How to accurately measure source of hire with ATS & Job Distribution!

As I was looking at the Twitter stream last week, I came across this tweet:


"Most important recruiting analytic is hardest to Identify: source of hire"

I found this tweet interesting for a few reasons.


First, I think we all understand that this is a huge pain point for many organizations.  Recruiting organizations are still having a hard time to accurately tracking source to hire with their ATS and other recruiting technologies that they use.


Second, while hard to identify there are some ways to accurately determine "source to hire".  This second thought is what I'd like to address in this post.

ATS "Self Selection" & Source Codes

When most companies talk about tracking "source to hire" metrics they focus on their ATS.  When looking at most ATS solutions, they provide two main ways to track "source to hire" data in their system: self selection & source codes.


Self Selection

First, let's address "self-selection".  "Self-selection" is one of the worst ways to collect this data and is flawed for a number of different ways:

  1. Candidates that apply don't care to get the source right and are focusing more on the other information they are providing (i.e. cover letter & resume)
  2. Candidates are likely to lie and tell you the source they think you want to hear.  Have you been wondering how you are getting so many referrals through your ATS?
  3. Candidates may hear about the opportunity from a different channel than they actually came in from. 

If you are using "self-selection" as a way to provide your organization with meaningful data, you will sorely dissapointed.  The data that you will get will be skewed and it's accuracy called into question.


Source Codes

If you are using your ATS to track your recruiting sources, the second and better way to accurately measure "source to hire" is through custom source codes.


With this ability, your recruiting team can create custom codes for every recruiting source (job boards, social networks, etc.) you use in your recruiting so that your ATS recognizes the source when they apply to a job position.  For each job you post you'll need to include the appropriate source code within the job ad for a particular channel.


While this is a great feature in theory for recruiting organizations, in practice it can provide less than stellar results.  In order for this strategy to be successful, you need the following:

  1. You need to incorporate adding source codes to your job distribution process.  A member of your recruiting team will need to add the correct source codes for every recruiting channel you distribute to for every future job position.
  2. For any new recruiting channel you use, you will need to create a new source code within your ATS.
  3. You will need to turn off the "self-selection" as you don't want two sources for the same candidate.

Where organizations usually fail with this feature is in continuously appending the source codes to their job ads and also in accurately appending the right source codes to the right recruiting channels.  However, if you are diligent with your recruiting team, using source codes is a great way to accurately measure "source to hire" for your recruiting organization.


Job Distribution integration with ATS

When looking to capture accurate "source to hire" data on your recruiting sources, you can use your ATS (as described above) or you can look into getting a job distribution provider.


Job Distribution solutions provide your organization a way to easily distribute jobs from your ATS to all the recruiting channels you use on your recruitment campaigns.  In addition, they are becoming more robust in their recruiting metrics & reporting solutions and this is where we want to focus on.


When looking at a job distribution for "source to hire" metrics, you'll need to make sure they have the ability to automatically append ATS source codes to the correct recruiting channels when they distribute jobs.  That is a prerequisite for getting the correct info into your ATS.


Second, you'll want to take a look at their ability to integrate with your ATS and its data feed.  When capturing "source to hire" data, you probably don't just want data on the one hire that comes from the recruitment marketing campaign but we want what sources bring in the most "qualified" candidates, final round interviews and obviously hires.  In order to report on this data, your job distribution provider needs to integrate with your ATS and be able to hook into the data feed to accurately track every candidate that comes through the ATS.


Lastly, a job distribution provider should also provide you what your ATS can't in terms of data: recruitment marketing metrics.  Recruitment marketing metrics provide you with a look into your recruitment funnel including views, apply clicks and ultimately applicants for every recruiting source you distribute your job ads to.  These metrics can provide you with insight into bottlenecks within your funnel and can help you continuously improve your recruitment marketing messaging!

What it can look like: A case study

So what does a detailed report look like with "source to hire" data?  A leading Fortune 500 company came to SmashFly to try and create an all-in-one dashboard that they could make quick informed recruiting decisions from.


They wanted not only recruitment marketing metrics but also "source to hire" data as well.  For the "source to hire" data, they wanted to track not only hires but also "qualified" candidates (as determined by their recruiting team as stage in their ATS.)


Through integration with Taleo and our job distribution solution, we were able to create the following dashboard for them for each job ad they distribute:


Source to Hire Data

As you can see, they now have a complete view of their recruitment funnel and what recruiting channels are performing best for their organization.  In addition to singular dashboards for each position, we also provide them with comprehensive data across all their job campaigns for every recruiting source they use.


They've been using this new data to make informed decisions on buying inventory on different job boards, shifting ad budget to other recruiting sources and testing out new recruiting channels.  And in turn, have begun to increase the value of their recruiting budget through an overall increase in ROI.


Whatever way you decide to measure "source to hire" data, it's important to first have a plan of what metrics you want to capture and display for your recruitment strategy.  Once you know what you want, talk to your ATS and/or job distribution provider and see what options exist for accurately measuring and reporting on these metrics.


This data can have a tremendous impact on your organization and once you have it in place, you'll be able to make better more informed decisions on your recruitment marketing strategy.

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