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Recruiting Efficiency Measurement

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If you look through Saratoga, there are all sorts of metrics around measuring our HR operations.  For recruiting, these include all the standard metrics like cost/hire, cost/requisition, time to fill, fills per recruiter, etc.   Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of most of these metrics.  They give us a lot of data, but they don’t tell us how effective or efficient we really are.  You’d like to think that there is going to be a correlation between fills per recruiter to efficiency, and there probably is some correlation, but true efficiency is a bit harder to get a handle on.

When I’m thinking about efficiency, I’m not thinking about how many requisitions a recruiter can get through in any given year or month.  I’m not even sure I care too much about the time to fill.  All of these things are attributes of your particular staffing organization and the crunch you put on your recruiters.  If you have an unexpected ramp-up, your recruiters will be forced to work with higher volumes and perhaps at faster fill rates.  Once again, I’m sure there is a correlation with recruiter efficiency, but it may not be as direct as we think.

Back to the point, when I think about recruiting efficiency, I’m thinking about the actual recruiting process, not how fast you get from step one to step 10, or how many step 1-10 you can get through.  Recruiting efficiency is about how many times you touch a candidate between each of those steps.  Efficiency is about optimizing every single contact point between every constituency in the recruiting process – recruiters, sourcers, candidates, and hiring managers.

The idea is that you should be able to provide high quality results without having to interview the candidate 20 times or have the hiring manager review 5 different sets of resumes.  If you present a set of 8 resumes to the hiring manager and none of them are acceptable, you just reduced your recruiting efficiency by not knowing the core attributes of the job well enough and not sourcing/screening well enough.  If you took a candidate through 20 interviews, you just reduced your efficiency by involving too many people who probably don’t all need to participate in the hiring decision and who are all asking the same questions to the candidate.  Sure, there is a correlation between the total “touches” in the recruiting process to time to fill, but “touches” is a much better metric.

I know we’ve been using the same efficiency metrics for ages upon ages, and most of us actually agree that we dislike these.  Touches within the recruiting process makes a whole lot more sense to me, as it gets to the actual root of the efficiency measurement.

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5 responses to “Recruiting Efficiency Measurement”

  1. Andrew Marritt Avatar


    Looks like we’re looking at the same thing again! A couple of recent / current projects are around re-invigorating recruitment analytics and metrics. I’m putting together a white-paper on our thoughts which should hopefully be ready in the coming weeks.

    I think many of the HR metrics that we use at the moment are at least partially as a result of what information is easily available. What is needed is a more focused approach on what information will help hiring managers increase the effectiveness of their operations. Dependent variables and lead indicators are needed. Rates of change are more useful in many instances than absolute values. HR typically has large quantities of data but when you look what is needed to answer the necessary questions you find it’s often the wrong bits. Adding qualitative information (our ‘voice of the candidate’ approach) is beneficial.

    Increasingly I’m turning to analytics used in supply chains and marketing as a way of providing clarity to the situation. As we’re dealing with decision making under uncertainty much of it is framed with probabilities. An exploratory statistics approach using data visualisation seems to be providing the most promising results.

    As to your comment on the timing, I see where you are coming from but believe that time to hire is a good lead indicator of other outcomes. I posted (yes, tentatively blogging again after 5 years absence!) something on links between hiring-time and brand perceptions yesterday:

    The other useful part of time-to-hire is to look at changes in time to hire. Using an operation research type perspective we can use this as correlated to bottleneck issues (queuing approaches). I’m convinced it’s worth exploring linking time-to-hire changes to external labour market indicators to see if changes in time to hire can be used to view liquidity in the labour market (and therefore searching costs). Of course time-to-hire should be used in workforce planning to predict how far in advance recruitment should be started. Looking at firm resources in a stock / flow type model is useful here. (It’s worth having a look at Peter Cappelli’s ‘Talent on Demand’ book here.)

    Finally, we’re seeing some fascinating results when we compare recruiter objectives, and how they are measured to large transactional data sets. As an example, I’ve been fortunate to work with some information where we can compare the behaviors of recruiters where volume of interviews is measured and those where it’s not. Basically those measured on volume of interviews interview more when jobs are fewer but their probability of making a hire isn’t improved as a result. This is not the case where recruiters aren’t measured on volume of interviews. The only outcome of the measurement seems to be that they spend more time interviewing unsuccessful candidates and a greater amount of candidate-expense costs. Hiring managers should certainly consider the distorting effects on behavior of measuring the wrong things.

  2. ira levine Avatar

    for me this is a very timely posting. I am currently working with a client that is developing a global approach to staffing along with deploying PS as a global tool.

    As we got into the discussion of metrics in our workshops across the world, the measure of “time to fill” always came up. The reality of life in HR is that as Recruiters/HR Business Partners, we do control all the elements of the process. I have put forth the suggestion at this client, as well as others before, that if time to fill is to be an organizational metric, it should apply not only to HR but also to the Hiring Managers.

  3. […] Recruiting Efficiency Measurement Systematic HR Wednesday, November 3, 2010 If you look through Saratoga , there are all sorts of metrics around measuring our HR operations.  For recruiting, these include all the standard metrics like cost/hire, cost/requisition, time to fill, fills per recruiter, etc.   Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of most of these metrics.  Copyright © 2010 systematicHR. READ MORE […]

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