Three Source Quality Metrics You Should Be Tracking

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Mar 24, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

When it comes to sourcing, we often measure success of a source by looking at how many net-new candidates it drove through the top of our funnel. You post a job on LinkedIn, you get 100 candidates; you think LinkedIn seems like a solid source for candidates, right?  Not necessarily. It doesn’t matter how many candidates you get from a given source. It matters how far along in your interview process they get. How many qualified candidates did you get from LinkedIn?

If you have $10,000 to spend on sourcing, where will you invest it? Can you predict the outcome of that spend? Tracking source quality will enable you to more accurately predict where your best candidates will come from, and where to invest your time and resources.

Here are three reasons why source quality matters:

  1. It will drive strategic decision-making. If you know which sources convert the highest quality candidates, then you’ll know where to spend your time and money for a given role.
  2. It will help you predict future performance. If you know how each of your sources perform, you are able to more effectively forecast the time and resources you need to fill a specific number of roles.
  3. It will help you increase your velocity. Your ability to operationalize what works will help you optimize throughout the process and ultimately move candidates through the pipeline faster.

Source Quality Metrics

In sales and marketing, lead source quality ultimately comes down to how many new customers and how much revenue was produced via each source. In talent acquisition, it’s pretty similar. How many candidates made it on site for face-to-face interviews? How many offers were made and accepted? Those are the ‘late-stage’ metrics you should really be tracking if you want to focus your sourcing efforts on channels that actually generate hires. However, there are a few other metrics that will help you quantify quality at different stages of the hiring process.

1. Recruiting Qualified Candidates

How many candidates are deemed ‘qualified’ by a recruiter is a good quality metric for sourcers. A “Recruiting Qualified Candidate” is a candidate who makes it through the application review process and to a phone screen by a recruiter. If the recruiter passes the candidate onto the next stage they essentially become a Recruiting Qualified Candidate and would then be set up on a phone interview with someone from the hiring team.

This conversion metric is similar to the “Marketing Qualified Lead” metric when a marketing team qualifies a lead to a certain point before handing it off to sales. Ideally, as you fine tune your sourcing strategies, this conversion rate will increase so more and more candidates screened by a recruiter are passed to the hiring team.

2. Team Accepted Candidates

After recruiters do their initial screens of candidates, they pass them to someone on the hiring team. This does not have to be the hiring manager. It may be someone who collaborates closely with this role. If the candidate passes this phone interview stage, they become a “Team Accepted Candidate.” This means the hiring team (or someone on it) has assessed the candidate for things like effective communication skills, their work experience and determines if they would make a good culture fit for that particular team.

The Team Accepted Candidate is similar to the “Sales Accepted Lead” stage between sales and marketing. This is when someone from the sales team, usually a sales development rep (SDR), qualifies the lead based on sales criteria. If it meets those criteria it becomes a Sales Accepted Lead. The principle here is the same: the recruiter in a sense is handing off the candidate to someone from the hiring team to further qualify them for the role.

3. Cost-per-candidate

Finally, cost per candidate. This is pretty simple to calculate – you divide the total dollars spent sourcing by the number of new candidates you received. Cost-per-candidate is not a super useful metric in the short term, but it does become a very useful benchmark over time.

Sometimes, the quality of a source will diminish over time. For example, today GitHub is a great place to source smart engineers, but there is a possibility that in the future it will become so popular a source it becomes highly competitive. There is also a possibility GitHub will not do a good job at keeping the community alive. Either way, having a historic benchmark for your average cost of a net-new candidate will act as an early warning system that a particular source is becoming stale, and you should start reevaluating your sourcing strategy.

Connecting the Dots

When thinking about sourcing quality, consider your recruiting process a funnel. At each stage of this funnel is a conversion metric you should measure and work iteratively to improve. At each stage you are assessing for different traits and qualities, and at each stage a candidate becomes either more qualified or less.

To source effectively you need to look at the big picture — your funnel end-to-end. This will not only help you make more strategic decisions about where you spend your time and money, but it will help you surface insights enabling you to more effectively predict future performance.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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