With a tight applicant market, it may be tempting to take swift, drastic measures. But it can be worthwhile to take a step back, and consider some key metrics before taking action. Mining available data to determine applicant conversion rates can show where in your recruitment pipeline you’re hitting a snag and where your time and money can be most effective.
Measurements can come from various stages of the process, and each can offer information about effectiveness and efficiency (and no, they’re not the same). An effective means of sourcing that reduces time-to-hire may appear more fruitful, but what costs are you incurring in the interim? If those hires have a high turnover rate, what have you gained? The key is to find effective and efficient methods — and you’re likely sitting on the data that reveals all.
Numbers to know
In addition to standard time-to-hire and time-to-fill numbers, metrics to examine among applicants can include: web visitors who apply for jobs; applications received per opening; applicants called; applicants who pass a phone screen; applicants scheduled for an interview; interviews per offer; and offer-to-acceptance rate.
And when evaluating external sources, it's important to measure all of those metrics for each source used. Internally, it can be valuable to track employees notified of openings; referrals received per opening; referral to call ratio, as well as the above numbers.
While it may seem like a lot of data to cull, the information can be very revealing. Verifying that the sources you use are providing a good return is critical. After all, few HR professionals have time or resources to waste.
How do you stack up?
Once you have your data, you've got a baseline. From there you can create goals and identify steps for improvement. But it also can be worthwhile to see how you rate against the competition, as long as you keep in mind that location, industry and other factors affect results.
A recent report from Glassdoor looked at global trends with respect to time-to-hire. On average, the interview process for 2017 was 23.7 days, up slightly from 2016's 22.5 days. The jobs with the longest processes extended up to two months (professors); the shortest hires were in retail and restaurant at about eight days each.
From Jobvite, more details emerge: its 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report looks at steps in the process. The report put the average time-to-hire at 38 days with 36 applicants per job. About 12% of applicants receive an interview, with 28% of those receiving offers.
But, remember that "[t]here isn’t a standard talent Acquisition-wide metric," Stephen Rees, managing director of client delivery for ManpowerGroup Solutions, said; "they vary by industry and skillset."
"Metrics worth examining include new hire performance (speed to deliver on expected performance levels), employee attrition/retention, in addition to career path and development," he told HR Dive via email. "We aim for year-over-year cost savings acquiring talent, quality of hire and retention.”
In this challenging market, metrics depend a lot on what you’re looking to achieve, Greg Moran, CEO of OutMatch, told HR Dive. “The hourly market is really constrained right now, which is presenting a challenge for conversion rates.” A big mistake he said he sees is companies looking to overcorrect by eliminating critical steps in the screening process to speed time-to-hire; this can result in higher turnover, or selecting candidates unsuited for the position.
The challenge, Moran said, “is getting time to hire down without sacrificing selection.” Examining your practices to find where you’re bogged down can help and eliminating those snags can improve candidate experience.
Peter Bonjuklian, vice president, delivery of Starpoint Solutions, a Yoh Company, said that for every three candidates submitted, he expects one interview; for every three interviews, one placement. But recruiter style plays a role, he told HR in an email: "I have people that are submission machines as well as those that are very selective about who they submit. Both can be successful and both fall outside of these general guidelines. Think of a bell curve. There are people at both ends, but the bulk are in the middle, and that is where the three-to-one ratios are most applicable."
When working with a recruiter, metrics play a role, but quality may be more important. "My suggestion," Bonjuklian said, "is for clients to work more closely with a select set of staffing partners and put the emphasis on the right fit over speed of submission." Feedback is critical to a good working relationship with your recruiting partners, as well. Timely, substantive feedback results in successful long-term engagement.
Recruiters are known for having data on time-to-hire, source-of-hire, cost-of-hire and conversion rates, said Rees. "While these data points are helpful, what recruiters should be seeking are insights into a candidate’s potential success during the selection process. Since today’s ATS and CRM technologies can provide these metrics, recruiters need to make the most of the technology that’s available to them, allowing more time for the identification, evaluation and selection of top talent for their clients."
Regardless of how you cull your data, the key is carefully considering the information it reveals and creating a deliberate strategy that will not only boost your metrics but also improve your candidate experience.