Who Wants to Be a Recruiting Metric-Aire?

If you’ve been in HR for any amount of time, you know that people want to hear about metrics. Whether it’s a vendor telling you about their metric heavy dashboard, a VP of talent acquisition spouting the metrics she watches, or a recruiting admin trying to make sense of the numbers his boss is throwing at him, metrics are a big part of the job.

Like marketing, recruiting has its own vanity metrics. For example, while traffic to a job board might seem like an important metric on which to base a purchasing decision, it’s just an impressive number that may have little to do with the requirements you are ultimately able to fulfill using that platform. So what are the metrics that matter and how do we know they’re so effective? To answer that question, we turned to Carol Gordon, vice president of talent acquisition at IBM, to explain what these metrics are, why they’re important, and then how to calculate them on your own.

“I’ve got three: speed to hire, quality of hire, and the hiring experience. We’re all in the business of finding the best talent as quickly as we can and making sure they’re successful, how we do this – the experience we create, is very important to us.”  –– Carol Gordon, vice president of talent acquisition, IBM

Metric #1 — Speed-to-Hire Family of Metrics

People call this all sorts of things. Time to hire, time to fill, hiring speed … you name it. What it boils down to is how long it takes to get from requisition ordered to job filled. For some companies, it’s mere days; for others, it can take months before they find the right person for the job. Of course, the variables that feed into this calculation are myriad. Region, skills, feeder schools, talent base, employer brand, and competition are just a few of the factors that feed into this complicated metric. Technically, time to hire and time to fill are two different metrics.

Time to fill = (number of days between publishing a job and making a hire)

Time to hire = (number of days between candidate engagement and hiring that candidate)

Each tells you something different about your speed to hire and recruitment function, but here are the underlying questions that are addressed when you begin measuring one or both of these things (if you hadn’t already guessed, the latter is more of an experience metric, while the former points to productivity and process).

  • How and when do you know if you’re looking at the right person?
  • What is your speed to hire when you find the right candidate?
  • What, where, or who are the bottlenecks in your organization? (hiring managers will say recruiters or those who hold the budget, while recruiters will usually say hiring managers).

Once you are able to figure out what these metrics are (and in most cases, it’s simple recordkeeping and subtraction to find them), you can start digging into these questions. Do candidates fly through sourcing, engagement, and recruiting, only to stall out at the interview stage? Perhaps you haven’t provided hiring managers with a solid rubric with which to assess your interviewees. In other cases, you might identify that you frequently get high-quality candidates but your process doesn’t allow them to enter the system until you have an open job requirement — meaning you lose quality talent.

Whatever you discover when drilling into this family of metrics, it will impact how you revamp your process and manage your team moving forward.

Metric #2 — Quality of Hire

Quality of hire is how good the people you hire are. You can take this metric through a lot of paces, but most would agree that it starts with sourcing and can move through employer brand, recruiting, interviewing, and even onboarding. Your quality of hire metric basically shows how good the people are who come into the organization and then, how long they stay. If the measurement of a great organization is its talent, then this would be the metric by which they live and die.

But how on earth can you measure it? Lou Adler has done some incredible work on this, as well as the folks at ClearCompany. Some insight on pre-hire metrics to help you assess your quality of hire (yes, metrics in metrics … very meta):

  • Candidates per hire: This metric represents how many job candidates a hiring manager sees before a hire is made. Adler explains, “If the number of candidates seen before one is hired varies widely or is too high, it indicates your entire hiring process is out of control.”
  • Passive candidate conversion rate: This metric is made up of several smaller metrics that track from end-to-end contact with a passive candidate from first-response contact to prospect-conversion rates.
  • Referrals per call: Employee referrals are the most effective sourcing channel and increase the chances of successful job matching from 2.6 to 6.6 percent, according to research done by Glassdoor, which is why they are also significant in measuring pre-hire quality.
  • Email conversion rates: Making sure email content is compelling, specific, and to-the-point can significantly impact conversion rates. Recruiters should aim for response rates that are 50 percent or higher.

Of course, once you get them in the door, there are a whole lot of other metrics that will ultimately feed into your quality of hire score .

Find out what your old hires think of your new hires and vice versa. If you aren’t surveying or taking the pulse of your organization, you’ll never know if they fit in, are killing it, or just wasting space … until they are let go or quit!

Use simple surveys to ask your hiring managers! Dr. John Sullivan (@DrJohnSullivan) explains, “Ask them at time of hire, at six months, and at 12 months, to simply rate each new hire on a 1-10 performance scale, where five is the average on-the-job performance for a new hire in their job family and 10 is an exceptional performer.” Add those numbers together and you’ve got yourself an indicative average.

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How much are you making per person? This metric helps companies keep track of the revenue that is created or lost in proportion to the number of employees in an organization. Revenue per employee is also useful when assessing other metrics like turnover costs and cost-to-hire.

More “quality” info:

How We Measure Quality of Hire at MedAssets
Forget About Quality of Hire and Focus on Quality of Hiring
Why You Are Not Ready to Talk About Quality of Hire
3 Ways You Can Measure The Quality of a Hire
Quality of Hire: The Top Recruiting Metric
The only quality of hire metric that works

Metric #3 — Hiring Experience

Our friends over at Lighthouse Advisory wrote a great post on candidate experience and hiring experience and which things you should measure if you want an accurate picture of what’s going on over there. While some of these things will seem familiar, there may be one or two you didn’t think of before:

  • Mobile Readiness: Can you apply via mobile? Does it save your information? Do you think anyone will pinch and zoom their way through a five-page application only to have it error out 43 minutes later? They won’t.
  • Pre-Candidate Experience: I had not heard this term, but it’s good. What is the experience with your company before they hit the apply page or site? Keep in mind that candidates are headed to Yelp, Glassdoor, Facebook, and Instagram to get a sense of who you are and what you stand for. If they don’t like what they see … well.
  • Offer Acceptance Rate: If you don’t know the candidate, don’t make an offer. If you haven’t vetted the candidate, don’t make an offer. If you’re handing out offer letters like candy and seeing your rates plummet, there’s a reason for that. Keep in mind that you have to be right for the applicant and they have to be right for you. Check your offers-to-acceptance ratio.
  • Candidate Readiness: Candidates who are properly primed for each stage of the application, interview, and offer processes are going to perform better. Companies with talent communities and other social-based tools can use them to help candidates understand the process, the types of questions that will be asked, etc. so that the candidate is as ready as possible at each stage.

Other great metrics to measure your hiring experience include: candidate satisfaction (try a quick post interview survey); recruiter response time (if your ATS doesn’t have an autoresponder or CRM component, services like MixMax can make this a breeze!); and the dreaded application drop off.

Learning your way around these crucial metrics and metric families will make your hiring experience better, you a better and more efficient hiring professional, and all of them can alert you to issues when your process gets out of whack.


image from bigstock

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, a consultancy offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, she has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the recruitment and talent space. Find her at RedBranchMedia.com or on Twitter -- @marenhogan.


2 Comments on “Who Wants to Be a Recruiting Metric-Aire?

  1. Before a company gets neck deep in metrics, you need to ask yourself what are you going to do with the numbers you get back.

    Are they just “nice to know” numbers so you can put some pie charts in a powerpoint presentation?

    Or…are you using them to make business decisions on. Such as budget allocation, recruiter bonus, recruiter firing, resource allocation, team management, etc.

    For each metric you want, before you put forth the effort to get them… you should have a “if this then that” scenario around each one.

    It’s the operations/analytical piece of recruitment program management that companies should set their goal to get to.

    It’s a key difference between a staffing leader that hires recruiters to fill open reqs and a staffing leader that leads a broad and ongoing recruiting program for their company.

  2. The problem with all metrics articles (including my own) is the reader is presented with so many different variations on the calculation, we wonder why most recruiters rolls their eyes at data.

    Example: Time to Fill in this article states from moment of publishing a job the clock starts.

    Lots of companies and vendors will say once the req is created, others will say when the req is approved, which can be different than the req created date.

    It sure would be nice for our industry to get on the same page with simple common language and measurement like the finance department, but alas, while vendors, consultants, and others believe they have a unique spin on an old metric that helps promote them as being different, then I guess we will just have to live with continually confusing and frustrating people.

    Maren – nothing personal, just voicing an opinion based on continual pain I hear from our recruiting brethren.

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