KPIs: The missing link in your social recruitment strategy

Depending on who you speak to, KPIs can be akin to a dirty word as far as the modern recruiter is concerned.

This is hardly surprising considering that the many recruiters have experienced KPIs in a negative context. Usually this is due to them being used as a micro management tool, but used correctly they’re invaluable.

For those of you with a less than positive view of KPIs, we’d encourage you to try setting aside the negativity of past experience and look at the subject with a fresh pair of eyes.

When we’re able to do so, it becomes clear that KPIs are actually essential for any business. Without them, you can’t actually get a handle on what is happening in the business, and how well it’s performing. Yes, you may have financial data but that just shows you the results, not the journey. Without knowing the journey it’s very difficult to replicate, maintain and improve on those results.

The crux of using KPIs positively and successfully is two fold:

  1. Identify the right KPIs
  2. Apply them correctly in line with your growth strategy

Not identifying the right KPIs and/or applying them incorrectly leads directly back to the route of all that negative opinion. Micro-managing your staff on the wrong KPIs then beating them over the head when the revenue doesn’t materialise is hardly the key to employee engagement.

The old versus the new

Until relatively recently the KPI conversation would have been purely along the lines of the above. However, with the shift towards marketing and social engagement becoming an integral part of the modern recruiter’s role, there is a new question: How do KPIs apply here?

The old

As an example, in recent history a set of permanent recruitment KPIs might look like this:

  • Number of sales calls/headhunt calls
  • Clients/candidates met
  • Vacancies taken
  • CVs submitted
  • Interviews arranged
  • Placements made
  • Revenue

This is obviously a very broad brush stroke and every business/sector would have variations on the above. Measuring them in terms of ratios would also be critical e.g. 10 CVs submitted: 1 Interview arranged would indicate a training need.

The new

There is a danger with our brave new recruitment world. Business development and candidate attraction through social engagement and content marketing could easily stray into the fluffy.

We need to remember though that some aspects of marketing and engagement in this way are a longer game than traditional recruiter activity. Some, but not all. It would be very easy to fall into the trap of either;

  1. Not measuring what we do in the long game, assuming/hoping it’s working
  2. Not giving the long game the right attention because lack of immediate results mean we think it isn’t working.
  3. Being distracted by the long game from the all important quick wins.

Measurement is the key to avoiding all three.

What to measure?

The core recruitment activities still apply of course. A great social strategy doesn’t mitigate the need to speak to people on the phone and with them face to face. The landscape has not shifted to give you short cuts here. The skills in assessing and evaluating need, then matching to that need are more important than ever. It is simply the strategy in getting to these points which has shifted.

So if traditional BD/HH activity measured in cold calls and pick-ups no longer applies, what needs to be measured?

As we’ve said, the marketing stuff can feel dangerously fluffy and you’d be forgiven for not knowing where to start. However, it’s actually not that complicated when you think about it.

The start point is the social and content strategy itself. This must be well thought out, mapped and agreed by the leadership/management team. If done well, then everyone should be clear on what needs to be done, said, how, why and when.

If you are unsure regarding mapping this strategy, this article from Sirona Says is a very good place to start. Notice here how Andy Headworth refers to greatly to measurement and assessment in the ‘the sustainable social media recruitment tree’.

So as an example, the new KPIs for BD and attraction might look something like this:

  • Content themes
  • Social channels utilised for searching and engagement
  • Number of x content produced during y time period
  • Specific posts and sharing activity within given channel
  • Number of searches
  • Contact – successful initial engagement
  • Contact – thereafter
  • And onwards into the traditional recruitment metrics…

As with our illustration of the old KPIs, there is no one size fits all. These are broad brush strokes and you need to map the right ones and strategy for your business.

Our point is simply that these new activities can and must be measured as with your other KPIs.

When it comes to pivots and changes based on the results measured again these have to be led from the top down. Ultimate responsibility for the sustainability of the strategy also rests with the leadership team.

The right tools and training

This is a very important final point. Just like the sales training of old, the brave new recruitment world requires you to invest in the right tools training. In doing so, the same strategy applies as with the old skool. Become an expert yourself, then lead from the front and train your people.

The best recruitment leaders in the past would never have dreamt of throwing their consultants into selling without proper training. Yet as we venture into new territory, you would be forgiven for assuming that everyone is feeling their way with this. To some extent this is true, but there are plenty of experts and source materials out there to help you. Don’t pin all your hopes on a millennial you’ve hired having the social strategy instinct.

Assume nothing and train everything.

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