Tell Me the Talent-acquisition Metrics You Invented (Even the Bad Ones)

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Apr 4, 2017

As Jessie Garcia and I were prepping for our leadership workshop at the Spring ERE Conference in San Diego on April 18, we had a spirited discussion around the “best metrics for influencing your C-suite.” To say we are both metrics-driven is a bit of an understatement (you might say we are metrics freaks).

Jesse wrote a thought-provoking piece using a framework of 1) labor correlations, 2) service excellence & quality, 3) cycle time, 4) conversions (“batting average”), and 5) brand & retention.  Read Jessie’s article here. Readers added great comments making the case for 6) revenue (or other financial) correlations.  These six themes provide a model for you to evaluate how well you are expressing your recruiting results by speaking the language of business rather than “recruiter speak.”

We were also reminiscing about the importance of not just recycling the same ‘ol metrics but looking for opportunities to innovate and bring new thinking to our field and express our value in new ways.  One example of this was the creation of “Time to Find.” And here is its story …


Time to find is the time from when a requisition is opened (or an “order” is placed) to the time the winning (hired) candidate is presented to the hiring manager. If you have a strong talent pool and/or are a great sourcer, Time to find could be hours or a couple days. If you are a post-and-pray recruiter, then you’re probably looking at a time to find measured in weeks or months.  Recruiters always complain that they don’t control time to fill. However, they totally control time to find.

What Spurred Its Creation

I was facing an interesting quandary. As the recruiting leader in a large healthcare organization, I was hearing from operations that “it takes your recruiters too long to get us nursing candidates.” I was hearing from recruiters that “hiring managers sit on my candidates and aren’t responsive.” It seemed unlikely to me that both accusations were true, so I started thinking … how can we get to the factual reality? How can I get to the truth?

The answer was possible with our ATS. Most ATSs time-stamp recruiters’ actions, including when they send each candidate to a hiring manager. So, we started analyzing data. Unfortunately for the recruiters, at that point in time, it was taking us 3-4 weeks on average to send any candidates to hiring managers, and we discovered that on average we weren’t sending the “winning” candidate until day 65. Our overall time to fill was about 73 days, so it didn’t seem like hiring managers sitting on candidates was the real problem — our less-than-stellar sourcing was the culprit.

The Impact

As I mentioned above, when we started measuring Time to Find for nursing hires, we were at about 65 days. Over a two-year period, we cut this by half, and were striving toward getting under 20 days — a very aggressive goal in a tight RN labor market. (Side note: On our internal recruiter scorecard, the amazing Jessie Garcia was always at or near the top of scorecard for shortest time to find).

These sourcing improvements brought our overall cycle time down to under 40 days, and greatly increased our hiring manager and candidate satisfaction survey scores. We took pride in our sourcing competency. And we certainly were not a corporate recruiting “black hole.” There was a huge element of fulfillment, too, by creating something that no one else seemed to be using. So what started as a mission to discover factual reality and truth ultimately lead to creating a metric that drove sourcing excellence.

Your Inventions?

So, let’s hear from you. Please comment below and tell us about a metric you “invented” and why. Or even something you tried to measure that really never took off — we can still learn from “failed” experiments. You never know when your ideas and experiences may be applicable to another’s situation, or you may spur new thinking and ultimately new inventions. I’m 99 percent sure that Jessie will be happy to buy a coffee or an adult beverage for those ideas that are the most creative! I’ll chip in, too. See you in San Diego


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