So you work for an organization that has drank the proverbial recruiting and sourcing kool-aide and they beat the drum of measurement. Now you are tasked to start measuring recruiting effectiveness. “We have to measure what matters…” Right? If you measure it, it matters… Right?

Math is Hard

Now you have consultants hired to develop plans, create metrics, define what is important, determine benchmarks, develop (or sell you) data warehouses and metrics engines to compile data from various disparate systems. Your CHRO and CIO have spent countless hours, in countless meetings, talking with “big data” experts. Your Talent Officer and the Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) Director have purchased thousands of pages of survey results and your HRIS team has compiled millions of lines of data and responded to endless surveys so you can be part of next year’s data. Awesome.

– AND NOW – well… now you have you have 15 pages a month of measurements. It takes two full-time staff to continually collect, compile, analyze and prepare those monthly reports and they are painstakingly published for all of HR and the organization’s leadership. Cool.


Yay Numbers

Now you can see, on any number of different charts (pie charts, bar graphs with trend lines, buddle charts, histograms, bowtie graphs, zipper line charts etc.), just how you measure up to everyone else in your industry/geographical area/company size and so on. Great.

Every month the Talent Acquisition (TA) team has a two-hour meeting to go over all of the metrics “that pertain to them”. Then each team member presents their individual metrics and everyone hitting, or above, the benchmarked goal gets ‘happy claps’ from the team and everyone under explains why their candidate pool is “different”. Yeah.

Clearly, the organization and the leaders care about turnover, churn, headcount, labor distribution, overtime use, time to fill, time to post, numbers of applicants per posting, quality of applicant and 50 other metrics based on your industry. Because they are measured… Right?

I have an app that measures my speed when I drive. I pull charts of my speed, and it shows me my average speed, my speed benchmarked against the speed limit, the number of times I am going slower, or faster than the average traffic speed for the location. I measure all aspects of my speed… YET,  I still get the same number of speeding tickets as I did before I started doing all that measurement… My speed clearly matters to me because I measure it – right?  So why do I keep getting speeding tickets??? Well… maybe because – even with all that measurement – I have not connected that data with a “So What?”

Is it Really About the Numbers?

All the data collection in the world is useless if you do not connect it to the “So What?”

If your Talent Acquisition (TA) team doesn’t know what actions should be taken to improve time to fill – knowing the time to fill metrics is as sensible as a speedo in Alaska in January.

If your leaders do not know why first-year turnover matters or why turnover is different from retention – having these numbers is as useful as an anchor on a sinking boat.

If there are no meaningful actions, triggers, connections made to the data, and it isn;t really measuring recruiting effectiveness– you might as well just publish the CEO’s secret, erotic, dream diary she keeps in the locked cabinet in her office bathroom. At least there would be entertainment, and it would be about as valuable as measurement not attached to the “So What?”.

Measuring something does not mean you care about it… Caring about something means you want to take action about it, or at a minimum, know IF you even need to act on something… or even better, have the ability to predict when you might need to pro-actively take action on something that appears to be on the horizon.

Of course first-year turnover matters – it is one of the biggest expenses to an organization when you truly look at it – but knowing that you have a 30% first-year turnover rate will do nothing to address the issues that are resulting in that number. Only the “So What?” will result in anything meaningful.

Do you know the “So What?” to your metrics? If not – I challenge you, the next time you sit in a meeting reviewing metrics – speak up, simply look at the person in the front of the room and ask – So What!?!

About our Author: Dave Curtis has 30+ years experience in the workforce.  Of which 18 have been within HR/HR Information Systems. Given the nickname ‘The Wizard’ by his co-workers, Dave is considered a leader, innovator, HR tech professional and overall tech geek. Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

By Noel Cocca

CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.