The Problem With Recruiting Metrics

I've always had a problem with recruiting metrics because I think they're flawed.

Everyone measures "Time To Fill", "Cost Per Hire", "Quality of Hire", etc.   

But what are you really measuring these metrics against?   What is the baseline for your specific company in each of these categories?

Who decides what a good "Time To Fill" is?  Who defines how much you should spend to get a great candidate?   And how on earth can you accurately measure the quality of hire when there are so many variables that impact how a person performs in different environments?

To get to this answer, Talent Acquisition leaders go to conferences, read articles, talk to their peers, hire consultants and, in the end, come to find out that there is no standard number to measure their team against.

So they just pick numbers.   Sure, they're educated guesses -- but they're just guesses.   And then the work begins to back you and your team into meeting those numbers by setting goals.

This leads to someone running, cleaning up, and reporting out the weekly, quarterly and annual reports.   It also leads to recruiters spending hours of valuable time making sure that they're moving their candidates through the proper steps in the ATS.  If someone misses the correct status - which they always do - it throws the entire system of reporting off. 

Often times, metrics lead recruiters to do stupid finding process workarounds to make their numbers look better.    

So why do we do all this?   

The lazy answer is that we need some way to measure our performance.    The lazier answer is that we need to justify our existence to our executives.   The laziest answer is that it's a best practice.

For me, the whole thing just doesn't feel right.   I don't like doing things just because everyone else is doing them. 

I think metrics only matter in HR.   It's the language we speak to each other.   But what about our customer?  What language do they understand?   How can we capture the true value of the services we provide from their voice?

The best way to do that is using a survey to capture some anecdotal feedback.   Here are my favorites to ask Hiring Managers: 

Quality of Process (Immediately after the hire)

-  The level of quality in the pool of candidates I had to choose from was high.

-  The time that it took to hire someone for this position was reasonable.

-  My recruiter was a true partner who guided me through the hiring process every step of the way.

Quality of Hire (6 months later)

-  The candidate I hired had a positive impact on our team.

-  I would hire this person again for this job.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that you completely get rid of your recruiting metrics.   I know that's not possible for most companies.  But I am suggesting that you question them. 

At the end of the day, whether you have the best analytics dashboard in the world and you nail your numbers every week, the only thing that matters are the answers to the five questions above.    Customer perceptions trump data every day of the week.