The Talent Acquisition Metrics Catch-22

by Tim Sackett | Posted | Talent Acquisition

The Talent Acquisition Metrics Catch-22

I’m a huge believer in using activity-based recruiting metrics in a corporate talent acquisition environment. Why? It’s really easy. Those talent acquisition pros that experience the most recruiting-related activity (e.g., outgoing calls, incoming contacts, longer time spent on phone, most screened resumes passed onto hiring managers, most interviews, etc.) are always more successful than those with less activity. Always!

So, if this is so black and white, why don’t talent acquisition leaders use these metrics more in a corporate setting?

That’s the catch-22. You can’t just hold others accountable. That’s not how accountability works. If you decide to use a black and white measureable system to drive results in your department, it opens you up to being measured as well. Yeah, managers love to measure — they just don’t like to be measured themselves. You could say that’s rule #1 on the difference between a manager and leader in talent acquisition!

Here’s what happens when you do a great job setting up talent acquisition metrics

Great talent acquisition leaders love to know how they’re doing; managers like to know how their ‘team’ is doing. If you do a great job setting up measures, you open yourself up to scrutiny. Now, if your team doesn’t reach their measures, there has to be a reason.

Maybe it’s them. Maybe it’s the process. Maybe it’s the tools. Maybe it’s…you. Ugh. Yep, maybe you do a bad job of holding your team accountable to meeting those goals. Maybe you aren’t any good at motivating and rewarding them to reach their goals.

The Talent Acquisition Catch-22 is that if you decide to measure, you’ll be measured. That’s why so many talent acquisition departments are so bad at it — or don’t do it at all.

I constantly talk to talent acquisition leaders and listen to their metrics and think to myself, “These seem so subjective.” So, I’ll ask, “Why are these so subjective?” (Because I lack a filter in my brain!)

Then the spin comes.

“Oh, we’ve found this is what our customers have asked us for and what’s important to them…” The B.S. flows like a mighty river during the spring melt.

It’s simple. If you have great self-insight, you’re willing to hold others accountable, knowing that doing so will hold yourself accountable to better results. You make your talent acquisition metrics as black and white as possible.

You don’t use the metrics as a weapon, but as a starting point of learning how to get better! Sure you’ll find, through the use of activity-based metrics, that some of your folks will need to be given the gift of a new position with your competition. You’ll also find great ways to deliver better results to your organization. Recruiting is not an art. It’s a process — one that can be done better and faster through continued improvement and, yes, metrics.

But only if you’re willing to look in the mirror.

Your Turn: Does your organization use metrics as part of its talent acquisition process?

Using metrics to improve the efficiency of your HR processes

Read tips to help you gauge the efficiency of your talent management processes


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Using metrics to improve the efficiency of your HR processes

Read tips to help you gauge the efficiency of your talent management processes


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