need to open the parameters of the perfect candidate (I like the ‘Christmas’ analogy) as the market heats up, those with strict, narrow profiles will find their fill times escalating quickly.

  3. Kevin;
    I believe that your article was, for the most part, right in line with my thinking. We differ in the scope of having candidates in 1-2 days. Independent recruiters, corporate recruiters and a lot of TPR organizations tend to specialize and can ( and SHOULD ) have the depth of candidates in their pool.
    I have not found value in specializing which can make it difficult to present candidates as quickly as a another ogranization that does. I prefer to be measured on the quality of my work as well as the speed. In the model I work under we are retained which affords me the opportunity to provide focus on tough searches that other organizations are not able to focus on in the contigency based model. That is often why my organization is called in after the other efforts have not worked out.

    In conclusion, I agree with the overall theme ; however, I also want to point out that just because you can present a few candidates in 1-2 days do not necessarily qualify your project as a success


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