Source of Hire[tweetmeme source= ‘@smashfly’ only_single=false]

Yesterday as I was reading Glen Cathey’s post “What’s Wrong with Job Boards?“.  In the post, he talks about job boards and how they can still be effective despite what you might hear about their impending demise.  I encourage you to give it a read.

However, what intrigued me about the post is the Source of Hire Snobbery section.  What Glen says is true, just because a candidate comes from a particular source doesn’t mean they are inherently going to be good or bad.  Any source can provide a quality candidate and it’s important to understand what sources consistently provide these types of candidates.

So for this post, I want to share some of my ideas on what goes into measuring the quality of recruitment sources you use so you can better determine your recruitment marketing mix.


What determines a qualified candidate?

In order to measure anything of consequence you need to first understand what determines success.  Obviously the greatest success in your recruiting process is a hire.  However, while you should definitely be measuring where your hires are coming from this might be too simplistic of an approach.  There are a number of qualified candidates that make it into your process that don’t receive the position but should be counted when evaluating recruitment sources.  You want to measure ALL the quality talent that enters your process not just the one winner.

So now that you know you want to measure quality (and not just hires), you need to determine at what step in the process a candidate goes from being a prospect to a qualified candidate.  This may be after you do an initial screening and give them an interview.  Or it may be when they get a second interview.  Whatever you decide it will important to define what a qualified candidate is so that it can be measured.

While you can keep it as simple as possible and just keep track of qualified candidates and hires, you can also decide to track at a deeper level, potentially tracking 4 or 5 stages of the interview process for each recruitment source.

Whatever you decide to track it’s important that you tie back each candidate to the source that they came in on.


Measuring Source of Hire (and Quality Candidates)

While there’s a real good debate on true Source of Hire and how a number 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 recruitment source that was the last source the candidate came from to complete the application.  This can give you a quick view of what recruitment sources are the best at driving candidate conversions.

There are a few ways to track these recruitment metrics with recruitment technology.  Your ATS today probably provides a way to include source codes into your job ads in order to automatically track the source of every candidate that finishes your application.  This can be cumbersome if you post jobs individually but is made much easier when paired with a Job Distribution solution that automatically will append these codes to ensure the accuracy of this data.

Once you ensure that the recruitment source data for each candidate is being captured correctly, then you can go about pulling reports based on certain statuses in your ATS or having automatic daily reports generated through your job distribution solution. These reports can and should be generated on a single job as well as on holistic level so you can go as deep as needed into your data.

For an example of a simple Source of Hire report that we’ve helped a customer of ours generate, see below:

Source of Hire Metrics

As you can see, they decided to measure Qualified Candidates and Hires.  Qualified candidates are a collection of candidates that are in 3 different statuses in their ATS.  This is just an example of what you can do.


Making better decisions

Whether it’s a job board, social network, your Career Site or a sourcing campaign, it’s important to measure and evaluate each based on their own merits.  Once you know where you are getting the most quality in terms of candidates, you can further look into your recruitment spend and make better decisions on where your organization should allocate your precious resources.  And hopefully get more quality candidates for your recruiting dollar.

3 responses to “How do you measure recruitment quality?”

  1. An interesting blog. Technology is making online recruitment a much more in depth sector than it once was. It is certainly no longer simply about posting a job online with an email contact below. There are so many new tools and technologies being developed and although the paper CV may not have faded out completely, online recruitment is certainly taking over.

    It is true though, that within all of this technology, companies need to remember to assess and analyse what they are doing.

    Many thanks,


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