Designing an effective recruitment and hiring strategy is difficult. Figuring out how to market jobs to potential applicants, attract the highest-quality talent, and interview and select your candidates takes time, research and attention to detail.
Many companies fail to track the effectiveness of their recruitment strategies once they are in place. They assume that once the plan has been implemented, the job is done. It’s an “if you build it, they will come” mentality. Unfortunately, few employers perfect their recruiting process the first time out of the gate. If you want to attract good people, minimize the hiring timeline and sow the seeds for employee retention, you need to understand which parts of your recruitment strategy are working and which ones aren’t.
The best way to get that information is through recruitment analytics. To help you understand which recruiting metrics are most important and, hopefully, breathe new life into your recruitment efforts, I’ve outlined below the data you can’t afford to ignore.
1) Hiring timeline
Time to hire is likely the most important recruitment metric that you can track. On one hand, there can be value in taking your time and waiting to hire until the perfect candidate walks through the door. This mentality is ideal if you are filling a particularly specialized or high-level position.
However, slow hiring processes have a few major drawbacks. They can have a negative impact on the overall applicant experience and may even cost you top talent. Good people are in high demand, in any market. Taking too long to review resumes, conduct interviews or make up your mind can allow competitors time to scoop up your favorite prospects before you can hire them.
Track how long each step of the review and screening process takes, then identify where you can improve efficiency and speed without sacrificing quality.
2) Application time
People who are looking for employment want to maximize the chances they’ll be hired, so they tend to apply for a lot of jobs at once. Because they are spending so much time filling out applications, they don’t want to waste too much time on any one application in case nothing comes of it. As a result, applications that require more time to complete are going to put off some candidates.
Think of it this way: you want your applicants to respect your time, which is why you cringe any time an eight-page resume comes across your desk. Do the same for your candidates and trim the bloat from your application. A short, easy-to-complete online application will maximize the size of your applicant pool. Besides, you’re aiming to learn everything you really need to know about an applicant from the resume, the job interview and the potential background check process, not an initial application.
To test application time, sit down and work through the application as if you were applying for the job. Time yourself as you work. If the actual application takes more than 15 minutes—not including resume edits and cover letter writing—you should make a few cuts.
3) Source of hire
These days, virtually everyone applies for jobs online. But while the web can widen your applicant pool and make it more convenient for candidates to apply, it also makes it much more difficult to figure out where your best prospects are coming from.
Luckily, there are ways to track how applicants are finding out about your job posting. You can use Google Analytics to track how much traffic your application page is getting and what the top traffic sources are. Alternatively, you can include a field on your job application asking applicants to disclose how they learned about the job. Asking this same question during the actual interview can further help you recognize how your top candidates are hearing about you.
Tracking this information is a must because it can tell you where to focus your job advertising efforts in the future. Additionally, if you are paying to post on certain job boards, these analytics can help you determine whether the spend is worth it.
4) Cost to hire
Speaking of spending, it’s important to track how much you spend on each hire. The bad news is that there are a lot of different angles to assess here. Obvious costs like advertising, job board postings, recruiter fees and candidate expenses (if you offer to pay them) are easy to track. It’s harder to figure out the costs of productivity loss for managers and employees who must make time for interviews and cover the responsibilities of the position that stays vacant throughout the process.
As such, you shouldn’t hesitate to use estimates here rather than firm numbers. Even if your metrics aren’t exact, they can give you an idea of how much you are spending to fill each position. In turn, this information can help you plan your recruiting budget, motivate you to shorten your hiring timeline and help identify hiring ROI for each employee you bring on board.
5) Candidate experience
In addition to tracking relevant numbers and statistics, you should make a point of finding out how applicants feel about your candidate experience. We mentioned candidate experience in the “hiring timeline” section, but time isn’t the only factor that creates a positive or negative experience. Communication, ease of application, friendliness of hiring managers and ability to answer questions are all things that impact candidate experience.
Once the position is closed and your offer to the successful candidate has been accepted, send the candidates you interviewed an online survey (preferably an anonymous one if possible) asking about their experience. Not everyone will respond, but you should get some good feedback about your hiring process and where it could be improved. This feedback, combined with smart analytics, will give you the information you need to recruit, hire and retain more effectively.
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