Candidate Engagement

Source of Hire & Candidate Touchpoints

Source of ApplicationTwo weeks ago I wrote a post on accurately measuring “Source to Hire” through your ATS & job distribution technology and received the following interesting comment from Master Burnett:

There is rarely a single source of hire in today’s hyper connected reality. Single source of application maybe.

While I could try to argue this point, I won’t because Master has a great point and is indeed correct.  A single source of hire is unrealistic in today’s recruiting environment. A candidate today can interact with your company, employer brand and recruiting content in a number of different locations across the web and will do so when looking for a new job opportunity.

The Best Candidates are Researchers

The best candidates are researchers compiling as much information as possible on your company and open job positions as to make an informed decision on whether to apply or not.  To give you an idea of what a candidate might interact with in this process, here’s a few things a candidate may do:

  • Visit your corporate website to learn more about your company, products & strategy
  • Visit your Career Site to learn more about benefits and opportunities at your organization
  • Check out the Blog on both your corporate website and Career Site
  • Follow your Twitter profiles (recruiting, corporate, employee, etc.) and potentially interact with them
  • Become a fan of your Facebook page
  • Go to Indeed or SimplyHired to set up alerts for when new job positions open up for your company
  • Check job boards to see what open job positions you are recruiting for
  • Check LinkedIn to see what connections they have within your company.  And potentially talk with current employees
  • Go to Glassdoor to see what employees say about working at your company and what they have to say about the interview process
  • Search Google for more information on your company or open job positions & recent news on your company

A candidate and more importantly an applicant may do one or every single one of these things when deciding to apply for a job position.  It is after they go through this research phase (however long it is) that they will ultimately decide to apply or not.  If they like what they read & hear, they will most likely apply.  If not, they won’t.

But how does this affect recruiting organizations and how can companies track this engagement?

Source to Hire OR Source of Application?

When many people talk about “Source to Hire” what they are talking about what Master refers to as “Source of Application”.  With these metrics, they are trying to determine what recruiting source ultimately sent a candidate to finish an application as well as tracking these candidates all the way to hire.

The one primary critique of these metrics is that while it accurately measures the last source that a candidate ultimately applied from, there were probably a number of engagements with the candidate and your recruiting content that led them to apply through this source.

That is not to say that these metrics have no value.  Collecting “Source of Application” data is extremely important in determining which recruiting sources (job boards, social networks, referrals, email, etc.) are providing you with the most ROI in terms of qualified candidates and hires.

“Source of Application” data is only a start of the recruiting metrics you should be tracking, however.

Tracking Candidate Touchpoints (Engagement) Across your Organization

In a perfect world, you would be able to make a hire in your organization and see what recruiting content drove the candidate to your organization.

For each candidate, you would know what recruiting content they viewed, what job boards they visited, all their interactions with you on social media and every other engagement you had with them that influenced their decision to apply in one dashboard.  With this you would be able to not only understand what’s working in your recruiting process but you could start to piece together how the best candidates like to interact with your employer brand.

While the industry as a whole is pushing for this type of data and dashboards, it’s not quite there yet.  But that is not to say that you can’t start measuring these engagements in your recruitment marketing funnel.

Here are engagements you should and probably are tracking in your recruiting strategy:

Career Site: If you don’t already, you should have Google Analytics (or some like-minded solution) that provides you with data on what content (pages, videos, blog articles, etc.) candidates are drawn to on your Career Site.

Social Networks: For your Facebook and Twitter recruiting profiles, you should be keeping track of a number of things with various tools (TweetDeck, Hootsuite, etc.) including:

  • Followers (and for recruiting, followers who are potential candidates)
  • Re-Tweets (or RT): This is for your Content and your job updates.
  • Mentions: You should have someone that is hourly checking mentions.  You want to be as responsive as possible to candidates who ask questions about your hiring & recruiting organization / process.
  • Clickthroughs: When you share links, how many people are actually clicking through to your content?
  • Applicants: Are you tracking how many candidates are becoming applicants from your Twitter job postings?  If not, your job distribution solution should be able to.
  • Hires: This is the ultimate goal of any social recruiting strategy.

Recruitment Videos: If you have a YouTube or Vimeo channel, how many views and clickthroughs (if you have a link to your Career Site) are you getting for your employer branding videos?  Track this with Google Analytics or YouTube’s own analytics.

Recruitment SEO: Candidates are searching for jobs on Google as we speak and you should know when they find your jobs on your Career Site.  Not only that you should know what keywords are driving candidates these candidates and to what jobs.  Organic traffic can be your recruiting friend but only if you know what keyword formats are working for your Recruitment SEO strategy so you can replicate it.

Track with your Recruitment SEO provider or with Google Analytics.

Recruitment Marketing Metrics: For every recruiting source you use including job boards & social networks, you should know how many people are viewing it, clicking through to the application and actually submit an application.  These metrics represent your recruitment funnel and enable you to quickly identify bottlenecks that crop up such as your job descriptions sucking (and therefore nobody clicks apply) or candidates dropping off your application at an alarming rate.

Track with your job distribution provider or with short-codes like

ATS Applicant Data: This gets back to the Source to Hire metrics but you should know what sources the most qualified candidates and hires come from.  Even if it tracks just the last engagement for the candidate.

Track with your job distribution and your ATS providers.

Opt-In Talent Network: Not only do you want to track hires but you should also want to track how many candidates you have in your Talent Network database.  This should take into account different disciplines and you should know what recruiting sources are leading to the most opt-ins in your recruiting process.

Track with your Recruiting CRM provider.

Hire Surveys: You should do a quick survey of all new hires to ask them what recruiting content and sources they used in there process.

All these recruiting activities and sources should be tracked in your recruiting process and many of them you are probably already tracking today.  The key is to get all these metrics together in a way that let’s you evaluate and improve your entire recruiting process. Having the metrics is one thing, having them in a digestible format is quite another.

Do the best with the data you have to make more informed decisions on the content and sources you should be using in your recruitment process.  Sooner or later we will have better ways to understand every engagement we have with a candidate.  But until then we will have to make due.

About Christopher Brablc

I'm the Recruiting & Marketing Geek at SmashFly Technologies and help recruiting organizations improve their recruiting process and results. Follow me on Twitter: or connect with me on LinkedIn:



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  3. […] interacting with your employer brand and recruiting content?  This goes beyond just tracking the “Source of Application” but tracking every engagement you have with a candidate.  From the job they apply for to them […]

  4. […] know there is plenty of disagreement over the entire “source of hire” metric. Chris Brabic at Smashfly quotes Master Burnett on the subject, and CareerXroads this year chose to title its annual study, […]

  5. […] holy grail of recruiting technology right now.  And while there is a growing terminology debate on Source of Hire vs. Source of Influence, Source of Application for every hire is a very attainable reality today for every recruiting […]

  6. […] of different factors influence the decision to apply, I’m not going to touch that here (but here’s my previous take on the concept.)  What I’ll talk about however is measuring the “Source of Application” or the […]

  7. […] concept that is close to fruition is measuring the Sources of Influence for a particular hire or qualified candidate.  This means tracking every web page on your Career […]

  8. […] talked about this a few times before (you can find the article here) but the real question is how can you track all of these touch-points in your recruitment marketing […]

  9. […] talked about this a few times before (you can find the article here) but the real question is how can you track all of these touch-points in your recruitment marketing […]

  10. […] know there is plenty of disagreement over the entire “source of hire” metric.Chris Brabic at Smashfly quotes Master Burnett on the subject, andCareerXroads this year chose to title its annual study, […]

  11. […] Understand boomerang effect. How candidates are interacting with your sites before apply such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Career Site <–Important to track Source of Influence! […]

  12. […] Source: […]

    All Things of World - February 2, 2013
  13. […] written a lot on the topic and you can read more deeply on the concept here and here but here it is in a […]

  14. […] concept that is close to fruition is measuring the Sources of Influence for a particular hire or qualified candidate.  This means tracking every web page on your Career […]

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