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Engagement. What is it? What does it mean? And how do you measure it? It’s a tough question, and I will jump to say that the vast majority of companies, corporate or vendor based running a form of social campaign

have no clue.

The last few years have seen corporate talent operations engulf social media or “social recruiting” (Google has no definition) as the only absolute in their organization. I want to be clear that I am a firm believer in social and 2nd generation connecting for the purpose of talent acquisition. But I am a bigger fan of process and meaningful connecting. I talk about it a bit here in the 4 c’s, Engagement and the Electronic Exchange.

This past week I was a silent participant in a recruiting conversation offline that opened my eyes to how dangerously clueless a lot of recruiting leaders are.  (Silent as I sat in but remained quiet)

This is a serious problem that will only lead to greater failures. These are large mega companies with billion dollar brands and trillion dollar dreams. Companies that on the surface have elegantly articulated the process for their talent community but have genuinely failed at any backend process that would be recognized as mediocre.

The conversation was around engagement and metrics within the talent community. What do we need to measure and how do we measure it? The companies will 100% remain anonymous and I will not share the participants, but I will share a few good things that came out of the call.

Building and measuring a talent community are 2 separate challenges. How to measure and what metrics “we” (collectively) need and/or want to measure:

Engagement: Engagement was defined as how the organization would approach potential prospects or visitors to the named landing page or community page. Some ideas included activities, contests, give a ways and so on. The end result was an agreement that the engagement must consist of a way to attract potential talent; which I agree with.

The question posed was: What metrics you currently use to measure return on engagement activities? Though I felt this could have been a deeper conversation here are the notes that I gathered during the call.

Metrics to monitor when assessing the return on your talent community efforts: (Not an exhaustive list but a few to get the conversation started):

  1. Content: Content is king and the king will always win.  Great content generates great engagement. Though I agree with this there was no serious breakout of what great content is. I am not even sure you can label great content. Great content is in perspective of the reader. My feeling is that you need to understand your target audience and why they are visiting your site or reading your content.

It’s important to understand your goal and have a clearly defined plan on how you will get there and how you will navigate around the roadblocks that will arise. And arise they will.

  1. Content tracking can be accomplished rather quickly and easily with programs like Google Analytics but study these before you choose. There are others that will fit your specific needs better than the standard free applications.
  2. Tracking stickiness: how long a reader was reading your content and how many click thru’s they had during their visit. Did they click 1 article or 4? And which article where they? Were they related to the entrance point they came through to get onto your site or did you entice them to read additional articles that are not related to the original reason they visited your work? Another nice tool I find helps is Yahoo’s Index Tools.
  3. Content Downloads: i.e. whitepapers, research, abstracts. Did you convert the visitor into a candidate? A visitor is a prospect. Do not be fooled by your statistics telling you that you had 600 visitors today but 50 where unique and you only had 5 downloads of the content you wanted to push out.
  4. Measure Subscriptions to your community and to your links or feeds.  There are free and paid services. I prefer some of the the paid for tracking details however you can always use free services like a mailchimp (to an extent) but a very strong service or you use an open source like PhP if you can handle  it on your own.

A career blog for example that has 17,000 subscribers looks good, but is it relevant? This is the same argument as being a top 10 connector on LinkedIn. What does this get you? Access to more people? On the surface yes, but relevance..not a chance in hell. We’ll discuss that in another post, but you can read bit on relevance at Boolean Blackbelt and Glen’s post on LinkedIn’s Competitive advantage.

Target your network accordingly. If you are focused on sales recruiting than have a plan to target your top prospects (companies not individuals) and work out a way to effectively convert them into a candidate.

  1. Recruiter return is a serious metric that without fail needs to be measured, tracked and monitored. Your recruiters are the face of your organization. Their attitude tells the story. Their ability to effectively articulate the message decides whether or not the prospect is converted into a candidate.

I will leave on the note of “recruiter return” and tackle that in the next installment.

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.