A look at the recruiting tools that can help gauge success

by Amanda Hurley 

As a recruiter, I have many tools available to me to find that perfect candidate. In fact, I receive phone calls every day describing a product that will increase my time to hire or lower my cost per hire, but are we, as organizations, doing a good job measuring our return on investment (ROI) on the tools that we are using? Do we know which one is the sharpest tool in the shed?

Recruiting tools can be employment websites, career fairs, local ads in your newspaper, social media ads, a full-time recruiter, a recruiting agency, your applicant tracking system (ATS), and much more. I’m always surprised to learn how little attention is paid to the ROI on these investments. Sure, you have that drop down box in your ATS so candidates can self-report their source, but we know they don’t always tell the truth. It has been reported that 80 percent of candidates select the wrong source. There are many reasons that this could happen, including:

  • The candidate is more focused on submitting the right résumé than the right source. When you were searching for an internship or research participation program, did you pay close attention to where you found the opportunity? That information is not going to keep your résumé from getting to the recruiter. Isn’t that what an ATS is for? (I digress!)
  • The candidate chooses the source that they think “sounds” better. Which will make me sound more professional? I found this opportunity on your website because I’ve known all about your organization for years and years or, I found this opportunity while stalking my ex-boyfriend on Facebook. Easy choice.
  • The candidate can typically only select one source. The average candidate today uses 16 different sources for their research participation program search. If I only have one choice, then I will choose the last place I saw your posting, which could be your website or the employment website. However, I am not going to get to tell you how I saw a cool pic on Instagram of the research you are doing, which led me to your Twitter page, where I saw others talking about how your organization is the #bestplace2work, which led me to an ad on an employment website about an opportunity, which then led me to your website. What’s my self-reported source? The one that’s freshest on my mind.
  • The candidate is confused. Well, I found this opportunity on an employment website, but I’m on your website now so do you mean where I last saw your posting or where I first saw it? Incorporate better tracking to avoid this pitfall. Google analytics is a great source for all of your digital efforts.

You see, we can’t rely on the candidate to self-report. We have to step up. Most ATS providers can supply a source tracking code so that you can see where your seekers are coming from on your site. Google Analytics is an excellent tool to beef up your ROI game. Employment websites also provide excellent reporting for views, clicks, and applications submitted to your postings. However, you have to get a baseline of your own website traffic and applicants to really see the secret in the sauce. The advertising of your opportunity postings is bringing the horse to water. It is your job to make that horse drink, so look at your drop-off rates. You may be getting all of this great traffic from the investment you are making in these tools, but if they are leaving the application before they submit, then you have a problem. Understanding where your candidates are coming from and why they complete or don’t complete an application can help you make better decisions about your future recruiting needs. Better data always equals better decisions.

About the Author
Amanda Hurley is an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) project manager located in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Previously, she worked for Monster.com, where she recruited top talent, managed various projects and developed retention strategies for companies across the United States. Hurley has a background in recruitment, marketing, sales and organizational communication. As an ORISE project manager, she recruits for and manages the relationship with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Research and Development Office. She is the subject matter expert for recruiting trends and technology. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.