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A Hiring Manager’s Top Recruiting Metric

November 29, 2020

By Sheila Hoover, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Time to fill, time to start, days open, response rate, time to conversion, cost per hire, candidate experience…which one is the most important metric to hiring managers? 

As recruiters, we track our metrics and share them with the hiring managers to prove we are progressing in a positive direction.  But do our hiring managers really care about these numbers?

We give a lot of time and energy to providing data that shows how many people apply, how many people we source, how many people we interview, how many people we convert to hires, etc. We use the ATS and Excel to track progress and provide analytics.  We even dive deeply into finding pain points and where the process falls apart. This definitely seems to be an efficient and effective way to fulfill the need and gather the data for our metrics.  But is it?  Hiring managers always seem to be unimpressed and consider recruiting the pain point of their jobs.

Keirsten Greggs, with ERE, interviewed a program manager responsible for technical talent in her organization.  When she asked, “Which metrics are most important to hiring managers?” the response caught her off guard. She expected the response to include those listed above; however, none of those meant as much to the hiring manager as quality of hire.  Quality of hire is the one metric the hiring manager states is missed during the recruiting process.   

So, how do we as recruiters focus on quality of hire and measure it as a metric?  The answer rests upon truly understanding the positions we are responsible for hiring.

Greggs and the hiring manager deciphered the disconnect.  The disconnect between what hiring managers are looking for and what recruiters provide stems from recruiters failing to create effective job descriptions. 

Greggs pushed back on this based on her experience. She rebutted that it’s the hiring managers who write the job descriptions; recruiters are just using the information they’ve been given. But the hiring manager countered with her own experience, that it’s recruiters who write the job descriptions. “Recruiters ask us for snippets and write-ups, and then they put together the job descriptions.”

There is a major disconnect. Here we are as recruiters thinking that hiring managers are giving us what they want posted, while hiring managers are actually thinking that we’re just using the information as a guide or a draft. 

As recruiters, we hold our intake sessions with the hiring managers to determine the “must have” skills for the positions and learn all we can to ensure we source the right candidates.  However, the hiring manager stated, “recruiters aren’t asking the right questions.” For technical jobs, they aren’t getting specific enough with hiring managers and, in turn, are unable to ask jobseekers the right questions. For example, when she is looking to add a Tester to her team, recruiters don’t take into account that there are different testing techniques. Using the same general job description does not cut it.  Recruiters get frustrated when she tells them that the candidates they submit to her aren’t good fits based on the resume.

The general concept is that hiring managers can determine fit during the interview stage, once the candidate has been prescreened by the recruiter. Greggs explained, “By the time it gets to the interview stage, it is too late. We’re exhausted, and this is a collateral duty that we have. We don’t want to be interviewing the wrong people all of the time.”

Hiring managers are looking to recruiters to be proactive and elicit information from jobseekers that explains any anomalies or inconsistencies. She doesn’t want to have to ask those questions during the interview stage. She wants recruiters to present people in whom she can invest and see longevity.

“Recruiters don’t understand our day-to-day struggles,” the hiring manager says, adding that they need to be in scrum and development meetings to understand what it takes to do a given job, instead of pushing metrics that don’t matter.

The takeaway is that it is critical not just to be well-versed in recruiting but also to really understand the business and the role so that you can best bridge disconnects between hiring managers, candidates, and yourself as a recruiter.   Recruiters need to ensure we have a seat at the table and relationships with the hiring managers and employees who are actually doing the job.  Completing a job shadow is a very effective way to really see what daily tasks and knowledge are used for a particular job.  Recruiters should strive to be less transactional and more strategically collaborative with their business partners.

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