How to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Recruiting Sources

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to hear Shally Steckerl, founder of The Sourcing Institute Foundation and senior sourcing consultant at Fiserv, talk about “Using Tools and Pipelines to Source Talent” at the Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference. One of the things he mentioned stuck with me: the notion that it’s not only important to find and try new recruiting sources, but to evaluate their effectiveness.

It reminded me of a panel discussion led by Tim Sackett, president at HRU Technical Resources, during last year’s TATech Spring Congress. He asked panelists how long they gave a new source to prove itself. Most panelist were comfortable saying a year. I must admit I was surprised. In my career, when I wanted to try new recruiting sources, senior management was looking for immediate return on the investment. Instant gratification if you will. A year would have been a luxury.

Back to evaluating your recruiting sources. It got me thinking. What steps should someone take when they’re considering the effectiveness of a recruiting source.

First, decide what effectiveness means. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Does being an effective source mean lots of applications? Or a lot of interviews? Or a lot of hires? Maybe it means not only quantity of hires, but quality after the introductory period has ended? Does it include cost-per-hire? I can’t tell you what effectiveness means for your organization, but I can say that it’s important for recruiters to decide…and be consistent.

Get management to buy-in. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in this situation one too many times, but recruiters will want to make sure that hiring managers are on the same page when it comes to the effectiveness of sources. If managers think a great source is one that supplies piles of applicant flow and HR thinks it’s about quality over quantity, there it could be a challenge getting buy-in for a particular source.

Agree on time frames, data collection, and reporting. I mentioned earlier that I’ve worked places where sources just got one try. I know that’s not fair, but that was what senior management was willing to finance. It’s equally important to make sure that everyone will accept the data regarding sources. The good news is that many recruiting technology solutions can supply this data, so there shouldn’t be too many questions about its validity.

Determine the consequences. Okay, so you’re measuring the effectiveness of sources. That’s great. What happens if a source isn’t cutting it? It makes no sense to track effectiveness if nothing is going to happen to ineffective sources. This is going to put some pressure on recruiters, because sometimes doing something…anything…is better than nothing. Even if it is a less than reliable source.

Let source providers know. If the company is using third-party sources like job boards, career fairs, search firms, etc. for their recruiting, it’s only fair to tell these providers that if they aren’t effective, the company will have to reevaluate the partnership. That’s not a mean thing to do. In fact, it could make some sense to share the metrics with your third-party sources. Maybe they have some ideas to improve effectiveness using their product or service.

Talent is a key differentiator for businesses. Finding excellent recruiting sources translates into finding the best talent. But, recruiters need to constantly evaluate sources to ensure they remain competitive. Because when recruiting is competitive, the organization is competitive.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the Learning and Development League 2016 Annual Conference in Delhi, India