Targeted Recruiting Metrics Will Improve Hiring

By Roy Maurer Jun 17, 2016
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Trying to use data to improve your hiring processes? Look beyond the traditional “big three” metrics—time-to-fill, cost-per-hire and quality of hire.

Other less-hyped but more-indicative performance indicators can narrow in on problem areas in sourcing and interviewing.

“It’s easy to create metrics that count activities but don’t tell you much about performance,” said Lauren Ryan, director of talent acquisition at New York City-based recruiting software company Greenhouse. Recruiting metrics should “be very focused and performance-related, and send signals, so if you see a spike in something, you can dig in further or fix something awry.”

Ryan said her team starts thinking about which metrics to use by asking questions about the hiring process: “Do we have enough qualified candidates in the pipeline? Is our interview process efficient? Are we closing the candidates we want to hire?”

Filling the Funnel with Quality

It’s common to measure how many applicants each source provides, but it might be more important to measure how far candidates from a particular source get in the hiring process—that is, the quality of the source.

“Some job boards will give you a huge volume of applicants but that doesn’t mean that they will be relevant to the role,” Ryan said. For example, if a company receives 30 applicants from a job board and 12 applicants from an in-house referral program, one might assume that the job board is more valuable. However, if only six of the job board candidates make it to the interview stage, while six referrals make it to the same stage, then the referral source is a higher-quality channel.

“It’s recruiting’s version of a qualified lead,” Ryan said. “This serves as a leading indicator that the interview funnel is filling up with quality candidates.”

Kara Yarnot, the founder and president of Meritage Talent Solutions, a talent acquisition consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., explained that source quality data is used to manage recruitment budgets and plans more effectively, realign the recruiting process, and influence senior executives to invest in the most effective sources.

“[Source quality data] has major ramifications on advertising and job board spend, and should influence where you spend the bulk of your time sourcing,” said Ben Slater, vice president of growth at Beamery, a recruitment marketing technology company based in London.

Ty Goodrich, senior staff recruiter at recruiting software platform Jobvite, based in San Francisco, added that his team closely watches the effectiveness of advertising spend. “We look at sourcing performance also, but we noticed that the more advertising we do, the higher response rates our sourcers are getting. It’s connected.”

Closing the Deal

As opposed to the more common time-to-fill metric, more-targeted measurements such as source-to-close and the various workflow conversion rates of the recruitment funnel will collect more meaningful data from each step of the hiring process.

Source-to-close measures how quickly candidates accept an employment offer minus the sourcing phase. For Ryan at Greenhouse, a metric for the opening of a requisition through the new hire actually starting the job would not be indicative of how effective their recruiting process is because for certain roles, they typically have one open date and continue to hire for it all year. “There are also many factors [on the closing end] that contribute to the amount of time that passes between a signed offer and actually starting work, especially for really talented individuals that need a longer transition between their older company and the new job,” she said.

Workflow conversion rates provide data on the time a candidate spends in each of the workflow steps of the applicant tracking system, including application submission, recruiter screen, hiring manager review, interviews, job offer and background screen.

“We survey candidates at each point of the hiring funnel, from the application process to the initial phone screen to the interview, to get insight on how we are dong, what we are doing wrong and where we can improve,” said Wendy Keo, head of people at Movoto, a real estate intelligence firm based in San Mateo, Calif.

Recruiting is all about timing, Goodrich said. “We find that maybe the recruiter is doing their part, but maybe the hiring manager is creating the bottleneck. The time they sit on a resume is crucial, especially in an active marketplace.”

Helen Laroche, SHRM-CP, a recruiter and HR manager at San Francisco-based Disqus, known for its online comment technology, added that “if the process is slowing down at a particular stage, or with a particular interviewer, it’s easy to identify and correct.”

The offer acceptance rate is especially powerful, Ryan said. “I feel this metric captures everything that has happened along the way.” The percentage of candidates who accept the job offer will reveal “if the candidate experience went well, you gave the candidate a good picture of what it’s like to work at the company and made them feel welcome and are transparent about compensation along the way,” she said.

Measuring Candidate Experience

Using surveys is a growing trend for getting a clear picture of what candidates really think about a company’s hiring process. One way to do this is by measuring net promoter score, calculated based on responses to a single question and on a 0 to 10 scale.

Software company Citrix asks how likely a candidate is to recommend a friend to apply at the company. “We send it out to anyone who has been onsite for an interview,” said Annie Brown, executive director of HR for Citrix, headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Santa Clara, Calif. “The data we’re getting back isn’t shocking—candidates want more feedback when they aren’t selected—but our team reaches out to those detractors to find out what went wrong with the interview process.”

Organizations can put together quick questionnaires using Typeform or SurveyMonkey to gauge what candidates think, Slater said. “Make sure that you don’t just send these out at the end of the recruiting process,” he said, because “often the most important insights come from candidates who are midway through.”

Slater also recommended giving candidates the option to leave feedback in every e-mail that is sent. “This doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, we’ve found that letting candidates leave their thoughts with the click of a button is particularly effective.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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