How To Make Metrics A Win For Everyone | Recruiting Firms

recruiting recruitment staffing Mar 01, 2023

This is the second part of a two-part article. The first part was titled "How To Design Metrics To Accelerate Your Success". It covered why metrics are so important and the best practices in choosing the right ones for your firm. 

Unfortunately, designing an excellent metric plan does not ensure implementation success for your firm. The reason is twofold: 1. You still need to get the details right. 2. Most people experience initial resistance to the idea of tracking their activity and being held accountable for the results. Many people have had negative experiences with metrics due to how they were designed and implemented. If you want your hard work developing a metrics plan to pay off, read on!

Making Metrics A Win For Everyone

Metrics can be a motivational roadmap for success or a tool for criticism and punishment, depending on how they're communicated and used. Misusing metrics is easy…even a caveman can do it! I'll share  best practices on implementing them to fuel your recruiting firm's prosperity:

Step 1: Determine the metric targets/numbers that would be very doable for each person based on their current numbers if you have them. Otherwise, use your judgment to get started. You will adjust as you learn more. For example, if a person currently averages 3 candidate submittals per week, a goal of 8/week is probably unreasonable. You don't need the same expectations for everyone. Start with target numbers that each individual could reach without heroic effort. You can always raise expectations gradually as people demonstrate a track record of meeting or exceeding their metrics.. 

Step 2: Communicate with the team that you're implementing "success tracking" to set everyone up for success.  Then meet with the team to roll out the metrics/success tracking detail. Emphasize that the purpose of this program is to:

  • Provide a roadmap to focus their efforts on the activities that lead to success in the recruiting industry. 
  • Provide objective feedback on their progress so they can continue doing what's working, and diagnose & correct what isn't.

Metrics are not intended to be static. Explain that you will adjust the metrics as people gain proficiency or the business environment changes. It's also a good practice to have "stretch goal" metrics based on each individual's desire to excel above your expectations.

Step 3: Review Metrics consistently. As mentioned in Step 2, metrics provide a roadmap for success and objective feedback. You need a regularly scheduled review process to harness the power of feedback on what to continue doing and what to change. Below are my suggestions.

  • Perform a brief weekly review of the previous week's metrics with each recruiter to identify variances between goal and actual numbers. The weekly review reinforces what's working and identifies the reasons for shortfalls. For example, if the goal is five submittals per week and the actual is three, the question for them is, "what got in the way, and what will be done differently in the current week to catch up?? The theme should be praise and problem-solving, not criticism and punishment. 
  • Review the entire month's weekly metrics at the beginning of each new month to get an overall view of trends. Is the person building momentum, declining, inconsistent or consistent in their activities? The goal is for the recruiters to understand the cause-and-effect relationship between their actions and results. You want people to develop ownership of their results over time. This means they address challenges as they occur rather than waiting until the end of the week. 
  • Once per quarter, have a more extended meeting with each recruiter to perform an analysis of the metrics. It's best for people to first self-analyze their activity and results before receiving feedback. People need to understand that the metrics provide objective data on what's working while helping them diagnose & correct what isn't.

The in-depth quarterly analysis works because you generally need at least three months to have enough data for meaningful metrics analysis. For example, suppose a recruiter had 20 submittals and 17 candidate/client interviews in April. It could be that 10 of the 17 interviews resulted from submittals in March, and 5 of the submittals in April will become interviews in May. As a result, you won't be able to accurately match activity and results in only one month,

However, over three months, the matching issues tend to cancel each other out, and most of the submittals in the three months become interviews during that period. The quarterly meetings thus provide you with an ideal opportunity for analytics/ratio analysis to diagnose and correct problems. 

 A word of caution on metrics analysis
Since numbers don't self-interpret, it's wise to avoid jumping to conclusions when there are multiple explanations for negative variances between their goal and the actual results. For example, if your interview-to-placement ratio is far higher than the goal, there could be an issue with candidate quality, client quality, or both.  

Be aware that negative variances often have multiple causes, so you'll want to address each potential cause instead of taking the easy way out and picking one obvious one. For example, suppose a recruiter's submittal numbers are below target. This could be caused by issues with sourcing, outreach messaging, candidate screening, interview skills, presentation skills, and job order quality. Addressing each possibility rather than jumping to conclusions is far more effective.

The bottom line is that metrics can be your friend or foe, depending on how you design and implement them. If your goal is scaling a recruiting firm or optimizing recruiting firm productivity, it's next to impossible to reach either of these goals without a properly designed and implemented metrics program.

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