Recruiting: The Hidden Success Metrics of a Great Recruiting Process

By Solutions Driven

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There’s the old saying that you can only manage what you can measure. In many aspects of business – and recruiting is no exception – this has unfortunately snowballed into a belief that the more things you measure, the more effective your management will be. But what if the act of measuring something actually prompts staff to act in ways that aren’t in the wider interests of the business? Or distracts attention away from what’s really important by creating an artificial focus on something else?

Don’t believe this could happen? Well think again! Here are just a handful of examples from the world of recruiting. You can probably think of a great many more:

Focusing on reducing time to hire

  • Is meant to make a business more nimble and able to hire on demand
  • Can actually result in the business hiring active candidates able to move quickly, rather than considering passive candidates who might take longer to lure and to move but ultimately be a better fit for the organisation

Hitting weekly targets for the number of candidate interviews scheduled

  • Is meant to ensure that the agency recruiter or in-house recruiter is generating sufficient candidates to produce the desired volume of placements or hires
  • Can instead result in candidates being put forward for roles to “make up the numbers” and thus diverts care and attention from the candidates the company should really be striving to impress and win over

Driving down agency recruiter rates

  • Is meant to lower the cost of using agency recruiters
  • Can often result in the company working with only the least effective agency recruiters, since the better ones aren’t desperate for business and don’t need to compete on price

The Hidden Success Metrics of a Great Recruiting Process

Now at the risk of sounding like a turkey voting for Christmas, let’s think for a moment of the outcomes that would mean a company’s recruitment process was really succeeding! Surely a truly successful company would want to see:

  1. Candidates who join with a passion for what the company does or for the challenges that the role will entail, not just the remuneration on offer
  2. Candidates who choose to stay with the company for longer than the average tenure in the industry, in spite of the success they are achieving on the job and the interest they are therefore attracting from competing employers
  3. Candidates who go on to become active referrers of future hires, since these are often amongst the highest performing new hires a business makes
  4. Candidates who love the company so much that they’re very hard to prise away – creating an almost self-fulfilling prophecy as recruiters will be less inclined to target people they feel they have only a low chance of convincing to move
  5. Candidates who would rather discover or create opportunities for internal advancement than look externally to secure their next career progression

It isn’t hard to imagine that such a company would spend less than the competition on recruiting. Staff would stay longer and be more productive during the course of their tenure. Winning over the best candidates would become ever easier thanks to the growing legions of internal employer brand advocates and the enthusiasm that would greet potential new hires whenever they came into contact with someone from the business.

But here’s the interesting thing. Most of the above traits can’t be readily measured – and certainly not in the short-term timescales on which recruiters are normally assessed. So they receive a disproportionately low share of recruiters’ attention. Instead the focus is on minimising remuneration costs; commoditising recruitment agency costs; hiring as quickly as possible. Results that can be measured, tracked and finessed. But at what ultimate cost?

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