6 metrics to know for an effective recruitment strategy

Participants at the HR Tech World Congress in Paris. Photo by: HR Tech World Congress

At the core of any global development organization's success is the people who work there. Finding, hiring and keeping the right talent should be a top priority for any executive or human resource professional. However, developing an efficient — and effective — recruitment strategy can be challenging in a resource-constrained environment where organizations are expected to do more with less.

Recruitment metrics — historical, real-time and predictive — can facilitate this by allowing an organization to assess the effectiveness of its recruitment strategy and target their limited funds accordingly. Traditionally the most commonly used metrics for recruitment focus on cost and process efficiency as opposed to the impact and value of talent acquisition to the organization.

At the HR Tech World Congress in Paris in October, leaders in the talent acquisition space gathered to share best practices and new innovations transforming the way organizations are attracting and retaining people. While linking talent to impact can be difficult to quantify, here are six recruiting metrics you should be (attempting to) measure and understand to inform your recruitment strategy.

1. Organization and brand attractiveness. 

With so much information available at job seekers fingertips through social media and sites such as Glassdoor, your employer brand is increasingly critical to attracting the right people to your organizations. Candidates want to know as much as possible about the position, the organization and its culture and values before considering a career change.

Lack of knowledge of your organization could be putting potential candidates off from even applying. Understanding how potential candidates view your organization, why they join or don’t is critical in developing your employer brand.

So how do you measure this? Try adding a question into your job application or, after hiring, into your onboarding process asking candidates why they were attracted to you as an employer. Was it compensation, the mission or an open office work plan that got them excited? Understanding what attracts people to your organization will help you better leverage those qualities in your recruitment process, or think about what you could be doing better.

Consider your current employees as “brand ambassadors” and involve them in conversations with candidates to paint a picture of what it is like to work within the organization. The more candidates know and like about your organization, the more likely you are to find talent that can not only bring the skills you need but will also fit well to your company culture.

Read: A tangled web: Recruitment and branding

2. Organization and brand reputation.

How do other people see your organization and is it one they want to work for or avoid? Similar to organization and brand attractiveness, brand reputation, or how people view the work of your organization, can have significant impact on the volume and quality of applications you receive as well as your offer acceptance rate.

This means your overall organization’s brand is critically linked to your employer brand. A public relations scandal, like the misuse of donor funds or a failed development project not only impacts your fundraising ability but your recruiting ability, too. Conversely, positive stories about the impact you are making on the ground can be excellent ways to showcase why the best professionals should want to join your organization.

Work closely with your communications department to stay on top of any negative news that could impact your overall reputation and scare off potential recruits. Often, communications teams have bigger budgets for initiatives like videos, social media campaigns or glossy brochures that you may be able to repackage for talent engagement.

Read: Your NGO isn’t a big brand. So what should be your brand strategy?

3. Internal mobility.

Hiring from within your organization can not only reduce recruitment costs and time-to-hire but makes you more likely to keep those talented individuals already working with you. This can particularly be the case for Generation Y, known for valuing, and even expecting, career development and learning opportunities. By embracing this trend, organizations save time and costs on training and benefit from employees already familiar with the organization, its culture and values.

Successful companies and organizations place high importance on their internal mobility policy and communicate it regularly allowing them to take advantage of employees interests, ambitions and transferrable skills. Your organization should be thinking beyond just finding and hiring talent, it should also be thinking about how to keep that talent. Measuring how many positions are filled by internal hires will help guide how well your organization is doing in growing and developing your talent.

Read: The pros and cons of mobility plans

4. Recruiting net promoter score.

A metric borrowed from the consumer market, a net promoter score indicates how likely someone is to recommend a company’s products and services, or in this case, jobs, to a friend. In order to improve your organization's brand reputation, experts advise asking applicants at all stages of the process, even unsuccessful candidates. The question consists of a simple sliding scale and optional comment so it is quick and easy for respondents to answer. Incorporating this into your hiring process, helps you understand what is working and not and offers your organization an opportunity to stay connected with potential candidates for future positions.

5. Regrettable turnover.

How many employees have you lost and how might you have kept those which you regret losing? In global development, where projects often have short time tables and tight budgets, losing a hire midway through a project can significantly impact your ability to meet project deliverables. Replacing staff can not only set back a project but can be particularly challenging with emergency programmes where a pre-existing knowledge of an area, program or partner can be advantageous.

Before you can improve your turnover, you need to understand it. Measuring your turnover rate is a start as well as incorporating exit interviews and surveys that feed back into your recruitment strategy. Understanding why people leave can help you either select better matches from the get-go or work on improving your talent engagement and management strategy.

6. Workforce planning.

Consider not just whether you have added skills to your workforce but whether your organization has acquired the right skills? In doing so you should also consider the organization's long term direction and goals and try to predict what skills could be valuable in the future. Thinking about your evolving needs will help you be strategic in how you build these skills either internally or by bringing in new talent.

Read: How to compete for the next generation of global development talent

Increasingly potential candidates also want to know what opportunities they will have to develop their skills and grow within an organization and this is a conversation you should be prepared to have with candidates during the hiring process.

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or budding development professional — check out more news, analysis and advice online to guide your career and professional development, and subscribe to Doing Good to receive top international development career and recruitment news every week.

This article was last updated on 14 November 2017

About the author

  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is a Reporter at Devex. She covers all things related to careers and hiring in the global development community as well as mental health within the sector — from tips on supporting humanitarian staff to designing mental health programs for refugees. Emma has reported from key development hubs in Europe and co-produced Devex’s DevProWomen2030 podcast series. She holds a degree in journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University and a master's in media and international conflict. In addition to writing for regional news publications, she has worked with organizations focused on child and women’s rights.