Source of hire is an important measure for organizations to understand how their efforts to attract candidates ultimately impact the bottom line in terms of qualified hires. Accurately tracked and measured, source of hire provides insight into how best to spend your finite recruiting budget and recruiters’ time. You not only want, but need to know if one channel is the main source for most of your hires versus another channel that may be the source of high number of applicants, but low quality in terms of number of qualified applicants and hires.

But the talent market and the technology we use is evolving, which means the way we measure and evaluate source of hire needs to evolve with it. The candidate experience isn’t linear–it also isn’t a one- or two-point touch any longer. Through social, mobile, email, job boards, referrals and more, candidates connect, research and filter through many channels–all of the sources you should be tracking their engagement with. This phenomenon will undoubtedly evolve how we measure the impact of each source in our strategy.


Pitfalls of Current Source of Hire Measurement

Many organizations rely on source of hire to justify big decisions made on the initiatives behind their recruitment marketing strategy. However, if this metric is not captured accurately, your justifications are misguided.

In most cases, source of hire data is reported through the ATS. While most ATS solutions provide source code tracking to track the right source data for each candidate, it doesn’t mean the technology is implemented to do this accurately and systematically by every organization.

The two common pitfalls are:

  • Relying on candidate self-selection: Let’s face it–allowing the candidate to choose how they arrived at your application versus relying on actual technology tracking leads to inaccuracy. It’s human subjectivity. This happens mainly if an ATS doesn’t provide source code tracking or a company opts for a self-selection field instead of source codes.
  • Source codes passed inconsistently: If you use source codes, organizations need to make sure they are passed for each candidate that completes an application. While this can be done ad hoc when a job opens and is marketed, it’s time-consuming and increases the chance for error. Most likely, organizations will work with recruitment marketing technology providers to ensure proper source code passing into the ATS for every attraction method and source.

In each case, the organization is left with data they can’t entirely trust. Once you crack the foundation of data integrity, it’s hard to make any meaningful decisions from it. It seems simple, but many organization still struggle with it (just check page 13 of the 2014 CareerXroads Source of Hire study).

As an industry, we have a ways to go. But some organizations are working with recruitment marketing providers to ensure data accuracy across all initiatives while guaranteeing the right data passes into the ATS.


Source of Hire Alone is Limiting

Organization are now measuring one point in time, the final decision to apply, instead of entire relationship timeline they have with each candidate. Don’t get me wrong–source of application is a great start for better decision making. But in our world of constant connection and research, using one source of hire is simply flawed. Anyone who has researched a product or service, and in this case, searched for their next career move, knows that one source typically doesn’t lead to an application–multiple sources do. It is the combination of sources–from social media to a weekend email to a great piece of content on a website to a killer review–that builds upon each other to drive a consumer (or candidate) to make a decision to buy or convert. It’s a full cycle, and every point matters.

The problem is that this is essentially what we are measuring with today’s Source of Hire metrics. And this limits our ability to understand our diverse strategies.


Enter Source of Influence

While not all sources have the same impact on the application conversion, there are many that influence a candidate’s decision to apply, including the career site, social media, employer review sites, email engagement and referrals.

Not all sources will be converters–but does that make them less valuable in the journey? Some mediums just make more sense as an influencer. Social, for instance, excels at informing and engaging candidates with content, but isn’t likely to convert many candidates via a job status update on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Job ads on your career site, though, are incredibly adept at converting to applications. But getting to the career site most likely doesn’t happen without some influence by outside channels. The real question is which ones?


Tracking All Touchpoints in the Talent Acquisition Funnel

This type of tracking is being done in other departments–really, just across the pond of HR and Talent Acquisition: Marketing. Marketing automation systems like Hubspot (the inbound marketing genius) or Pardot (by Salesforce) measure and report on every prospect’s interaction with the company, from content page views to email clicks to form downloads and data entry. This complete view of their program provides marketers with an ability to better nurture potential prospects and understand when prospects are ready to move down the marketing and sales funnel. You’ll find the use of marketing automation technology in any mature marketing department that is proving results.

The question is how do we get to this level of tracking for Talent Acquisition?

Recruitment Marketing Platforms is helping serve this function for Talent Acquisition departments. Organizations increasingly are looking at their attraction, conversion, selection and hiring strategy from a funnel perspective. The focus is continuously filling the top of the funnel and then improving on how they can better convert candidates from one stage to the next, through the right nurturing, content and recruiter communication.

The only way to improve is to understand what you’re doing and measure how it’s working. What recruiting organizations are doing now encompasses multiple channels, multiple tactics and multiple messages. Measuring these sources of influences will help them make better process and spend decisions, improve identification of interested candidates and ensure more qualified candidates enter the hiring process. You can’t ask for anything more than that.

More on Recruitment Marketing Platforms and their impact on your talent acquisition strategy in our recent white paper. 

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