Current State

For talent acquisition, there are hundreds of different metrics that could be seen as relevant; everything from headcount to expected revenue generation. However, due to human limitations, only some metrics should be regularly updated and monitored. While the exact metrics on TA dashboards might vary from industry to industry and organization to organization, they should all lead to better overall business decisions with advanced (predictive and prescriptive) analytics.

How Do You Feel About Using Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Data Processing and Analytics to Assist in Your Efforts to Improve Talent Acquisition?


The top challenges for nearly all HR initiatives involve time and budget constraints, so leaving aside those two, the most common barriers to successful communication of TA metrics are a lack of analytical skills in the TA staff and a lack of buy-in from leadership. There is a very definite link between those latter two because without reliable data, leadership will not make decisions based on data, and without leadership buy-in, TA teams cannot receive the training or new hires needed to improve their overall analytical skills.


The result of not presenting the most meaningful data to leadership is that they will continue to not use TA metrics when making business decisions, with repercussions for the TA team, of course. But more importantly, it affects the business as a whole. The best decisions anyone can make are those that are objective and evidence-based, but if the evidence is missing or wrong, then the decisions could be correct or they could just as easily be disastrous, especially with something that has such long-lasting effects such as TA. Brandon Hall Group research has shown time and time again that not establishing trust with leaders leads to challenges in creating long-term, strategic TA programs.

Which of the Following Are Challenges in Creating a Top-Tier Talent Acquisition Program?

For any organization, the cost of a bad hire is substantial, but the effect of a strategy that compounds that with more bad hires depletes the pipeline and causes organizations to lack the skills they need to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions, resulting in irreparable damage.

Critical Question

Determining what are the most important metrics to put on your TA dashboard may vary for each organization, but some questions are consistent regardless of industry and organization size. The questions every organization should ask are:

  • Who is the intended audience for the TA metrics on the dashboard? What metrics will be of most interest to them?
  • What role does technology play? What are the limitations of my current system in providing the data I need?
  • What is the analytical acumen of my staff and my stakeholders? Am I providing metrics that are too advanced for my leaders or are the metrics that are desired by leadership beyond the capabilities of my staff to deliver?
  • Which TA metrics have the most direct relation to achieving overall business outcomes?

Brandon Hall Group POV

To avoid the types of long-lasting damage listed earlier and instead, position your organization for long-term success, Brandon Hall Group research indicates the following steps are needed when deciding which metrics to put on a TA dashboard:

ASSESS THE CURRENT STATE OF YOUR DATA SOURCES AND INTEGRITY Data governance is an absolute necessity at this step. Having standard data definitions, sources, storage, retrieval, access rules and everything else required under the data-governance umbrella is necessary before anything can be done about deciding which data sources to use and track in any organization’s dashboard.

CONSIDER THE STAKEHOLDERS AND NEEDS OF THE BUSINESS Even within the same industry, organizations can have different business objectives based on their strategic plans. Without understanding the high-level, business needs of the stakeholders that TA supports, even the most accurate metrics will not be worthwhile to the intended audience. Ask for feedback on what matters to the business-unit leaders and adjust accordingly along with a feedback mechanism to allow for further changes as needed.

FOCUS ON PREDICTIVE AND PRESCRIPTIVE METRICS Data and metrics are only useful if they lead to a concrete action (even if that action is to consciously decide to stay the course). To this end, the metrics TA provides should focus on outcomes and scenario planning; think: “If the business does this, then productivity will do that.” Given enough accurate forecasting, even the most recalcitrant leaders will see the value in TA metrics and the most common challenges, such as time and budget, will solve themselves.


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Cliff Stevenson

Cliff Stevenson is Principal Analyst, Workforce Management Practice, for Brandon Hall Group. He came to Brandon Hall Group in 2015 from the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) where he was a senior analyst since 2012. Cliff's experience as human capital research analyst has focused on data and analytics, performance management, recruitment, acquisition, retention, and attrition.