Adler’s ‘Crazy Metrics’ for Progressive Recruiters

Mar 6, 2009

As the economy tumbles, and companies right-size their recruiting departments, the bottom-half is the first to go. Under this scenario, those formerly in the relatively secure 2nd quartile are now in the bottom-half. So be wary or get better.

With this sobering news in mind, I offer those of you in all quartiles this short, 10-point personal evaluation guide. While some of them are a bit crazy, they’re based on comparing your performance to the best in the business. It will tell you quickly whether you’re in the top 25% and how to stay there.

If you’re not in this double RIF-proof group, you’ll find out what you have to do to get there. For those of you doing any pre-RIF assessments, it will help you figure out who goes, who stays, and who’s worth saving. What a crazy idea! (Note: your comments are being collected on my Recruiter’s Wall blog.)

Using Adler’s Crazy Metrics as the New Recruiter Scorecard

The world of recruiting continues to evolve faster than most of us can adapt. To see where you rank in the new age of recruiting, evaluate yourself on each of these factors on a zero- to 10-point scale.

This has been designed for full-cycle recruiters and it’s based on a curve, so you need to score around 65-75 points to be in the upper quartile.

  1. Voice Mail Return Percent. If you’re calling passive candidates (those not looking) you should be in the 70%-80% range here. This is worth a full 10 points. Average in the current economy is about a 20% return rate and is worth about 3 points. You only score points here if you’re calling people who are fully employed or where your personal influence is the key to getting them interested. (Note: see point 3 for how to increase your voice mail return rate.)
  2. Number of Days Looking. Getting people as soon as they enter the job-hunting market is a huge competitive advantage. So start asking your active candidates how long they’ve been looking. If you’re the first recruiter or company they’ve spoken to, give yourself all 10 points, but only if you had anything to do with pulling this feat off. You get a big donut if the candidate says they’ve already accepted another offer, they’ve got other offers pending, or if they’ve been in the market for more than two weeks. Give yourself 5 points if most of your candidates found your ad in the first 5-10 days of their search. If you had nothing to do with making sure the ad was found, that it was compelling, or in causing your candidate to respond, you don’t get any of these points. Instead, give them to the person who pulled this off.
  3. Referrals Per Call. To score all 10 points on this factor, you need to average 2-3 worthy referrals per call. Someone is worthy if they are highly qualified and a strong candidate for your open job, or personally knows someone who is. An average score (3 points) on this factor is about one decent referral per call. I have a personal rule that has enabled me to increase my personal productivity by 300%! It goes like this: first, don’t call anyone who will not call you back! Second, don’t call anyone who’s not a top performer. Third, only call worthy prospects. The only way to pull this is off is to get 2-3 worthy referrals on every single call you make. (Here’s a networking tips article for help on improving your score here.)
  4. The Maslow vs. Money Index. Here’s an article summarizing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s must-read material for recruiters. The key point here is that good candidates don’t take new jobs primarily for the money. They take them for some combination of growth, opportunity, a chance to learn new skills, to do something important, or to increase their personal satisfaction. Unfortunately, most candidates ask “what’s the money?” early in the courting phase, putting most recruiters on the defensive. Good recruiters quickly shift the conversation to Maslow-related ideas, suggesting that the primary reason a person should select one job over another is because of the opportunity for growth and personal satisfaction it represents, not the money received. (Caution: this will only work as long as your comp is reasonably competitive.) Score all 10 points if you handle this money question smoothly all of the time, and zero points if you stumble all of the time. Give yourself 2-3 points if you can convince a fair percent of your candidates to reconsider, independent of the pay.
  5. Not Interested Conversion Rate. This is the percent of candidates who initially say they are not interested in your job opening but who reconsider. You score all 10 points if you phrase your questions in such a way that everyone says they’d like to talk with you about your open opportunities. Score zero points if you walk away from most of these candidates without some type of clever rebuttal. The key to good recruiting and scoring high on this factor is applicant control. You know you have it when you — the recruiter — determine if you’re interested in the candidate, not the other way around.
  6. Partner vs. Vendor Ratio. If you’re a partner with your hiring manager clients you have a better understanding of real job needs, you’re more influential, they’ll see candidates who are a bit off the mark based on your recommendation, they’ll trust your judgment, and you’ll make more placements without wasting time. A vendor-like relationship with a client puts the recruiter into a subordinate and less-influential role. The recruiter typically has less knowledge of real job requirements, the hiring manager refuses to see candidates who don’t meet the exact requirements, and the manager won’t reconsider candidates he or she has incorrectly assessed. Divide the percent of your clients who are partners by those who are vendors (Note: 50/50 is equal to one and is worth 4 points.) A good ratio here is two, meaning two-thirds of your clients treat you as a true partner, so give yourself 7-8 points for this.
  7. Unsolicited Referral Rate. If you regularly get great referrals without asking for them you score high on this factor. Great recruiters are known in their niche market and top people want to connect with them. Give yourself all 10 points if at least 50% of your placements are made from these unsolicited referrals. If you get 4-5 strong unsolicited referrals each month, whether you place them or not, give yourself 5 points on this factor. You get a big zero if you don’t get any good referrals, unsolicited or not.
  8. Technology Utilization Factor. Whether it’s being an ATS geek, a Web 2.0 aficionado, a search optimization fanatic, or a CRM guru, recruiting in today’s era requires significant technology expertise. If you still advocate a tech-free environment, you earn a big zero on this factor. Googling for resumes is not a big deal anymore, so you get nothing for being good at this. If you’re training others in using the latest recruiter-tech stuff take all 10 points. If no one laughs at your lack of tech-expertise, score 5 points here.
  9. Advertising Efficiency. To get all 10 points on this factor, you have to make sure your ads are found and at least 50% of the people who find them click through. This means you need to use reverse engineering to select the best boards and make sure your ads are so compelling top people are intrigued enough to respond. If you just post your traditional job descriptions on boards that have not been vetted, your score is equal to the number of great people who apply — zero!
  10. Gauge of Persistence. Recruiting top people is never smooth. People always have concerns. Candidates always have other offers. Managers always want to see more candidates. Pushing through these issues is at the heart of great recruiters. If you can convince most of your candidates to reconsider, get your managers to see and hire people who don’t meet the exact requirements, and are constantly pushing the process forward, regardless of the challenges, you deserve most of these 10 points. Take them all if your candidates and clients thank you for persevering. You don’t deserve any points here, if you complain about all of the challenges involved, procrastinate, or make excuses about your lack of results.

Free BONUS ADD-ON: Buyer vs. Seller Quotient

Divide the percent of the time your strong passive candidates are selling you (meaning you’re the buyer) by the amount of time you’re selling them (i.e., 50/50 is equal to one and worth 5 points). If you sell more than you buy, you get 1-2 points, and if you buy a lot more than you sell, you get 7-8 points. Good recruiting is about getting a strong candidate to sell you on why he or she is qualified for the job. They’ll only do this if they believe your job represents a strong career move for them. This is also referred to as applicant control and is a core competency of every top recruiter.

New-age recruiting is about influencing people who have multiple opportunities to consider what you have to offer. While there is more technology now available to find people, this is now the easy part. Getting on the phone, recruiting them, and networking is now the real skill involved with being a great new-age recruiter. That’s a crazy idea, isn’t it?

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