Candidate Experience/ Global/ Operations/ Strategy/ source of hire/ Analytics

Tracking Source of Hire Is A Train Wreck

Tracking Source of Hire Is A Train Wreck

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For some time now I've been challenging the idea that tracking sources related to quality of hire is something that our industry should continue to heavily invest in.  While it's certainly something many of us have been keeping an eye on for years, one thing is for certain - it's a mess.  Or if you've been keeping up online, it's an absolute train wreck (according to me.)

Let's forget for the moment that there are actually multiple sources for nearly every candidate.  Let's forget that without incredible levels of intervention and unrealistic expectations put upon each applicant at each step along the way that the majority of talent teams can't account for the first source that made someone aware of us or the secondary source that got them interested in us as an employer or the source that brought them back (1x, 2x, 3x) before that final source that officially made them an applicant.

Even if we could easily track all of this, how would we standardize and weigh each source against one another so that we could make decisions with our (always reduced) budgets that would allow us to look our CFO right in the eye and say confidently, "This was the best use of our money and produced the highest caliber of candidates."  (This is the part where you say, "We can't!")

What we are each able to do today is account for the first and most recent sources (the first and the last click!) which is typically how we make decisions about our spending each year.  And while there are vendors that claim to be getting better at this and to be providing deeper insights and taking on a digital marketing approach, I'd like us to ask ourselves if it might be time that we focused our energy AND our money somewhere else.

In 2015 CXR asked hundreds of Talent Acquisition leaders:
"How confident are you in the accuracy of your Source of Hire data without considerable human effort being used to adjust reporting results?" [chart id="7"]


We live in a world where our company career pages don't start on our website, they start on domains like, and  We know that increasingly, candidates are doing their homework before even applying to our jobs.  In a 2015 survey of over 100,000 candidates it was found that over 70% spent at least an hour looking us up before clicking apply and that 1/3 of them spent more than 3 hours digging up details about your company and the job you posted before expressing their interest.

By the time we've connected with candidates they've often a mindset and impression of our organization that can be tough to change - regardless of whether or not it's overly positive or unfairly negative.

That's why relying less on manual source tracking for quality candidates - something that our industry has never been able to figure out - just doesn't make sense.  I'd challenge our talent acquisition leaders and influencers to enable and support their teams to focus on some of the low hanging fruit that can have a significant impact on candidate intelligence and quality of hire downstream.

Here are a few...

  • Care for the Apply Process
    Take some time to regularly go through the application process provided to your future employees.  It may be time to eat our own dog food through a simple exercise of requiring recruiters to apply monthly to one of their own jobs.  You might be surprised how many job titles are spelled wrong and the number of job descriptions that are almost nonsense at companies that pride themselves on attention to detail in their industry.
  • Re-Evaluate the "Talent Community" You're Building
    It's not a "community" if it's just job alerts.  Decide if making something more interactive is realistic and if your candidates would appreciate something in addition to jobs that keep them engaged and keep your brand "top of mind."
    Consider trimming back the ability for lower-skilled candidates to successfully get your ATS to invite them to apply to jobs which your recruiters would NEVER consider them qualified for.
  • Tell Candidates Where They're At
    Most ATS's can have logic and triggers added that not only confirm the receipt of an application but can also tell a candidate when their status has been updated.  In some instances an email can be triggered to go to applicants that have been stagnant on an open requisition that simply tells them they've not been forgotten and the requisition is still being worked.
  • Respond to The Questions
    It may sound daunting but some talent acquisition leaders are finding increased NPS (Net Promoter Scores) after asking their recruiting teams to dedicate just a few minutes each day to responding to candidate questions.  When done in an open forum like Twitter or LinkedIn it's a great way to answer pretty common questions with regards to process and standards so that others can see.

These are only a few and are truly low-hanging fruit in most cases.  What have you seen done that positively impacts candidate experience and carries downstream to our reputation online and the employees we hire?

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