If you really wanted to, you could choke on recruiting metrics. Trust me, I have – and it tastes a bit salty. Most organizations do a decent job measuring the two basic recruiting metrics: cost-per-hire (CpH) and time-to-fill (TtF). While these can be (but not always) a decent measure of overall recruiting performance, there are other key ratios recruiting leaders should watch closely.

And they might just be better drivers of true recruiting performance.

Application-to-Submission Ratio (AtSR)
I’ve written this before but it bears repeating. The foundation of any successful recruiting project is a well-defined job description. Cheat on this step and you will pay for it later. Great job descriptions not only describe the required background, skills and experience of the person you need, but also they should tell the potential candidate what kinds of problems need to be solved. If done well, good job descriptions attract the right kinds of applicants. The AtSR can indicate an alignment problem between the kinds of applicants applying and the job description if there are many applicants but none worthy of further consideration. There is usually some background noise in this phase of the recruiting process; however, paying close attention to this ratio can alert us to potential issues and allow a speedy course correction. The ideal AtSR will vary from search to search depending on the level and complexity of the role.

Submission-to-Interview Ratio (StIR)
This ratio is critical to managing both individual and group recruiting performance and it measures the number of candidates submitted by a recruiter against the number of those candidates the hiring manager selects for an interview. A good StIR is around 3:1 – which means the hiring manager wants to interview at least one of every three candidates submitted. Anything beyond this could point to a lack of alignment between the recruiter’s evaluation and the expectations of the hiring manager. If your StIR exceed 3:1, get the recruiter and hiring manager together for a quick huddle and work out the kinks.

Interview-to-Offer Ratio (ItOR)
Interviewing is an expensive endeavor. From preparation time to direct travel expenses, organizations can’t afford to take the decision to interview lightly. Optimally, we would have a strong feeling about the candidate’s ability to succeed in the role and their willingness to accept an offer should we make one. Yet we know this doesn’t always happen. Again, a good ItOR is around 3:1. A greater ratio could indicate an issue with your pre-interview assessment process. Roll up your sleeves, dig in, and find the disconnect. When you do, this ratio will fall into line.

Metrics and Ratios
CpH ant TtF are important informational metrics worthy of measurement; however, hiring the wrong person quickly and cheaply doesn’t do us much good. CpH metrics can – and often do – place resource restraints on recruiting organizations that can undermine speed and quality. TtF metrics create a focus on speed, sometimes at the expense of quality and cost. When it comes to recruiting “game changing” talent for your organization, cheap and fast doesn’t mean much unless there’s a corresponding high level of candidate quality. In fact, cheap and fast is usually not best. We have to know these metrics because they inform recruiting performance (albeit rudimentary), but they should be coupled with the above ratios. A daily focus on these ratios and their interplay during the recruiting process leads to faster, high-quality hires at reduced cost – the recruiting “holy grail.”

A final note: please make sure you use whatever metrics or ratios you choose to measure. While it’s true that we cannot improve what we do not measure, it’s also true that sitting around collecting reams of data and doing nothing with it is a monumental waste of time.

What other metrics and/or ratios do you consider absolutely critical to recruiting performance?

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