One Metric to rule them all

I have come to the conclusion after 20 years of building, leading and consulting on recruiting functions, that there is really only one recruiting metric that should be foundational to the accountability of a talent acquisition’s role in the identification, attraction and ultimately hiring of people.

Submittal to Business Accept (%).

Metric Type = Quality SBA Definition SBA Formula
Submissions to Business Acceptance Percentage (SBA) Number of candidates that are submitted to the business by the recruiting function over the requirements of the position that are accepted by the business as a percentage Example: Recruiting function submits 10 candidates to the business against the requirements of the role and the business accepts 7 that they will move forward to the next step of the recruiting workflow. SBA = 70%

Disclaimer: I am not suggesting the SBA metric is the only metric that should be used to measure the effectiveness of the identification, attraction, assessment and all things in between the ultimate hiring of a person, but I am going to put a stake in the ground stating that the SBA metric must be the foundation of you building a world-class house of metrics and measures.

The Why

In my experience the area that most talent acquisition functions struggle is related to the hand-off of candidates to the business. It’s the communication, requirements gathering and change management inflection point where the rubber hits the road on the effectiveness of your TA function. It’s the one key part that you can control.

The same logic can be applied if you have a sourcing team that screens candidates and hands them off to the recruiters.

As I have written about many times before, sourcers and recruiters don’t make hiring decisions, they influence at best. We also know that the business and hiring managers always say:

“I/we need better quality candidates”

As Bill Gates framed it: “I would prefer to hire one world-class software developer who can do the work of a hundred average ones”

In short, they are trying to find higher performers on their teams. The only real recruiting metrics that relate to this are not about speed. They are not about quantity. It’s about quality.

SBA shines a light on the most important aspect of recruiting and sourcing. Quality, and quality that you are accountable and responsible for more than most of the other recruiting metrics combined.

The How

The biggest challenge theme I see historically and still today, is the disconnect between what the business wants (or think they want). Let’s see if any of these ring a bell with hiring managers/business you work with:

  • ‘Keep sending me people, as I will know it when I see it’.
  • Try and combine multiple jobs into one.
  • Take weeks to respond to submitted candidates from the recruiter, if at all.
  • Move the goal posts on the requirements multiple times.
  • Low ball candidates on compensation.
  • Hold recruiting accountable for things that are out of their control (bad candidate experience during interviews, etc).

What you/we can control is the quality of candidates we submit to the business. What we can control is creating an SBA metric that ends up being reported back to the business (and individual hiring managers) that shows TA is doing its job. It’s finding, screening and submitting quality candidates.

This next part might seem obvious, but I have found lots of instances where TA leaders are scratching their head on how to fix these related problems, but have forgotten a key step to making the SBA metric work in their favor.

The most critical part of the SBA metric is the ‘A’.

You must get the hiring manager/business to clearly define what equal’s Acceptance.

Call it an intake meeting, kick-off call, requirements gathering, or anything else, this is the point in the process where you the recruiter or sourcer need to get crystal clear with the hiring manager. In simple terms, the starting point in this conversation can be looking at most job descriptions section that states ‘minimum requirements’ or ‘must have requirements’.

In a conversation with the hiring manager you should be asking this simple question:

“Tell me the must have functional requirements for this role, so if I sent you a candidate with these must have functional requirements, you would accept my submission and want to interview them.”

It should look/sound something like this:

  1. Min 5 years in a Product Management role.
  2. 2 years of experience dealing with solutions for financial institutions.
  3. 1 year of experience managing a budget.
  4. Within the 70-90k compensation range.
  5. Can work in Chicago (no relo package)

Note: The reason I underlined functional requirements, is because I don’t want to get into a detailed definition about soft skills (Competencies and behaviors) for this example above as I can’t assume you have a clearly defined competency model/assessment framework in place. If you do and have clearly defined those competencies and evidenced by behaviors, then they could be part of the example above.

If we fast forward to you the recruiter (or sourcer) submitting candidates for this Product Manager role, and each candidate you submit ticks the box on the 5 must have requirements, then in reality, you would have a SBA quality metric score of 100%. Now we also know in life that to consistently hit 100% for every req, different hiring managers or all candidates submitted is unrealistic.

In my experience, the benchmark and the standard should be an 80% SBA target for your recruiters/sourcers and overall TA function. Also, if you run regular reports for your business, and/or have monthly scorecards, SBA should be a metric front and center.

Remember, TA does not control but only influence once you’re past the SBA metric anyway.

Why SBA will become your best friend.

Lets also now deal with the reality examples I gave above on what is going to happen in the real world as a recruiter/sourcer or TA leader dealing with hiring managers and the business overall.

“TA you suck, we are not seeing enough quality candidates!”

“It’s taking too long to hire people”.

I have lost count the number of conversations I have had over the years either personally or with people like yourself where it’s inevitable that a hiring manager and business leader is dissatisfied with TA’s performance, but………I can remember all the times where having the SBA metric in place helped remind business leaders that my recruiting function was providing quality candidates.

Or, where I could show a hiring manager that their recruiter was sending quality candidates that met their agreed to ‘Acceptance’, but the problem was the hiring manager was taking way too long to respond and those quality candidates were no longer available. Not a quality sourcing/submitting (overall TA) problem, but rather a business problem.

Or, helped a new recruiter/sourcer use data to focus on quality as the primary goal and help re-build credibility with a historically PO’d hiring manager who had gotten into the habit of ‘keep sending me people and I will know it when I see it’.

Or, got a traditional hiring manager who was all over the map with what they wanted (and how the wanted it), and focused them on agreeing that TA’s primary role was to provide quality candidates that meets their must have requirements.

Or, an offshore sourcing team that had lost credibility with their onshore recruiters and making SBA the focus rebuilt that credibility.

I could go on with dozens of examples, that if not for the SBA metric, I would have struggled to fix both recruiting, sourcing and business problems.

Final Thoughts on SBA

I did not want to turn this article, given the focus is about quality, into a dialog around Quality of Hire (QoH) metrics. While I have done these many times before for organizations, I felt it was important to shine a light on, and look at quality measures that happen where a lot of challenges exist, the hand off of candidates to the business.

If you like thinking and talking in terms of recruiting funnels or understand the basic logic that @%@% flows downhill, you should get by now that any quality metrics that are at the top end of the recruiting process are going to be the most impactful metrics you can use in your business.

As I stated in my upfront disclaimer, SBA should not be your only metric, but if you don’t have this in place as a recruiter, sourcer or TA leader today, then if this article does not convince you that you must now make it a priority, then I apologize at doing such a crappy job and wasting your 7 minutes of reading time……..

I hope not.

Need some Intelligent Advice on how to? Come visit me at McINTOSH & Co.