5 Reasons Corporate Recruiters Lag on Lead Metrics

When I started out in recruiting, I worked for a successful IT Recruitment Agency, and it was all about sales. The focus was always on the numbers: How many job orders? How many resumes sent? How many candidate interviews? All of these led to placements. These were all “lead” metrics towards getting the desired results. They were simple to identify because the end result was predominantly about making the sale.
I believe lead metrics are harder to define for the corporate recruitment environment; however they can be a very powerful way to predict whether or not you are going to meet your stated objectives.
So what do we mean by “lead” metrics? Lead metrics are indicators that provide a prediction on what is likely to happen, as opposed to “lag” metrics which indicate what has happened.
In a corporate recruitment function, lead metrics can be hard to define and to implement because the desired goals may be more complex. The easiest and most common metrics used in recruitment are: time to hire; and cost per hire. These are lag metrics, and whilst these should not be ignored, they do not tell the whole story and will not necessarily help you monitor and improve your recruitment function or its outputs.
Lead metrics should be aligned to your defined objectives, which in turn should be aligned to the organisation’s business drivers. If you have these in place, then you will have a powerful tool to measure and improve the overall quality of your recruitment function.
So if they are so powerful, why are they hard to define and implement? Here are some observations.

The top five reasons organisations struggle to implement lead metrics:


1. Many people simply do not understand the power of using lead metrics;

2. The cost of measuring lead metrics needs to be justified. You may need to implement tools or customise existing systems in order to capture the data and justify ‘why’.

3. Lead metrics need to be pointed at critical or high impact roles to be seen as worthwhile which means you need to understand your critical and high impact roles – and many organisations don’t;

4. Recruitment teams are traditionally structured around reactive metrics (e.g. time and cost of hire), which directly support their delivery efforts;

5. Not all organisations connect their business drivers to recruitment initiatives. Senior management do not realise the importance of their recruitment function in order to support their business directives (by eden). In fact, many organisations view their recruitment function as an administrative function, rather than strategic. Therefore, the lead metrics are not understood or valued.

Do any of these observations ring true for you? What lead and lag metrics do you use to measure the quality of your recruitment function? How have you used these to improve the value of your recruitment function to your organisation?

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