A couple of weeks ago, I met with the recruiting and talent leadership from a local tech startup that’s entered a period of hyper growth. They had read a report I published earlier this year on High-Performance Recruitment Marketing, and wanted to get my thoughts on how they can prioritize efforts to attract more talent while still managing the day-to-day.

shutterstock_166857338 copy

We kicked off the meeting with a few standard questions: What do you want to accomplish? What resources do you have available? Are you doing any recruitment marketing or employer branding now?

While there was no shortage of ideas for bolstering recruitment marketing and improving their employer brand, the conversation came to an abrupt halt when I steered the conversation in another direction.

I asked, “What are you doing to measure the impact of recruitment marketing efforts?” They shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Measurement, it would seem, was not their forte.

As is the case with many small companies growing rapidly, their sole focus has been getting candidates in the door. It’s all they have time for – all most recruiters have time for. So when it comes to recruitment marketing, the only measure that really matters to recruiters is whether their lives are getting easier.

The Measurement Challenge

Few recruiters have more than a passing understanding of the difference between recruitment marketing and consumer marketing, or how metrics differ between the two. Quantifying the impact recruitment marketing efforts have had on their ability to attract better candidates, or how improved candidate experience affects employer brand, isn’t exactly on their to-do list.

Measurement in recruitment marketing is an especially tall order for small and medium businesses (SMBs). Front-line recruiters in these organizations have their plates full. Any recruitment marketing efforts fall wholly on their shoulders: They’re expected to develop a compelling employer brand and to sell high-quality candidates on a unique employee value proposition – all without slacking on their other duties.

To take things one step further and ask them to establish and track meaningful metrics around recruitment marketing efforts is simply asking too much.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Any number of applicant tracking systems these days can track key metrics. But tracking even the most basic measures like time to fill and offer acceptance rates require recruiters to actively update the status of jobs and candidates.

If I had to take a guess, I’d say three out of five SMB recruiting teams aren’t consistently doing this. The aforementioned startup certainly isn’t. And for a company in hyper growth, that’s a serious problem.

The Importance of Aligned Priorities

One of the biggest hurdles to clear in recruitment marketing is establishing a practical understanding of its purpose and potential – from the CEO to each individual contributor on the recruiting team. The former speaks the language of measurable outcomes, return on investment, and business impact. The latter, as previously mentioned, is primarily concerned with getting candidates in the door and less concerned with data entry.

Before the two can align, something’s got to give – and chances are the change isn’t going to occur in the C-Suite.

Success in recruitment marketing can vastly improve recruiters’ ability to attract more talent, and get better candidates in the door, but as I advised the recruiting team I met with, measurement is the key to getting everything on their recruitment marketing wish list.

The same is true for any other talent initiative these days: the ability to demonstrate business impact will affect your ability to get leadership buy-in, which will affect your ability to get more resources for bigger initiatives. But it all comes down to measurement.

I’ll be reporting on measuring business impact of recruitment marketing later this quarter, and will address some of these points in more depth. If your organization has had success in measuring recruitment marketing efforts, I’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, stay tuned!

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group


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.