Recruiter Performance: Setting Goals & Improving Candidate Experience

Recruiter Performance: Setting Goals & Improving Candidate Experience

Mike Roberts

How job seekers are treated during the application, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes can be summed up in two simple words: candidate experience. Yet, candidate experience is anything but simple. It’s a complex issue, which, if handled in the right way, can majorly improve the efforts of talent acquisition teams.

A few weeks back, we shared some of Gerry Crispin’s keys to catalyzing candidate experience performance—setting expectations, listening to candidates, exemplifying fairness, providing closure, and holding recruiters accountable. We actually published an eBook about it, which can be found here. This week, we thought we’d dig into one specific area: recruiter performance accountability.

As is the case with any part of business, holding people accountable is a good idea in theory. But whether or not that’s actually done is a different story. This is particularly true in talent acquisition. Too many of today’s leading organizations either don’t have a process for ensuring recruiter performance accountability or they haven’t updated theirs in years.

What Does Recruiter Accountability Mean?

Accountability, by definition, is the condition of being responsible for something. For the purposes of our discussion, the ideal scenario is to hold recruiters responsible for the candidate experience they deliver. You may or may not be surprised to find out that many of the world’s best employers are already doing this.

As reported by The Talent Board in the 2015 Candidate Experience Research: “46% of the 2015 top ranked 50 CandE Benchmark Companies (CandE Award Winners) measure Candidate Experience regularly and incorporate it into their recruiter dashboards (with or without performance incentives) compared to all other participating companies that only do it onl­y 35% of the time, a significant difference.”

The Talent Board also shared an interesting data visualization showing how CandE award winners’ degree of accountability with weighted averages within four quartiles stacks up, “so that the first quartile was the lowest rated of the CandE winners and so on with the last quartile the highest rated.”

recruiter performance accountability

In other words, of the 50 highest rated employers in the CandEs research, those in the 4th quartile (a.k.a. the best of the best) scored an average of 4.7 on the recruiter performance accountability curve shown on the Y-axis. Of course, as the data shows, some of winners still weren’t excelling in the area of recruiter accountability. Since there were many factors included in choosing the winners, those in the lower quartile were likely performing exceptionally well in other areas.

Enabling an Environment for Recruiter Accountability

One thing that stands out from the quotes listed above is not necessarily that leading companies are keeping recruiters accountable for their candidate experience, but that they’re measuring candidate experience regularly in the first place. This is the starting point for understanding both individual and team-level candidate experience performance.

The Talent Board employs a net promoter score (NPS) to measure candidate experience. It’s what they suggest using in your own performance improvement efforts. NPS is essentially a way of asking someone whether or not they would recommend a particular product or experience. Most likely, you will do this after the conclusion of the interview process, once a hire has been made.

Bias is difficult to control for in these scenarios, because getting a job or not may impact a candidate’s feelings, but hopefully a large enough sample can provide data that has integrity. The CandEs research does a good job controlling for this. More information on NPS can be found here.

Moving from A to B in Recruiter Performance

Moving the dial on recruiter accountability requires first understanding where your organization resides in the maturity model. As we’ve discussed in the past, every process can be viewed through the lens of a maturity model—where “maturity” relates to the degree of formality and optimization of processes. The least mature, most reactive processes are typically referred to as being ad-hoc, while you may refer to the most mature, proactive as optimized.

When we look at the Y-axis shown in the data visualization above, we can see maturity increasing from bottom to top. Regarding performance, where it says “It isn’t discussed unless there is a problem that is brought to our attention,” that is by far the most reactive, ad-hoc state of maturity a process could have. Likely, companies in this state aren’t measuring NPS.

In contrast, the most optimized form of process maturity can be found in the top, where it says “Formal reviews. Measured & Incorporated into the recruiter dashboard. Monetary [performance] incentives {salary increase, bonus).”

As a recruiting leader, it’s up to you to both understand where you are on the maturity curve, and then formulate a plan to move to the next level. Improving the  strategic and tactical aspects of candidate experience (i.e. honing in on how individual recruiters are performing and rectifying any issues in a proactive manner) will transform the overall candidate experience you’re delivering.

Interested in recruiter performance, analytics and the future of big data strategies in talent acquisition? Read the eBook below or sign up for the Data Driven Recruiter blog.

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