5 Metrics That Tell You Whether Your Recruitment Marketing Strategy Works

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In today’s hyper-competitive job market, it is extremely difficult for a company to stand out without a strong recruitment marketing strategy.

But how do you know whether your recruitment marketing campaigns are paying off? With data, of course!

Data, in this case, means recruitment metrics. Metrics are the key to showing you where the ROI is, where the budget is being wasted, and which pieces of your campaign are worth the effort.

Below, we’ve compiled a short list of the key metrics every recruitment marketing team needs to monitor in order to understand the successes (and failures) of their efforts. Some of these metrics are concrete and easily quantifiable through the usual tools (ATS records, CRM reports, etc.), while others are a bit more nebulous and subjective in nature. For those latter ones, we’ve also included some ideas about how to go about measuring in a meaningful way.

1. Source of Hire

This particular metric gets a lot of coverage. In fact, I’ve already written about it myself several times. That just goes to show you how important it is. I’m willing to risk repeating myself.

Source of hire is key not only to measuring the success of a particular campaign or reporting on a particular opening, but also to determining where to spend your budget and allocate resources. When it comes time to judge the efficacy of a marketing channel, knowing the source of hire for each position you’ve filled will tell you which channels are returning results and which aren’t. This allows you to shut down the underperformers and shift focus to those channels with better ROI.

If you find that 80 percent of new hires started as Twitter followers, you can easily justify beefing up your presence on that channel. On the other hand, if 5 percent are coming from Snapchat ads, it may be time to shut that channel down in favor of something with a better conversion rate. You can always revisit a channel later, or do some A/B testing on specific openings.

2. Social Engagement

Given the increasing importance of social media in recruitment marketing, it’s crucial to know how engaged your target audience actually is with your presence on each platform. That way, you’ll know where to focus your energy. Like source of hire, social engagement metrics can tell you which channels are underperforming and which are worthy of further investment.

That said, this is one of those nebulous metrics. What is “engagement,” anyway? Generally speaking, I’ll count anything that involves a user or follower interacting with something you posted as a sign of engagement. This might include likes, comments, shares, retweets, or anything else in that vein. To arrive at a rough engagement rate, you can divide the average number of engagements you get per post (or per day) by your total number of followers on any particular platform.

Because there is so much baseline variety in engagement across platforms (Instagram currently offers higher engagement than, say, Facebook), industries, and content types, it is difficult to put an exact number on what counts as “good” engagement. Your best bet is simply to track your engagement rates over time in order to better understand what causes them to increase or decrease. That said, an engagement rate of 2-4 percent on most platforms is worth striving for. Anything far beneath that range could be considered a red flag, depending on context.

3. Time to Acceptance

Time to acceptance is a new take on time to fill, and it is a bit more appropriate given the strength of candidates in today’s market.

Where time to fill counts time from the submission of an application all the way to the candidate’s first day on the job, time to acceptance only measures the period up to the acceptance of an offer. The relevance of this difference is that a lot more can happen in this time span than in the gap between acceptance and first day. By looking only at the time a candidate spends in the funnel, you can get a much sharper picture of your recruiting process.

There is so much competition for top-quality candidates that the risk of losing a candidate during their time in your funnel is higher than ever. Competing offers can come in at any time, and today’s candidates often entertain multiple offers at once. If it takes too long for you to make offers, your candidates can be easily lost. Frankly, the relevance of what happens between acceptance and first day pales in comparison.

4. Employee Referrals

A truly well-rounded recruitment marketing strategy has to take into account the impact of a company’s No. 1 asset: its existing employees. Looking at your employee referral metrics will help you see how much your current employees impact incoming applications. This knowledge can be wildly helpful for our last metric — but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

You can more easily track referral metrics by creating a dedicated application process specifically for referrals. By moving these applications along in their own process, you prevent them from being lost in the shuffle while assuring referred candidates of their value. If a dedicated referral pipeline is not plausible, you can still gather valuable information by simply asking each new hire directly whether they were referred by an existing employee and, if so, who referred them.

5. Cost per Hire

An oldie but goodie. This metric continues to be one of the most talked about in the HR world, and with good reason. When it comes to gauging the success of any recruitment effort, how much it costs is probably the first thing the higher-ups will want to know. The more bang for your buck, the better, right? This is where that comment about employee referrals applies: It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to fund an employee referral program with spa days and sports tickets than it is to launch an entirely new recruiting campaign from scratch.

For non-referrals, tracking an exact cost for a given hire can be tough. However, you can certainly track your average cost per hire over the course of a given period by dividing your recruitment marketing ad spend, HR person-hours, and new-hire signing bonuses by the number of hires made in that same period. This is another metric where an objective standard across industries is hard to come by, but by tracking the fluctuations in cost per hire at your company over time, you can get a sense of what is working and what isn’t.

If you focus on recruitment marketing fundamentals — like nurturing your social media audience so passive job seekers come calling when the time is right and using content marketing tactics to draw in job seekers — you can keep your funnel full without spending obscene amounts of money.

The recruiting process by its nature produces tons of data. By paying attention to the key metrics like those outlined above, you can keep your budget on track and your talent pool healthy long into the future. That’s the key to sustainable growth in any industry.

Adrian Cernat is the CEO and founder of SmartDreamers. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

By Adrian Cernat