There’s only ONE recruiting metric that matters.

How do you evaluate your recruiting business? What metrics are important to you? Are there any metrics which enable you to measure your effectiveness? I recently read a recruiting site discussion where the person initiating the discussion asked “which recruiting metric is most important to you?” I read through some of the answers which were predictable; Send Outs to Placements, Calls to Send Outs or Job Orders etc. I am convinced that the most important metric and the only one I care to follow is; how long did the person I place stay with my client company? Are they still there, or did they leave? Were they promoted? Or were they Fired? This is the only “recruiting metric” that any of our clients really care about and frankly so should we.  I am all for improving metrics to improve outcomes. I just believe that the most important metric IS the outcome.

Queue Typical Recruiter response: “I don’t hire the person or manage them. It’s not my job” Fair enough. It is not your job to “hire” the person that they ultimately chose to hire. But, was it not you who recommended they hire this person? When you presented a candidate, you essentially endorsed them in that role. How can you present someone to your client as a prospective hire and later backtrack from them and blame them for a poor hiring decision? If it ins’t “our job” to vet the people who we bring and do our very best to assess their fit culturally as well as vet their character, what exactly IS our job?

“Win some, lose some?” Sure, no one is infallible or reads minds, but we can and should be doing our absolute best to determine the competency and cultural fit of teach and every candidate prior to presenting them.

The metric we should be interested in improving is that of the success and tenure of our placements. How long do they stay? How well liked are they? How well do they fit in with the rest of the team? Do they get promoted? This is the true test of “Added Value” which is why companies hire recruiters. Companies don’t hire recruiters to “fill open job orders!” They hire us because they hope that we can bring to bear our professional consultative insights,  reach a larger network and attract better people than they can on their own. Otherwise, they would do it themselves. They want to mitigate hiring mistakes and increase net outcomes in the position. Our job is, of course, to increase the success of the companyin as much as the search we conduct has influence to do so. If the search is a VP of Sales, then the measure of success is equal to that of the person we place as VP of Sales. So, how is sales growth?  If it is VP of R&D, the measure of success is the company’s improved product development pipeline and intellectual property position.  How are they performing? and so on. If we only judge ourselves on the number of people we place and the ratio of Send Outs to Placements,etc.,  then we are completely out of touch with our VIP, our client.

If you present someone to a client, that is tantamount to “your professional endorsement” of them for the role you have been hired to fill. If it doesn’t work out, no matter the reason, you never should have presented them in the first place. You simply cannot divorce yourself from the process and explain it away as “someone else’s fault.”  The interview process is a time where you must continue to vet and look for additional issues to raise. (If you’ve ever wondered why HR people try so hard to uncover those “red flags,” its because they don’t think that you are doing a thorough enough job of it. HR is skeptical of recruiters because they feel like you are not adequately vetting the candidates that you present.)

As far as “Metrics” are concerned, if it helps you to manage recruiters’ metrics in order to make sure that they are doing all the right activities for success, great. But don’t lose sight of what is really important to your client. Stay aligned with your clients and you will have all the repeat business you can handle.


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