Which Metrics Are Most Important?

February 15

Outside of traditional metrics such as cost-per-hire and time-to-hire, sourcing metrics are another good place to start if you are looking to understanding the effectiveness of a recruitment campaign and optimize your strategy. Sourcing metrics vary in type—such as media, web analytics, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and more sophisticated tracking programs—and many employers rely most heavily on the ATS for these metrics. However, every organization should be considering data from multiple sources that go beyond the ATS. Here's why...

The most common methods of tracking through an ATS are candidate self-identification and source codes. You are likely familiar with the first, but the source codes track the media source through coded application links used in the advertisement. While candidate self-identification has proved to be unreliable, the second method is a good start for basic data.

However, even with source code tracking, you are missing a piece of the puzzle. Source codes, and most forms of ATS tracking, do not capture what is known as post-impression data—that is, data for candidates who do not take direct action from your advertisement, but come to your career site to apply later that day, week, etc.

Media and recruitment advertising strategies have changed. Employers are targeting the passive candidate through non-recruitment websites using banner advertisements, sponsorships and email marketing. These tactics frequently are not acted upon at the time of exposure. Instead, the user will typically note the ad if it is something of interest and go back to the website of the advertising company to take action at a later time. If you aren't tracking post-impression data, you lose the ability to attribute these candidates to a specific source.

Post-impression data has been shown to be significant enough, even with traditional postings, to change the outcome of which media performs the best once combined with your basic data. Post-impression data takes metrics to a deeper level and allows for a better understanding of how to strategically spend your recruitment budget based on overall performance.

The bottom line is that a combination of metrics from multiple sources must be considered when evaluating your recruitment campaigns. For more on the Metrics Myths, visit my blog at

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