The True Measure of Recruiting: More Than Metrics

By Michael Palmer

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Recruiting effectiveness is something that frequently comes up during conversations with clients. They want to know more about the importance of metrics and which ones will actually impact results. Hiring teams generally measure three metrics: time (basically any cycle time metric), cost per hire, and quality of hire. While these metrics start to tell a story and improving them may improve your results, there could very well be a complete misalignment with what you’re measuring and what’s important to your organization.

I’m just going to put it out there.

If you really want to impact your recruiting effectiveness, look no further than Hiring Manager Satisfaction (HM Sat) and the relationship between the recruiter and the Hiring Manager.

Don’t take this to mean that other metrics aren’t important, it’s just about priority. Bersin by Deloitte conducted extensive research, concluding that the most influential predictor of Talent Acquisition performance outcomes is a strong relationship between the recruiter and the Hiring Manager. Further, this driver is four times more influential than all other performance drivers measured.

It’s important to remember that HM Sat isn’t just a measure of the end result and how they feel about their recruiter. All too often HM Sat gets distilled down to “Hiring Manager Happiness” instead of a metric that measures whether Hiring Managers are getting what they need from the experience. HM Sat should encompass all elements of Talent Acquisition that they experience including:

  • Technology – Knowing that many Hiring Managers will access the system infrequently, is your applicant tracking system easy to use, intuitive, and simple? Can they identify how to review a candidate and review recruiter notes, or are you still relying on e-mailed resumes?
  • Process – Does your recruiting process make sense and follow a consistent path? Are your managers trained on the process, and more importantly, do they know why each part of the process exists? Managers will become dissatisfied very quickly if they are asked to invest time at the beginning of the process to do an intake call and discuss the culture of their team or key candidate motivators if they don’t know why that information is needed.
  • Candidate quality and quantity – Let’s face it, if a recruiter and Hiring Manager aren’t on the same page about what constitutes a qualified candidate and how many they’re likely to see, the level of satisfaction will drop significantly.
  • Time – Expectations, if not communicated at the beginning and throughout the process, will be different than reality every single time. It’s challenging to have a satisfied Hiring Manager when they expect to be interviewing tomorrow but the recruiter knows the role won’t be approved in less than 72 hours.

In my role, I spend a good deal of time with Recruitment leaders who get somewhat defensive of their “core” metrics. I’m not advocating the complete annihilation of the old “speed, quality and cost” metrics, I’m simply suggesting that HM Sat will give you a better indication of the impact you’re having. Let’s look at the standard metrics and where they can fall short:

  • Time to Fill – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Talent Acquisition leaders express their irritation at Hiring Managers not being supportive of their function when all the positions are being filled within the Time-to-Fill targets. Sure, having “time” (Days to Present, Days to Accept, Days to Start, etc.) targets is great, achieving them is cool too, but it’s a rare Hiring Manager that would prefer to settle for an okay candidate within target dates if they could hire an outstanding candidate by pushing the clock a little. Of course, we need to understand their priority. Most will want the outstanding candidate within the target dates, but when push comes to shove…
  • Cost per Hire – Though frustrating to internal recruiting departments, contingent staffing agencies are still filling positions right under their noses, often while the internal recruiters are also working on the position. We all know that there is a perception amongst Hiring Managers that these agency candidates are better. Still, think cost is the biggest driver? In some organizations, it may be, however we have a perception issue to overcome either by illustrating how our candidates are of the same caliber or by upping our own recruiting game.
  • Quality of Hire – Unless distinctly defined (which it seldom is), Quality of Hire is subjective and unhelpful when used as a standalone metric. I know there are those out there that will staunchly defend based on new hire performance ratings (generally very subjective) and retention rates (sometimes a low turnover rate is bad). However, if Quality of Hire is a component of HM Sat, we will start to get a better overall view of hiring success.

Getting started with HM Sat is as simple as setting up a survey. Need some help getting started? Check out this HM Sat survey (no charge). If it’s the only thing you measure and endeavor to improve, Hiring Manager Satisfaction will light the way. And Remember, it’s not about Hiring Manager “Happiness”, it’s about building the relationship between Recruiters and Hiring Managers. Henry Ford once famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.” Hiring Managers may know what they want, but our job, just like it was Henry Ford’s, is to lead those horses to fresh water.

Michael, Vice President at Accolo RPO, leverages his many years of experience building/leading recruitment teams and understanding of complex hiring challenges to enable his customers to deliver business performance through effective talent acquisition. Follow him on twitter @hireinsite

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