Numbers or noise: How useful are your talent metrics?

In the current volatile COVID-19 talent landscape we are seeing increasing recruiter requisition loads and decreasing candidate availability, but how can we use data to underpin talent acquisition strategy and deliver on our organisation’s talent acquisition expectations? 

There are three main reasons that talent acquisition teams are often unsatisfied with their data and reporting: 

1.     Misalignment - "The technology can't capture what we want to measure"

2.     Misdirection – "The metrics looked good initially, but they provide little value to our business"

3.     Mismanagement – "We don't have anyone to drive our reporting strategy, functionally or strategically"

We’ll come back to these issues later and look at how I suggest you approach these.


Whether it's for the talent acquisition team or broader business purposes, reporting on talent availability and market trends and recruitment processes and activity is tremendously important. At a fundamental level, accurate reporting will help the recruitment team analyse productivity and outcomes against key targets allowing them to adjust and improve.   

At a deeper level, reporting and analysis can provide more in-depth business, market and talent insights that can inform decisions on your talent and business strategies.   

To give you some examples, accurate and well-designed reporting can: 

  • Manage hiring manager expectations on your recruitment timeline by providing a transparent time-to-hire 

  • Inform effective sourcing strategies by helping analyse job board performance; and 

  • Support a wide range of employee engagement, development and performance initiatives by providing useful data on retention and employee exits. 

If you are struggling to understand why your time-to-hire is blowing out, why offer rejections are increasing or why you’re losing key talent to your competitors, the chances are that improving your reporting could help.   


While there are standard best-practice metrics found in most recruitment teams, when it comes to more advanced reporting there is no single suite of metrics that suit every business.  You may have a single strategic focus for the team, or you may want to use a range of metrics have several. The main thing is to make sure your metrics support your focus: 

PERFORMANCE ORIENTED – Driving high volume and cost efficiency 

CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE ORIENTED – Focus on building the brand reputation, knowing that candidates can also be customers 

QUALITY ORIENTED – Consider the strategic value that recruitment brings to the business through attracting and appointing quality hires. 

It might be beneficial to work with an experienced analyst that will help you analyse your talent and recruitment and talent strategies, and any problems that you are experiencing, to design a suite of metrics that can be analysed in a variety of different reporting sets to provide useful insights. 

For example, if you are concerned that your sourcing channels are not delivering value, you could analyse overall efficiency, candidate quality, candidate quantity and cost for each job board that you use.  


We talked earlier about the three reasons teams are often being unsatisfied with their data and reporting function: misalignment, misdirection and mismanagement.  

Ideally, working through these issues in the reverse order can create a framework for measurement: 

1.     Set a strategy (management)

2.     Identify linking metrics (direction)

3.     Align these with your technology (alignment)

A great reporting function starts with proper ownership and a strategy that aligns with the direction of the business.  Once you have a clear direction, it’s time to find the metrics that best showcase your teams' progress on these objectives and identify opportunities for improvement.  

The final step would be to align these metrics with your technology platform. Sometimes you won’t be able to capture the data you need straight out of the box in your current systems. You may need to complete some system configuration where possible, otherwise, you may need to brush up on your Microsoft Excel skills or invest in a SaaS BI tool to do some manual manipulation to gather the insights you need. 


A metric is only as good as the decisions it can help you make. If you don’t understand how you’re being successful in one area of your business, you will struggle to define best practice and apply it in others.  If your current metrics don't help you improve your service to candidates, your team performance or help you manage your costs, then they are not adding value to the business.   

Is it time for a shake-up? 

Go back to your strategy, consider your problems, opportunities and team objectives and define those KPI's or metrics you need to progress and demonstrate value. Because really, if you can't measure it, did it even happen?  

Harrier Talent Solutions: Talent for Australia’s tomorrow


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