3 Levels of Recruiting Metrics for Low Volume and Small Business Hiring

February 17, 2017 Tim Sackett

Almost every single thing you’ll read on recruiting metrics is designed for large organizations and high volume hiring. It makes sense – the more you hire, the more digging into metrics can help fine-tune your process and gain greater efficiencies. On the other hand, in low volume hiring, each hire has significantly more impact, individually, to the organization.

The hard part of designing HR metrics for small companies is the data sample is small, thus, you have a greater chance of making bad decisions based on what the data is telling you. What!? That doesn’t seem to make sense! In large data sets, the outliers get blended in. In small data sets, the outliers can make a significant impact. Here is an example:

10,000 hires a year. Average days to fill is 32.45. One hire that is 634 days to fill, won’t move this number much at all. This one hire will move the average to 32.51, barely noticeable.

100 hires a year. Average days to fill is 32.45. One hire at 634 days to fill will move the average to 38.40. That one hire just blew your entire metric average!

This is the difficulty of small and medium sized organizations when designing meaningful recruiting metrics.

I think there are three different levels of small business recruiting metrics that make a difference:

  1. Funnel metrics
  2. Source metrics
  3. Retention metrics

Funnel Metrics:

Funnel metrics include all those recruiting activities you do to get to your final hire:

  • How many applicants did you get for the position?
  • How many of those applicants were qualified?
  • How many applicants were screened and passed on to the hiring manager?
  • How many of those applicants made it to the interview stage?
  • How many offers were made?

In most small business organizations, the recruiting function is shared, not dedicated, so measuring these metrics helps you understand the amount of work that was done, and needs to be done in the future, to fill a position.

Let’s say you have aggressive growth plans over the next year and you need to fill 10 of the same position. Your funnel metrics will give you a fairly close indication of how many candidates you need to attract, how many screens you need to perform, etc., until you reach your ultimate hiring goal. You can then go back to your executive team and give them clear direction on how long it will take to fill the positions they need to hire to help you grow!

Source Metrics: 

Source of hire in small business organizations is significantly important because every dollar spent in getting qualified applicants is hard to get. You just can’t throw $8,000 at one online source and hope to hire someone, because $8,000 might be your entire budget! Ironically, I find most small business organizations don’t even measure the source of hire and then cost per source of hire.

In a limited budget situation, you must know what your best sources of hire are and how much they cost per hire. Measuring this will open a lot of eyes in your organization and truly help you zero in on those tools that are a must-have for you to use, and usually some tools you’ll cut from your budget all together!

Retention Metrics: 

Retention? What the heck does retention have to do with talent attraction and recruiting!? Everything! For every single employee you keep, it’s one less employee you have to recruit and replace. Thus, retention might be the most important recruiting metric for SMB organizations.

So, measuring retention is easy. The retention I’m talking about is a little different. I recommend a couple of different retention metrics based on the type of organization and culture you have. First, retention by department/hiring manager is a great one. What you’ll find is as an organization you rarely have organizational retention problems, but you’ll pinpoint hiring managers who are causing most of your problems. Also, Top 90 percent (or whichever number works for your organization) retention is critical in small organizations. This metric measures the retention of your best and brightest employees, and doesn’t count against a hiring manager when there is turnover of low performing employees.

This gives you insight into what talent pools you should be keeping an eye on for backfills to increase the talent within your organization.

Check Out 3 Recruiting Metrics That Don’t Mean Much – And Why

Tim Sackett, SPHR is the President of HRU Technical Resources a leading IT and Engineering Staffing firm headquartered in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of combined Executive HR and Talent Acquisition experience, working for Fortune 500 companies in healthcare, retail, dining and technology. Tim is a highly sought after national speaker on leadership, talent acquisition and HR execution. He also is a prolific writer in the HR and Talent space, writing for Fistful of Talent and his blog The Tim Sackett Project. Tim is married to a hall of fame wife. They have three sons and one dog. He is a lifelong workplace advocate for Diet Mt. Dew fountain machines and hugs.


Previous Article
9 Steps to Creating an Amazing First Week for Your New Hire
9 Steps to Creating an Amazing First Week for Your New Hire

Create an effective, unforgettable first week for your new hire and set the tone for a prosperous tenure at...

Next Article
How to Embrace the Top 4 Workforce Trends
How to Embrace the Top 4 Workforce Trends

Understanding the biggest workforce trends emerging in 2017 can help small business leaders make better bus...


Get the latest hiring trends delivered to your inbox.

More resources headed your way!
Error - something went wrong!