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6 Essential Metrics For Recruitment Consultants

A few weeks ago I ran a course for a group of Human Capital Managers. The topic of the workshop was Strategic Recruitment Metrics for Driving Measurable Value to Your Human Capital Investments.

Please allow me to blow my own trumpet for a moment, but I know how much the delegates enjoyed it and I know they all got a lot out of it too.

After the course I realised how long it’s been since I ran a similar workshop geared towards recruitment consultants.

Although recruiters are typically focused on meeting their KPIs and hitting their targets, there are quite a few metrics or ratios that they should also keep a close eye on.

I’m not even going to try to cover all of them in this post, but here are a few important metrics for all you recruiters out there to obsess over … at least once in a while.

1. Source of Applications

Where are your best candidates coming from? Is there one particular source? Perhaps an online job board? Are they coming straight to your website? Maybe you’re finding them on LinkedIn? Or are they being referred to you by other satisfied candidates that you’ve placed previously?

If you’re throwing money at certain sourcing channels but you’re not seeing any return, you might want to think about a change in strategy.

Imagine if your online job board advertising budget was cut? Could you still access top-notch talent? If you formally incentivized your candidates to refer other A-grade colleagues, what would that do to the quality of your talent community?

Perhaps you’ve outsourced the entire sourcing process and you are receiving lists of awesome candidate profiles?

2. Number of Open Orders

In one of the breakout sessions during my workshop, I learned that one of the delegates was currently sourcing for 60 live vacancies for his organisation.

60 jobs! Can you imagine?

I remember meeting with one of my recruiters many years ago who had a very excited look on her face as she told me she had nearly 30 open orders in her pipeline!

I recall quickly asking her the simple question “But how many of them are actually qualified?” and without wanting to burst her bubble in any way, we very quickly whittled that number down to closer to 15.

There’s a massive difference between the number of jobs you think you’re working on, and the number of qualified orders you’re actually trying to fill.

3. Phone Screening : Face-to-Face Interview Ratio

Another one of the delegates in the workshop shared a story with the group that for one of her recent vacancies she’d phone screened 20 applicants out of close to 75 résumés that she’d received.

Seems about right.

What surprised me though was that she’d then invited all 20 of those applicants in for a face-to-face interview.

When I asked her how many of those candidates she had then forwarded on to the particular line manager in the business, she admitted “only 2 of them were any good”.

Surely if she’d been conducting a thorough telephone screening process at least some of the 20 candidates would have been eliminated thus preventing a huge amount of time wasting at the face-to-face stage.

(Of course I hinted that video interviews could have helped her with her culling process!)

It would be very rare to invite all your phone screened candidates in for an interview so make sure you’re aware how much time you’re spending screening over the phone vs face-to-face.

4. Shortlist : Client Interview Ratio

If you present a shortlist of four candidates and your client agrees to meet with only one of them, what goes through your mind?

Are you just glad that your client is meeting with somebody? (Phew … at least you can put a tick against one of your KPIs for the week!) Or are you curious as to why the other three candidates didn’t make the cut?

This is a really interesting ratio to monitor since if you find your clients are rejecting three quarters of the candidates you shortlist, it might not be a case that you just have fussy clients.

5. Offer : Acceptance Ratio

This is another interesting ratio to keep a close eye on.

After all, how frustrating is it when you make an offer to a candidate you’re really banking on and they turn it down? Not only do you have to mentally wipe that fee off the whiteboard, but you obviously have to tell your client that the “sure thing candidate” has declined the offer.

You’re then back to square one.

Think about how often this may be happening to you. Unfortunately once again it may not always be a case that you just have fussy candidates.

6. Candidate Satisfaction

This metric often gets swept under the carpet … or at least partially!

As recruiters we’re always keen to go and visit our candidates in their first week, perhaps even take them a small gift, and make sure they’re happy.

It’s smiles all around.

But how often do we check in with those candidates who’d made the shortlist but didn’t land the gig, or perhaps even those you interviewed and for whatever reason didn’t make the shortlist?

Remember that a satisfied candidate will tell one friend about their experience, while a dissatisfied candidate will tell 10. And I literally mean “tell” – I’m not counting what thoughts or opinions they might share on social media.

Believe me I know it’s hard (and sometimes perhaps a little time consuming), but if at one stage a candidate had been good enough for you to include in your shortlist, they really shouldn’t suddenly become persona non grata just because your client decided to go with someone else.

Measuring candidate satisfaction is essential and my personal recommendation is that you survey every candidate that has had exposure to you or your agency every quarter.

Paul Slezak

Cofounder at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years. Follow me @paul_slezak.

  • Sean Kelley

    Good stuff Paul. I wonder how many of us in corporate recruiting have tools that measure these details. I think many orgs could stand to crunch some heavy data.

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