Part 7 – Measuring the Success of your Talent Network

This is the seventh post in a series on Talent Networks.  You can view the other posts here:

Part 1: What is a Talent Network?

Part 2: Developing a Talent Network Strategy

Part 3: Building a Talent Network

Part 4: Talent Network Campaigning and Engagement

Part 5: Keeping Your Talent Network Fresh

Part 6: Where do Talent Communities Fit In?

In this series, we’ve gone over how you begin building your Talent Network and the different ways you can use to enable candidates to opt-in and be sourced so they can engage with your organization. We’ve also talked about how you can start thinking about your communication and campaign strategy as well as making sure you have the most up to date information on your Talent Network candidates.

In this post, we will address how to use the data that we have with our Talent Network.  We will also cover how to measure and determine success in your Talent Network as that’s what truly is important as you decide to put resources towards this method.

Using the data that you collect

For every candidate in your Talent Network, you are consistently capturing new and updated data on them.  From the initial resume to online profiles to interaction metrics, we are able to get a tremendous amount of data that is consistently updated on candidates and most importantly you can use to improve your interactions.

While these metrics don’t factor in fully to overall success, they can give us an indication of what messaging and campaigns are compelling to different candidate populations.

Views:  This email metric will give you a general indication for how candidates react to your brand and / or email subject.  This can help you determine better create catchy headlines to drive interest.  Please note, this can be a bit deceiving as many tracking solutions use pixels to track this and therefore will not track people who read the email but did not download the image.

Call-to-Action Clicks:  For every email campaign, you send out you want to have a single action you want the candidate to take.  From applying to a job to downloading a white paper to visiting the Career Site.  This should be a link in your email and will be tracked per candidate.  In a perfect world, you should track all these actions and be able to see all the touch-points a candidate takes via your email campaigns.  And in many cases, these will drive candidates to ultimately apply and influence the quality metrics discussed below.

Opt-outs:  While these are regrettable, this will happen with every email campaign you send out.  In general, this will give you a good indication of how helpful your campaign was.  A campaign with lots of opt outs indicates that they messaging was not targeted well enough for the desired audience.

Phone calls: With many of these candidates, someone on your recruiting team most likely will give them a call about a position and screen them to see if they are the right fit.  For this conversation, the recruiter should acknowledge the call in the CRM and record their notes on the candidate.  This will help future recruiters know more about the candidate as they are looking for candidates in the database.

With all these data points, we begin to create better messaging and form better relationships with these candidates we are trying to attract.  This will help ensure that they are engaged for when the right opportunities are available at your organization.

Driving Quality into your Process

When you start a Talent Network it is just another initiative that you need to evaluate in your recruitment marketing strategy.  You spend time and resources on it (although the incremental cost should be $0 other than the technology to manage it) and need to understand how it drives quality into your organization vs. the other initiatives your team does from job distribution to proactive sourcing to Career Site optimization / SEO.

When evaluating all your recruiting and sourcing initiatives, it’s important to make sure to measure them across the same benchmarks and recruitment metrics.  This will help you determine with accuracy the activities that are driving performance for your recruiting organization.  Also make sure to keep in mind overall costs in terms of budget and resources for each initiative.  However, I stress the use of quality metrics vs. solely using metrics like time to fill or cost to fill (although they can be part of the evaluation process.)

So let’s get to the actual metrics that you are capturing with a focus on candidate quality.  The main goal for any of these initiatives is drive quality candidates into your ATS and we should be working off metrics that reflect that.  From a pure counting metrics perspective, here are the metrics that you should be evaluating:

Qualified Candidates:  Depending on your organization this may change but in general you need to be able answer the question, how we determine a candidate to be qualified?  It could be after being screened by the recruiting organization or getting to the final interview stage.  Whatever you decide then it’s up to making sure you can track these candidates back to the source they originated from.

This may even be a few different metrics for different stages in your recruiting process.  For instance, you could track candidates that got to the second round as well as the Silver medalists, the candidates that were the next best to the candidate that was hired.  This would give you more insight into the types of quality candidates that sources are driving into your process although it may be harder to easily evaluate and capture.

Hires: While this is a single data point for a job, in the aggregate this can give you a great feel for what sources drive hires best for specific jobs and disciplines.  With the right reporting solution, you should be able to observe these trends and improve your strategy going forward for these positions.

Please note however that any Talent Network strategy needs to given time to be successful as it won’t perform overnight like a job board might do.  Much like social recruiting, you’ll want to temper expectations early on as you build, communicate and begin engagement with high quality candidates.

How do we track this?

We just talked about what you should be tracking but the real question is how do you track it.  In terms of qualified candidates and hires, the candidate statuses and ultimately hiring decision are recorded in the ATS.  However in many cases other systems need to be used to track and ensure accuracy in the source data that enters the ATS and is attached to these statuses (or then it’s useless.)

So let’s look at how this typically happens:

Source Code Tracking

For many ATS, there is an option to create and use custom “source codes” to identify when candidates come in from certain recruiting destinations (if yours doesn’t, you may want to look for a replacement.)  With these source codes, you will be able to accurately track candidates to the correct sources where they originated from to apply.  This replaces the wholeheartedly inaccurate self-selection that some ATS offer.

Now to use these source codes and manually include them in postings is a process in and of itself.  While it’s possible, if you are posting a good deal of jobs you more than likely need a more automated solution.  In these cases, a job distribution solution will often to be used to automatically append these source codes to jobs when they are posted to specific locations.  The candidates that apply are then accurately tracked based on these source codes in the ATS.  This offers rich data in the ATS that helps determine true quality of source whether it’s a job board, Career Site, sourcing campaign or Talent Network.

And while the Talent Network email may be the final source of a candidate to apply, a robust system should be able to tell you what source led them to join your Talent Network whether that’s a job board, Career Site or something else.

Side by Side Tracking

For job postings, many of the technology providers do a great job of taking source codes and tracking the different job boards, social networks and other sites that they are distributing to.  Where you run into trouble is being able to compare your Talent Network performance, Career Site metrics and sourcing data alongside these job distribution sources.

One of the big reasons is that a number of different systems are being used to manage some of these different initiatives and either are not suited to pass along these source codes or can be misleading.  Take for instance a Career Site.  If a job board directs a candidate to the Career Site and applies, the source should be the job board but some technologies will only list the Career Site.

In order to correctly track source for all your campaigns and initiatives, there are a few options to get all this data together:

  1. You can find a solution such as a Recruitment Marketing Platform that helps you manage and measure all these initiatives from a single code base.  This insures integration and the passing of the correct source code across all initiatives.
  2. You can take the time to create the integrations between the systems that you currently use to ensure accurate data. This requires up front work and cost to get everything set up but will work once everything is running.
  3. You can gather and bring all the data together on the back-end.  This is labor intensive and really inefficient.  I don’t recommend this as you really should be able to pull accurate data whenever you need it to make effective decisions.

No matter how you decide it, make sure that you are evaluating the Talent Network against everything else you do. I know that sounds pretty self-explanatory but it is something that is important to address when looking to make Talent Networks a part of your overall recruitment strategy.

Your other activities from job posting to sourcing should help fuel your Talent Network strategy and if done correctly, your Talent Network will become a free source for you to cultivate and develop key talent that aren’t ready to apply today for your future recruitment needs.

Next Post

For this blog series, we’ll be having one more post.  This post will take a step back from Talent Networks and look at how it can best fit into a comprehensive strategy and integrate it with everything else you are doing.

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