Source of Applications… Source of Hires… Or Should It Be Something Else?

Although this blog is focused on candidate source it serves to reinforce that your ATS systems hold a wealth of data.  You just have to access and action the results. One of the key buzz words at the moment is “Big Data” however many do not even maximise the valuable data they already hold.

Is That What You Really Want?

Many clients in the past have asked me to create a report that shows the source of applications. My response is always “is that what you really want?” At best this data is interesting and provides little or no value. The next and most popular approach is to go with source of hires. Whilst this is far better than source of applications and is certainly a great indicator it may not provide the most useful metrics. Take the following scenario:
You open a requisition for a project manager and 40 people apply for the role. Subsequently you screen out 34 of them via pre-screening questions, resume review or phone screening etc. This leaves 6 people that are invited for interview. Post interview a further 3 are screened out and the hiring manager is left with the difficult decision on which one to hire.

“Bearing this in mind the most effective measure might be ‘source of quality candidates’”

In this scenario all 3 of the candidates should probably be deemed to be quality candidates. Bearing this in mind the most effective measure might be “source of quality candidates”.  One client I have dealt with now measures the source of all candidates that make it past the first interview stage. This is then broken down by job family. This gives them the ability to more effectively advise hiring managers on an advertising strategy for their roles.

The Data Doesn’t Always Deliver The Truth

There should be a way in your ATS to track the quality candidates that were not hired so they can easily be searched for and considered for future roles. Too many organisations are focused purely on filling a particular role as quickly as possible and don’t make effective use of the valuable data they already possess.

“There are some gotchas to this and the data does not always deliver the truth.”

There are some gotchas to this and the data does not always deliver the truth. It should be part of the process for recruiters to qualify the source properly with the candidates. For example when applying online and faced with the “where did you hear about us” question they are more often than not going to choose the easiest option. A candidate might also inadvertently choose an incorrect option. For example just because they are applying on your site they may choose company website, however when questioned they might say “oh I heard about the role from a friend of mine who works here” in which case they are really a referral. The recruiter should then update the ATS with the correct information.
Taking the approach of tracking source of quality candidates can also be very powerful when using the data to measure the effectiveness of preferred agency suppliers allowing you to effectively track those that are providing you with well qualified candidates as opposed to submitting any old candidates to make them look like they have been working hard on your behalf.

Using The Data To Guide Your Next Step

Once you have this data and are confident that it is correct then you can use it to help determine your advertising strategy for differing types of roles. Advertising dollars are hard to come by and if not used strategically can result in a high cost per hire if not targeted at the most efficient source of quality candidates. Too many clients that I have asked the question “why do you advertise there?” respond with “we have always done that”! Once you have the data to hand you can advise your hiring managers appropriately as to the correct advertising strategy based on factual historical data.

 “One source that is really important to track is the employee referrals.”

One source that is really important to track is the employee referrals. This is one of the best sources of quality candidates and the lowest cost to source. Typically most ATS solutions offer structured employee referral tracking modules and these combined with effective internal marketing can be used to good effect. Employees that are referred tend to be higher quality and have a reduced time to productivity.
If you have an integrated talent management solution that incorporates performance management you may also be able to track source of high performing candidates by linking their performance review scores back to the application although I have found few clients that have taken it to this level.

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