The goals of talent acquisition are changing. As the economic uncertainty of the Great Recession slowly but surely fades, hiring organizations are shifting focus from near-term efficiency to long-term impact. While efficient process continues to be the cornerstone of success in talent acquisition strategy, today’s business leaders are placing stronger emphasis on the end results.

Not surprisingly, key measures of talent acquisition are also changing. Traditional metrics, such as time to fill and cost per hire, are still widely used but provide little insight into the efficacy of recruiting efforts. On the other hand, more modern measures, such as quality of hire and time to proficiency, are emerging as key performance indicators (KPIs) of talent acquisition today.

The problem is, these modern measures are often correlative in nature, and quantifiable data is difficult to track. And as the scope of talent acquisition continues to expand, measuring performance is only going to get more difficult.

“It’s important to look across all aspects of talent generation to understand costs, efficiency of job board posting, web metrics on career sites, improvements in conversion rates from candidate to applicant, and more,” says Tim Lang, CTO at Talemetry.

For talent acquisition leaders struggling to collect, collate, and compare performance data, the good news is you don’t have to go it alone. Many solution providers are bolstering their reporting and analytics capabilities so that TA leaders can capture and evaluate performance data in real time.

What’s interesting about these tools is that they’re not just tracking performance for the sake of tracking performance. Talent acquisition leaders are using tools like Talemetry to optimize resource allocation, improve candidate experience, and tailor process for maximum impact.

Here’s how.

Evaluate Candidate Sources and Optimize Spend

I touched on this use case briefly in my article on recruiting analytics last month, but I think it’s important to dig a level deeper. Although the majority of companies rely on multiple sourcing channels to find qualified candidates, few actively measure the performance of these channels. Lacking a dedicated analyst, it’s just not feasible.

But many applicant-tracking systems and sourcing-point solutions are already tracking much of the data needed to measure the performance of sourcing channels: how many jobs are posted where, how much money these job postings cost, how many applications were received from which channels, etc. Putting this data to work is more or less a matter of cleaning it up and making it look pretty.

Once the raw data has been converted into graphs and diagrams, it’s easier to understand—and evaluate. By generating a quick report, talent acquisition managers can see which sourcing channels are generating the best candidates, and optimize their budget accordingly.

Track Candidate Behavior and Improve Experience

Do you know how many candidates are visiting your website on a Mac? How many are searching your career site via their mobile device? Can candidates even apply for jobs via their mobile device?

While these questions may not have been important even five years ago, they’re increasingly important for today’s employers. That’s because candidates’ ability to access and navigate your website, career portal, and online application process plays a big role in the candidate experience.

For employers who don’t know where website visitors are coming from and how they’re viewing your site, missed opportunities abound. Candidates lose patience trying to apply via their mobile devices, and drop out. Or they apply for a job that showed up in a Google search, only to find out it was filled two months ago.

With the right tools in place, however, you can easily track visitor traffic sources and see where candidates are falling off. This data sheds light on pain points and missed opportunities, and can be used to improve the more technical aspects of the candidate experience.

Monitor Usage, Gauge Impact, Tailor Process

The number of jobs opened and closed; the number of candidates sourced, screened, and selected; the number of offers extended — user activity is captured automatically throughout all the various stages of talent acquisition. Alone, it can be used to monitor time-spend and general productivity. By comparing it with actual outcomes, however, it can paint a much better picture of overall performance.

But why stop there? By scaling down to view and compare individual performance, talent acquisition leaders can monitor usage, spot bottlenecks, and identify key practices of high performers. Not only does this data come in handy during annual reviews, but it can also be used to tailor processes for maximum performance.

All of this data has been around for a while, but it’s quickly become apparent how valuable it is when used correctly. The challenge for vendors is to make these tools as easy to use and understand as possible. As Jade Bourelle, CEO of Talemetry puts it, “Ultimately, user adoption is a function of proving business value by finding better talent faster and cheaper, combined with intuitive user experience that users love to use everyday.”

What do you think? Is technology the key to measuring talent acquisition performance?

Kyle Lagunas

As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding - as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting. Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today's business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent. Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead. Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM's We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

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