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How to measure success in recruitment

Future of WorkWhole-Person Assessment
calendarMay 12, 2022
calendarKylie Mcintyre
How to measure success in recruitment

What does success in recruitment look like? The answer to this question will be different for each of your stakeholders. Hiring managers, the leadership team, and candidates all value different things, so it’s important to measure a variety of recruitment metrics at each stage of the recruitment funnel.

In this article we’ll look at short- and long-term hiring metrics that will help you create a data driven method for measuring recruitment success.

Why measure recruitment success?

Firstly, to understand how to measure the success of recruitment, we need to consider why we do it and how recruitment and selection contribute to organisational success. Good talent acquisition practices enable recruiters to find, select, and retain high performers. And high performers contribute more to business success.

According to research by employee engagement experts, highly engaged business units and teams are 23% more profitable than low performing teams. These teams are able to generate 10% more customer loyalty, 14% greater productivity, and 18% better sales. Importantly, they also report 81% less absenteeism, an 18% lower employee turnover rate, and 66% better employee wellbeing. 

Ensuring that you have the potential to create high performing teams, starts in the recruitment funnel.

What does successful recruitment look like?

Successful recruitment builds a workforce that is fit for the organisation’s future. To do this, the recruitment process needs to be fair, accurate and predictive. It needs to offer a great candidate experience without compromising on any other element. This is a tall order, which is why it’s important to measure recruitment success carefully and thoughtfully.

Some common measures such as cost per hire, time to hire and source of hire can be useful but they only paint part of the picture. Within recruitment there is sometimes a temptation to over-simplify, and to focus on the short term. Using simple and short-term metrics does not present a true reflection of the organisation’s recruitment success rate, and it’s critical to look at success through a broader and longer-term lens. For example, a broader lens might include diversity of candidates (and of those hired) to offer a view of how talent acquisition is supporting DEI strategy. A longer-term lens could be analysing success in the role over time to give a more rounded view of quality of hire.

Recruiting metric pitfalls to avoid

There will always be trade-offs in the hiring process. Every hiring manager wants the best candidates – quickly. Candidates want a positive and developmental candidate experience. The finance team wants the hiring process to be cost-effective.

Given the difference in stakeholder expectations, how can the recruiting team make sure they’re focused on the right hiring metrics?

1. Tie recruitment metrics to business objectives

Meaningful recruitment metrics are connected to the overall goals of the business. If your organisation is going through a digital transformation, to what extent is your recruitment process attracting the quality of hire needed? If your organisation has goals around workforce diversity, how is this supported through the recruitment process? Reporting on quality of candidate, and on biometric data, can enable the recruiting team to tie the team’s own goals to the organisation’s business strategy.

2. Think long term about quality of hire

Recruitment metrics such as time to fill, number of candidates and conversion rate are all short-term measures. Whilst they are useful in some situations, the most impactful metrics are those that have a long-term view. Over time, how many candidates from certain groups stay and progress? Is there any correlation between source of hire and success in role? Is success at an assessment centre reflected in hiring manager satisfaction? The picture is much more complex than time to hire or cost to hire, and it’s important for recruiters to have access to data that allows for more sophisticated long-term reporting to accurately measure recruitment success.

3. Aim to eliminate adverse impact from the hiring process

Demonstrating that your hiring process is reducing bias and adverse impact is a powerful message to candidates, employees, the leadership team, and wider community. This can be evidenced through a number of recruitment metrics. Reporting on gender, ethnicity or declared disability can evidence a commitment to diversity. Analysing the results of assessments and interviews will shine a light on whether candidates from certain groups are facing adverse impact in the recruitment process. The hiring process can then be altered and optimised to reduce bias, and further demonstrate the building of a more diverse workforce.

4. Measure what matters

All too often, recruitment is like a hurdle race with candidates falling out at each stage of the recruitment funnel. Candidate numbers, applicants per hire or conversion rate metrics rarely offer value about the quality of the recruitment process or candidate experience. More impactful metrics analyse the entire funnel over the long term. Ideally, the recruiting team should be able to answer questions about whether the recruitment process is measuring what is important for effectiveness in a role? Does success in the assessment process correlate with long term success in the business?

5. Use robust assessments

The better the assessment process, the better the analysis of recruitment metrics will be. To accurately measure success in recruitment, assessments need to be fair, predictive and accurate. They should be underpinned by scientific theory and supported by research data, and at the same time, offer a positive candidate experience. If the data from assessment is robust, then the recruiting team and hiring managers can place their trust in it. Sova’s award-winning assessments guarantee fair, equitable outcome from assessment, without compromising on anything else, allowing users to access all assessment data in one place.

Measure your people strategy, not just your process

The problem with easy recruitment metrics is that you end up measuring the success of your recruitment strategy, rather than its impact on the business. As we discussed in a session with the RL100, the metrics that are harder to measure offer the most insight.

There is a place for recruitment KPIs, but those numbers are not the ones that will speak to the leadership team, nor make a real difference to the way your business attracts and retains talent.

As an example, let’s take high performers. As we saw earlier, high performing teams and businesses make for more profitable businesses. The difference in output between a high performer and an average performer, according to research, is estimated to be:

48% of salary for management and professional roles

32% of salary for skilled roles

19% of salary for unskilled and semi-skilled roles

How can talent acquisition contribute to, and measure the success of recruiting high performers?

Imagine your business is hiring for a graduate recruitment programme. This recruitment process is for 5000 hires, each with a starting salary of £30,000.

If the business identifies high performers using Sova assessments which are over 60% more accurate than traditional psychometrics, they can hire 100 more high performers in every 1000 hires.

If the salary of graduate entrants is £30,000 this would equate to an additional £14,400 difference in output per hire. The overall benefit would be £144,000 of additional benefit to the organisation per 100 hires, every year.

In addition, if the talent acquisition team can also demonstrate improved diversity, reduced drop-out rates, improved time to hire, and cost savings, then the team is not only measuring the success of its hiring process, but its impact on the business too.

Measuring recruitment success

Accurately measuring recruitment success requires a blend of long term and short-term recruitment metrics. Crucially, data on recruitment should be closely tied to talent strategy and business goals. In order to report on the entire recruitment funnel, the talent acquisition team needs access to reliable, timely data.

Sova’s recruitment assessment software includes live reporting which is available via a customised dashboard. From candidate feedback to diversity metrics and assessment scoring, all assessment data is available in one place, making recruitment analytics easy, and saving time for recruiters and hiring managers.

Whatever your recruitment goals, Sova ensures the recruiting team can measure the impact of their work effectively:

Real time assessment results.

Capture data across each stage of the assessment process.

Online reporting allows assessors to easily score, compare candidates and make decisions.


How to measure success in recruitment