Recruiting Without a Strategy and Metrics is Like a Camera Without a Lens

After giving a presentation about the return on investment of smart recruiting strategies, I was asked to consult with a couple of human resources departments.

I began by asking them to tell me about their organization’s business strategies, their recruiting strategies to support those business strategies, the obstacles they faced, and the insights from their metrics. The problem was, they didn’t have any real recruiting strategies to speak of, and no metrics beyond “time-to-hire.”

In effect, each of their hiring managers was recruiting and hiring by using social media, job boards, headhunters, and whatever screening or interview questions he or she thought was appropriate. While these recruiters were working hard to get in front of the train, it was already roaring down the track.

Here is what I suggested they do differently.

Let’s start with recruiting strategy. It needs to be based on the company’s business strategies and industry. How many employees do you need to hire (or contractors or gig workers), by when, and with what skills?  Where can you find them, both physically and on the Internet?  What is the acceptable cost per hire? What competencies are required? What are the lessons learned from your hiring managers?

Effective recruiting strategy can make or break a fast-growing technology start up, retail company, or a company recruiting for hard-to-find skills.

Experience has taught me that when human resources manages the recruiting strategies, working closely with management, the business gets a higher return on its recruiting investment. For example, when human resources manages job boards and social media, as opposed to each manager, you have better leverage over pricing. Companies often recruit better when they have a common brand that is disseminated from its website and social media by marketing and human resources—not separately by each hiring manager.

How do you predict and measure recruiting success? You do it with use, predictive, and end use metrics, as well as feedback from hiring managers and candidates. For many industries, the cost of their workforce is more expensive than the cost of their supply chain. Are recruiting processes managed as carefully and with the same amount of metrics as the supply chain? Usually not. That’s a shame!

Human resources needs to set up use and predictive metrics for each step in the recruiting process, and then track the end results.  For example, do you know which social media platforms and job boards provide the highest number of clicks? Which sources provide the highest number of candidates and successful hires? Which hiring manager and department are the fastest and the most efficient with reviewing submitted candidates? The turnover rate of your new hires compared to long service employees, as well as against your industry average?

Many companies track the length of time that their job postings are open, or the number of hires per month. These are end use metrics. They serve a purpose, but they don’t help you manage the recruiting process so that you can get the best candidates and the highest financial return for your business. The recruiting process needs predictive metrics to determine if human resources and hiring managers need to change tactics to achieve hiring goals that enable the business’ success.

When such metrics are in place, human resources can advise the business on how best to improve its recruiting success. It can also measure the ROI for each recruiting dollar spent by human resources or the hiring departments.

Are your predictive measures for recruiting up to the rigors of today’s tough hiring market? I would love to hear from you.  Join the conversation.

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting and is a Managing Partner of InnovationOne. He consults on innovation, global talent management, developing agile leaders and teams, and other strategic initiatives. Questions? Please e-mail Victor at or visit


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