Why performance management isn’t just about hitting hiring goals
When I first started to recruit (I was with an agency at the time),
we measured recruiter performance based predominantly on simple
metrics like submittals - the numbers of resumes sent to hiring
managers for review - and hires made. But as our ability to track
hiring data on a more granular level, improved, I’ve evolved how I
measure performance to reflect a recruiter’s full body of work.
The problem before was that sometimes weaker recruiters would get
lucky and hit their hiring goals, despite the fact that they brought
significantly fewer candidates through the hiring funnel than
usually needed to meet goals. For example, if a recruiter’s hiring
goal was expected to require roughly 1,000 applications to fulfill
all target roles, but they managed to hit the goal with just 250
applications, it’s possible they got lucky and wouldn’t be able to
repeat that kind of performance.
In other cases, strong recruiters have been unlucky, missing their
hiring goals, despite doing great work and generating a healthy
At the same time, if you had to do double the work to hit your
goals, there is obviously a breakdown in the process that required
you to fill the pipeline with more candidates than you would have
had to otherwise.
The key to properly evaluating performance in this case is to goal
recruiters against the full hiring funnel. Measuring metrics like
number of phone interviews and number of onsite interviews, in
addition to applicants and hires, gives you more transparency into
your recruiters’ performance and why they did or didn’t hit their
The poor quality of quality of hire
Quality of hire is one of the new, trendy metrics I’ve been hearing
a lot about in the recruiting community. It maps recruiter
performance to the performance of the new hires they make.
The intention with this kind of metric is to hold recruiters
accountable for the performance of the people they hire. But the
problem with it is that it measures recruiters based on a number of
factors far outside their control.
There are so many considerations that go into employee performance
beyond the quality of the hire. Poor performance of a new hire could
be attributed to management issues, team troubles, culture problems,
strategic misfires from leadership, or some other situation that
causes a new hire to struggle.
For these reasons, I don’t see a lot of value in using quality of
hire to measure recruiter performance.
Analyze past performance to improve your hiring process
This is my favorite way to use data.
Taking a backward look at candidate profiles can be an amazing way
to get better. Looking backwards shows you trends within the funnel,
and can help you learn what a good or bad candidate looks like based
on historical hiring. Not only does this approach let you source
more effectively and target people you'll be more likely to hire,
but it also allows you to take a deeper look at the talent you’ve
added to the team and ask if that’s the right talent moving forward.
For example, say you look back at your hiring data and find that a
high percentage of your hires that performed best over the past
year, lacked a specific technical skill when you hired them or
didn’t have a specific degree. Yet, because the team thought these
criteria were important to do the job well, your recruiters often rejected
applicants because they didn’t have that degree or skill. Once
you make the connection in the data that your resume filtering
criteria is disqualifying a lot of promising candidates, you could
change screening criteria to help bring more viable candidates into
It’s important to segment your candidate data by various
characteristics and profile details - such as school, degree, a
particular type of experience or previous company type - to help you
identify any patterns in your best candidates. Ideally, you want to
distinguish the key characteristics that make candidates a good hire
for your organization.
Analyzing your hiring data also allows you to myth-bust stories
about the hiring process heard around the organization. For example,
a hiring manager may say, “We only hire people from the best
computer science programs.” By analyzing your hiring data, you’ll be
able to see if this is true, or not.
You can compare the PTR data for different pools of talent to either
support or debunk the idea that only candidates from the top
programs will be a good fit.
By using this data driven approach, you can help the team evolve its
hiring process to attract and find top talent. A good way to
start is to share insights with your hiring managers and start a
dialog around what you are seeing in the applicant pool. Over time
this will make you a more successful and trusted recruiting partner.
Refreshing your data-driven recruiting for a better hiring process
When you dig in to define the hiring data that’s most important for
your organization, and its individual needs, you’ll put yourself in
a position of power. You’ll be the recruiting partner that learns
from past hiring patterns and uses numbers to back up their
Make sure as you build out your hiring funnel that you look below
the surface to understand the inputs that drive your numbers and
tell you why your data is behaving the way it is. Pairing the data a
applicant tracking system
makes easily available, with the insights
that google analytics can give you into traffic and behavior on your
career site, can help you make the data informed decisions that will
facilitate the best hiring decisions possible.
By using your hiring data in a thoughtful way you can make your
hiring process more efficient, and hiring easier for your team.