“What gets measured gets done” is a quote that has been used for ages to support the need for metrics in just about every job function. Corporate leaders are too often disappointed by the performance of their employees, resulting in additional rules and measurement designed to hold employees accountable. What these same leaders fail to understand is that the exact behaviors they find acceptable, are in fact the same ones they create by the things they measure!

There is no doubt that metrics are a necessary part of work life-no organization or manager should have to put up with poor performance. The problem is that the metrics often used by companies are the same metrics that drive the undesirable results that the metrics were put in place to deter.

Let me use a simple, non- recruitment example to drive this point home. In many organizations sales reps performance is often based on the total revenue of the deals that the individual books in a specific period time. This metric will drive revenue but what about goals like profitability, client satisfaction, etc? In this simple example the sales team may have “hit their numbers” for the month, but at what cost? Measuring only revenue in this case could create many unwanted consequences such as loss of profit and unsatisfied customers.

Traditional Recruiter Metrics

Why is it that most recruiting leaders focus only on the ‘revenue’ metric when they justify their existence? What I mean by revenue is the 2 most typically used recruitment metrics:

  • Time to Fill
  • Cost Per Hire

There is nothing wrong with keeping track of these numbers, however measuring the success of recruiters on these alone will drive the exact behaviors that we are often trying to avoid. What about the profitability and customer satisfaction that I mentioned above? In recruiting terms, what about candidate performance/turnover and manager/candidate satisfaction?

Measurements That Drive The Right Behaviors

If the goal of your recruiting function is to identify, engage and recruit the best talent for your organization, then relying on time to fill and cost per hire metrics is insanity. If you want to motivate your recruiters to focus on quality, then measure them on quality. Following are a few of the basic metrics that should be part of any recruiting organization:

  1. Quality/Performance of Hire – How has the candidate performed over a limited time period? For organizations with a sophisticated talent management system this is easy. For those without, ask the manager how the candidate is performing with a simple A, B or C rating. Depending on position level and function, the time period to measure will be somewhere between 3 and 12 months. For those recruiters that say “It’s not my fault if the candidate does not work out, the manager made the decision,” you are either passive in the recruitment process or just plain wrong. If you are serving as the recruiting professional then your job is to present the best of what is available, not just the best that applied!
  2. Customer/Manager Satisfaction – How does your internal client perceive the quality of the recruiter’s services to be? You might be able to hit your cost per hire and time to fill goals, but if your managers perceive no value in your service then you become an expense, not an asset.
  3. Candidate Satisfaction – How do your candidates feel about your recruiting process (candidates hired and candidates not hired). What are your external customers/candidates going to tell their friends about the level of service they received from your recruiting organization? Candidate satisfaction can make or break your employment brand in today’s age of social media.

There are many other metrics that can be used to better address and influence the behavior’s you are trying to create within your organization, these are just a few of the basic examples. Just remember, what you measure is what will get done, often at the detriment of your organization!