Study: The Top 3 Metrics Recruiting Leaders Use to Measure Success

Study: The Top 3 Metrics Recruiting Leaders Use to Measure Success

Elizabeth Silas-Havas

The best leaders—and this most definitely includes recruiting and talent acquisition leaders—use data to guide their decision-making. There’s no excuse for not using data well in 2016, when we’ve got so many great tools to harness the numbers and put them to work.

If you compete globally, you need to know about your industry’s benchmarks worldwide so you can measure your own successes and areas for improvement. The question is, though, what should you be measuring? LinkedIn’s new report, Global Recruiting Trends 2017, set out to answer this question. The report surveyed more than 4,000 talent acquisition leaders from 35 countries.

The Top 3 Recruiting Metrics

LinkedIn asked these recruiting leaders, “What are the top three ways you measure success in your role?”

Stop and consider your answer for a moment. What do you and your organization value most in recruiting—and how do you measure it?

Their top three metrics were:

  1. Length of time new hires stay with the company
  2. Time it takes to fill a position with a new hire
  3. Satisfaction of the hiring manager

Close match? Let’s look at each of these.

1. Length of Stay

Length of stay is good for obvious reasons. It often means you’re hiring the right people, people want to work for your company, and your workers are satisfied. It means you spend less money and time finding new hires simply because you do it less often.

Yet the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2016, median length of stay has gone down to 4.2 years. And younger workers (ages 25–34) have far shorter tenures: an average of 2.8 years. Job hopping has become the norm in certain industries, making it more important to maintain a passive pipeline of candidates.

If you’re serious about employee retention, consider adding metrics like average length of stay to your recruiting team’s quarterly performance reporting. Design not just solid exit or post-exit interviews that offer insight into recruiting issues, but also linkage research, which can reveal why employees stay (often by gathering anonymous and aggregated data). You can use hard numbers as well as soft surveys and focus groups to find out what keeps people with you and what drives them away.

2. Time to Hire

In general, the amount of time it takes to hire has been trending upward since 2010. Half of LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting respondents in 2016 said it took 1 to 2 months to hire, while only 30% said it took under a month.

A long time to hire can be indicative of poor recruiting processes. But it can also be caused by a negative or nonexistent employer brand or simply by unenticing compensation, benefits, or career growth opportunities.

You can measure your time to hire (aka “time to fill” or “mean vacancy duration”) once you decide a few variables. For instance, on what day does time to fill begin (usually the day approval is given to fill a position) and which day does time to fill end (upon offer, acceptance, or starting day)? Will you include weekends and holidays? Define your terms and stick with them so you can measure your progress accurately over quarters and years.

It also helps to know the terms used by other companies when benchmarking your progress nationally and globally. For example, DHI Hiring Indicators, which measured a high mean of 29 days to fill in 2016, uses acceptance date, not start date, as the fill date—which hides additional lag between accepting and actually doing the job.

3. Hiring Manager Satisfaction

Many organizations are less concerned with time to hire than with, ultimately, how well a new hire gets the job done and interacts with supervisors and coworkers. A recruiter’s job is to present hiring managers with the right candidates, not the ones who apply first.

We need to know how well we’re doing so we can refine our approach to getting optimal candidates. First, recruiters and hiring managers can structure ongoing communication about both basic requirements for the job and ideal skills and experience for the job. That information also needs to get to candidates so that expectations are explicit. Second, the (clearly stated) job requirements must be linked to measurable performance variables.

The relationship between the new hires’ experience and background (and how they came to know of the job openings) and their various performance measurements can be later analyzed to provide insight into how to target and attract (or avoid) future candidates. Connecting the data that’s already available and drawing those conclusions from it requires long-term commitment to continuous improvement and systematic communication among departments.

In addition, better candidates can be lured from multiple angles.

  • Long term: Enhance your employer brand by partnering with your marketing department. Look ahead by building out a talent pipeline of sought-after candidates that you can tap into when a job requisition pops up.
  • Short term: Measure and improve the experience the candidate has at your career site. When was the last time you tried to navigate your own application process? Try it out, and then eliminate redundancies in that process to streamline it, make it mobile friendly, and ensure it is crash-resistant for users. In addition, start or spruce up your employee referral program. The Global Recruiting responders cited employee referrals as their top channel for quality hires.

Continuous Improvement Is Key

If your answers to “How do you measure success in your role?” included an additional factor, consider how you can more accurately measure that. Some of what your organization values, such as new hires’ job satisfaction or industry innovation, may require multiple vectors of data, quantitative and qualitative.

Acquiring the data and drawing conclusions from them are only the initial steps. The next is taking action to improve. Adopt a continuous improvement methodology (such as a plan-do-check-act system) to calibrate and optimize each of these talent acquisition KPIs.

Small tweaks can result in big changes, but you can’t see those improvements if you’re not measuring.

Does your career site help you stand out from the crowd? Our new eBook, Career Site Transformation Planning, covers everything you need to attract and convert candidates:

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