How do you measure recruitment quality?

Yesterday as I was reading Glen Cathey’s post “What’s Wrong with Job Boards?“.  In the post, he talks about job boards and how they can still be effective despite what you might hear about their impending demise.  I encourage you to give it a read.


However, what intrigued me about the post is the Source of Hire Snobbery section.  What Glen says is true, just because a candidate comes from a particular source doesn’t mean they are inherently going to be good or bad.  Any source can provide a quality candidate and it’s important to understand what sources consistently provide these types of candidates.


So for this post, I want to share some of my ideas on what goes into measuring the quality of recruitment sources you use so you can better determine your recruitment marketing mix.


What determines a qualified candidate?

In order to measure anything of consequence you need to first understand what determines success.  Obviously the greatest success in your recruiting process is a hire.  However, while you should definitely be measuring where your hires are coming from this might be too simplistic of an approach.  There are a number of qualified candidates that make it into your process that don’t receive the position but should be counted when evaluating recruitment sources.  You want to measure ALL the quality talent that enters your process not just the one winner.


So now that you know you want to measure quality (and not just hires), you need to determine at what step in the process a candidate goes from being a prospect to a qualified candidate.  This may be after you do an initial screening and give them an interview.  Or it may be when they get a second interview.  Whatever you decide it will important to define what a qualified candidate is so that it can be measured.


While you can keep it as simple as possible and just keep track of qualified candidates and hires, you can also decide to track at a deeper level, potentially tracking 4 or 5 stages of the interview process for each recruitment source.


Whatever you decide to track it’s important that you tie back each candidate to the source that they came in on.


Measuring Source of Hire (and Quality Candidates)

While there’s a real good debate on true Source of Hire and how a number of different factors influence the decision to apply, I’m not going to touch that here (but here’s my previous take on the concept.)  What I’ll talk about however is measuring the “Source of Application” or the recruitment source that was the last source the candidate came from to complete the application.  This can give you a quick view of what recruitment sources are the best at driving candidate conversions.


There are a few ways to track these recruitment metrics with recruitment technology.  Your ATS today probably provides a way to include source codes into your job ads in order to automatically track the source of every candidate that finishes your application.  This can be cumbersome if you post jobs individually but is made much easier when paired with a Job Distribution solution that automatically will append these codes to ensure the accuracy of this data.


Once you ensure that the recruitment source data for each candidate is being captured correctly, then you can go about pulling reports based on certain statuses in your ATS or having automatic daily reports generated through your job distribution solution. These reports can and should be generated on a single job as well as on holistic level so you can go as deep as needed into your data.


For an example of a simple Source of Hire report that we’ve helped a customer of ours generate, see below:

Source of Hire Metrics

As you can see, they decided to measure Qualified Candidates and Hires.  Qualified candidates are a collection of candidates that are in 3 different statuses in their ATS.  This is just an example of what you can do.


Making better decisions

Whether it’s a job board, social network, your Career Site or a sourcing campaign, it’s important to measure and evaluate each based on their own merits.  Once you know where you are getting the most quality in terms of candidates, you can further look into your recruitment spend and make better decisions on where your organization should allocate your precious resources.  And hopefully get more quality candidates for your recruiting dollar.

Let me know your thoughts?  Connect with me on Twitter @smashfly

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Comment by Alasdair Murray on June 20, 2012 at 8:23am

Quality words and targeted advertising attract quality candidates. The same applies to any form of advertising, but sadly it is something that many recruiters totally overlook. The result? Hundreds of job boards infested with truly terrible job ads. It;s not the boards, it's the recruiters behind these awful messages that are driving quality candidates away.

Comment by Chris Brablc on June 20, 2012 at 9:40am

Alasdair, thanks for the comment!  I think that lack of quality job ads can definitely have an impact as you said.  The key there is that you need to measure the recruitment marketing metrics necessary to track the impact of your ads.  By this I mean tracking the number of views and apply clicks you receive for your ads.

If a candidate views your job ad and then decides not to apply (hence no apply click) it's probably a good indicator that your job ad wasn't compelling enough to get him or her to apply.  If this is happening on the aggregate (high views and low apply clicks) for a particular job ad, you know a change is needed to your messaging.

This should be something you should look at when your quality measurements aren't turning out as you hope. 

I wouldn't take the onus totally off the job boards, however.  You should be measuring where your quality candidates are coming from as well.  This can give you a better idea of the job types and categories that work best for your organization so that you can target the recruitment sources for future unique jobs.


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