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If you’ve been in HR for any amount of time, you know that metrics are the talk of the town. Whether it’s a vendor telling you about their metric-heavy dashboard, a V.P. of talent acquisition spouting off 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 deal for a lot of people.

Like marketing, recruiting has its own vanity metrics. For example, traffic to a job board might seem like an important metric on which to base a purchasing decision, but in reality, it has little to do with whether or not you’ll be able to fill a requisition through that job board.

What are the metrics that actually matter? In a 2016 panel discussion, IBM’s then-Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition Carol Gordon named “speed to hire, quality of hire, and the hiring experience” as the most important recruiting metrics.

“We’re all in the business of finding the best talent as quickly as we can and making sure they’re successful,” Gordon said. “How we do this – the experience we create – is very important to us.”

Let’s look at Gordon’s metrics a little more in depth:

1. Speed to Hire

People call this all sorts of things: time to hire, time to fill, hiring speed, etc. No matter its name, it all boils down to how long it takes to get from “requisition ordered” to “job filled.”

For some companies, time to hire is a matter of days; for others, it can take months. The variables that feed into this calculation are myriad; region, skills, feeder schools, talent base, employer brand, competition, and many other factors influence how long it takes to make a hire.

If we get technical, “time to hire” and “time to fill” are actually two different metrics:

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

Time to hire = number of days between initial candidate engagement and the hiring of the candidate

The latter is more of an experience metric; the former points to productivity and process. Each tells you something different about your recruitment process. Here are some of the questions you can answer when you begin measuring these particular metrics:

  1. How and when do you know if you’re looking at the right person?
  2. What is your speed to hire when you find the right candidate?
  3. What, where, or who are the bottlenecks in your organization?

briefcaseOnce you have some solid numbers for these metrics, you can start digging into these questions and solving recruitment problems. For example, do you find that candidates fly through sourcing, engagement, and recruiting, only to stall out at the interview stage? Perhaps it’s because you haven’t provided hiring managers with solid assessment rubrics.

2. Quality of Hire

“Quality of hire” refers to how good the people you hire are at their jobs. You can take this metric through a lot of paces, but most would agree it starts with sourcing and can move through employer brand, recruiting, interviewing, and even onboarding. If the measurement of a great organization is its talent, then quality of hire is the metric by which an organization lives or dies.

How on earth can you measure something like quality of hire? Lou Adler has done some incredible work on this, as have the folks at ClearCompany.

Some pre-hire metrics to help you assess your quality of hire include:

  1. Candidates per hire: This metric records the number of candidates a hiring manager sees before a hire is made. In the article cited above, Adler writes: “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.”
  2. Passive candidate conversion rate: This metric is made up of several smaller metrics that track end-to-end contact with a passive candidate from first-response contact to prospect-conversion rates.
  3. Referrals per call: Employee referrals are the most effective sourcing channel, which is why they are also helpful in measuring pre-hire quality.
  4. Email conversion rates: Making sure your email content is compelling, specific, and concise can significantly impact conversion rates. Recruiters should aim for response rates of 50 percent or higher.

Of course, once you get candidates in the door, a whole lot of other metrics will start impacting the quality-of-hire-score.

Find out what your existing employees think of your new hires and vice versa. If you aren’t surveying your organization regularly, you’ll never know if a new hire is killing it or wasting space – until they leave or are let go, that is.

Dr. John Sullivan proposes the following simple system for keeping tabs on new hires:

“Ask [hiring managers] 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.

CashAnother metric to consider once candidates become employees is how much you are 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 the organization. Revenue per employee is also useful when assessing metrics like turnover costs and cost per hire.

3. Hiring Experience

Our friends over at Lighthouse Advisory wrote a great post on candidate experience, hiring experience, and the things you should measure if you want an accurate picture of what’s going on. The metrics Lighthouse suggests include:

  1. Mobile readiness: Can you apply via mobile – conveniently? Now one is going to pinch and zoom their way through a five-page application only to have it error out 43 minutes later.
  2. Pre-candidate experience: What kind of experience does a candidate have with your company before they hit the “apply” button? Candidates are heading 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, they won’t be taking jobs at your company.
  3. 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 while watching your acceptance rates plummet, there’s a reason for that. You have to be right for the applicant and they have to be right for you.
  4. 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 tools can use them to help candidates understand the process so they are as ready as possible at each stage.

Other great metrics to measure your hiring experience include candidate satisfaction, recruiter response time, and application drop-off rates.

Learning your way around these crucial metrics will make you a better, more efficient hiring professional and arm you with the tools you need to provide a better hiring experience to all candidates.

A version of this article originally appeared on ERE.

Maren Hogan is founder and CEO of Red Branch Media. You can read more of her work on Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and her blog, Marenated



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